Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What you need to know about a paint brush?

Most of us like to paint different things. Some of us are professional painters while some of us just paint for fun. If you are serious about the subject it’s very important that you have some knowledge about the different types of paint brushes.

Paint brushes are made up from stiff or soft hairs, which are either natural hairs or synthetic fibers. Soft brushes are specially designed for thin paints as they spread easily. Similarly incase of hard strokes you need hard brushes for creating brush marks in the paints.

Is natural hair better than synthetic?
Natural hair paint brushes are expensive as compared to the synthetic brushes. The modern synthetic brushes are excellent and have flexibility to beat even a Kolinsky sable. If you are considering buying a painting brush then synthetic paint brushes are the way to go.

Natural Hair used in paint brushes
• Sable: Sable brushes are expensive as compared to the other natural hair brushes; they are soft, flexible and form a point when they are put into a brush. Kolinsky sable brushes from Siberia has been off late renowned the best hair for watercolor brushes.
• Squirrel: Squirrel hair brushes are comparatively quite cheaper than sable hair brush. They are made of soft hair with a little bit of spring. If you considering buying a squirrel hair brush it would be advisable to go for larger squirrel brushes as they work better than the smaller ones.
• Hog/Bristle: This strange brush is made from the hair at the back of the pig. A hog or a bristle brush is string and springy with natural split ends. They are mostly used for oil painting and acrylics painting.
• Camel: Camel brushes are made from other types of soft hair. Camel hair is unsuitable as it is too wooly.

What type of magician can I hire?

Are you thinking of hiring a magician? Have you hired one before?
Do you know what type you want?

There are various types of magic and magicians. Most magicians now specialise in a few areas of magic although some perform only one type.

Here is a general guide of what types of magician are available for a predominately adult audience although a good magician will take you back to being a child.

Close-up magic/ strolling / mix and mingle/ table magic can often be seen at cocktail parties, corporate events, banquets, weddings and generally any party event where the magician mingles and inter acts with the guests performing tricks. This form of magic is ideal for a reception and then when guests are seated at their tables and enjoying the meal.

Cabaret magic is a great way for a large or small audience to see some bigger or more involved magic tricks. Cabaret magic is suitable for most events but is most popular as after dinner entertainment. Sometimes the close up magician will double up and also perform the cabaret. A lot of magicians include comedy in their cabaret.

More recently mind readers have once again become very popular. Whilst some will include comedy, generally a mind reader is a little more serious and does things like reveal the name of a child hood friend or divine a selected word from a book chosen by a spectator.

If you are looking for larger, flashy magic then it is ideal to hire an illusionist. An illusionist needs a lot more room than a normal magician and work’s better from a stage.

Cabaret magic acts last any where between 10 minutes to an hour and normally perform for audiences of 20 to 600 however their are two rules that should be noted. The magician should be able to be seen and heard by everyone. Bear this in mind if booking after dinner entertainment in a hotel conference room. If you have lots of non English speaking guests you may prefer to have a silent magic act either manipulation or illusion however a comedy magician always plays well for an English speaking audience.

Corporations and companies are hiring magicians more and more to perform at Trade Shows and exhibitions. Magic is a great form of interactive entertainment where a message can also be presented in an interesting manner. The magician draws people to the exhibition space where the benefits and features of the product or service can be showcased. The magician can also present and provide suitable magic give aways that are branded for the company exhibiting.

It is always worth checking the credentials of the magician you are hiring. What is their track record? Who have been their previous clients? How long have they been performing? Most professional magicians also carry liability insurance.

For further details and information contact Nick Reade

What's Your Passion?

Okay, you've decided you want to make money with Affiliate Marketing. So, you join some affiliate programs and start submitting free ads to newsletters and free advertising classifieds sites. You're going to make BIG money now -- right?

Nope! Sorry! Just sending out a few ads is not going to do it. Not if you want to be a real success.

You must first determine your passion. I mean other than making the money! What is your hobby? What do you know how to do REALLY well? What is your job? Everyone has something that is their own special talent. Find yours.

You probably have more than one thing that you are very interested in and do well. See if you can find five (ten if you're really ambitious). Write them down in a list. Remember, you are going to be spending a lot of time working with this subject. Make sure you enjoy it!

Go down each item on your list. Start writing a rough outline of everything you know about the topic. It doesn't have to be elaborate. This is just to give you an idea of how much information is available for a given subject.

Try mind mapping. Write down the main subject of your idea. Draw a circle around it. Now, start thinking of sub-categories that are related to your main category. Draw a line from your main category and end it with a circle. Put the sub-category title inside this circle. Find as many sub-categories (and sub-sub-categories) as you can.

Go through each of your interests with this procedure. Choose the one that you know the most about and that you can write about comfortably.
What if you "think" you don't know enough about your topic? Then, do some research. Read books and magazines. Do some searches on the Internet. Who knows? You might find an area, a niche, that is just waiting for you to fill it with useful information.

There's a lot more to affiliate marketing, of course. But the first step is to find your passion. Your "passion" doesn't have to be making money on the Internet. It can be cooking, sewing, billiards, or whatever. In fact, it's better if you find a niche that isn't in the online marketing arena because that's what nearly everyone else is doing.

Make your topic unique. Make it yours. And make it your passion. It will pay you well.

What’s Your Party Style?

Do you know your party style? It is important to answer this question before you begin planning your next party. If you are comfortable cooking gourmet dinners for your guests, invite your guests for an haute cuisine extravaganza. If you can only cook chips and salsa, you can still have a great party.

You have to know what style makes you feel comfortable. After all, you want to be able to relax and have fun. You may be more comfortable with a pizza or BBQ party.

Before you do anything else in terms of party planning. Figure out what makes you comfortable, but keep the needs of your guests in mind. Just because you enjoy a certain kind of theme, your guest may prefer something else. Even though you may prefer a formal dinner party your guests may prefer something casual like a pool party. If you enjoy theme parties, the possibilities are endless.

When planning a formal dinner party you should remember a few important factors. Most importantly, it is your dinner party so you can do whatever you wish. You are the one throwing the party, the one planning the party, and the one paying for it. You can put in as much or as little effort as you deem appropriate.

The other factor you should keep in mind is what your guests want. Your guest may not enjoy a formal dinner party as much as you. Your guests may not enjoy getting dressed in a suit and tie for a party. Know who your guests are, what their likes and dislikes are.

There is no correct or incorrect party style. Whatever party style you choose, be sure you are being yourself. Don’t try to create a party where you feel uncomfortable. After all you are trying to have fun and enjoy yourself. Your task is to figure out what suits you best.

Unless you are a full-time party planner you don’t have a lot of time to plan your party. Make sure you don’t take on a larger project than you can handle. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by party planning. Your friends and family will enjoy your company no matter what kind of a style you have for your next party.

What Questions Should I Ask During an Interview?

What are good questions to ask during an interview is a good question in itself, and one that always comes up when a conscientious person is preparing for a big job interview. The fact that a person even wonders that sets them apart from the crowd of applicants and means that he or she is a proactive individual, intent on making a good impression and proper presentation of skills and experience.

The best question to ask, according to many human resource management professionals, is “what can I do to benefit the company?” This question shows a good, positive attitude and will lead the HR manager to think of you as a go getter and team player and the type of individual the company needs.

The worst question to ask would be anything that makes you, as an applicant, appear to be selfish or self centered. A bad interview question would be a question related to vacation, pay or raises too early in the interview. It is best to first establish that there could be a good ongoing professional relationship between you as an employee and the company as an employer before getting into the details. Of course vacation, raises and starting pay are important to you, and the answers will come in good time, but it is best to show the interviewer that you will be a team player who thinks of the good of the company and the team.

When interviewing remember that the HR manager or other decision maker you are interviewing with has been through the process dozens of times, if not hundreds. The decision maker may be a little bored, and is looking for a way to liven up the conversation and get some information on your personality. In that case a good question to ask the decision maker would be anything that relieves their boredom and allows them to talk. It is an accepted fact of making friends and influencing people that people love to talk, love the sound of their own voice, and love to hear their own name. The sweetest sound anyone can ever hear is the sound of his or her own name, so be sure to call the interviewer by name. That is just basic human nature. With that in mind, pay attention to the office surroundings. Does the decision maker have a hobby, like golf or fishing? Does the decision maker have sports trophies on display or a family photograph? If so, ask anything related to what is important to the decision maker. Disguised as small talk, this is a strategic question that will bond you with the decision maker interviewer. If you allow the interviewer to talk about something he or she cares about, they will have positive feeling about you and about the interview. Give it a try, it could be the best question that you’ve ever asked a potential employer, and may lead to a great job.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Makes Art Valuable?

I read an amazing article by Grayson Perry entitled "How art appreciates - it's a class act". In a nutshell he reckoned that art finds its true monetary value from what the experts say. But I can see something more from what he says.

If a piece of art is to be labeled as having any "value" at all it is what is said about it that establishes it as a work worthy of an individuals attention.

In other words ... if you see a picture and it relates to you in some way (this can be either positively or negatively) - then you should say so ... and write it down.

So once one remark has been made then others will follow ... plus other people will look at the work and make their own minds up about it, and they will also read about what you have said ... and they will include your critique in their weighing up of the image.

I am not necessarily talking only about financial worth, no, here is a far greater opportunity which is all inclusive, wonderfully mutual, and offers the chance for anyone - and everyone ... to add to the worthiness of any piece of art - and eventually to the whole of society. What YOU have to say about a particular artwork is very important ... even vital not only to the work, or the artist, or that particular type of work, or to your locality, or to your region, or to your country ... but to the World! (I am referring here to the butterfly wing beat theory ... if you don't know about it then you must look it up ... it really puts value onto the individual within a world context ... fantastic - but I believe it's true).

Let's look at this in a bit more detail, first from the artist's point of view ...

If, when you exhibit your art, you value what people have to say about your work (and I don't mean if you want everyone to love everything you do otherwise you will sulk and withdraw into yourself), and are happy for observers to voice their opinion about it - make sure you have a visitors book easily available for any remarks to be made (remember ... even someone who only wants to deface the book is actually saying something about themselves - and their society ... and your work might be evoking a challenge to them so much that their only response can be a defensive one such as vandalism - therefore even this has a value in itself - and strangely actually places a value upon your work). These can have a use later on in publicity, and in some cases can be seen as endorsements for your style of work.

If you have a website then a well placed, easy to understand and use, guest-book or visitors book, or comments page are very useful reference points for you and your work. If visitors refer to a particular image then their critique might be worthy of adding to the page that the picture is on. That way other observers can get to read observations coming from different points of view. Of course, if a visitor does not want to be influenced - then they can just simply ignore anything that is written. However, others may well find such additional information from the "man-in-the-street" helpful to them as they try to assimilate what they see. What is written will be of far greater value to them - and to you the artist in may other areas too. And if you are trying to sell your work then a timely encouraging comment from a third party might persuade an otherwise hesitant buyer into making that sort after commitment.

Now from the visitors point of view ...

It is a truly wonderful thing to be "touched" by a piece of art in a gallery. When ever I have found myself slowly being drawn into a painting I immediately want to verbalize what I am receiving - I might want to shout or laugh loudly ... but more likely I would want to put down in writing a description of what I am seeing, what I am feeling, and what kind of inspiration I might begin to cultivate ... and what intention I might want to start getting in motion (which is why I always carry a notepad around with me).

So I would encourage, even exhort, the viewer not to just take a back step and move on to another picture. But rather I want them to commit their thoughts, frustrations, emotions, decisions, resolutions ... anything which has come directly from looking at a piece of art, commit these to paper - find the visitors book and, if necessary, fill it with your reactions to the work. By doing this the visitor is rightly placing themselves into the "experts" chair. So any thoughts and points of view are worthy of note. If you have a view on a piece of work then it should be heard.

It is the same - or should be - when visiting a website. In fact it can be easier to make an anonymous comment on the internet. A lot of sites give you the opportunity to make a comment without having to give your name, email address - or any information other than the words you want to type. So if you are that sort of person then don't be afraid but try to get into the habit of writing down your views. You might actually WANT to reveal who you are or put down your area of expertise ... be it the university professor or the "public highway hygiene technician" ... because what you say matters ... whoever you are.

What will happen here is that as comments are made and attached to a work others will read them and, having viewed the piece themselves, they will make their own point of view whether for or against other comments ... and the work will gain its own merit from what is said.

So while the top artists are busy vying for that hallowed multi-millionaire-and-totally-famous-artists kind of place - the rest of us can get on and work, and receive a much more valuable encouragement ... that of the humble, if not down-to-earth, endorsements from our fellow human beings.

Don't be afraid ... be truthful ... tell it like it is ... and watch what happens.

What is the oldest bar in Paris?

Let’s begin by wandering down rue Mazarine from the Odéon square. Bingo? We almost immediately come on Le Procope, where a plaque affirms it is “the oldest café in the world”.

It opened in 1686, mainly to offer coffee. This beverage’s fashion had been recently imported from Austria - the Viennese got their caffeine zonks from the Turks during a lull in the Ottoman siege of their city ca. 1623.

Voltaire and... God

The Café Procope was an early favorite rendez-vous of actors from the Comédie Française - the national theatrical company, then situated nearby- and later, during the turbulent pre-Revolutionary mid-18th century, of Encylopaedists (such as Diderot and D’Alembert) and other non-conformist thinkers, who had – this was still during the reign of Louis XV – to be careful with what they spouted in public.
Voltaire recounts that one day, he and a host of like-minded philosophers wanted to discuss a very thorny issue around a cup of coffee at Le Procope: does God exist? They coded “God” into Monsieur Néant (“Mister Nothing”) and the wrangling went on for several hours.
At a nearby table sat a gentleman who had time to read his newspaper several times over. Then, out of patience, he stood up and came over to the philosophers. “Excuse me, Messieurs, you have been discussing Monsieur Néant. Could you please relieve my curiosity and tell me who he is?” According to Voltaire, the answer was shot back with no delay: “Yes, of course! He is a police spy – DO YOU KNOW HIM?”

There is a problem with the Le Procope’s claim, however. The owner, Mr. Procope, born in Palermo under the name Procoppio dei Cotelli, had already worked as a waiter at another Parisian café before launching his own! The “first in the world”? Sorry... Unless we’re talking about the earliest still extant.

But then there are other candidates.

Treasures of Paris islands

Another site to visit is Ile St-Louis, an island on the river Seine, which was built basically between 1613 and 1700.

Our first find is Les Anysetiers du Roy (The King’s aniseed liqueur makers), a restaurant located at No. 61 rue St-Louis-en-l’Isle. Our second find is Le Franc-Pinot, a well-known jazz club located at No. 1 Quai de Bourbon.

Both are indeed Procope contemporaries, and have been serving eats and drinks since they were founded in the 17th century.

A thought nags the tavern researcher, however: none before the 17th century??? Impossible!!

Fifteenth century poet François Villon did indeed dedicate “tout aux tavernes et aux filles” (“everything to taverns and girls.”). And a listing of taverners dating from 1457 A.D. counts some 200 full-time professionals and another hundred occasionals.

A famous tavern of the time was the Pomme de Pin (Pinecone), on Ile de la Cité (the second island in the center of Paris). It survived until the mid-1800s when Paris Prefect Haussmann razed it to make more room for the Hôtel Dieu hospital adjacent to Notre Dame Cathedral (see: http://www.paris-eiffel-tower-news.com/paris-stories/paris-story-hotel-dieu-hospital.htm).

Remnants of the 19th Century

Hmm... Ancient Ile de la Cité looks a good place for more fieldwork.

Systematic research reveals that today’s taverns around Notre Dame all date from the 19th century period of Haussmann’s urban cleanup.

Ah, but wait. Let’s take a look down an authentically quaint sidestreet on Ile de la Cité, rue de la Colombe (The Dove street).

We come at No. 4 upon the Réserve de Quasimodo, a wineshop-cum-eatery located in the old building already described in my piece titled What And Where Is The Oldest House in Paris?(see:http://www.paris-eiffel-tower-news.com/paris-stories/paris-story-oldest-house.htm)

The Réserve de Quasimodo pretty much ignores (although not scorning) the tourist hordes around nearby Notre Dame Cathedral. Noon and night it serves scrumptious and affordable traditional French fares, accompanied by vintner-supplied wines. And it offers regular evening supper shows enlivened by oral culture (“Old Paris Stories”, “Tales from Brittany”), magicians, a “pocket theater” group, etc.
Prior to that, in 1950, it was bought by Austro-American illustrator Ludwig Bemelmens, best known for his cartoons in The New Yorker and his Madeline children’s album series.

A photo from 1869 proves the place was then a wine-bar and wineshop.

A Foiled Suicide

Skipping back a century-and-a-half from then, right around 1719, we come to a legend about Cartouche, whose hangout here was the St Nicolas Tavern, a predecessor of today’s Réserve de Quasimodo. Cartouche was the ring-leader of a pickpocket gang – that’s documented, since he was executed in 1721.

The legend: Cartouche and gang were “working” the popular and crowded Pont-Neuf bridge one day in 1719, when all of a sudden a well-dressed gentleman leapt up onto the Bridge’s parapet.
“Hang on, there, Sir,” Cartouche is said to have shouted, pulling the fellow back down from a clear suicide attempt. “What’s this all about?” The gentleman‘s response: “I’m an honest man, indeed an honorable man, and /sniff/ I owe several people much money that I’ll never be able to reimburse...The only honorable way out is to jump into the Seine.” Cartouche: “Now, now, you just give me a list of your creditors and the sums due.”
The “gentleman bandit” invited said creditors to the St Nicholas Tavern at No. 4 rue de la Colombe, wined and dined them abundantly, paid off the suicide candidate’s debts (obtaining receipts, of course) and ordered more and more wine. Then he pulled out his pocket watch, said “Sorry, gentlemen, I’ve got an appointment”, and disappeared.
More librations ensued among the creditors, only too pleased to celebrate their unexpected windfall. When they staggered out onto rue de la Colombe, guess who was awaiting them. Yes, indeed: Cartouche’s gang, who quickly divested them of the debt reimbursements.

And The Winner Is....

The St. Nicholas Tavern itself pre-dates Le Procope by a wide margin.

The tavern got its name from the patron saint to whom local clergymen had erected a statue in replacement of an earlier pagan statue nicknamed “The Man with Doves”.

The statue of St. Nicholas was torn down in 1792 during the French revolution. It used to be affixed above the door of No. 4 rue de la Colombe.

The tavern itself is attested here in... 1240.

We got our winner.

(article written in collaboration with Arthur Gillette)

What is Numerology?

Each day, we are exposed to numbers. We have phone numbers, birthdates, even our financial information is driven by numbers. Numerology is the study of the numbers in our lives and how they affect us. A student of numerology uses the letters in a word, such as a full name, or a birth date and reduces that to a single number. That number tells them certain things about the person's character, what strengths and weaknesses they possess; it can even be used to predict their future. Numerology is often closely associated astrology as astrologists assigned the numbers 0 through 9 to each celestial body in the solar system and each number has its own set of values.

Numerology has been around for thousands of years. The Egyptians and Babylonians both used it over 10,000 years ago. Pythagoras, a mathematician whose theories are still in use today, is believed to have official organized numerology in Greece over 2,500 years ago. He held the view that math concepts were easier to regulate and classify than physical ones. Others beliefs and writings important in the development of numerology were early Christian mysticism, the Chinese Circle of the Dead, the Kabbalah, and the Indian Vedas. At the beginning of the 20th century, L. Dow Balliet published the first book about numerology, beginning what is known as the modern phase of numerology and interest in it grew over the next few decades. Recently, a revival of interest in numerology has occurred and many people are learning how numbers might affect them.

Although methods may vary, typically a numerologist reduces a word or number using a procedure called digit summing. If the numerologist is dealing with a number, such as a birth date, they add up all the numbers. If the sum is two or more digits, then those numbers are added until there is a single digit left. When dealing with a word, such as a name, each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number. For example, A =1, B = 2, C = 3. Then the same steps as above are followed - the numbers are summed until one digit remains. Some numerologists will not break numbers that total 11, 22, or 33. These are known as master numbers and are considered to have higher vibrations as than the numbers they would create if digitally summed.

Below is a brief definition of each number:

One - Because it is the first number, one is seen as having great power. Usually seen as "male," one can be happy, loving and dynamic while also being alone and egotistical.

Two - Associated with "female" energy, two often represents partnerships and interacting with others. It can also stand for the polar opposites of things such as black and white or good and evil. This number is best symbolized by the Chinese symbol Yin-Yang.

Three - Three is often related to learning through life experiences. It is often considered lucky and magical. It can mean both wisdom and understanding, yet also be foolish and negative.

Four - The first composite number (the first number to be created by multiplying numbers other than one and itself), four is associated with the four cardinal points (North, South, East and West), the four Gospels of the Bible, and time (four seasons, roughly four weeks in each month). It is a homonym for the Chinese word for "death," therefore; some hospitals do not have a fourth floor.

Five - Five is related with the five senses (smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight) and often represents service to others as well as openness to new experiences, but it can also represent an addictive personality.

Six - The number six relates to beauty and often helps in building relationships. It is believed to hold charm, sensuality, and diplomacy. Six is also considered the mother/father number.

Seven - A spiritual number, seven can be both dreamy and spiritual while also being deceptive and insincere.

Eight - Eight represents hard work and life lessons. Because of that, eight is seen as seeking financial and material success, but is also associated with the hardships encountered while seeking both.

Nine - A sacred number, nine is viewed as a humanitarian number and holds mystical significance due to the nine-month gestational period for humans.

Numerology has been around for thousands of years. As with astrology, some see numerology as an occult science with little meaning, while others see it as a viable way to help them understand themselves and the world around them.

What is HDTV?

Some satellite TV providers, such as Dish Network, offer HDTV receivers with their packages. But many people don’t know what it means to have HDTV. Here is some insight.

High Definition TeleVision is what HDTV literally means. But high definition compared to what? In order to answer this question, we need to know a bit about the original analog TV system.

Analog TV
30 images per second (in Europe 25) are shown by normal analog TV sets. It does this by writing image lines horizontally, 525 lines in one image (In Europe 625) on the screen. The number of pixels on one line is about 500. This would be a definition of 500 pixels per line by 525 (or 625) lines. Compared to modern computer monitors this is really bad. Even the lowest resolutions monitors have higher resolutions (640 x 480) than an analog TV.

HDTV - High Definition TeleVision
HDTV is high resolution Digital TeleVision (DTV) combined with Dolby Digital Surround Sound (AC-3). There are 18 different formats defined for Digital TV of which 6 are considered to be HDTV.

The difference between Progressive and Interlaced is not difficult. It has to do with how one image is built up. With interlaced technology the odd lines are shown first and then the even lines are shown. The lines are shown in this order: 1,3,5,….521, 523, 525, 2, 4, 6,…. 522, 524, 1, 3, etc. This means that every 1/60 of a second a half image is shown. This often results in flickering, which can be tiring for the eyes.
Progressive technology manages to show a whole image every 1/60 of a second, resulting in a much smoother picture.

How Is HDTV Better?
Normal TV has a resolution of about 210.000 pixels. An HDTV screen has a resolution of upto 2.000.000 pixels, which gives up to 10 times more picture detail.

The aspect ration of normal TV is 4 x 3 (4/3 times wider than high). An HDTV screen has an aspect ration of 16 x 9, which is also known as wide screen.

The Future of HDTV
The FCC (Federal Communications Committee) has mandated that all TV stations in the USA have to be able to broadcast HDTV programs by the year 2006. The mandates of the FCC do not have an impact on just the broadcast companies, but also on cable companies and consumers.

Broadcast companies have to invest on new equipment like cameras, editing equipment, etc.

Cable companies have to convert all of their equipment, including receivers at the homes of their clients.

Consumers may have to buy new equipment, like a top-box to convert digital signals back to analog signals, or even buy a whole new TV set.

HDTV is the future, and a really big step forward. We once started with simple black and white TV, then moved to color TV, and wide screen TV. But all those systems were still based on the same signals as the original black and white TV used. When color TV was introduced it was not possible to force the complete population to throw away their black and white TV-sets and buy a color TV set. Therefore a color TV signal still needed to be understandable for a black and white TV. This prohibited the improvement of picture quality until the age of Digital TV.

The need to satisfy older TV sets no longer exists and the much higher quality HDTV is available via Satellite TV Systems, including Dish Network.

For more free and helpful information on Satellite TV, how to find the best deal, and how to set it up, visit http://www.dish-network-satellite-tv.ws/

What Is Decoupage

The term Decoupage is the decorative art of cutting and pasting paper onto a surface and varnishing over the surface. Decoupage (day-coo-parj) comes from the French word “couper”, which means to cut.

In its early years decoupage may have been considered a child craft as it involves cutting pieces paper and layering them on top of each other to create an image that is 3d. But nowadays, Decoupage has become more sophisticated an extremely popular hobby, one of the fastest growing crafts worldwide. It requires relatively little capital outlay, can be done from home, and appeals to people of all ages. Simply because it is versatile, requires few materials, and can be done by beginners.
Although you can buy supplies made specifically for decoupage, you can also use supplies that you probably have lying around the house. This makes decoupage one of the cheapest crafts around.

Almost anything can be covered by decoupage: wood, metals and ceramics are the most common surfaces. Any paper item can also be used, though it may need preparation before cutting. Decoupage is often used to cover defects on damaged thrift-store finds. Furniture, boxes and other containers, vases, lamps, decorative screens, trays, tin ware and tableware can be given a new lease of life with decoupage.

Decoupage is a craft that is easy enough for children to be involved in. With their small fingers, boys as well as girls can enjoy decoupage, and as many young boys are fascinated with small and fiddly items, they can be particularly adept at this sort of work. Decoupage can be helpful in developing hand-eye co-ordination as well as powers of concentration. Once they have been introduced to the techniques, most children can be left to do projects alone, so long as someone is available for advice if they run into problems.

Decoupage is an old and venerable art form. It was extremely popular in the eighteenth century, and became popular again during the late Victorian era. Today, Decoupage is becoming more and more popular to crafters, if you are new to card making it is something that is simple but extremely effective for card projects giving them a really professional look.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What is Close-up Magic?

Close-up magic is magical entertainment that happens right in front of you, magic you can not only see but feel and touch. This intimacy is what makes it so different from other types of magic. An expert close-up magician will involve and interact with the audience far more than a stage magician (or any other form of entertainer for that matter).

Most close-up magicians use common props such as playing cards, coins, sponge balls and rope. And all magicians perform the same basic magical effects with these props, making them appear, disappear, change, levitate, break and restore, and penetrate other objects. What is amazing about close-up magic is that it happens so close to you, sometimes while you are holding the props!

There are many standard close-up magic effects and standard routines used to present them. For example, the ‘Ambitious Card’ where a chosen card repeatedly rises to the top position in a deck of cards without any shuffling or cutting, or the ‘Sponge Balls’ where the balls move invisibly between the magician’s hands and those of the spectator’s. In fact, these routines are freely available if you care to look. Anyone can search the internet and buy books and DVDs on close-up magic, or even the props and standard routines.

What really sets one close-up magician apart from another is how they present their magic. In fact, presentation is the key - it is what makes close-up magic entertaining. A really good, professional magician will be creative and present their magic in an original and entertaining way. Sometimes humorous, sometimes mysterious, sometimes just plain weird and freaky. The magic becomes a vehicle for the personality and ideas of the performer.

This is what makes close-up magic great entertainment. An interesting, strange and funny person demonstrates the impossible, weird and wonderful, right under your nose!

What Is An Annuity?

An annuity is a contract in which an insurance company makes a series of income payments at regular intervals in return for a premium or premiums you have paid. Annuities are most often bought for future retirement income. Only an annuity can pay an income that can be guaranteed to last as long as you live.

The word annuity is a Latin word. You can find it in the oldest dictionary you have. Annuity means income. An annuity is neither a life insurance nor health insurance policy. It is not a savings account or savings certificate. You should not buy an annuity to reach short term financial goals. There are several different types of annuities. The word ‘annuity’ of course means income. The word ‘deferred’ means income later. The word ‘immediate ’means income now. There are two types of annuities, fixed and variable. The word ‘fixed’ doesn’t necessarily mean your interest is fixed, it means your premium earns a minimum guaranteed interest rate. Variable, which involves risk means
the dollars (your premium), you put into a variable annuity can vary up and down.

There are two parts to a fixed deferred guaranteed income annuity, a current interest rate and a minimum guaranteed interest rate. The minimum guaranteed interest rate is the lowest rate that your annuity will earn. This rate is stated in the contract. The current rate is linked to the reserves and interest the company earns on their portfolio, or for an external reference or index. You can buy a fixed deferred annuity and start your interest income thirty days later. However, it is better to wait twelve months, and then take the previous years earned interest through the second year.

With an IRA, you can put your individual retirement account inside of a fixed annuity, the only vehicle that can provide a guaranteed retirement income to last you as long as you live. Insurance companies are required by law to have reserves that back up the guarantee.

You can freely reprint this article as long as the author, bio, and live links are left intact.

What Is Abstract Art? One Artists Point Of View

So many people must be asking this question all the time ... and not getting satifactory answers because I keep seeing articles on the subject.

So, to add to the mix, I thought that, because I am an Abstract Artist, I would give my answer.

First lets see what the official version has to say. The second definition of "abstract" in the Concise Oxford Dictionary says "Idealistic, not practical; abstruse; (Art etc.) free from representational qualities" And it is this last description I want to look at.

That which is free from representational qualities is a picture (or other type of art discipline) that does not depict any recognisable image such as a figure, building, or sky. There is no purposeful reference to anything physically particular. Jackson Pollock, for instance, was one of the first abstract artists and produced the finest of examples... take a look at this: www.nga.gov/feature/pollock/painting.html

If you study this image closely it will soon become apparent that he randomly dripped paint onto a board laying flat on the floor. And if you read up a bit about him you will find that he even suspended paint-filled cans above a board, punched holes in the bottom of the can, and allowed the cans to swing, or be nudged, the paint slowly dripping to give a totally no-representative image. The important thing to remember here is that he had no intention of producing any kind likeness to anything physical whatsoever. So this style of art is truly an abstract work.

The difficulty comes when a piece of art is produced in a very loose and, even, child like way. Some might regard it as abstract. Here is an example of what I believe is NOT abstract art: go to www.guzzardi.it/arte/ then on the left side click on "Artisti Ceris" then click "D" go to the fourth name from the bottom "Jean Dubuffet" and click "Art Brut" there you will find three images of his work ... each one depicts roughly painted figures and faces, and although the left hand image looks like imageless lines I do believe there are faces to be seen there (Don't get me wrong - Jean Dubuffet produced many abstract works ... in fact that is what he was most famous for ... it's just that these examples are not).

Some might call these Dubuffet paintings semi-abstract - but I do not. For me there is no such thing - either the picture does not represent anything ... or it does - no matter how basic.

Another puzzle might be the later works of Mark Rothko. Look here: http://www.nga.gov/feature/rothko/late7.shtm Some might argue that a basic rectangular shape could be regarded as a representational image. But you need to read about his life and philosophy to understand that he was not painting rectangles but what has become known as colour fields. The scale of his massive works and the fact that he gave up even titling his pieces should dispell any possibility of his work being anything other than the purer form of abstract art.

I would like to finish with one of my own enigmatic examples: www.ablot.com/passion3.htm in which I have sort to "portray" the idea of deep or spiritual movement. Such an explanation is, of course, dangerous in that I have used words like "portray", "spiritual" and "movement" - all of these have associations ... but not necessarily physical ones! It is my belief that there is a relationship to be had with my spirit ... and it is the purist form of abstraction. You can find out more about that in my blog on my website.

The only other thing to say here is that the abstract artist is seeking to put on canvas such non-figurative "imagery" as emotion, thought, the greater self, anarchy, and total randomness ... to name but a few. And I intend to examine these "non-figures" in a bit more detail in my articles starting with "How to produce an abstract image - Part 2" You will be very welcome to come along and read it!

What Is A Still Life?

Still Life is an art term, that refers to a special kind of picture. It represents an arrange of inanimate objects (hence the name) such as a bowl, a cup or fruits. Usually the arrangement is made according to the artist's purpose. A Still life pencil drawing can be symbolic, with an underlying meaning, or aesthetic, in which case the purpose is to communicate beauty.

About Still Life Pencil Drawings

A still life work can have many purposes. If we work in color it can help us understand how color acts in real life, how the light bounces, and how an arrangement of colors can bring a special mood to the painting. Using colored pencils we can begin studies about color, and work in the finest details. But in the case of black and white pencil drawings, the purpose of the still life pencil drawing is different. A still life pencil drawing can help us study shapes and see how they interact on our eyes, we learn how to measure correct proportions and how they can make the difference betwen a good drawing and a remarkable drawing.

When we get into shading, we then study tonal values. There are no colors here so we must learn how to see things in black and white mode, and correctly define which are going to be the dark and light areas on our still life pencil drawing.

Still lifes are the most available subjects in the world, and while some people may consider still life drawing boring, the fact is they teach us a lot. When you have no idea of what to draw, just make an arrangement of things you have at your house and start your still life pencil drawing. Don't take just as bring cups and fruits, but instead focus on what you can learn from this. If you keep practicing on drawing still life scenes you will find out that you have a much better understanding on how light works, and how objects relate to each other within a composition and color scheme.

What Is A Monoprint? What Is Foxing

What is a Monoprint?

A monoprint is

frequently interchanged with the word "monotype". "Monoprint" tends to be used by academics versus those selling art to the design community who prefer the word "monotype".

An artist starts by "painting" or "drawing" with ink on a surface such as a printmaking plate made of aluminum or zinc. Some use a large pane of Plexiglas to paint on. The resulting image is transferred to a piece of paper by placing a sheet of paper on top of the inked plate, running it through a press. One monoprint is yielded looking like what the artist drew with ink. Some residue of ink remains on the printmaking plate. That faint residue of ink becomes the platform from which the artist builds his/her next composition. The secondary composition can employ different colors as well as compositional changes. An advantage of making monoprints is the creation of a rhythm of working, saving time by creating subsequent compositions using the "ghost image" as a starting point for the next work of art.

What is Foxing?

Foxing is

is a condition flaw on a work on paper.
Foxing yields a freckled appearance typically of red brown spots. Currently it is believed these are iron oxides and hydroxides produced by the chemical reaction between the organic acids discharged by mold and the colorless iron salts and impurities embedded in the paper.

Dampness encourages mold. Some types of sizing in the paper also attract fungus growth. Acidic contact materials such as cardboard and animals glues can aggravate the foxing.

Only a professional paper conservator can minimize the appearance of foxing safely.

To read more on this topic, I suggest The Care of Prints and Drawings by Margaret Holben Ellis as well as Prints and The Print Market by Theodore B. Donson.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What is a Giclee?

In the French dictionary a giclee (zhee-CLAY) will be defined as meaning “to spray or squirt.” However others might say "giclee" doesn't mean "to spray,” that "Giclee" isn't an infinitive and that it is the feminine of a past participle. So if there is some argument over what the term Giclee means I believe that the intention of the term is to define a printed copy of an original artwork. Giclee is basically scanning the artwork and then using that scan to print it out on a special printer. This printer is not the same as a standard desktop inkjet printer, and is much larger. Giclee prints are a little over a meter wide and are often referred to as a “knitting machine” as they look very similar.

Giclees are produced from digital scans of existing artwork. Also, since many artists now produce only digital art, there is no "original" that can be hung on a wall. Giclees solve that problem, while creating a whole new vibrant digital medium for art.

When printing there are any number of media for example canvas to watercolor paper to transparent acetates. Giclees are better then the traditional lithography in many ways. The colors are brighter, last longer and are so high-resolution that they are virtually continuous tone, rather than tiny dots. The range of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography, and by viewing in comparison with each other you will find that the details are far crisper in giclee.

Lithography prints use tiny dots of four colors--cyan, magenta, yellow and black; to fool the eye into seeing various hues and shades. Colors are "created" by printing different size dots of these four colors.

Again Giclees use inkjet technology, but more sophisticated than your desktop printer. The process employs six colors--light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black--of lightfast, pigmented inks and finer, more numerous, and replaceable print heads resulting in a wider color gamut, and the ability to use various media to print on. The ink is sprayed onto the page, actually mixing the color on the page to create true shades and hues.

Giclees were originally developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, but it became apparent that the presses were having a hard time delivering the quality and color of the giclee proofs. They evolved into the more popular form over lithography’s and are now the cheaper and more common way to make a copy print. They are coveted by collectors for their fidelity and quality, and desired by galleries because they don't have to be produced in huge quantities with their large layout of capital and storage.

In addition, Giclees are produced directly from a digital file that is created by scanning the original. This will save generations of detail-robbing negatives and printing plates, as with traditional printing.

View our Fine Art Gallery at


There are many ways to get your audience involved in your presentation. Some are audience participation, stories, jokes, silly stunts, or songs. All of these work well, but they won't work if you are a dud!

Listen to these words: Sparkle, lighten up, silly - What do they mean to you?

Some days when you are doing a presentation you sometimes don't feel like being there or even being around people!
This normal, but everyone can spot it when you aren't all there.

NOTE#### You have about five seconds to grab your audience's attention before they go nuts on you!

There are four areas you need to work on to insure that "Pizzazz" takes place.

1. Your introduction: Do you know how to introduce yourself? Do you have a good handshake? Do you smile and look people in the eye? How do you look? Clean? A slob? Wrinkled?

2. Your surroundings: Does it smell? Is it to small? To big? To cold? To hot? To noisy? As you can see the list can go on.

3. Your presentation: Have you planned the program? Are you well prepared for emergencies? Is your presentation clearly outlined? Do you know what the outcome is supposed to be?

4. Are you fun to be around?: Do you have a sense of humor? Are you serious about non-serious things? Do you have an attitude? Do you complain in front of your audience?




What do you need to set up your own home-entertainment system?

So if you’ve decided that you want to take the plunge and install a home entertainment system in your house, exactly what equipment should you get? This can be complicated, especially when it comes to hooking it all up, but as long as you do a little research before you buy anything you should be fine.

The first thing you need is your ‘screen’: that is, either a TV or a projector. For most people, a large plasma or LCD TV will probably be best – true enthusiasts might want to try a projector, but they tend to have all sorts of problems, not least of which is finding a wall big enough and empty enough to project onto effectively.

The next thing you need is the DVD player, which should be a high-quality model, not some cheap one from the supermarket. You might think that all DVD players were created equal when it comes to picture and sound quality, but that’s just not true – there is a notable difference in quality when it comes to high-end models.

You will also want a surround sound system, to make it seem like the sound is filling the room and coming from all directions. There is almost no limit to how much you can spend on sound, so don’t go too far overboard – stick to a reasonably basic surround sound configuration, instead of getting a very high-end one that requires you to mount huge numbers of speakers all over your room.

Finally, silly as it might sound, a very important part of your equipment is the cables that you use to hook it all together. Cheap cables will cause some of the picture and sound quality to be lost in transmission between the different devices, while better quality cables will produce a notable difference. Again, don’t go too far and spend ridiculous amounts on golden cables, but don’t skimp on it either.

What Casino Games Should I Play?

Choosing the right casino game to play is very important. A novice gambler should not be playing games of skill such as blackjack and poker, and needs to be informed of what the other games have to offer.

Slot Machines, in the days of the Wild West Slot Machines were known as one arm bandits because you could sit there all day putting in coins and pulling that handle without ever getting a win and the same is true today. Today's slot machines have more ways to win, so you probably will not go all day winning nothing but other then some small five dollar or less wins you probably won't do to well on the slot machines. If you insist this is the game for you try to remember that the more the machine is the better the odds of you getting a bigger win.

Roulette, this is a good game for the beginner with just a little bit of knowledge you can play roulette because it requires no real skill or experience. The only thing you need to know are the procedures to playing in a casino, and the different bets you can make. All of these things can be learned by just watching the table for a few spins of the wheel before placing any bets. By sticking to what is called betting the outside of the table you can give yourself odds as low and 1 in 5 of being able to double your money. Unless you have the money to risk it is not a good idea to bet the inside of the table, the odds are bad but if you do win it can be up to a 37 to 1 payoff.

Keno, this is a game that older people and people with little money enjoy. Keno is basically playing a lottery that has a drawing every 5 minutes. The object is to guess which numbers the computer is going to select. Depending on how many numbers you get right and how much you paid for the game winning can pay up to 1 million dollars.

Craps, even though Roulette may be easier to play for a novice player, it offers the best odds for the player in the casino. To most people who have never played craps before it can seem like a very difficult game, but after watching a few rounds of the game for a bit you will quickly pick up on how to bet, and most players say of all the most Popular Casino Games craps is much easier to win larger sums of money in the casino.

Poker an Blackjack are two games that should be avoided by beginner gamblers, the games rely on more skill then luck, and by not knowing the game you will also be messing up the other players who know what they are doing, and they are counting on the fact that if you sit down at the table with them that you know what to do.

If it is these games that interest you then before you go to the casino spend some time learning the game and playing as many hands either in an online casino practice room or you can download one of the many programs available on the internet.

What Are The Different Types Of Fine Art Reproduction?

As well as hand painted fine art reproductions on canvas, there are several different mechanical methods of fine art reproduction – none however come close to accurately replicating the color and texture as hand painting does.

Aquaprint: Is a printing process which uses color separation. The colors can be bright but the texture of the finished reproduction art is flat and does not mimic the artist’s brushstrokes.

Artagraph: The artagraph is a special printing method which recreates not only the color of the original, but also the surface texture. This is achieved by taking a silicone mould of the original oil painting and using it in the fine art reproduction. The problem is that not many museum curators or collectors are willing to have their prized masterpieces smothered in silicone, therefore the range of artagraph fine art reproductions is very limited.

Canvas transfer: Canvas transfer art reproductions are basically prints on canvas rather than paper and remain flat, unable to recreate the texture of the artists brushstrokes. First, a lithograph on paper is coated with acrylic emulsion, then when the acrylic is dry, the print is covered with a solution that helps to separate the image from the paper it was printed on. The image is now bonded to the acrylic and free of paper. This film is then carefully bonded to the canvas. Canvas transfer art reproduction’s flat texture can be enhanced by the artist adding some brushstrokes. Canvas transfer reproduction art is subject to color fading, yellowing being a particular problem.

Etchings: The art reproduction image is etched into a copper plate, ink is then applied to the plate. Dampened paper is then laid onto the plate and under extremely high pressure from an etching press, ink is forced onto the paper. This is a popular method of art reproduction for drawings but is not suitable for reproduction art oil paintings

Giclees: Are produced from a color transparency made from the original oil painting usually by taking a photo or using a drum scanner. Today many giclee art reproductions are made with ink jet printers attached to computers and consequently they suffer from inconsistent color reproduction. They are expensive while remaining flat and untextured reproduction art.

Hand painted: This method of fine art reproduction involves a trained artist carefully copying the original oil painting. The artist mimics the exact colors, texture and brushstrokes of the original masterpiece to produce a fine art reproduction that is a stunning replica of the original oil painting.

Lithograph: Basically this is standard offset printing. The art reproduction image is drawn on a litho - limestone or exposed to a light sensitive litho plate. The printing surface is kept wet with a sponge; the ink is then rolled by hand onto the plate or stone. This is a popular art reproduction method for posters but falls to recreate the brushstrokes and texture of oil paintings

Serigraphy: Also known as screen prints. Serigraph art reproductions are produced by creating a stencil on the fabric that is stretched across a frame for each color by a master printer. They can have a thin texture but cannot mimic the heavy texture of oil painting.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Are Some Economical Things That Eliminate Odors?

Running a household is not easy. Between keeping up with children and pets, maintaining sanitary conditions in and around the home, and providing your family with a nurturing environment, housekeeping is one of the hardest jobs around. So how is it that you can spend all day cleaning, and your house still does not have a fresh scent? Even with the best cleaning and laundry agents, everyone needs things that eliminate odors from time to time.

If you have pets and children, you know that odors come with the territory. But other odor-causing elements can create smells that linger long after the source of the smell is gone. Take cooking, for example. If you spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, you may be releasing smells into your home that do not disappear just because the leftovers have been eaten. Fragrant vegetables, hearty stews, dishes made with fish, all of these are odor-causing meals that can linger, not only in your kitchen, but in the furniture, carpet, and curtains of your home. And just because a dish smells good when you are cooking does not mean that the remaining scent will be as attractive. Often, the smell that a delicious meal leaves behind is anything but appetizing. If you are a frequent cook, look into some things that eliminate odors in the kitchen before they reach the rest of the house.

A room freshener is good place to start. Many fresheners come in spray form, allowing you to use them on an as needed basis. Among things that eliminate odors, liquid air fresheners (Liquid Air Freshener – Rainforest) are known as long-lasting and easily dispersed through the air because they are made with scented oils. When you create a particularly fragrant meal, simply use your air freshener as you go, spraying periodically to restore a fresh scent to your home.

Also keep in mind that if you, your family members, or your guests smoke in the house, even one cigarette or cigar can create a stale smell that rides on the smoke and embeds itself in your upholstery, destroying the fresh scent you worked so hard to achieve. A long history of smoking indoors can create a difficult odor problem that may call for things that eliminate odors on a daily basis.

Pets are a source of joy and constant companionship. Most pet owners believe that they are well worth the time and effort it takes to maintain their health and happiness. Unfortunately, many pet owners forget that maintaining the home’s freshness against persistent pet odors is also necessary. We have all walked into a home and immediately smelled the pet odors that linger in every room, making it obvious that the owners, though diligent in their pet care, have neglected to include things that eliminate odors in their daily cleaning regimen.

For persistent smells like pet odor and stale smoke, a daily upkeep of your home’s air quality is advisable. Look for a room freshener that provides a continuous fresh scent and can stand up to the everyday smells created by smoking or pets.

One concern that many people have is what to use to eliminate odor on furniture. Upholstery holds onto smells when it has been exposed to adverse conditions. You can do a sniff test to see how strong the smells are and to help you determine what to use to eliminate odor on furniture in each area of your home. You may be able to use a spray deodorizer or simply vacuum the smell away if it is mild. When determining what to use to eliminate odor on furniture though, it helps to know if the odors come from a stain or are embedded in the entire piece. Stains can be treated with a good one-step upholstery cleaner.

If the source of the smell is not a stain, to truly restore a fresh scent to your upholstery, you may need to take some time to clean it. When you have decided what to use to eliminate odor on furniture, keep in mind the type of fabric you have and how long it will take the cleaner to dry before you make a purchase.

Overall, there are some very efficient and cost-effective things that eliminate odors in your home. If you have trouble diagnosing your own needs, ask a trusted friend or relative to come over and give you an honest opinion. Often, people become accustomed to the smells in their homes, even the bad ones. Remember not to be offended by their comments. Instead, use the feedback to find things that eliminate odors for good. And then take a deep breath for a job well done.

What *Queer Eye* Can Teach You About The Media

1. Show your passion.

The Queer Eye Boys are into what they do. You can tell. Their show has such a different feeling than the spin-off *Queer Eye for the Straight Girl* which lacks chemistry and authenticity. The synergy between the hosts and guests comes through when you connect to the host and audience through your passion. Things come alive. I hate that saying, *If you can't be sincere, fake it until you can.* That's such a cop out.

It's like all this new veneered furniture with one thin layer of real wood masking pressboard or
plywood. Yuk. Are you telling me you can't tell the difference between what is solid and what is fake? In *The Practician's Manual of Legerdemain* Ottawa Keyes says, *When it comes to the requirements for pleasing an audience, all the knowledge and instruction and apparatus in the world is worth less than one ounce of soul.* Ain't it so?

2. Be cheeky.

When Carson, the head Queer Eye guy says, *Is it hot in here or is it just you?* and then almost licks some shirtless hottie blond boy we're right there with him. Yup, temperatures are rising. He makes us laugh and sweat at the same time. Loosen up a little and see what happens. Be playful. Say something a bit dangerous. Or better yet, DO something dangerous.

3. Give good tips.

After each segment the boys give their take-home tips. These are little gems that help you remember to properly tame your tangles, manage your manners, or bolt your belt at just the right angle. Provide your audience with saucy soundbites that linger so they can keep enjoying you. Give them solid ideas that they can implement asap. I've come to think that it's not the big idea but the minutiae that is most important. Take your ideas down to the smallest level of detail so they are easy for people to implement.

4. Show tangible visible results.

Visible transformations make audiences swoon. Can you do a before and after? In one show the *boys*
helped a balding man who was married to his toupee give it up. His wife and his kids hadn't seen his head without the fake hair for many years. His willingness to finally be *seen* was dramatic. His transformation was both inner and outer. These kinds of transformations keep audiences spellbound. Think about how you can devise one for a show you want to be on.

5. Have fun.

What makes Queer Eye so great is that everyone has such a grand time. What good is all the publicity in the world if you dread it? M. Scott Peck says *The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.* If you can let go of the outcome (no matter how important--because those are the hardest ones to let go of), you will free yourself to have a good time, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. What could be better?

Were You There?

Were you there, when they crucified my Lord? That is the title of a well-loved old hymn. Imagine standing on that hill 2000 years ago witnessing the nailing of Jesus on the cross. Here he is already near death after a heavy crown of thorns had been sunk deeply into his skull. His back is covered with deep, oozing stripes caused by merciless flogging, and his strength had completely waned under the weight of the cross, which he had been forced to drag outside the gate of the city of Jerusalem.

This Jesus they crucified with three nails; one through the middle of each hand, and one through his two feet. They needed to make sure that this guy would not escape! Why? Because he had claimed to be the Son of God. Just one week earlier multitudes thronged around him as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, waving palm branches and shouting: Hosanna: Blessed is the king of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord!” They had been witness to and/or recipients of the thousands of miracles Jesus had performed in their midst. They knew he was no ordinary man. Although they did not understand the hundreds of prophesies about what the messiah had to go through and why, they knew he was a man of God, and they wanted to crown him king. (John 12)

Here now on the cross: “he is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isa. 53: 3) This is no pretty picture. This is the portrayal of one man on whom was placed every sin and every sickness that ever would be committed! “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (mat.8: 17) and: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; ...but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we ARE healed.” (Isa. 53: 4-5). Yes, this prophetic verse foretold his crucifixion hundreds of years earlier. Yet, there in print it tells you that you ARE healed – in the present tense, as if it had already happened!

They then pierced him with a sword to ensure that he was dead, fulfilling the scripture: “They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19) Many other scriptures were realized that day, including the power of forgiveness, as he spoke over his persecutors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) At the moment of his death the heavy veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom, giving us a symbolic direct access to the God. No more do we need to go through a mediator! (Mat. 27:51-53).

Standing there in your mind’s eye surveying the cross and looking upon his scarred, unrecognizable face and body, thank Him for your healing, and believe that you have it. Now you can look straight into his glorious face as, subsequent to his descent into hell, he was raised up by the Holy Spirit and is now reigning on high! He “spoiled principalities and powers (the devil), he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” and He did it all for you! You can now live a victorious life here and with Him in eternity. He did it once and for all, summing it up with His very last words: “It is Finished.” (John 19:30)


Custom Templates Now.

I am trying to find some blank templates for adding artwork to ebook, report, cd and DVD covers. The templates are old by today's standards but if you are just starting to learn Html then they are perfect for you. Website Templates.

Want to start your own membership website. If you build links to your website as explained in the eBook, your website will get the best possible rankings on Google and other search engines. The website sells an ebook that gives information about losing weight in a safe and natural manner. Turn Words Into Traffic How writing simple, free articles can open the "flood gates" to visitors, sales and money on your website. This website - eBook Authoring Services - is representative of the kind of site and business you can create for yourself. Even if you do not have your own website - you could make tons of money promoting other companies products by joining their affiliate programs. You'll place a unique link on your Website that directs customers to my Website.

You know you're selecting from only the best instant download digital ebook and software program products available today. All of our products are also available for instant download as an eBook. Easy Living Downloads is the best place to shop for world class instant download digital ebook information products.
Website is at www.softwebbook.com this is a website I bought but I wont to build muy own ebook website but I no nothing about how to do this .
So I looking for some help to point I to some sites thanks all

W barnard email billbod1@hotmail.co.uk

My ebook website is www.softwebbook.com

Weaving in the 19th and 20th Centuries & Chelaberd Rugs

Caucasian weaving of the last 180 years is a complicated affair. There is an extraordinary multiplicity of influences in the area; culture, ethnography, politics, religion, geography and climate have all influenced rug weaving in the region. In recent years, the fine quality of rugs has caused much study of weaving in this area and there is now a well-organized body of scholarship.

In general, the designs and colors of Caucasian rugs are not in themselves sufficient to determine the place of origin with absolute certainty. There are, of course, some particularly well-documented designs which have been traced to source, but they represent only a small part of the exceptionally wide range of designs found in Caucasian weavings. The one important factor in determining the regions from which specific carpets originate is the type of wool used, and the length of pile. Heavy wool rugs are good insulators and the sheep reared in the mountainous districts grow heavier, shaggier and have longer fleece than those reared in the lowland areas. The rugs woven in the mountain villages have a richer, longer and heavier pile, and their colors tend to be hotter. Thus the areas which produce long-piled rugs are Kazak, Gendje, Lesghi, and several varieties of Karabagh; medium piles are found on Talish, Lenkoran and Daghestan weavings, and fine low pile on Shirvan, Kuba and Baku rugs.

As to the proliferation of designs, there are some 350 different tribes in the area, speaking approximately 150 different dialects. The south-west, in the Armenia-kazak area, is peopled by Christian Armenians; in the south-east are Tartars of the Mongol descent, and Persians; to the north, the principal tribes are the Shirvans, Dagestans, Chechens and Lesghis, and to the north-west are Cherkesses (Circassians).

There are, of course, cultural and ethnic overlaps in all these areas. To give some indication of the difficulty in ascribing particular designs to specific locations, the Russian scholar S. Zerminov, in his study Azerbaijan Carpets, gave the names of 123 villages in the southern and mid-Caucacus which produced carpets of distinctive design. For the whole of the Caucacus, we would probably have to multiply this figure by a factor of at least four. Many of the schematic animal motifs found in Caucasian weavings can be traced back centuries, and are probably of Scythian origin.

For convenience, it is possible to divide the Caucacus into ten weaving areas : Kazak, Karabagh, Gendje, Talish, Moghan, Shirvan, Baku, Kuba, Daghestan and Derbend. It should be noted, however, that the generic name Kazak is often applied to a wide variety of Caucasian rugs, which have not necessarily been woven in the Kazak district.

Chelaberd rugs are often referred to as Eagle Kazaks. Although the design of these rugs shows an affinity to Kazak rugs, structurally, they are undisputedly Karabagh. The thick yarn used by weavers in these two areas creates a superficial similarity to the weave patterns of the two types. The products of this area have one of the few distinctive Caucasian weaves, consisting of two weft threads after every two rows of knots. The Kazaks, on the other hand, all appear to have an irregular number of wefts, from two to four, after every row of knots.

Chelaberd rugs were made in the southeast Caucasus, bordering northern Persia. The Caucasus mountain range stretches from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea in the area of modern-day Azerbaijan and southern Russia, and it is in the villages of these mountains that some of the most highly collectible rugs originated.

The most collectable rugs and carpets from this area are those woven between 1800 and 1900. The late nineteenth century is the last hurrah for village and nomadic rugs. By the early twentieth century, they no longer used natural dyes, and the designs and weaving were much less appealing. Chelaberd rugs were predominantly made in traditional sizes such as 4’ x 6’ and 5’ x 7’…runners of this size were seldom woven in this tribal village. As a result, Chelaberd runners are very desirable and highly sought out by collectors.

The best nineteenth-century Caucasian village rugs exhibit the inventiveness of the cottage-industry weavers who created stylized versions of traditional design elements and used local materials to their best advantage. During this time, the use of natural dyes was still a practiced art, resulting in vivid colors. Design motifs such as sunburst medallions, dragons, and temple arches appear in many of the best village rugs.

The origin of the name “Eagle Kazak” has several explanations. The medallion design in the center of the carpet is referred to as an Eagle design. There is some resemblance between these medallions and the Russian double-headed eagle. The other (less accepted) theory comes from the definition of Chelaberd itself. Some claim that Chelaberd means Eagle in the local dialect, a blend of Armenian, Russian and Arabic.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ways To Be Truly Artistic

Many people I know believe that in order to be truly artistic a person has to be an artist. They must paint, draw or take brilliant photographs to have artistic talent. While These traits may make someone an artist, I believe that it takes something entirely different to be artistic. It is possible for literally anyone to live in ways that are artistic.

One of the most important aspects of being an artistic person is to be confident in yourself. Lack of self-confidence does not get anyone very far in living creatively. Look for positive qualities about yourself and dwell on those. If you think you are good at a particular activity you should practice it to become even better.

Think about the things you love to do most. I suggest that you can be artistic doing just about anything. Whether you love to sew, cook, or play soccer, you can do things in a way that is artistic and intriguing.

One of my favorite things to do is garden. I used to not think much about the way that I arranged or tended my garden. However, recently I have begun to see gardening in a whole new way. I have realized that I can arrange my flowers and plants in creative ways. I can care for them with tenderness and help them to grow to their highest potential. I have learned that being artistic is more about perspective than it is about what is actually being done.

Being artistic is all about seeing the world creatively and allowing yourself to do the things you enjoy and enjoy the things you do. Consider how you can do your favorite things in new ways. Think about how preparing a meal can become more than just cooking food. Look for ways to incorporate beauty and fine detail into your food and into your presentation. Being artistic is about going a step further than what is typical. If you love to play a sport, look for ways to play that sport with energy and grace. Almost anyone can hit a volleyball over a net, but few people can do it in a way that looks unique and graceful.

You will never be artistic in anything unless you are enjoying yourself. Don't take life too seriously, but instead, look for ways to have fun and relax no matter what the circumstance.

Watch FREE HDTV with an Outdoor Antenna

With an outdoor antenna you can watch HDTV for free of cost. All you need is a high definition television or an HDTV-ready television. If you have a HDTV-ready TV then you might need high-def tuners such as Humax HRA100. These are high def tuners that will enable you to watch HDTV for free. This tuner can receive broadcasts that are high-def.

You need an antenna that can be installed outdoor which is connected to your HDTV or the high-def tuner. If you are close to the tower that broadcasts high-def signals then you can use indoor antennas also. The HDTV signals are considered as line-of-sight signals and hence you get a better reception of the HDTV signals if your antenna is in line with the tower that broadcasts the HDTV signal. For this purpose it is better to install your antenna in the roof of your house.

Some of the tools and the accessories that you need to install the HDTV antenna in your roof and then to connect it to the HDTV or the high-def tuners are, Mounting hardware, wrench, drill, screwdriver, grounding wire (the length should be sufficient to run from the antenna to the ground), grounding strap, coax grounding block, and a shielded 72 ohm coaxial cable (all weather). The length of the coaxial cable will depend on the distance from the antenna and the place where you have your HDTV or the high-def tuner. A short cable to connect to the TV and the dwelling where you bring the cable from the antenna is needed. With these tools and accessories you can connect your HDTV to the antenna on the roof top of your house.

If you are planning to buy an HDTV antenna there are many models available in the market. You have the choice of choosing the right model according to the budget you have. If you need any assistance to choose the right antenna there are websites for that purpose. A simple search in a search engine would give you lots of tips on that topic. These websites have an easy to use interface that enables you to key in your address and then they give you the choice of the HDTV antenna that might suit your location. They decide on the choice by considering the tower that broadcasts HDTV signals to your location. The distance of the tower plays a role in the choice of the antenna. It is better to choose one that is certified by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The most popular are the ones that have multi-element in them. With multiple elements the ghost images are reduced drastically.

While installing your HDTV antenna on the roof top it is better to have an assembly that can be moved easily. You should also be able to rotate the antenna to adjust the direction of the elements so that they are in line with the broadcasting tower. If you have two or more broadcasting towers within a short angle of the placement of your antenna, then you can use devices like ¡®antenna rotator¡¯ to select the best tower from which you receive the HDTV signal. After you place the antenna make sure that you are connecting the antenna and the HDTV with the coaxial cable. Make sure that there are no metallic objects near the antenna. Metallic objects interfere with the way the antenna functions.

After you have installed your antenna tune in to some station and then adjust the angle of the antenna so that you receive a strong HDTV signal. Once you get the right quality of signal tighten the screws of your antenna and secure the antenna. Don't forget to ground the antenna to protect your HDTV from the electrical surges that may appear from time to time.

To know more about HDTV features and specifications, please visit HDTV Information Center

For affordable web hosting we highly recommend Marble Host.

Warning To Poker Players: Don't Bluff Your Way Out Of Anxiety

Poker is a card game that involves gambling on a card's superior value. The players place a bet into a central pot and whoever holds the “hand” with the highest value wins. The game was first played in New Orleans in 1829 but other historians say that the game was developed by the Persians many centuries before.

While it is already a popular card game, it has again become a gambling craze. Aside from the World Series of Poker which is the challenge of choice for professional players, other poker enthusiasts can choose to play in other smaller tournaments, or they can even try the on-line poker service which may be a different environment from how it is played on a regular table. Still, these modern means of playing their favorite card game is drawing crowds and millions of dollars in pot money and winnings.

This is exactly how the game is played:

Poker is a card game where two people or more people play around a table, with two cards on hand for each player. Colored chips have assigned monetary values and are used as betting tokens. After placing their bets, the card dealer shows a set of three cards from the deck. This is what they call the “flop cards.” The players then think of strategies that could heighten their chances of winning. Then the betting begins again. The fourth card, or what they call “the turn” shows up, which spurs the players to bet again. The last card picked from the deck is called “the river.” After this, the players then have to show their best five card combination. The player with the best combination, which means the set with the highest value, wins the pot. This is how the traditional poker is played in the United States. However, a number of game variants have been developed such as draw poker, stud poker, and community card poker.

If studied in-depth, Poker is more than just a form of gambling. It is certainly more than just playing with cards. This game involves critical thinking and correct timing. To be played in winning form, a player must learn the important technique and skill called a “bluff.” Good poker players also know how to control their emotions and facial expressions, hence the term “poker face.” Those who easily get affected by other players sometimes reveal their thoughts and planned card moves through their reactions.

The popularity of the game has reached global proportions. Some sports channels like ESPN even cover numerous poker tournaments. But there is more to see in these card tournaments than just the card play or the winner's pot. By watching poker on television, people can see the different looks on the players' faces. While they usually try to conceal their facial expressions, you can still see a slight change in their expression when as they think of the next move or get stung by their own mistake in playing the cards. Sometimes, poker players can even look very agitated, nervous, scared or worried --- all at the same time.

The winnings in poker can be as high as several millions of dollars. No wonder, many players especially those who have not reached the ranks of the poker elite can still be victimized by their own anxiety while playing cards. Like in other games, people who play poker feel the anxiety because of many reasons. Anxiety in poker games are often seen as a hassle to the players, since this causes them to look bad to the other players. This means that the cards you are holding may not be a winning pair. Anxiety can bring the player down, by just feeling it and showing it to other players. For the world-class professional players, the anxiety comes from the fear of becoming an “instant celebrity.” Some professional poker players see their game or job as a very cerebral activity. To them, the mere thought of making cerebral poker a means to attain instant celebrity is just dreadful. The loss of privacy and the intrigues associated with fame is just too much for some professional poker champions who like the game to remain a solitary pursuit, free from the limelight and fanfare.

Anxiety treatments, of late, have become viable alternatives for those who have been in the poker circuit for quite some time. All the years of pent-up anger, frustration and disappointment in playing poker had already accumulated in their system. Nothing short of a treatment is necessary to enable them to regain their edge in the game. Lowering their anxiety level may actually take stopping them from playing their favorite game for some days or even weeks. Through progressive counseling, a therapist can help a player vent his anger or frustrations ---whether it be for calling someone's bluff and then losing the game... or for always failing to make it to the top spot of the World Series of Poker.

For some people, anxiety is just a temporary discomfort that quickly fades away after a game. But for those who really need anxiety treatments, a quick visit to the doctor or therapist is a must. Anxiety is something no one should gamble with. Indeed, the game demands even the world's best player to remain stoic, unperturbed by the ups and downs of the card play. But for serious cases of anxiety, donning that “poker face” may be the last move you should do.

Walk In Traffic Schools: A Bleak Future?

With the ease of doing business on the internet – whether it's shopping for groceries, paying bills or taking an online traffic course - online companies are giving brick and mortar businesses a run for their money. There's no better example of this than the increasing popularity of online traffic schools. Gone are the days when individuals, hit with a traffic violation, are forced to spend eight uncomfortable hours with strangers in a stuffy room, watching outdated movies and wishing the day would end.

Online traffic schools may well be the trend of today – and tomorrow. TickeRelief.com founder Travis sees this surge of popularity with online traffic schools as a phenomenon that will only grow, eventually leading to the end of the walk-in traffic school. "Traffic school online is a growing trend and soon, I believe, that walk-in traffic will be obsolete. Taking traffic school online is quick, easy, and convenient," he says.

In fact, statistics for online traffic schools are promising. In 2004, for example, more than a third of the 500,000 people ordered to complete traffic school in Florida did so online. Ninety perfect of those who completed the online traffic course passed the final exam.

An administrator at East L.A. Community College Service, who requested her name be withheld, recognizes the advantages of online traffic school, citing students can complete the course at their own convenience. She, however, disagrees that walk-in traffic school will one day disappear altogether. In fact, she hasn't yet noticed a big difference in attendance. "We have noticed it has somewhat decreased. It (online traffic school) looks like it's doing very well, but it's not affecting us very much," she says.

As for the future of traditional walk-in traffic schools like East L.A. Community College Service, she doesn't think they're going to disappear anytime soon. Attendance will "decrease, but it (walk-in traffic school) won't be a thing of the past."

Travis, however, believes the future of the walk-in traffic school is bleak, pointing to California bill AB2377. Initiated by Democrat Assemblyman John Longville, the bill sought to require the licensing of all online and home study traffic schools by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill in September 2004. Still, the very fact that the bill even made it to the governor’s desk may indicate that all is not as rosy as it may appear for walk-in traffic schools.

“From what I understand about the bill," Travis says, "walk-in traffic schools are losing a lot of business to online traffic school and this bill would increase requirements making it harder for online traffic schools to get approved."

If the bill had passed, it would have required all online traffic schools to be licensed through the DMV, a lengthy process lasting between one and two years. Currently, online traffic schools must be certified before they are able to do business and are added to the list of court-approved schools. Certified by the National Traffic Safety Administration and the Coordinated Courts System, Ticket Relief currently serves California (including Los Angeles and San Diego counties), Texas (in partnership with Continued Ed) and Florida (in partnership with American Institute). Ticket Relief’s partners are certified by the DMV.

Certification, however, is a thorough process that requires online traffic schools to meet legal, curriculum and grammatical standards with its course materials. Ticket Relief’s course materials run between 100-110 pages.

With the rising competition from online traffic and defensive driving schools, walk-in traffic schools are often forced to step up their performance, if they want to stay in business. Many walk-in traffic schools, particularly in Los Angeles, offer incentives such as comedy and pizza. Still, pizza and a few laughs is often not enough enticement for forgoing a Saturday afternoon when individuals can complete Los Angeles traffic school online in as few as six hours in the comfort of their own homes.

Furthermore, online traffic schools like Ticket Relief are poised for major growth in the next few years, a move that could have a major impact on the way drivers do business. "Ticket Relief will continue to grow until it covers all 52 states. Ticket Relief is also looking to venture into other driving related services. Some of the services are: ordering a copy of your driver license record, reducing your insurance rate, renewing your driver's license, and offering a membership with exclusive member benefits. Ideally, I would like customers to come to TicketRelief.com for all their driving needs," Travis says.

Vitamins To Regrow Hair

Hair care assumes increasing importance as men age. Hair fall, gradual lessening in hair regrowth, conditions like Androgenetic Alopecia etc, are noticed with advancing age, especially in the period between 18-35 years. The body's natural hair regeneration fails to keep up with the quantum of hair loss. As a result receding hairlines, widows peaks, bald patches are noticed more and more.

It is but natural to resort to hair regrow products and vitamins to regrow hair. The shop shelves stock a lot of products to address male hair loss. While some are available in topical solution form, some are available as pills. Many of these products available on prescription as well as over the counter come with their own side effects.

Hair loss is predominantly caused by Androgenetic Alopecia, a condition characterized by abnormal quantities of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the scalp. 5-Alpha Reductase, a naturally produced enzyme in the body processes testosterone in to DHT. DHT blockers address this issue and help control hair loss due to DHT.

Vitamins to regrow hair and stimulate hair production and follicle regeneration are present in some hair regrowth products that combine them with DHT blockers.

For Example, Ingredients that perform these functions in a preferred hair regrowth product Procerin include Saw Palmetto, Magnesium, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin B-6, Pyroxidine 5mg, CJ-11 Factor, CJ-9 Factor, and a proprietary blend of Gotu Kola, Nettles, Pumpkin seed meal, Siberian Ginseng, Yohimbe, Muira Puma Root and Uwa Ursi. DHT blockers, natural herbs and minerals and vitamins are the main ingredients here.

Procerin is an all-natural product with no side effects and is available in both pill and solution form. It can be applied daily and starts showing results within two months from application, in cases within weeks.

Hair loss could be owing to many reasons ranging from genetic, dietary, medical and lifestyles. Vitamins that regrow hair are most effective when the body is still in the phase of producing hair/regenerating hair. Under such a circumstance, these vitamins and supplements help accelerate the process and also block the production of those enzymes eventually causing hair loss and male pattern baldness.

This Article is Originally Published here: http://www.regrow.info/vitamins-to-regrow-hair.html.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Visual Arts…As Old As Civilization

For as long as man has been alive, he has observed the aesthetics and beauty of life. It seems that it is innate in us to create and change and this has been demonstrated throughout the ages. Even the cave man recreated his vision and told a story via stonewalls.

All art is a communication! The artist is creating his/her vision via any artistic outlet such as drawing, painting, sculptures, photography, graphic design or filmmaking etc.

It’s any art we see! The natural landscape is a powerful tool artists have used throughout time. We seem to want to recreate what we are looking at and at the same time change it to put our own nuances and character into it.

Art is not limited to drawing, painting, sculptures etc. There are the living visual arts such as the painstaking shaping of the Bonsai tree or creating the next beautiful hybrid rose. We started with the incredibly gorgeous vintage rose and now we literally have hundreds of different kinds of roses in various sizes, colors and fragrance.

Dancing, figure skating, gymnastics, ballet, and even acting are also considered visual art forms.

You are basically taking something that has been done before, or a piece of life, and are making it new by changing or adding your own character to the piece. That’s all imagination is!

Just in the 20th century alone we have created new forms of art such as art nouveau, pop art, ethnic art to name a few. The subject of art is so vast that there is literally no ceiling to creativity and that is what makes this subject so incredibly interesting.

For as long as man exists, we will find a way to create new and interesting things to look at. It is after all in our nature to do so!

Visit An Art Gallery

If you are looking for a way to spend a quiet afternoon doing something new, think about making a visit to a local art gallery. I think you will be glad you did for a lot of reasons.

An art gallery is a great place to spend time and to learn. Think about all of the new things you can discover by taking the time to see new exhibits at a local art gallery. You can learn new forms of art or see new examples of the oldest and most well known forms of art. Maybe you can visit an art gallery at a time when the artist will be there to answer questions about their work. There is no better time to feed your curious mind than by talking with an artist.

Have you been aspiring to learn a new artistic skill? If so, get yourself to an art gallery as often as you can. Be inspired by the work of those who have done the things you are hoping to do. Take notes, ask questions, see if you can sign up for a class by one of the local artists. There is no better way to become an artist yourself.

If supporting local business and economy is important to you, then visiting a local art gallery should be on your list of ways to show support. Let the local artists know that you care about and appreciate the work they do. Remind them that your community would not be the same without their efforts. If you are looking to decorate a spot in your home you can even consider purchasing a piece or two of art from the local art gallery. There is no better way to support the local business than to buy from it.

Visiting an art gallery is a great way to get you, your family and your friends out of the rut of doing the same activities for recreation. Next time you have a free afternoon or evening consider passing up the movie theatre or the bookstore and choosing an art gallery instead. There are so many new things to be learned and appreciated. Expand your mind and your interests to include good art. You will never regret developing yourself and your family into people who can recognize and appreciate important elements that reflect your culture.

If you are a parent, begin instilling in your children the value of visiting a local art gallery. Help them to learn why art is important to our culture and encourage them to increase the things they care about to include more than just games and movies. Adding a little cultural experience like visiting an art gallery will be good for you and for them.

The artist whose work fills the art gallery you love will be the most appreciate person that you decided to visit. So look up an art gallery and plan to make a visit the next
chance you get.