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    Knot with my thread stringing choices for beading jewelry making

     

    One very important lesson I learned is that there is no one, all-purpose (Universal) stringing material. Here are the major stringing materials along with how and when to use each of them. SILK THREAD: Silk has a wondrous “hand” (a soft, flexible feel). This thread comes in many sizes and colors. It comes packaged on spools, and “carded” with an attached needle. This is a classic stringing material and forms beautiful knots between pearls and beads. But, silk tends to be relatively fragile. It can stretch, be cut by abrasive beads, rot when wet, and pearls strung on silk should be re strung every few years. It is best to use silk when stringing pearls and lightweight, smooth-holed beads, only. A needle is necessary. NYLON THREAD: (Nymo): This thread also comes in many sizes and colors. It comes packaged on spools, on bobbins, and “carded” with a needle attached. Nylon can be used where-ever silk can and is not as fragile. This material knots beautifully and can be used for pearl stringing, in some strung jewelry, seed beadwork, loom weaving, for Peyote and other specialty stitches, and heishi. Nylon stretches much less than silk, and it won’t rot when wet. Like silk, you shouldn’t use beads with sharp edged holes or that are heavy. When you use nylon thread, I would recommend you coat your thread with bee’s wax or “Thread HeavenTM “ before use to prevent it from fraying. A needle is necessary. BONDED NYLON: This is a much stronger form of nylon thread. The strands are physically bonded together for extra strength and abrasion protection. Although it knots well, it doesn’t have the “hand” of silk. Bonded nylon comes in a variety of colors and smaller spools. Because of its abrasion resistance, you can use it with “hard”, more abrasive gem beads; in fact this comes close to being a “Universal Thread”. Brand names include: “Stringth” or “Silkon”. A needle is necessary, although you can put “Super Glue” on the end to form a “Self-needle”. This is a favorite beading material of mine. FISHING LINE: This material is a hard, semi-rigid, single strand of plastic. It doesn’t knot well, and in time sunlight or ultraviolet light can cause it to weaken and fall apart. Fishing line is purchased on small spools and is sold in sporting goods stores. Personally, I use fishing line for two purposes. I use it to do my preliminary stringing while I am designing a necklace (I transfer the beads to a better material for the final product), and to string together “raw” strands of beads. There is no needle necessary. I would never use this material for a final beaded piece.

         
    A crystal animal figurine hand crafted from turkish lead crystal

     

    Purchase a lead crystal animal figurine from the area where the making of lead crystal glass first began. Turkey has been involved in crafting crystal figurines for many centuries. Small workshops in towns and villages are the settings where the crystal animal figurine is created in a variety of designs. Today the dolphin is one of the most popular as a crystal animal figurine. The art of creating lead crystal glass figurines has not changed significantly throughout the many centuries. The process begins with the craftsman melting the molten glass ingredients in a furnace. A wooden mould is also used to shape the glass. After the craftsman inspects the crystal figurine he is creating and finds that this step is finished, he then lets it cool for 36-48 hours. After the crystal animal figurine has cooled for the specific period of time, the craftsman uses an emery stone to facet the surface. This gives the lead crystal piece its beautiful reflective qualities. He then adds any specific details he wants to see in the crystal. Many of the crystal animal figurines are left smooth, but there may be details that need to be added to the figurine, such as eyes. This process is how Turkish crystal figurines are made and these workshops are noted for their attention to detail and perfection in the pieces they produce. Although a Turkish crystal animal figurine can be expensive, it is well worth what you pay for it. They are true works of art that you will certainly want to add to your collection. A lead crystal figurine of any design in your curio cabinet carries with it the centuries of history that developed its creation. You can look at it and know that the work that went into its creation is a time honored tradition from the past that is still used in the present, in spite of all the new technology that has since been developed. When you have a crystal animal figurine crafted in lead crystal glass you can consider yourself lucky. Today there is a strong demand for crystal animal figurines made in Turkey, from many other parts of the world. The quality of today’s crystal figurines is just as superior as it was hundreds of years ago.

         
    A rare bird indeed for bird watchers the atlantic puffin

     

    For most bird watching enthusiast, keeping an eye out for a rare sighting is of great importance. Sighting an Atlantic Puffin is just such rare sighting A Rare Bird Indeed For Bird Watchers – The Atlantic Puffin Observing an Atlantic Puffin is a bird watcher’s golden egg because they are not prevalent in the world. As the name suggests, they can only be found on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and only during certain times of the year. If you are building a life list, this is a bird that will set you apart from others. The Atlantic Puffin is a beautiful bird, a member of the Auk family of birds. A seabird, this little bird is a fisher in the ocean, often diving 50 feet or more to catch dinner. It is marked by its white lower body, which contrasts with a midnight black back and wings. The head is black topped with white around the eyes and extending to the beak. The beak is a cornucopia of sweeping colors with yellow, black and red being the dominant pigments. This little beauty is the only member of the Puffin family of birds found in the Atlantic. It is typically found in northern reaches, from Maine up through the artic and down through northern Europe. Occasionally, the Puffin will range as far south as North Carolina on the coast of North America, but not often. For bird watcher’s in the continental United States and elsewhere, this makes the bird a sighting worth having. The Atlantic Puffin is a bird that seems to teeter back and forth between population problems. In the 1800s, the bird was under serious pressure due to the harvesting of its eggs by humansing to shore to mate in cliff outcrops, the female laid only one egg. The losses thus were substantial and the bird nearly disappeared. Recently, populations have begun to grow again, but now new threats exist. Gulls and rat populations are once again threatening the breading grounds of these exquisite birds. Conservation efforts are fighting back and populations are at least remaining steady with some studies suggesting they are actually growing at a rate of five to ten percent. If the opportunity presents itself, a birding expedition to sight the Atlantic Puffin is definitely worth a go. The birds have a relatively small onshore territory, which makes them a fairly rare find for the avid birder.

         
    A special crystal animal figurine hand crafted from bohemian crystal

     

    Purchase a crystal animal figurine from the area where the making of crystal and blowing glass first began. The Czech and Slovak Republics have been involved in crafting crystal figurines for more than 500 years. Small workshops in towns and villages were the settings where the first crystal animal figurine came from in cat and dragon designs. Today the dolphin is also popular as a crystal animal figurine. The art of blowing glass to make a crystal animal figurine has not changed in any significant way throughout the centuries. The process begins with the craftsman making the molten glass in a furnace and then he blows it into various shapes, such as a crystal dragon figurine or a crystal cat figurine. A wooden mold is also used to shape the glass. After the craftsman inspects the crystal dolphin figurine and finds that it is perfect, he then lets it cool for 48 hours. After the crystal animal figurine has cooled for the specific period of time, then the craftsman adds the specific details he wants to see in the crystal. Many of the crystal cat figurines or those of other animals are left smooth, but there may be details and shapes that need to be added to the figurine, such as eyes. This process is how Bohemian crystal figurines are made and the workshops are noted for their attention to detail and perfection in the pieces they produce. Although a Bohemian crystal animal figurine is expensive, it is well worth the money that you pay for it. This is a true work of art that you will definitely want to add to your collection. Having one of these figurines, such as a crystal cat figurine or a crystal dolphin figurine, in your curio cabinet carries with it centuries of history. You can look at it and know that the work that went into its creation is something from the past that is still used in the present, in spite of the technology that has been developed. When you have a crystal animal figurine crafted in Bohemian glass, you can consider yourself royalty. This was the preferred crystal of royal families all over Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today there is a strong demand for crystal animal figurines from the Czech Republic in Japan, Canada, Brazil and many other parts of the world. The quality of today’s crystal figurines is just as high as it was hundreds of years ago.

         
    A suet way to attract birds to your yard

     

    No, I didn’t misspell the word sweet. Suet is a particular food that birds just can’t resist, to wit, a great way to attract them to your bird house. A Suet Way To Attract Birds To Your Yard Make no mistake about it, Suet is some nasty stuff. It is the thick, white fat from a side of beef. It is slick and hardly appetizing food stuff. That is, unless you are a bird. For some unknown reason, Suet is the chocolate of the bird habitat. If you want to attract birds to the bird house you have set up in the backyard, this is the stuff guaranteed to do it. You can buy Suet at your local grocery store. Many offer it in a combination with bird seeds of a sort, but grocery store bird seed is not the best. All and all, you are probably better off just buying it without the helpful additives. Once you have the Suet, you need to consider how exactly to use it. There are a couple of problems. First, it is fat. Fat does not do well in the sun, at least not over a few days. It spoils, turning goopy and starts putting off a nasty fragrance. As a result, you should probably stick to small amounts of Suet as bait and some will remove it in the evening. Another option is to actually melt the fat and mix it with whatever else you have been using as bait. Cracked corn, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and milo are a few typical choices. Anyway you cut it, Suet is some nasty stuff. It is, however, a great way to get the attention of a wide variety of birds in your area.

         
    Address stamp collecting a sticky hobby

     

    Do you ever notice the picture on the address stamp? It is astounding to see just how many different kinds of address stamp pictures are seen on envelopes throughout the world. From famous presidents to regular members of the Disney World crew, there are many different pictures and icons that are featured on an address stamp. When we take a minute to reflect on some of the images we see on these stamps, it is easy to see that even these small little sticky pieces of paper mean more than the cents they are worth. In other words, there can be some value of memory or meaning behind an address stamp for some consumers. This is probably why many people collect stamps, because of the meaning behind some of them. The hobby of collecting stamps can be a passion, or something that started when someone found one that had some kind of momentous value to it. After all, this kind of value would be enough for anyone to keep it. Collecting stamps can serve as a means to relax, to reflect, to play or more simply a time of redemption. It is amazing to think about the ways a simple address stamp can exert a positive impact on someones life, and not just because he or she gets an all important letter in the mail either. The bottom line is that collecting address stamps may not be for everyone, but it sure should not be ruled out as a great hobby to take part in when it comes to embracing part of our American culture, or our Worlds culture for that matter. But in reality when someone enjoys the beauty of what is printed on an address stamp, and the value of some of these stamps just may make them rich one day, there does not seem to be a time wasting element here. The hobby offers a lot to people who are interested in it. But in reality when some people enjoy the beauty of what is printed on an address stamp, and the value of some of these stamps may just make them rich one day, there does not seem to be a time wasting element here. The hobby offers a lot to people who are interested in it. The more you devote to it, the more pleasure you reap from it.

         
    All coin dealers are not created equal

     

    How to Select a Coin Dealer for Your Coin Collection Why do I Need a Coin Dealer? It is very difficult to build a collection of rare coins without a connection to a good coin dealer. If you are an investor hoping to make a profit with your collection of rare coins, building relationships with good coin dealers is vital to your success. If you are interested in making the highest profits possible with your coin collection, you will need to find a merchant partner who is experienced in the specific rare coins that interest you, and who will sell them to you at a good price. Most coin dealers will charge a lower premium on the sale of coins to their best customers. After all, it makes good business sense to get the most profit possible from a person who will do business with you only once. If you have a long-term relationship, however, the margin does not need to be as high for the coin dealer to make a good profit. Because coin dealers are experts in their chosen fields, they will also have better connections than individuals who buy coins on their own will. Finding the right vendor or wholesaler can be a long and difficult task for someone new to the coin collecting trade. Coin dealers will also be more likely to recognize a counterfeit coin, have a higher chance of hearing about the sale of the specific rare coins that interest you, and will recognize an asking price that is over - or undervalued. As an investor, these are all critically important points for your success. Building a long-term relationship with a knowledgeable coin dealer is the best way to protect the money that you invest into rare coins. All too often, new coin collectors who try to go it on their own without professional help end up being scammed out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. What Do I Look For in a Coin Dealer? All coin dealers are not created equal, and it is nearly impossible to specialize in every area when it comes to collecting rare coins. Therefore, it's important to know what to look for before you select a professional for your coin collecting needs. The first vital piece of information that you'll need when considering coin dealers is his or her professional qualifications. Some important questions to ask include, does the coin dealer belong to any professional groups? How long has he or she been in business? Can the coin merchant provide references from other satisfied customers? One of the best indications that a vendor has a high level of professionalism is a membership in the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). This group includes the most reputable coin dealers in the business thanks to an emphasis on ethics. The second most important question to put to a prospective coin dealer is the area in which he or she specializes. There are so many different kinds of rare coins to collect, ranging from gold bullion coins to ancient Roman coins, that it is impossible to be a true expert in all of them. You'll want to find a merchant that specializes in the particular area that is of interest to you. A trader might be able to recognize every rare American coin at a glance, but that won't do you a lot of good if you really want to collect legal tender from medieval times. Finally, you should consider the motivation of the coin dealers you are considering. A highly motivated coin merchant will go to shows and retailer auctions, keep abreast of current prices and trends, and will generally keep up-to-date with the current coin market. Any investor will recognize the impact of current information on profit levels. A coin trader who is highly motivated will also be more likely to provide you with excellent service and the best rare coins. Once you have selected a coin dealer, it is important to reward him or her with your loyalty. You are likely to get the best prices and service from coin dealers who know that you are working exclusively with them.

         
    Amateur radio operators heroes

     

    Amateur radio is a hobby and has over 600,000 radio operators in the USA alone. The hobby is about communications and various ways of communicating via radio waves. What most people do not know about the hobby and the people that are operators is that they are one of the most used groups in a disaster situation. The amateur radio community has networks set up all over the world that can be activated quickly if there is a disaster anywhere in the world. Amateurs worked weeks at the site of 9-1-1 in New York side by side with rescue crews supplying communications. When there is a disaster such a hurricanes or tornadoes or the likes of 9-1-1 then one of the first things to go away is the local communications. Phones go down and electricity and the only thing left is amateur radio operators that can operate from a battery and a piece of wire for an antenna. Many operators were involved this last year in all the hurricanes that we had. The amateurs had hurricane watch nets up all over the world just watching and reporting the advance of these storms. Once these storm passed the radio operators set up nets to pass traffic for rescue groups as well as passing health and welfare traffic to people trying the get in touch with relatives in the stricken area. It is always great to get a message out to someone that says we are ok and we are alive. Amateur radio operators are the eyes of the National Weather Service. If you do not believe that then just ask someone that works for the weather service. Every National Weather Service office in the USA has amateur radio operators on duty any time that there are storms in the area. The weather service does have a great radar but the radar cannot see the storms like human eyes can. Some where in this country there are amateur operators watching storms and reporting what they see to the National Weather Service almost any time of the day and night. These radio operators have been trained in storm watching so that they will be able to send reports that the weather service that can used immediately. From that point all the reported storm data goes out to weather radio and local radio and TV stations for broadcast to the public. These amateur radio operators may or may not be heroes but they are always there when needed to warn the public of danger. The kicker to all this is that the operators buy all their own radio equipment and give their time to keep the public safe. Always doing the job in the background at no cost to the public. Usually this service gets no recognition for saving lives. Heroes? You decide.

         
    Americana in a bottle the ordinary becomes collectible

     

    In 1912, Coca-Cola sold for pennies a bottle. Today that same Non-Amber Straight Sided Script Coca-Cola Bottle can be purchased as a classic collectible for close to $150. That’s more than three times the current value of one share of Coca-Cola stock. So while it might have been wise in 1919 when the Coca Cola Company released shares of common stock to have purchased some, I might also have been clever to have kept a six-pack of Coke hidden under my mattress for 87 years or so and sold it today for over $900. In fact, even the bottle carrier on its own would catch a collector’s eye today! What makes Coca-Cola bottles such a coveted collectible? Not only has Coke played a part in many people’s fond personal memories of childhood days gone by but it has also been interwoven throughout American culture and history. Artwork from America’s Golden Age of Illustration by renowned artists Norman Rockwell and N. C. Wyeth was used for advertisements. 1928 initiated an unprecedented partnership with the Olympic Games as the soda traveled with our Olympic Team to distant shores. In 1941 the US entered the war and The Coca Cola Company responded by saying that any serviceman anywhere in the world would be able to get a Coke for 5 cents a bottle, no matter what it would cost the company to get it there. We easily can recall the rosy-cheeked Santa Claus sipping his Coca-Cola while delivering his treasures, or the jingle of “It’s the Real Thing” or the images of children of the world holding hands on a hilltop singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” speaking to tumultuous times of the late 60’s and early 70’s and their desire to bring about a “sweeter” time. In 1985 it even became the first soft drink consumed in outer-space. It almost becomes blurry as to whether the memory is of the event, the era or of the Coke itself. What is clear though is that Coke was there. And those are powerful associations to drive collectors. It is no longer only the memories and history associated with Coca-Cola bottles however that encourages the collector’s desire. Special edition bottles have also been, and continue to be, specifically created to commemorate places and events. In limited supply, the demand for these special collectible soda bottles and particularly the unique bottle carriers, (most often quickly discarded by the average consumer once the sodas are safely home) rises significantly creating collectible value based simply on their limited numbersmemorative editions, such as the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic bottle, or the Big Drive of ’89 Montana bottle or the more recent six-pack of 2006 Academy Awards Diet Coke are also only released geographically, making them even more specialized and therefore, valued. Coca-Cola bottles tell a story of Americana and a story of making something special out of the ordinary. Coca-Cola drinkers share over 100 years of thirst-quenching memories. It has been with us through personal events and more significant times in recent history. While writing this article I asked a group of friends “do you have memories of Coke from your childhood?” Four faces immediately smiled and nodded back at me. Perhaps Coca-Cola’s original owners Dr. John Stith Pemberton and his partner, Frank M. Robinson were on to something even bigger than they realized all those years ago, it’s quite possible that they really did capture time in a bottle.

         
    An eagle figurine display the beautiful american bald eagle

     

    When shopping for an eagle figurine, no doubt you will come across a figurine of the American Bald Eagle. This type of figurine has the US flag on the base and is the perfect way for you to show your patriotic pride. For those connected with the military, the gift of an eagle figurine is one way you can show your support for putting their lives in danger. An eagle figurine, especially one made of frosted glass, looking down from a mountain scene will really become the focal point of your figurine collection. Eagle figurines are the most graceful of all the wildlife and animal figurines. With an eagle figurine, you can capture the grace and elegance of this bird. The detail of the eagle portrayed in the frosted eagle figurines is flawless and shows every facet of the wings and beak to perfection. In addition to having a frosted eagle figurine showing the American Bald Eagle, there are many unique eagle figurines that you can purchase. Many people that have one figurine of an eagle like to collect as many different eagle figurines as they can. Take a look at the eagle figurine showing a Alabastrite eagle looking down from its perch on a snowy mountain. The rosewood color of the base shows off the contrast between the eagle and the snow-capped trees. Eagle figurines showing the mother eagle and her chicks are also perfect figurines to include in your display. Frosted eagle figurines showing the fighting spirit of the eagle contrast with the caring attitude when you place these two figurines side by side. The porcelain eagle figurines, such as those featuring an eagle on a rock eating berries, are truly works of art. The attention to fine detail in this type of eagle figurine will enhance your collection and your love for eagles. A frosted eagle figurine is the ultimate way to show the grace and majesty of this king of the skies. In addition to porcelain and frosted glass, you can also get eagle figurines in pewter, crystal, brass and woodbining a selection of all materials in your figurine collection will make it stand out and garner the attention it deserves. An eagle figurine is the earliest representation of freedom in the United States, which is why the eagle is associated with the US flag. Whether you prefer the mini figurines or the larger statue like figurines, there is no doubt that you will want to start collecting them the very fist time you see an eagle figurine. If you are unable to find one of these eagle figurines in your local area, you will not have any difficulty finding a wide selection to choose from once you do an online search.

         
    Antique coins collecting for fun profit

     

    You only have to look at how busy the coins section is on Ebay to know that coin collecting is an incredibly popular activity. It's one of the most popular hobbies around and one of the most profitable too. Finding coins to collect is easy but finding ones that are actually valuable to collect is the challenge faced by most collectors. As a rule of thumb, the older the coins is the more collectible it becomes as often they are more rare than more modern coins. The best place to find Antique coins include auction houses, coin shows, coin fairs and malls. But if you are more serious you should visit historical sites where antique coins are more likely to be found. You should bear in mind that the value of Antique coins depends on where it from as well as the age and historical background of its origin. Therefore buying at the historical location gives you a very good advantage over other collectors. There are a few other pointers you might want to consider when buying an antique coin. Firstly make sure the coin you wish to purchase is original. This goes without saying but there are many replicas and even counterfeit coins flooding the market, so close inspection to validate their authenticity is a must. When you start off your coin collecting hobby, start slowly if you are on a low budget. Then as your portfolio of coins increases in value you could re-sell some of it at a profit and buy more valuable ones. If you find a coin that you think is a valuable addition to your collection make sure that you find an appraiser that can determine the value so that you do not get ripped off. So don't try to value it yourself unless you are quite experienced, and seek the help of professionals when the circumstances dictate like when the coin is quite expensive. You need to specialize when you start collecting Antique coins so choose one particular era or country to focus on. This will make it easier for you to become an expert. You must also take good care of the coins to ensure you preserve their appearance and thus their value. And be careful not to clean Antique coins to excess otherwise you might actually depreciate their value. Coin collecting can really be a source of great fun and taking it up as a hobby is probably one of the best decision you can make. As long as you remain patient it will be a long term hobby bringing you plenty of satisfaction for years to come as well as a very profitable investment.

         
    Antique firearms 1

     

    By Vigdis S. Aas Antique firearms can be found in the online auctions. If you are searching to add to your collections, you can find the firearms of days gone by in the auctions online. There are many online auctions, such as ebay, or the reverse auctions, but they are all going to lead you to the same place, to where others are selling firearms that are antique. Antique firearms are the types that are over fifty years old. Sometimes a firearm that is about forty years old is also considered an antique firearm, but it depends on the name brand and the type of gun that it is. Meaning some companies have long since gone out of business, while other type of guns were made as a limited edition type of gun. If you are looking for firearms that are antique, you might belong to one of the following groups or organizations such as: the NRA, the OGCA, CCA, PAGCA, CADA, or the MAAS. These groups promote the ownership and the use of guns. These groups sponsor many of the gun shows, where you are likely to find guns from the 1800’s or the 1900’s. Some collectors will only purchase guns that are over 100 years old, while other gun collectors are going to seek out guns that are of a certain type that are over so many years old. Gun shows are where you will find a wide range of guns. From the pistol, to the twenty-two to the shotgun or the mini automatics. Antique guns will sometime also include the guns that are used today, in about another fifty or so odd years. When searching for antique guns or antique firearms, one could also be looking at guns that require powder, and packing sticks but you decide what type of firearms you want to collect and from what year as you start building your collection. No two collections of antique firearms are going to be alike. In buying antique firearms, you are also going to want to find other items such as the bullets, the powder, and the cleaning supplies made just for that type of weapon. Antique firearms could include those that are one shot or multiple shots. Look for the types of weapons that interest you the most and then you can build your collection from that point. What other types of topics should one be looking at if they are looking to start building a collection of antique firearms? You should look into how to store your firearms, where you should look for insurance to cover your special collection of firearms; you should also look into information about purchasing locks to keep children away from your antique firearms. Antique firearms are often the types that are cleaned, polished and put to use only under special circumstances. An antique firearm is one that will add that special touch to your collection that brings back a nostalgic time in history to your memory and to add value to your collection.

         
    Antique firearms 2

     

    By Vigdis S. Aas How are you going to store your antique firearms? If you are looking to store your antique firearms, you want to be sure that they are stored somewhere safe, dry, cool, and where someone or some children are not going to find them. Store your antique firearms in a location where they will be kept dry and cool. This is important because the finish on many types of guns can become pitted and rusty if you don’t care for them properly. In caring for your guns properly you don’t want to touch them too often, because that can leave excessive oils from your hands on the gun. Dry can cool is important so that the metal doesn’t rust, so the wood doesn’t rot, and so that the value of your gun continues to climb. The value of your antique firearm can grow as it becomes older while in your collection. Keeping your antique firearms in a location that is not going to be easily found by others will be important. You don’t want your antique firearms to be touched, so that this will keep them in mint condition. In keeping your collection hidden or displayed under glass is going to keep them protected from people from touching them. You don’t want your antique firearms to be used or shot often either. This is going to keep them in top condition. Keeping your antique firearms under glass is going to keep these items in your collection from being used by someone who may be in the house or visiting the house. If you don’t want to display your items, keep them in a safe, where they will be cool, dry and out of reach of those who may be tempted to shoot them Keep your antique firearms for as long as possible. If you are just starting out with your collection, you want to hold onto as many antique firearms as possible so you don’t lose out on a complete collection. You may be tempted to sell one to get another, but you will have to determine what type of collection you want to have in the long run. If you are only going to collect firearms from 1700’s then you should not be holding onto the guns and other types of firearms from the 1900’s. Nevertheless, if you want to build a collection from every ten years between the 1700’s and the 1900’s you shouldn’t sell any of your guns that fit into that range of what your collection will include.

         
    Are you addicted to scrapbooking

     

    Many who suddenly get the scrapbooking bug say they started when they realized that so few pictures were taken of them as cute little tykes - and they want to make things better for their own children. What ever the reason, scrapbooking has become a big business. There are estimates that over 4 million people, almost all of them women, gather for "crop-alongs" or "power layouts" every month! All these people are on the lookout for new and exciting scrapbooking ideas and share their thoughts and techniques on how to create that perfect keepsake. So many people are seeing that life is short, and they want to preserve family memories for their children. With today's ever mobile society and families spread across the country (and the world), it has become apparent that one way to keep everyone current with what's going on in your life is to utilize scrapbooks to chronicle everyday life. In simple terms, scrapbooking is the practice of combining photographs, memorabilia, and written narratives, poetry, quotations, stories, or other textual content into a scrapbook style album. A few scrapbooks are mass produced, but most are unique, singular publications. They can contain an accumulation of all sorts of objects such as newspaper clippings, magazine articles, play bills, ticket stubs, pressed flowers, and locks of hair. Scrapbooks are often embellished with ribbon or other pieces of fabric, colorful graphics, and other artwork. These artifacts of history are attached to the album pages. Many different types of scrapbooks have been made including family histories, personal journals and memories, and historical records of organizations, military units, and other groups. Personal scrapbooks provide a unique view into the thoughts, lives, and activities of their creator(s). Some of the best and most valuable scrapbooks are simple, focused documents that are directed to one single topic or subject. As stated above, scrapbooking is the fastest growing craft industry in the United States. The advent of computers has expanded the techniques available for producing, duplicating, and distributing scrapbooks. For example, some personal websites are virtual scrapbooks. If you're addicted to scrapbooking and want to have fun creating lasting memories - whether you're a beginner or an experienced scrapbooker - scrapbooking supplies are readily available from many online sites from the basic essentials to the latest product trends. Get your choice of albums, scrapbook paper packs, embellishments, stamps, adhesives, trimmers and helpful products to keep everything organized. You can count on all the reputable online merchants for high-quality scrapbook supplies and affordable prices. To create a scrapbook, you need the right material. From ribbons and bows to photo material and albums—all the necessary scrapbooking supplies you need are available online. There are books to help you get started and loads of advice to help guide you along the way to create your own masterpiece. There are even websites to answer your questions and the many online catalogers and merchants have everything you need to complete your project. Just point and click and you'll be on your way to making a treasured family keepsake.

         
    Are your sports memorabilia faux or

     

    There is a huge interest in sports memorabilia, and sports-related items include signed commemorative photos, baseballs, footballs, basketballs, pucks and jerseys. A Google search of companies hawking these items comes up with almost 5 million businesses! Some of the items on offer cost thousands of dollars. Where there are so many eager and gullible customers, fraud is sure to appear. A San Diego federal judge who recently sentenced several sports autograph forgers to prison said, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of the national pastime, has been undone". The prosecution stemmed from an FBI investigation called Operation Bullpen, which closed down a professional criminal organization that forged and sold bogus autographs. 60 search warrants were served, more than 2 dozen people arrested, and a warehouse with 10 million dollars worth of forged merchandise was seized. The ring leaders received 3 years in prison and forfeiture or assets to the IRS. Both current and "vintage" items were involved. Any sports fan who has a signed souvenir may now want to question its authenticity. Phil Halpren, the assistant U. S. attorney who worked to prosecute the forgers stated that fraud is so pervasive in the sports memorabilia market that unless you personally see an item being signed by the athlete, odds are greater than fifty percent that it is fake. The most athletes most well-known the the public are popular with forgers, too. Halpren said, "If you are looking at a Mark McGuire signature, it's alost a guarantee, 99.9 percent it is a forgery." Certificates of authenticity can be fabricated just as easily as the collectible item they supposedly validate, so this is no protection. Vendors are fighting back in an effort to maintain the integrity of the market. Disney, which owns ESPN, will begin next year to auction signed sports memorabilia online. Disney says it will authenticate the signatures with holograms encrypted with the item's identifying information and package seals, videotaping the entire process. Sophisticated forgers can even produce holographic seals which appear, on casual inspection, to be real. However most forgers are amateurs, and the more sophisticated the anti-forgery system, the less likely criminals are to attempt to copy it. Baseball and football are most popular in America, but a few famous hockey players such as Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr are popular targets for forgery as well. With all the items available, both off and on the internet, fans can avoid a lot of fraud by using common sense. For example, a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth selling for $500 is obviously a fake, because such a price is unbelievably low, too low for real market conditons. Also, it pays to know a little bit about the development of baseballs and pens. If you see baseballs supposedly signed in the '20s and '30s with Sharpie pens, these are obviously fake, because these pens were not invented yet in that era. To quote Phil Halpren : "I have seen Babe Ruth balls signed on a Bobby Brown American League President ball. So, you know, he was president in the early '80s. That's impossible to have been done. But someone did it." So, while it's enjoyable to own a piece of sports history, the motto to follow is : buyer beware. Unless you are a professional trader who knows how to authenticate merchandise, don't buy an item strictly for its potential resale value, because you may be disappointed by what you eventually get for it. Buy an item you personally like and intend to keep, and don't spend thousands of dollars. This ensures that you will be happy when you look at your purchase, without the lingering doubt that you have wasted a large sum of money on something of dubious value.

         
     
         
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