Archive for "Crafts-Hobbies"

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 05 Jul 2011

Radio Controlled Boats – Stay Alert and Be Cool, Not a Fool!

I am sure that the last thing you want to hear when you are ready to launch your radio controlled boat is to slow down a little and take your time. After all, you have been looking forward to this moment and now you want to have some fun! That is exactly why you need to take a deep breath and use some common sense. Good judgment prior to launch might just help you avoid problems during your outing.

Look Around Be very aware of other radio controlled boats and operators in your vicinity. Remember that even though you have a controller, something could happen that is unpredictable. Interference or water fowl could enter your field of operations and cause havoc. Always try to stay ahead of potential problems be assuming that something could happen. In other words, do not let yourself be surprised by the actions of others. Play defensively!

Be Cool Believe it or not, intentionally disrupting that flock of floating birds, if they are still there, is not really that cool. Besides, in most all places, it is either illegal or seriously ill-advised. Also, do not launch and operate your radio controlled boat in and around aquatic life such as marsh and reeds and the like. When you do this, it is only a matter of time before you foul your prop, and if your boat is out in the middle of the lake, guess who is going swimming?

Look Out Below You should double check the water depth if you are unfamiliar with your launch area. With the high rpms of the prop, even little rocks can cause damage. And, you want to make sure that the hull does not come into contact with the bottom. Here again, just a moment of caution is all that is needed to avoid problems or damage to your radio controlled boat.

Keep in mind these several items and your play day will be enjoyable, and your radio controlled boat will stay in tip-top condition for your next outing.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 04 Jul 2011

Beekeeping For Beginners

Whether you love the taste of honey or you just feel like trying something that is a little off the beaten path, you may find yourself considering beekeeping. Beekeeping is a hobby that can be engaging and interesting, but how do you know it is for you? When you are thinking about beekeeping for beginners, there is a lot that you need to know.

The first thing that you should consider is how you feel about pain. No matter how careful you are or how thorough your precautions are, remember that bees do sting and that at some point, you will get stung! Take a moment to consider how you feel about a little bit of pain and whether the fear of it might keep you from this hobby.

You should also be willing to make sure that you are willing to forgo the use of insecticides. If you have a garden, you will need to find other ways to make sure that your plants stay pest free. Using insecticides can hurt your bees and even kill off your hive. This is why bees typically do very poorly in the city, where all the plants have been doused in insecticide. Also remember that your plants should be as varied as you can; wild flowers and clover does very well.

Similarly, think about what kind of neighborhood you live in. The truth is that most people do not care to have bees in their immediate vicinity and if someone gets stung, you might have some real problems. While some people who live in crowded neighborhoods will keep their bees a secret, remember that ideally, bees are best kept peacefully away from people.

When you are thinking about beekeeping for beginners, do consider what you need in terms of space. Ideally, your bees should be at least one hundred feet away from any area that you routinely walk through; this means that it should be a fair distance from your doors, your driveway and your front walk. This ensures your guests from having problems as they try to visit you. For the most part, bees really don’t care what humans are near by and what they do, but better save than sorry.

When you are considering beekeeping for beginners, remember that this is not something that is going to make your rich. You may be able to sell a few jars of honey at your local garage sales or flea markets, but remember that if you want to produce honey for commercial ventures that you will need to go through fairly rigorous and demanding certifications and safety concerns

Also be willing to invest money and time in your bees. The average start up cost can range between 250 and 300 dollars. In addition to that, you will also need to think about how to take care of the hive if it gets sick. Also remember that you need to check on your bees about once a day and that you have to monitor their progress.

Beekeeping for beginners does require a lot of time and energy and resources. Remember to make sure that you have checked out a lot of information on how bees are kept and to make sure that you are a person who can keep bees well; the more thought you put into this, the better!

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 04 Jul 2011

Model Boats Aren’t Just Toys

As people age it seems that they have less toys. Some people look forward to having children so that they can play with cool toys again. Toys take on a different meaning when we’re adults and usually pertain to high ticket items such as high end cars, snowmobiles, motorcycles, or even boats. While some people are not into the material things, others measure their worth by the amount of toys they have in their possession. One such item that can become a part of somebody’s life is a model boat, but make no mistake that these are not just toys.

Model boats may look at first glance like a really cool toy, but they are so much more than that. Some are to display on a shelf only and some can actually float in the water, but they all hold one thing in common. They are precious items that were built with a great deal of time and intricate details, not meant to be played with as other items in a household are. Somebody spent a lot of time building that ship, yacht, or powerboat and with all the pieces and parts you risk a disaster if you let a child or even adult play with them. It’s fair to say that most model boat builders would cringe at the thought of somebody playing with their masterpiece.

The painstaking efforts that go into building a model boat dictate that this is a show piece, something to add to a collection and display on a shelf. Whether you are an actual model boat builder or an admirer that has turned into a collector, you can appreciate what it takes to put one of these boats together. This world is all about finding a kit that includes a very detailed plan and working hard to build it until you have a fine looking boat to show off.

This hobby has become quite popular and is the subject of many a website and forum on the Internet. Rather than giving these boats to a child to play with or treating it as another toy for the adult who needs everything, consider taking up the hobby as a group activity.

With all the toys out there today, both for the child and the adult, it’s important to focus in on the ones that are meant to be played with. A model boat is something that is much better used as a show piece on a shelf rather than a toy to play with. Consider taking up the hobby or picking other toys for your collection, don’t let all the painstaking effort put into it go to waste.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 04 Jul 2011

Anyone Can Craft

It becomes human nature to create. As a society, we have created items which add to our needs, convenience, and comfort factors. When looking at items which are crafted with great precision and time, often they are looked upon with awe-inspiring eyes and the longing to be able to create the intricate items seen in our society today. Believe it or not, you CAN craft. It may take some trial and error to find that special item that you feel comfortable with and do well, but in the end, you can create just as well as anyone else.

First things first. Make a list of things you think you would like to try. So many things are just waiting for your attention!! Once you make your list, put it in the order of interest. Take that one thing and find some online groups or you may have a local group that meets weekly or monthly in your area. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or go to your local hobby and craft stores to search for announcements of up-coming classes and join them. You will be less likely to quit or give up if you have personal support.

Do not be tempted to go on a spending spree simply to indulge your most recent challenge. Completing your craft doesn’t require having the latest and greatest tools. Most of the time, if you join a group, someone will be willing to lend you supplies to try it out. Go to garage sales and thrift shops to find used items for pennies to get you started. You can also search online or at your local craft supply store for the supplies or to get a kit that will walk you through step-by-step and give you all of the tools you need to create your new craft.

Once completed, you can give your creation as a gift, sell it, or display it in your home. Crafting can be so much fun for the entire family as well as relieving stress while possibly making a little bit of money in the mean time. Hand made gifts are much more appreciated than something you “think” they might like which could be thrown out or handed down later (unless it is clothes, of course). Crafts also create a feeling of accomplishment, giving you self-worth. Children love them and proudly display them on the front of the refrigerator or on the front of their door. If it is larger, it can be displayed in the yard or around the house. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know, you may find yourself a new passion!

Happy Crafting!!

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 03 Jul 2011

Knitting With More Than One Color Detailed Instruction

If your first style of knitting is the ECU style and you are working with 2 colors, it is feasible to carry both colors on the left hand. Often this technique is called true Fair Isle. This is the style that originated on an island between Scotland and Norway.

Using this style the knitter can simply carry the 2 colors over the left index finger, using or choosing the right color when it is needed. Infrequently it can be hard to keep the 2 colors separate, whether you use your right or left hand.

There’s a tool that may be acquired, known as a Yarn Guide that may aid in keeping the 2 colors apart. It can be employed on either hand with the same result.

There’s another strategy known as Scandinavian Knitting which mixes both the left and the right hand for effective and fast 2 color knitting. For this strategy to work successfully it is awfully vital to make certain you have arranged your yarn, keeping each color ball separate, one on your left side and the other on the right.

If you’re a right handed person or feel more comfy holding things in your right hand, this is the hand that should carry your principal color. Instead of having to choose the correct color using the same hand, it becomes a lot quicker to work forwards and backwards between two hands.

At first you will feel a little clumsy but this can reduce and ultimately vanish soon after you have worked with the process a number of times. To make a neat work at the rear by securing loose strands (floats), consider the chance of ‘wrapping’ both colors as you go.

With wrapping there are really two frequently used methods. The first of these is for those folks that are following a pattern that needs more than 2 stitches of the same color, from the left hand.

Pretend that you are knitting from the right hand, and without basically knitting it, wrap the right hand color round the needle, as if you were going to knit it. Then with the right hand needle, pick up the color in the left hand. Uncover your right hand color, bringing the left color stitch through at the same time. Don’t weave 2 stitches in a row. Put a standard stitch between, or this technique won’t work.

If you’re using the same pattern but with your right hand, complete the first stitch as you would typically. Then weave the subsequent stitch. Place your needle into the stitch and under the left hand yarn, and then continue to knit your stitch as normal. What you have effectively done here is to lift the left hand color over the right.

As mentioned earlier the art of knitting with more than one color isn’t overly complicated, but a basic understanding of the key beliefs is counseled before venturing into this creative enlargement of your talents.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 02 Jul 2011

Guide to the Modern Use of Ceramics

Ceramics as a material were initially used by the scientists in the space industry. They used the ceramic sheets on the outside to create a heat shield against the high temperatures which were generated when the shuttles were entering the earths atmosphere.

Once the ceramics as material was popular its first use was in the ball bearings industry where they used the ceramic material to make ball bearings which were being used wherever there were high intense heat situations.

Now the ceramic industry is a large industry with the ceramics being used in every conceivable form ranging form the flooring industry where ceramic tiles are popular to the high end aerospace industry.

Initially the ceramics were the refractory material which is still used in the flooring industry but for the high end uses there were hybrids developed like the silica carbide and the silica nitride. These ceramics have advantages over the traditional steel or other materials.

Ceramics are corrosion resistant as well as they are heat resistant and of course they much better at bearing heavier loads than steel. It is for this specific reason that the ceramics have been used by the industry even in the medicine world. Specific for bone implants and orthopedic restorations the ceramic material is used as it is very hard and tough to sustain pressures.

The other major use of ceramics is now being done in the semiconductors world. The integrated chip circuit’s that are used computers and other high techs gadgets have ceramic material. The ceramic material is also used in manufacturing of insulators and capacitors.

That said the future seems to be very bright for ceramics and a lot of research is being done to leverage the strength and the corrosion resistance of the ceramic materials.

In fact one of the major uses of ceramic has been in the cosmetic dentistry industry especially the porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are used by the cosmetic dentists makes new veneers for use on their patients. Porcelain veneers have a vitreous and glassy feel and that is why the look good on the tooth for a glassy white finish as dental crowns.

Ceramics as material is been continually evolved to make sure that in nowadays world it is environment friendly and can be easily disposed off also. These materials are hard and hence pose challenges when they are recycled as they cannot break down easily. So there is more research being done nowadays to look into this aspect of the ceramics.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 02 Jul 2011

Indulge Your Inner Hippie and Learn to Tie Dye

Even if you’re not a child of the 60s, you’ve probably had the pleasure of owning and wearing tie dye clothing. If you’ve ever been to an event with a craft fair, chances are that you’ve noticed those eye-catching booths full of colorful tie-dye clothing and home decor. You may even have marveled at how they manage to incorporate those intricate, vibrant designs onto a plain cotton T-shirt. While intricate tie dying is truly an art, you and your family can have loads of fun at home making your own tie dye (or tye dye) creations. Hands down, the best way to learn how to tie-dye is through instructions demonstrated on a video or DVD. Seeing how it’s done, as opposed to reading about it, makes all the difference in the world. Still, tie dye is a process of trial and error, so why not give it a whirl (or a swirl)?It’s All About the FabricWhen it comes to tie dye, the right fabric is critical. Natural fibers – like cotton or linen, pick up the dye well. If you stick with 100 percent cotton, you can’t go wrong. To start with, why not pick up some inexpensive T-shirts at your local mass merchandiser? Get one for each family member, and make it a party! Remember, though, that you need to wash and dry the new garments before you start your tie dying party. Unwashed new fabric won’t pick up the dye very well. The Secret of DyesActually, the dyes you use to tie-dye aren’t a big secret. For cotton, you need to use a dye that will react well to the fabric, namely Procion MX, dissolved in a urea solution. You can make virtually every color imaginable with just three colors: yellow, turquoise, and fuchsia. But, before you start dying, you need to soak your fabric in soda ash. Tie dye artisans use a few other chemicals as well, which you can learn about on an instructional DVD or video. The Fun Part: PatternsTie-dye is all about colors and patterns. Learning how to make swirls, crinkles, stripes, wavy lines, hearts, clovers, and – yes – even peace signs is a great way to engage the creativity of everyone in the family. You can learn to tye knots; twist fabric into pancake shapes secured by rubber bands; roll a shirts to form tubes, which you then tie; and pleat the fabric to make symmetrical patterns.Applying the DyeThere are at least six different techniques you can use to apply the dye to your fabric, from dipping and soaking to using squeeze bottles and spray bottles. Again, someone with years of experience can best teach you how to apply dyes to get the results you want.Making it StickAfter tie dying your shirts or decor, it’s important to follow the steps necessary to make sure the dye reacts with the fiber. Then you need to repeatedly wash the fabric in a special solution so that the dyes don’t inadvertently mix and so the garments remain colorfast. Ultimately, though, tie dye is all about having fun. It can be a family adventure, a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon with friends, or a way to indulge the creative hippie within you. A great instructional DVD or video will help you learn to tie dye, and send you well on your way to creating gorgeous, vibrant designs.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 01 Jul 2011

Carving Pumpkins – Jack-O-Lanterns Of The Twenty-First Century

Every year at Halloween, jack-o-lanterns are everywhere. On doorsteps, on window sills, hanging as paper on walls, even as plastic candy collectors for trick-or-treaters. You can easily find them in department stores, restaurants and even along public streets. They are an absolute part of Halloween.

Many things have changed over the hundreds of years since jack-o-lanterns were first brought to America. The pumpkin is no longer always a real pumpkin. As a matter of fact, artificial jack-o-lanterns are much more common these days than real ones, and it’s been that way for many years. As usual in our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, we’d rather buy it than make it. But there are those out there who wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s got to be a real pumpkin or nothing at all.

So let’s make a jack-o-lantern from the twenty-first century. Not the traditional method where all you use are your hands, a couple of knives and maybe a drawing tool. This is the jack-o-lantern that could look like a haunted house, a grave yard, a witch on a broomstick or bats flying through the air, almost any image that can be carved onto the face of a pumpkin.

You’ll need to gather a few things: the right kind of pumpkin, the stenciled image you want and a handful of simple tools. Once you’ve completely finished carving the jack-o-lantern, all you’ll need is the right lighting.

The Right Kind of Pumpkin. To help get a pumpkin of the right size and shape, you should already know what you want the carving to look like when you’re done. Medium sized pumpkins are the most popular for jack-o-lanterns. It may be short and squat or tall and narrow, depending on the image to carve. Whichever you decide, make sure that it has a uniform color throughout. The bottom of the pumpkin should be flattened so that it’ll stand upright.

Inspect your pumpkin for injuries. These are pumpkins with bruising, scratches, gouges, dents or damage of any kind. These deformities will affect how you carve and how pleasing you’re jack-o-lantern will appear when you’re done.

Safety Tip. The stem of a pumpkin can easily break off. Never carry your pumpkin by the stem. If it does break off, use toothpicks or a similarly narrow shaft to hold the stem in place.

Modern Day Carving Tools. The carving tools for a modern day jack-o-lantern are very simple. Most of them you can get yourself right at home.

? Pumpkin Carving Patterns. These are stencils, or templates, of images that you could get on the internet. If not, there are booklets or books available at arts and crafts stores, specialty stores or even in a library. Or you could create a stencil from a drawing of your own.

? Transfer tool or poker tool. This tool is used to transfer the image from the stencil to the pumpkin’s face. You could use the tip of any sharp tool, an ice pick, a nail or even a sharpened pencil or a pen.

? Securing the Image. You can use pins, tacks or even tape to hold the stenciled image in the exact place you want.

? Two knives. One long, thin bladed knife and one short, thin bladed knife. You can easily get these in your kitchen.

Safety Tip. Sharp knives are safer than dull knives, because dull knives will force you to exert extra force or extra leverage to make clean cuts. Sharpen your knives before you begin carving. The moment it seems like you have to use more force, it’s time to resharpen them. Be careful not to assume that your knives will always stay sharp.

? Carving saw or cutting saw. A carving saw is mainly for cutting out fine details that would be difficult to do with a knife. But if you’d prefer, you surely could carve the entire jack-o-lantern this way.

? Gutting spoons. These are for removing all of the soft flesh from the inside of the pumpkin. Ice cream scoops or thick ladles are great. Any large sturdy spoon or scoop will do.

Twenty-first Century Jack-o-Lantern Carving. The first thing is to carve the lid. Use the long knife to cut a pentagon or a hexagon around the stem. As you cut into the top of the pumpkin, make your cuts angle towards each other beneath the stem. You are effectively cutting a cone shaped chunk out of the top of the pumpkin. This keeps the lid from falling in. Your hand and some of your forearm should be able to pass easily through with a utensil. Remove the lid. Now get in there with your gutting spoon and scrape all that soft flesh out. Be thorough.

When the jack-o-lantern is burning bright, you want to know that the candle inside is secure in its setting. Make the floor inside of the pumpkin firm and flat. If you give the pumpkin a little smack on its side, the candle shouldn’t move from its position. You’ll know what to do.

The easiest place to put the face of your jack-o-lantern is the flattest section on the outside of the pumpkin. Select the stencil for the image you want and place it there. Secure it with pins or tape. If you’re using tape and have to crease the paper, try to do it in a section where there will be the least distortion.

Use the transfer tool to poke holes along the lines of your image. Puncture through the image and into the pumpkin’s skin just a bit. It isn’t necessary to make deep punctures. These holes should be from an eighth to a fourth of an inch spaced apart. In areas where you may be unsure when carving, add some extra dots. The more the dots, the easier the carving. It’s all up to you. When you’re completely done transferring, inspect the dotted outline. Save the stencil in case you need it for clarification while you’re carving.

Take the carving saw and connect those dots. Make sure that the saw is cutting straight into the pumpkin and not at an angle. Remember to use a back-and-forth sawing motion. Don’t use it as a knife. Saw all the way through to the inside open space of the pumpkin. For tight corners, remove the saw and reinsert it where the lines connect.

If you have pretty large chunks to remove, you could easily cut them into smaller sections and have them fall off, one after the other. Push the cut pieces with your finger into or out of the pumpkin, whichever is smoothest.

Trim up the edges with your small knife or carving saw. More light will come through the pumpkin if these edges are trimmed at a 45 degree angle or thereabouts. This is great if additional lighting will compliment the image you’ve just carved.

You are done. Now how can you make your jack-o-lantern last longest? Take some petroleum jelly and coat every exposed surface, everything left after a cut. This will include the entire inside surface of the pumpkin, too. Dehydration is the enemy. Any sign of wrinkling or shriveling can be helped by soaking the pumpkin in water over night. Natural decomposition can be slowed greatly by refrigerating it during the day. This is a bit of work for every jack-o-lantern you make, so try not to carve your jack-o-lanterns too early from when you’ll be using them.

Wasn’t that fun? Making jack-o-lanterns sure is fun for me. In this day, almost any image could be found on the face of a pumpkin. It just depends on how creative you want to be. Go forth and broaden your mind. Happy Scary!

October 2008

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 30 Jun 2011

Finding the Right Bee Hive Plans – Save Money by Building Yourself!

Beekeeping, or Apiculture, is a hobby that has been practiced for thousands of years. Getting a hive set up properly can be expensive, but you can save by building the hive yourself. The key is finding the proper bee hive plans to make your project run smoothly & easily.

There is no shortage of information on the internet about beekeeping, but doing an internet search for “bee hive plans” brings up rather disappointing results. Most of the top results are either for free plans that are difficult to follow or are sites set up to generate revenue from Google AdSense.

A word about “free” bee hive plans. Most times they are not worth the paper you print them out on. They can be difficult to follow, & many times have incorrect measurements. Ever tried to decipher instructions on anything with the words “some assembly required” on the box? And free can turn into expensive really quick when you cut the wood you bought to incorrect specifications.

And most of these plans are put out by bee specialists. When you need information about beekeeping in particular, this is who you should consult. When you need to build a hive out of wood, you should be consulting a carpenter.

I recently discovered a digital woodworking guide that has over 14,000 projects, including a whole section of bee hive plans! This product was designed by a carpenter, contains accurate, easy to read plans with precise measurements, & is very inexpensive compared to the trouble you get in with free. I am sure there will be plans for something else besides bee hives that will interest you in make it worth your while!

Once you have your plans in order you will need the wood to make your hive. Cedar is the best wood to use, as it will not warp & has a wonderful aroma. Pine will work in a pinch but is not a sturdy or warp resistant as cedar. Refer to your plans for the type of fasteners you will need to put your hive together.

By building your own hive, you will have the satisfaction of saving money and knowing you did the work on your own. Just make sure you have high quality bee hive plans, so your project runs smoothly without costly mistakes.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 29 Jun 2011

Fontanini and Other Studios Produce Artistic Nativity Creches

In 2008, the Fontanini family celebrated its 100th anniversary in the religious statue business, a tradition which has spanned four generations. Originally founded by Emanuele Fontanini in the hills of Tuscany, the company is considered to be one of the premier manufacturers of nativity figures in the world.

In addition to creating amazingly detailed and vivid smaller nativity cr鑓hes, Fontanini also produces life size figures of the Holy Family. Made in Italy, these colorful and expressive statues are up to 70 inches tall. Fontanini nativity figures can be purchased individually or as a complete nativity scene. Institutions, such as churches, hospitals, and Catholic schools, may sometimes start out with a nativity scene of the Holy Family, and then supplement it, later on, with statues of the 3 kings, angels, Fontanini shepherds, and biblical animals. While not essential, a wood outdoor nativity stable gives Christmas nativity cr鑓hes a more finished look.

The three kings – King Balthazar, King Gaspar, and King Melchoir — are up to 50 inches tall and weigh between 78 and 110 poiunds. When you view enlargements of the online photographs of the 3 kings, it’s easy to imagine the striking effect these Fontanini figures would have on visitors. The facial expressions, elaborate garments, and attention to other details are among the features that make these artistic creations stand out among other nativity cr鑓hes on the market.

The range of life size or even larger-than-life size biblical animals and other accessories that can be purchased from Fontanini or other nativity set companies is also something to consider when shopping for nativity cr鑓hes. A good way to add more visual interest and diversity to a Christmas nativity scene is by adding a Fontanini donkey, ox, or sheep to the display. The donkeys and oxen are available in a lying down position (with their heads up) and the sheep nativity statues (one of which is a lamb) are available in both standing and lying down positions.

The figures in a “large” Fontanini nativity set — as opposed to “life size” – are up to 27 inches tall, and can also be purchased individually or in a set of 14 pieces. Referred to as “The Masterpiece Collection”, it includes the Holy Family, the three kings, a shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders, three sheep, an ox, two heavenly angels, and a placid-looking camel with its legs folded.

If a Fontanini nativity set is outside of your budget, then some other worthwhile sources to consider for Christmas nativity cr鑓hes include Joseph’s Studio, Barcana Inc., and Bay Designs. A two-dimensional alternative to Fontanini nativity sets is available through a company called Langelier Designs. Each figure is made of water-resistant wood and is signed by the artist. It’s suggested that a floodlight be used to illuminate nativity scenes at night.

Whether you’re considering a nativity set for your church, school, hospital, business, or home, there are a wide variety of different sizes, prices, and styles for nearly every situation.