topad

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Guest Post: 5 Ways To Make Homemade Personalised Gifts With Artistic Style!

No comments:
5 Ways To Make Homemade Personalised Gifts With Artistic Style!


When you want to get a gift for a friend or family member, it is not always easy to choose the right one. Many of the things you might buy at a store can seem a bit impersonal. After all, anyone can give the same tie or game that manufacturers churn out by the millions. This is why, if you have an artistic flair, you might choose to make a gift rather than buy one. This kind of personalized gift will be much more impressive to the recipient, since you have made it specifically it for him or her. There are several good approaches you might take when making your gift.

Polymer Clay Ceramics
In the past, if you wanted to make any kind of ceramic item, you had to have an expensive and difficult to use kiln in which you could fire (harden) the clay object you made. However, in recent years, several manufacturers have started offering polymer clay that can be fired inside an ordinary kitchen stove. You can fashion rings, pendants and even small figurines with the clay. Once you have fired an item, you can color it using craft paint.

Heat Transfer T-Shirts


A fun gift that is sure to please is a personalized t-shirt. This can be text, a photo of the recipient or of their favorite pet. All you have to do is scan the image or text you want to use into your computer. Next, you print it onto iron-on transfer paper. Finally, use a hot iron to transfer the image in the paper to the t-shirt of your choice.

Cupcake Image Cakes


If you have a knack for cooking, you can try creating a cupcake image cake. In these cakes, some simple image you want to create, such as a happy birthday message or a picture of a flower, is created using individual cupcakes. The concept is a bit like Pointillism in art, with a bigger picture being made of smaller dots (in this case, the cup cakes).

Video Tribute
If the gift is for a couple celebrating an anniversary or for a senior’s birthday, you might want to consider a video tribute. This would be a single video you create based on family video footage, or even old 8mm film. For the sections on film, you will have to have a company transfer them to a digital format before you can use them. There are several free or inexpensive video editing applications you could use to make the video tribute.

Printed Scrapbook 


Another approach you can take for an artsy gift that reviews family memories is a printed scrapbook. The nice thing about this kind of gift is that you can make multiple copies to give to more than one member of your family. To make one, all you have to do is scan in photos and documents you want to include, organize them onto pages in a freeware graphics program, and have a local printer print them for you. 


Abi has a passion for art and interior design and is always looking for ways in which she can create things for her home and business on a budget. In her spare time Abi enjoys writing for promotional merchandise specialists Fluid Branding, who stock a range of great promo items. click here to view their full range.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guest Post: 5 Things You Can Do to Mesmerize Guests at your Wedding

No comments:


Things You Can Do To Mesmerize Guests at Your Wedding

Getting married is always a special feeling and couples usually search for ideas that can make their wedding an exceptional event for the guests as well. However, when couples start wondering what they should do to amaze the guests, they often realize that whatever they are thinking has already been done by someone they know. Custom wedding cake? Nah! Seen that too many! Use exotic flowers for decoration? A close relative has done the same!

Then what can you do? How can you add the “wow” factor to your wedding? What will make your wedding memorable and the talking point for several years? Well, if you are out of ideas, this article will surely help you. Here are some of the things you can do to make the marriage ceremony and unique experience.

1. Use ice sculptures
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? With the help of ice sculptures, you can add elegance and romance to the wedding reception party. A centerpiece on the dining table or a large sized interlocking heart at the center of the hall has the power to spellbind the audience. You can ask the decorator to use an ice luge for serving chilled drinks to the guests. Display cold food items on an ice sculpture, placed on a large buffet table, and let the visitors appreciate the quality of the foods and the beauty of the sculpture at the same time.

2. Have a chocolate spring
Search for a company that can create a chocolate fountain for you. Chocolate is probably the one food item which is loved by people belonging to all age groups. Make sure the spring offers plenty of different flavors to keep the guests entertained. From dark to milk and white, let them enjoy all types of chocolates, some of which they may have never tasted before. Put the fountain on the table and add some nice lighting effects to create the perfect atmosphere. Place a few bowls filled with dipping items such as fruits, wafer biscuits, etc. Make sure that a professional is always present near the chocolate spring to take care of guests.

3. Hire a photo booth
A photo booth lets the guest have fun and also capture some of the most unforgettable moments. Guests will love the idea of posing for a few funny snaps and taking home those pictures. You can offer some props as well so that people can use them to give themselves a unique look. A sombrero hat or a cigar can be excellent props for the images. The best thing about a photo booth is that it produces 2 pieces of the same photograph. One gets a place in your wedding album while the other is given to the person whom the photo belongs to. Make sure that the booth is large enough so that group photos can be taken.

4. Select an unusual venue
When a wedding is held in an unconventional place, its memories stay in the attendees’ hearts forever. Opt for an outside church wedding and select a venue that both you and your partner love. For example, if you as well as your lover are soccer fans, you can get married in a famous soccer stadium.

5. Live simulcasting can be fun
We love to see our faces on the big screen and you can manipulate this common trait of human nature by broadcasting your wedding live to the people present inside the wedding venue. Hire a cameraman and technician to arrange everything and make the wedding a personal, live film. When hundreds of guests come together in one place, they smile, shake hands and embrace each other.

These priceless moments can be broadcasted live on a big LED mounted inside the wedding hall. The shyness of the bride or the funny picture of someone eating hungrily can bring unlimited joy and laughter. Live simulcasting is mostly loved by those who don’t participate in dancing or are not of the chatty type. They can sit on a sofa and see whatever is happening around even in the farthest corner, thanks to the live video stream.

Wrapping up
These things can certainly make your wedding different from all others. Those who witness it will remember the occasion for years to come and refer your wedding as the “best” they have ever been to.


Author Bio:
Dax Vyas is associated with FestiveIce. Festive Ice is a one of the leading ice sculpture designer based in Ontario, Canada. It provides services regarding Ice Sculpture and Chocolate Fountain for wedding decorations. You can also connect him at Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guest Post: Kids' Crafts: Make your Own Corn Toss Game

No comments:
Kids’ Crafts: Make Your Own Corn Toss Game

I’ll be the first to admit it; I’m addicted to corn toss.  It is just such a great game!  I love that it is portable.  I love that it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or an advanced skill level.

Most importantly, I love that people of all ages can play corn toss.  From my grandpa to my toddler, anyone is welcome on the corn toss court.

What is Corn Toss?
Corn toss – or cornhole or bags – is a fantastic backyard game.  If you don’t know what it is, do a little Wikipedia reading.  You can find all the details about scoring, equipment, and more.

Once you have an idea of the game, you’ll easily understand why I am so infatuated with it!

“I Want to Play Too!”
All kids want to be like the grownups.  While I am more than happy to have kids on the corn toss court, it sometimes breaks my heart to see them struggle with the big-kid equipment.  Like trying to walk in mom’s high heels, some things just don’t work as well as kiddos want them to.

I thought about getting my son, Anderson, his own miniature cornhole set.  In theory, it might have been a good idea.  But in actuality, shelling out a fair amount of money for a child-sized corn toss set seemed absurd.

Then, it occurred to me.  Duh.  Anderson and I could make a set for him.  Not only would we save a ton of money, we could have some quality bonding time and engage in an eco-friendly adventure.

So, here it is!  A step-by-step guide to building an inexpensive, child-sized, recycled corn toss set.

Gather Your Materials
It is always a good idea to have all your craft supplies ready to go before calling in the troops.  So, before the kids get wind of your upcoming project, go around the house and collect the following items:
• Two cardboard boxes, roughly the same size (the younger the kid, the bigger the box – you’ll need a pretty big target for those little hands)
• Packing tape
• A circular template
• A pencil or marker to trace the template
• Sturdy scissors or a box cutter
• Paints, paint brushes, and other decorating supplies (optional)
• Something to toss (more details later)

Build Your Boards
Use the packing tape to close up all the flaps on the boxes.  Position each box so one of the sides without flaps is up.  This side will be much easier to cut through; trying to cut through the box flaps will be too difficult.

Place your circular template on the top of one box (the hole on a true corn toss board is slightly off-center).





Since Anderson is young (only 23 months), we made a pretty big circle.  For older kids, you might want to make the hole smaller so there is a bit more of a challenge.



Also, this should go without saying, but make sure you keep your youngsters a safe distance away from your cutting utensil of choice!

Since Anderson was going to be playing by himself, we only made one corn toss board.  If you have two or more kids playing, you’ll want a second corn toss board to aim at.

At this point, you could be done “building” your boards and just move on to finding your corn toss bags.  But, if you really want to make this a craft project, bust out the paints!  Let your kids customize their boards.  After all, most of the adult version game boards are all tricked out and fancy.









My persnickety son refuses to wear a bib or smock of any type.  If your children are more agreeable, you might want to cover them up a bit before bringing out the paints.  Otherwise, you’ll have to make a wardrobe change before playing (like we did!).

Make Your Bags
Traditionally, corn toss is played with bean bags.  Each player tosses four bags per inning.  If you have bean bags lying around the house, that’s great; bring them out.  Otherwise, you can make some simple bean bags.

While the paint is drying on your boards, round up all the stray socks you have stashed throughout the house.  Let’s be real; you’re never going to find the match anyways.  You might as well put them to good use!

Pour about ¼ to ½ cup dried beans or dried corn into each sock.  If you don’t have these things at home, you might need to make a quick run to the local grocery store (beans) or pet/livestock supply store (corn).  Once you have the desired amount of filler in each sock, tie a tight knot at the top.

Don’t worry if you don’t have filler material at home and can’t leave the house.  Simply take two socks and roll them up into a tight ball.  These will work just fine.  In fact, sock-balls are what Anderson tossed.

Play!
Once your boards have been constructed and your bags have been filled, it is time to play!

In a traditional game of corn toss, the players would stand about 24-27 feet away from the boards.  However, this isn’t a cutthroat competition you are planning for your kids.  Let them stand where they feel comfortable.

A game of corn toss is usually divided into innings.  Each player tosses four bags per inning.  While it isn’t necessary to follow all the rules laid out by the game’s governing authorities, it might be wise to at least make some rules of your own.

That way, your kids can learn about taking turns and team work.  Maybe one player throws all four bags before the other has a turn.  Or maybe you rotate; player one throws a bag and then player two throws a bag.  No matter what rules you come up with, encourage your children to keep the competition friendly; no name calling, bragging, or other forms of unhealthy competition.

As a parent, you’ll also be happy to hear your children will be enhancing their hand-eye coordination while they play.  Plus, simple addition will be needed to keep score.  What could be better than a math lesson in your backyard?!

A Few More Things to Keep In Mind
When choosing your boxes, keep in mind the age, ability, and height of your kids.  You want a big enough target; you don’t want your kids to feel discouraged because they can’t make it through the little hole of a little box.

On the other hand, you don’t want your corn toss boards to be too big.  Anderson couldn’t retrieve his bags from inside the box; it was too deep!

Also, remember to keep things light.  This isn’t about the competition.  It is about having fun with your kids.  Let them set the pace.  If they are too excited about playing the game and want to skip the painting part, let them.  If, like Anderson, they get bored with the game after 10 minutes of playing and want to get the paint brushes back out, let them.

Come Back!
After you give this project a try, be sure to come back and tell us how you did.  Was this your first corn toss experience?  Was it all I promised it would be?!  If you have any tips or suggestions I didn’t discover, let us know!

Guest author Jessica Velasco works for Custom Corntoss, a supplier of custom corn toss boards.  Just like the confusion with the chicken and the egg, she isn’t sure if the corn toss obsession is a result of her job or her job is a result of her obsession!   

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A New Project to Share with you!!

No comments:
I just wanted to take a minute and share something with all of my readers.

As you may have noticed, the past couple of months, I've been having a lot of guest posters help me out around the site.  Soon, I'll be back to posting regular crochet patterns and other general craftiness.  The reason I've been gone so much is because I've been working on a new pet project.  It's called Atmospheric Noise.  It's been a long standing theory of mine that too often, we move through the world without really experiencing it.  The website is a collaborative exploration into the every day beauty that we tend to miss.  I would just love it if you would check it out!

http://atmosphericnoises.blogspot.com/

Guest Post: Amazing Activity Ideas To Help Keep A Child Busy

No comments:
Keeping a child busy isn’t always such an easy task. Children always tend to need to be entertained and stimulated. If you need to get dinner ready and need things for your kids to do on their own while you work, or you need some activities or things you can do together, here are some ideas on how to achieve this goal.


Build a Cave or Tent
Give your child some pillows, bed sheets, and blankets and let your child build a cave or tent using chairs and the living room couch as anchors to hold the sheets. Give them toys and a flashlight so they have things to play with while going in and out of the cave or tent.

Drawing and Coloring
Give your young ones some crayons, colored markers, and some paper and allow them to make pictures and drawings. If you have coloring books you can give them those as well to color in. Another idea would be to print online a connect the dots game, where your child connects the numbered dots to create a picture. After your child has connected all the dots, they can then use their crayons or colored markers to color in the picture they just created.

Create a Collage
If you have some old magazines hanging around the house, give them to your kids to make a collage. Give them some poster board, glue sticks, and child safe scissors and let them go to work and get creative! Assign each child a theme for their collage like “my favorite things” or “summer time” and have them cut out pictures and letters to arrange and glue on to the poster board.

Baking
How about baking a sweet dessert with your kids such as cookies, cupcakes, or brownies. It’s good for kids to learn to cook and its fun for them to help with the mixing and pouring of ingredients. Kids can practice their math skills as they measure out the ingredients. They can also practice reading skills as they read the recipe in the cookbook. If your children are old enough to use the computer, have them look up recipes on reliable websites. After the goodies are finished baking, let them decorate the cupcakes or cookies with icing and sprinkles.

Painting
You can give them a paint-by-number set to play with. Sets usually come with water based paint which makes it easy for clean up, and some paint-by-number pictures. Have your child play the connect the dots game by connecting the numbered dots and then paint the picture they just created.

 Reading
Have your child pick out a book he or she likes and have them read the book out loud to you. Not only will this keep them busy but it will give your child a chance to improve their reading skills and to fit a little learning into the course of the day.

Teach Them a New Craft/Hobby
This one is for older children. Teach your child how to sew, knit, or make soap. If you’re skilled in one of these areas you can buy the supplies you need and have your child create something. As for soap making, a lot of art supply stores carry soap making kits that don’t require one to work with dangerous Lye, so it’s safe to include your kids when making the soap. The kits often include glycerin soap blocks, coloring, fun shaped soap molds, and maybe even fragrance to scent the soap.
So as you can see, there are tons of ways to keep your child busy with little to no cost. Sometimes all you need are the right tools and supplies, and the rest you can leave up to the imagination of your little ones.
Featured images: 
Laura Macy has a lot of work to do but her two children are home. She decides to find some fun activities that will keep them busy for hours.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Yarn Materials or Where does that yarn come from? {yarn craft information}

No comments:
I think it's fairly obvious to say that I love yarn.  


Wool:
  Animal: Sheep
Wool is sorted by fineness of fiber, crimp, length of staple and felting characteristics. There are many types ranging from rug wool quality to fine knitting wool, and all of these are determined by the type of sheep they come from.


Merino is the finest, originating in Spain, but are now bred everywhere.
Leicester Long Fleece Sheep
Rambouillet sheep
Corridale Sheep

Leicester, Rambouillets, Corriedale are other types of sheep that produce good wool for wearing.
Karakul Sheep

Jacob Sheep
Churro Sheep


Wool from Churro, Karakul, and Jacob sheep is traditionally used in rugs. Churro and Jacob
sheep were becoming rare but have made a comeback. They are raised in the southwest and are the source of the wonderful wool in many Navajo rugs. Karakul are from Asia Minor - Turkey, Armenia, etc. 

Angora Mohair Goat
Kashmir Goat

 Mohair and Cashmere both come from goats. Cashmere goats may take up to four years to grow enough hair to make a cashmere sweater. It is combed from the bellies of Kashmir goats.  Much of the cashmere we have now days is grown in China and Mongolia. Mohair comes from Angora goats, also a native of Asia/Turkey. Angora goats came to this country originally as a gift from a Turkish sultan to an American ambassador. An angora goat can produce 10 -16 lbs of fiber a year and they are shorn twice a year. 


Angora Rabbit


Angora comes from Angora Rabbits. It is warmer and fuzzier than wool. Rabbits are combed to get the fur and sometimes even spun directly from the bunny. Angora sheds a LOT and so is most often combined with other fibers. 

Huacaya Alpaca

Suri Alpaca
Alpacas, Llamas and Camels are all in the same
family (Camelids) and have luscious fiber that resists pilling.
Llamas are larger and their fleece is coarser than alpaca's.
Alpacas come in two types - huacaya and suri. Huacaya
have loftier fleece with more crimp. Suri fleece tends to
have a longer staple and grows in long curls. Most of the  alpaca yarn in the store comes from South America but we do have some from locally grown stock. 
Vicuna Camel


Camel hair or down is very fine and incredibly soft and a dream to spin. Also in this family is the Vicuna whose fiber was reserved for royalty in ancient times. Vicuna still cannot
be exported from South America and the fiber is rare.





Yak
Yak are those huge ox like creatures from Asia. Their
wool is often felted and is used by nomadic peoples for
tents and garments. Yaks also provide food - yak milk
and cheese. Yak fiber is the fine undercoat combed
out in the spring. Yaks can live to be 25 years old.
The yak fiber we have is for spinning and is best
combined with wool as in the yarn we also have
- Super Yak by Karabella and some pure yak
from Mango Moon. 

Arctic Musk Ox

Quiviut (Pronouced kiv - ee-ute) is the undercoat
of the Arctic musk ox. They shed from 5 - 7 lbs of the
stuff every year, though commercially it is combed
out yearly. See why it is so expensive? 



Cotton
 Cotton comes in various forms and the organic cotton is even grown in different colors. Cotton as a crop is a grown mostly outside the U.S. due to the need for MANY pesticides, some of which are banned here. Mercerized cotton refers to the process of washing
the cotton in caustic soda and stretching it to increase its shine and smoothness. The process is named after John Mercer, the Scotsman who invented it. The finest grade of cotton is Egyptian. Blue sky Organic Cotton is grown in four colors which tend to deepen with
washing. Patagonia cotton yarn is minimally processed and spun and hand dyed by a women's collective in Chile. 

Flax Plant

 Linen is one of the oldest fibers. Fragments of Linen
have been found in Mesopotamia, Syria and Persia
dating back to 6000 - 8000 BC. In Egypt ancient linen
was found that was so finely spun that even with our
current technology we cannot duplicate it. Only priests
and nobles were allowed to wear it. Linen comes from
the flax plant which grows 3 to 4 feet high and has
bright blue flowers. Fiber is made from the stems and
the seeds are used for oil. 



Bamboo

Bamboo of course is made from the bamboo plant, of
which there are hundreds of varieties and sizes. Bamboo
has some antibacterial properties which stay in the fiber
through many washings. Bamboo is also edible and is
even used to make a wine (Ulanzi). Bamboo takes dye
wonderfully and the colors are rich. The yarn is strong
and soft and cool to the touch, great for summer projects.






Soysilk and soy yarn is made from the byproducts of tofu manufacturing. Early protoypes were around as early as the 1940's. It is an environmentally friendly and renewable product. Did you know the US is the largest exporter of soybeans? It can be machine washed and
air dried. Oh boy, knitting with tofu.




Tussah Silk is made from silkworm cocoons - but AFTER the moth has left it. They are gathered from the wild and the silk has a bit darker color. Regular silk is often gathered before the moth has matured. A single silk filament from one cocoon can be up to 1600 yards long. 







Tencel is made from wood pulp using an eco-friendly process that dissolves the wood with nontoxic solvents, then extrudes it in a fiber that is strong, soft and very absorbent. Being made of cellulose, it is biodegradable.
Rayon is not a synthetic fiber. It is made from cotton lint and wood chips and comes in two forms -Viscose and Cuprammonium most oftenreferred to simply as rayon.
Ingeo or Corn Fiber is produced from the poly lactic acid in corn. It can be machine washed and dried.  
Other fibers are making their way into the market too. Hemp, Jute, Banana, Pineapple and even paper yarn.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guest Post: How To Teach Someone To Knit!

No comments:
Knitting has become very trendy recently, and if you are a dedicated knitter than you’ve probably been asked to teach a friend or family member to knit too. If like me you’ve been knitting since childhood, it can be hard to remember how you were taught to knit, purl, cast on and cast off, and therefore it can be even harder to work out how to pass these skills on to someone else. My daughter, who is almost eight, is desperate to learn the basics and we’ve been spending some wet afternoons in the school holidays trying to knit a scarf. There have been tears and tantrums along the way but we have picked up some hints and tips which will help anyone else tasked with teaching a beginner knitter.

Sit Behind Them!

It’s hard to explain what you do when you are knitting. If like me you get muddled between left and right sometimes, sitting facing someone and trying to explain what to do with yarn and needles is almost impossible. If you’re teaching a child, sit them on your lap and then you can put your hands over theirs on the needles and control exactly what is going on. For an adult, stand behind them and look over their shoulder and this will help you explain what they should be doing next.

Avoid the Kits

There are a huge range of kits on the market designed to help kids learn to knit and in my experience these are worse than useless. Most of the kits have needles which are like fence posts, and little fingers find it impossible to manipulate such thick needles. Many of the very cheap kits contain poor quality yarn which is not fun to work with and once the kit is made you are left with something you would never be seen dead wearing.

Needles

When teaching someone to knit, opt for slightly thicker needles such as 5.5mm or 6mm needles. I have found that using plastic or wooden needles is better than metal as they don’t seem to be so “slippy” and there are fewer dropped stitches. Standard straight needles are better for learners than circular needles; learners don’t need the added complication of trying to keep circular needles untangled. Don’t use needles which are too short or too long, stick to the average as these are most easily controlled.

Yarn

If you are using thicker needles then it makes sense to use a slightly thicker yarn, something like a Robin, Wendy or King Cole chunky, an American “sportweight” yarn or even an aran weight yarn. Thin yarn can be used with thicker needles but this makes a very lacy type knitting and it also means the learner struggles to notice when they have dropped a stitch or made a mistake. Cast on around 25 stitches in your King Cole chunky or aran and get the learner knitting plain garter stitch backwards and forwards to make a scarf or something similar. Don’t be tempted to move on to more fancy things like stocking stitch or knitting two stitches together until they have completely mastered the basics.

Morag Peers is a keen knitter and the mother of three young children

Blogroll

247086_TV episodes & movies instantly streaming from Netflix. Start your FREE trial!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...