Archive for the ‘hobby into a business’ Category

Antique Jewelry – Investment and Fashion

There are two major reasons for purchasing antique jewelry: as an investment and for fashion. While the term ‘fashionable antiques’ might appear to be an oxymoron, the wearing of old but tasteful jewelry has always been regarded as both fashionable and acceptable in society, and in fact a study of antique jewelry down the ages can tell a lot about the history and culture of a country.

The purpose of jewelry was originally to adorn ourselves, and then became a symbol of status. The ability to afford rare and expensive gems and metals was displayed publicly by wearing them on one’s person. “Look at me: I am richer than you!”

As design became increasingly important, the famous jewelry houses and designers such as Fabergé, Tiffany and Cartier were born from their unique design capabilities, but as the 20th century came along, design became secondary to setting as many diamonds as possible in a piece to increase its actual raw material cost as opposed to its perceived value.

It is doubtful if today’s jewelry will ever become as sought after as that of the great fashion houses and jewelers, and now is the time to purchase antique jewelry for investment because, as it is snapped up and placed in collections, there appears little capable of taking its place. There is still a lot of antique jewelry to be found in antique shops, and even on eBay you will see many fine pieces selling at affordable prices.

It is still worn, of course, although yesterday’s fine pieces do not always fit with today’s clothes fashions. Nevertheless, as taste is replaced by price, this is less important a factor than it once was, and the days appear to be over when jewelry was designed to suit particular styles of clothing and fabrics. Today, anything goes as long as it is bright, glittering and expensive. In many ways, “Bling” has superseded taste and sensitive design.

So, what should you be looking for when purchasing antique jewelry – whether it is for investment or fashion? First check the symmetry of the piece. True antiques are not symmetrical: they are hand-made and each side is slightly different than the other. You can also tell a lot from the fastenings, because barrel clasps are modern, as are post and clip and clip-back earring fastenings (1930s at earliest). An antique will be smooth to the feel, and have no jaggy edges that catch on your hands and clothing.

Platinum and white gold were not used until the 20th century, and earlier 19th century jewelry was made of silver, although gold was used. Also keep in mind that gemstone cutting machines were not used until the mid 19th century, so any modern cut was not possible until then, the elongated baguette cut being introduced in the art deco and art nouveaux pieces of the 1920s.

If you intend purchasing antique jewelry for investment, therefore, it will pay to learn about the subject. Either that or never purchase a piece until it has been checked by an expert. Fashion, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely. While real antique jewelry prices can be set by the piece itself, the value of fashion jewelry is largely set by trends rather than intrinsic value.

Art deco jewelry, art nouveaux, retro – name it what you will, but a large proportion of jewelry designed and produced under these labels had little real value, and some even less in terms of design. To take a corollary with furniture, the ‘in’ furniture style of the 1950s and early 1960’s, ‘G-Plan’ had no mitigating features other than that it was different, and so became the furniture fashion statement of its era. Although it is now enjoying a resurgence under the label of ‘retro’, G-Plan will never be regarded as antique, irrespective of how old it is.

That is as true as the fact that you could never imagine true antiques being referred to as ‘retro’, yet the term can be, and has been applied to the art deco jewelry designs of the 1920s. Whether these designs will ever become fashionable again is another question, but it does raise a question as to antique jewelry and its place in fashion vis a vis that acquired for investment.

Would an art deco piece of jewelry be purchased as a fashion item? Not at the moment, but perhaps as costume jewelry. Would it be acquired as an investment? Doubtful! Can the same be said of art nouveaux? And what else? So where does fashion end and investment begin, or is there no defining line, and do people purchase the jewelry that appeals to them rather than for its projected future value?

One thing is certain. Real antique jewelry has a part to play in the worlds of fashion and of investment, and it is wise to take expert advice prior to parting with your money irrespective of your purpose in buying it. However, would you wear your investment? Only you will know that, and even then only when the time comes to choose – or to show off!
by: Kimberly Clay Antique Trader Jewelry Price Guide

Taxidermy

taxidermy , process of skinning, preserving, and mounting vertebrate animals so that they still appear lifelike. The fur or feathers are cleaned, and the skin, treated with a cleansing and preserving preparation, is mounted on a man-made skeleton. At first, taxidermy was used for the preservation of skins, hunting trophies, and travel souvenirs. Animals were literally stuffed; they were hung downward and filled with straw. Today, taxidermy is employed mainly by museums of science. Carl E. Akeley devised a method of mounting that is now standard. The true contours of the specimen are preserved by making a clay model, exactly duplicating the animal’s muscle structure, over an armature that includes the original skeleton or parts of it. A plaster mold is then made, from which is produced a light, durable frame that holds the skin in position. Synthetic materials, especially celluloids, are now often used to reproduce the true color and translucence of such specimens as reptiles and fishes. Taxidermy Related Articles

Repairing & Coloring Antlers Using Apoxie Sculpt
by Larry Reese,
Wildlife Artistry Taxidermy
http://www.avesstudio.com/Antler_Repair_Hints_and_Tips.pdf

RAT ATTACK
Antler Repair Using
Apoxie Sculpt
by Erich Carter,
Taxidermy Today
http://www.avesstudio.com/Antler_repair.pdf

Creating Custom Fish Scale Rollers Using Apoxie Sculpt
by Dan Rinehart
A Great “How To” Article from Taxidermy Today
http://www.avesstudio.com/Custom_Scale_Rollers__Dan_Rinehart__TaxToday.pdf

Antique Boar Restoration
Gamehead Taxidermy Using
Apoxie Sculpt
by Larry Wold,
Breakthrough Magazine
http://www.avesstudio.com/Antique_Boar_Restoration.pdf

Taxidermy Schools:
Before considering a Taxidermy School, we highly recommend you complete the 4-DVD Taxidermy Home School Course to provide you with the basic knowledge and experience to fully benefit from a school environment. Taxidermy Schools provide many options, from a short 1-week course to an extensive Taxidermy-In-Business Course ranging from 4-weeks to 6-months. Quality Taxidermy School instruction facilities usually take place in fully equipped and operating studios using up-to-date supplies, equipment and techniques with professionally trained instructors allowing you a true hands-on environment.
http://www.learn-taxidermy.com/
Taxidermy Supply Companies:http://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/Another site:http://www.taxidermy.com/

Hobbies Which Can Help You Make Money On The Internet

Making money on the internet is quite simple and easy. You can make the money you want on the internet. For this you require a computer with an internet connection. You can convert your hobby and interests into money through the internet. Some of the hobbies which can help you make money on the internet are as follows.
If you have a passion for writing articles and goes on and posts your articles on award winning websites and earns money. Today there are growing numbers of websites that pay a good sum for articles and blog posts. You can write articles on specific topics and earn a direct payment of up to 200 dollars per article. This is quite a sum for your hobby.
If you are good at doing embroidery and crafty works, you can sell them online and make money out of them. For this you need to own a website. With a good camera take pictures of your work in different angles and post it on to your website.
If photography is your hobby, make money on the internet out of it. You don’t have to professional photographer to sell your photos online for money. People and companies are constantly on the lookout for pictures for their websites, journals, brochures and presentations.
If you are good at designing you can make use of it to make money by selling your designs on the internet.
If you are an expert in making creative jewelries, you can convert your passion into making money on the internet.Online Marketing Success Stories: Insider Secrets, from the Experts Who Are Making Millions on the Internet Today

Candle Holders Made Out Of Tin Cans

The tin can has been around for years, providing many different projects to be made from tin cans. They are one of the most versatile mediums for crafts, besides wood and foam. Best part about them, they are cheap. Tin cans can be used to make all kinds of candle holders, providing a unique touch to your home or garden. In this article, we will share some ideas on how to make interesting and unique candle holders out of tin cans.
There are two primary size tin cans, soup cans and coffee cans. Both offer a wide variety of different craft ideas. Tin cans can be cut, punched, painted, weathered and modified in multiple ways. They can be set on top of a table or hung out in the garden.
Let’s start with the basics. Most people will decide to punch holes into the can, which is the easiest. However you can use any type of cutting tools. A drill is handy, but even better is a Dermal tool. But for those who will be using a hammer or even a drill, let’s start there. Before you start anything, fill the can with water and freeze it. This will allow you to punch holes easier, without bending the can.
It always helps to have some kind of plan or design in your head or on paper. In fact drawing the design out on paper allows you to modify it and then tape it around the tin can as a template. Think about whether or not you may want to paint the tin can or weather proof it for outside garden use.
One example of a design is a simple western motif. Download of a silhouette graphic of a dog howling at the moon. With the Dermal tool cut out the scene on the tin can. After painting it black and punching two holes at the top, you can hang it in a garden. Simpler designs would include punch out designs such as creating a bunch of tiny holes to create a night sky effect. Patterns also look great.
Once you have cut out a design, painting time can finish the look of your candle holder. Allot of times I’ll choose black, because the light will shine through better at night or in a dim room. A light blue and white to match your kitchen décor will add a unique touch. You can add almost any type of embellishing to the can, such as colored stones or ribbon.
For those of you who want a more elaborate candle holder, try the larger coffee cans. They provide a larger area to work with. One idea for the larger cans is to cut wholes about half inch in diameter and attach pieces of stained or any colored glass on the inside of the can. You could create an entire stained glass tin can candle holder. The larger cans are also great for outdoors. Their large base is perfect for decks and walk ways, as they will not tip over easily.
By cutting slits down the sides of cans you can bend the edges downward, creating nice flared outlook. Just remember to file down the edges, they will be sharp. For an added flare, twist the ends with a pair of pliers. There is a lot you can do with this method and even adding other cut out pieces to the cans. You could create angled top for the can, just like a lantern.
With a little bit of imagination and paint, you can turn any tin can into something worth putting on a table or mantle. So experiment and have fun. Don’t worry about messing up; I’m sure you have plenty of cans lying around.
Candle Decorating Tips
You’ll find great tips on decorating your house in this section
Tip 1.
Varying heights of multiple candles is a great way to fill space. By adding different size pillars or even putting some on candle stands can create a dynamic feel to a space. Just like a mountain is sometimes better to look at than a round hill. There is more to see.

Tip 2.
Mirrors is a simple and effective way to enhance your candles. Using mirrors as a base or behind a candle will throw off more light. Crystal shaped glass or containers are also a great idea for showing off more light in a more interesting way.

Tip 3.
Combine scents. Some scents will go great together. My favorite is to mix Apple with Sugar Cookie. It smells like apple crisp. Experiment, and you may find a wonderful scent.

Tip 4.
Decorative glass candle holders. During the holiday season we like to dress our table up a little. Try putting some berries or nuts in a couple of wine glasses and then putting a Tea Light in the center of the nuts or berries. These will create a nice center piece or table decoration.

Tip 5.
Color is a great way to mix it up. Having several color pillar candles of different heights will add eye candy. For the Fall seasons try using browns reds and yellows. Just think of fall leaves.

Tip 6.
Use candles as Art. Candles are being used more frequently as a art design. For example you could place a colored square of paper or glass on the fireplace mantel. Then you would put some pillars of different sizes in front of the square. Depending on the colors you choose. The candles will look as though they are framed and highlighted. Colors can really bring out the fireplace and candles.
http://www.stopburningtimeandmoney.com/sppjv_29.htm

Lucky Dog reels ’em in after first year in business

Jon Totzke had an ulterior motive in mind when he decided to start selling his own hand-made fishing lures.
“I figured this was an excuse to do more fishing,” Totzke said, with a chuckle. “I mean, you have to test them out, right. I’d tell my wife, ‘Honey, I have go do research.’ You can’t just throw them out there and say they work.”
But they do seem to work, and that’s why Lucky Dog Lures has grown faster and become a much bigger deal than Jon and his wife, co-owner Anne Marie Totzke, anticipated.

Jon and Anne Marie Totzke manufacture and sell a variety of handmade fishing lures at Lucky Dog Lures in Readfield. The couple has operated the business for the past year and it is growing quickly.

The couple manufactures the lures and operates the business out of their Readfield home. Lucky Dog Lures sells eight styles and 37 color combinations of beaded fishing lures with various blades. The Totzkes operate on both a wholesale and retail basis, and their lures can be found in 15 fishing stores across Wisconsin. They hope to sell the lures nationwide eventually and penetrate the Canadian market.
Jon, who also is a painting contractor, started the business about a year ago with the idea that it would provide an income during the winter months when the painting industry wanes.
“That was the plan, but it’s getting to be more and more of a full-time business for both of us,” said Anne Marie. “Really, it all started when we started making them for ourselves because we both love to fish. They started producing a lot of fish and people kept saying, ‘Wow, you should manufacture these.’ It was kind of a hobby that turned into a business.”
The couple needed a name for the business and got a good one after attending a Ducks Unlimited banquet in Oshkosh. They entered their names in a raffle for the grand prize of a new boat, motor and trailer. On a lark, they also entered the name of their dog, Willie, a 4-year-old golden retriever — one of three dogs the Totzkes own. A few days later, they received a call from Ducks Unlimited with the news that Willie was the grand prize winner, giving the Totzkes a new boat and a catchy business name.
“People kept saying what a lucky dog we had,” said Jon, who often wears a Lucky Dog T-shirt with Willie’s logo on it.
The Totzke’s lures are used by anglers of different skill levels and can snag a variety of fish. Most are made from stainless steel wire with blades of both nickel and polished brass. Jewelry beads of glass and brass arranged in different sequences complete the look.
“They’re very versatile — you can go from panfish to northern to bass to musky,” said Jon. “We’ve caught just about everything on them. Our lures are a combination of things. Fish like flash, color and sound, so we try and combine all three of those. We’re able to get the flash with our nickel and polished brass, color with the beads, and sound with the brass and the glass hitting each other, because when that happens it produces kind of a clacking noise underwater which attracts fish. Sound underwater is four times louder than above water.”
The Totzkes try to incorporate both old and new elements into their line of lures, and Jon initially was inspired by his 92-year-old grandfather’s tackle box.
Lures in the Lucky Dog lineup include the Chatter Bug spinner, which features a June Bug blade that has free-spinning action, glass beads for instant flash, brass beads for additional noise and shiny nickel hooks. The Chatter Bug is great for hooking panfish, walleye, bass, trout and northern pike.
Another popular lure is the Big Bugger, which has a June Bug blade and fire-polished glass beads which give off an enticing flash to attack bass, walleye and northern pike. The Chatter Bug comes in four color combinations and the Big Bugger is available in 10 color choices.
“You can’t make just one color,” said Jon. “Everything works differently depending on the lake. Right now, the red hooks and red beads are our big seller. But it depends on what lake you’re on. It depends on things like water clarity — whether it’s clear or cloudy — how much light you’re dealing with, and what the fish normally feed on in that lake. We have some new blades and have brought back some of the old blades like the June Bug, which has been around since the early ’60s.”
The Totzkes have made strong business contacts and learned more about their field by attending fishing shows around the country.
“We go to shows and talk to people who are fishing guides and field testers,” said Anne Marie. “We have six different fishing guides who are using our lures and even have field testers using them in California, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee and lower Michigan.” http://www.luckydoglures.com
Learn How To Make Lures Yourself Click Here.

The Screen Printing Process – Step by Step by: Michael D’Elena

Here is something I wrote for all of those that continue to ask me how to screen print. It’s a bit of a long read, but it’s informative enough to give you a good idea of exactly what takes place. It’s not completely detailed out (there are many small steps missing) but it is the key elements in screen printing.

1. Artwork. The artwork you start art with is VERY important. If you have jagged or grainy artwork, you will reproduce this. There are many art services on the internet that will supply you will screen printing artwork. If you fax them a logo, they can redraw it for you and send you a file in which you can use for the making of screens.

You can also create (or recreate) artwork yourself. It is imperative to use a vector art program like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or Macromedia FreeHand. Using these programs will ensure that you will have high quality artwork in the end. Photoshop can be used as well, but this is more for full color printing, etc., which is not good to start out with since there are special techniques to master before moving into this realm.

2. Film Positives. When you have artwork that is ready to print, you can print your artwork out on a clear film instead of paper. There are different types of paper for inkjet and laserjet printers, so be sure you select the right type. For every color you have, you will print it out as a black plate on a separate film. For example, if you have a logo that is Red & Black, you would separate the two colors from themselves and print each out, changing the red to black and printing and then printing the black. Each of these would be printed on their own film.

This is simply known as art separations, or “seps”. If the colors are touching in the final version of the logo, then you need to have what is called trap or choke. Basically, it’s an overlapping of the artwork by a small margin. This small margin is just enough so you can register the colors so there is no space between them. On the films, you will also place registration marks. These marks usually are a circle with a verticle and horizontal line passing through it. These marks will be on the same spot on each film. This will help you line up the art later so the images match up perfectly.

3. Screen Making. When screen printing began it was called silk screening. The reason for this is, the screens used to be made from silk. Since this is no longer the case (now they are made from polyester), the name changed. A screen is simply a wooden or metal frame that has a fine mesh stretched over and attached to it. This mesh has different counts. Some examples would be 83, 110, 125, 140, 330 and on and various numbers in between. The lower the mesh count, the less detail you can print and the thicker the ink lays down. So it is an artform to say the least in dealing with correct mesh. The actual process of screen making is quite simple, just time consuming. Capillary film is stilled used but the most common technique is using a light sensitive liquid emulsion. Emulsion can be used under a yellow light so that you still can see what you are doing, but the UV light is filtered out so as not to effect the emulsion. A scoop coater is needed. You pour emulsion into the scoop coater and place it on a vertical screen. Pressing up against the screen and pulling up, you will lay a thin layer of emulsion on the outside of the screen. Turn the screen around and do the same for the inside of the screen. Turn it back around and do it once more on the outside.

Once the emulsion dries, you can “expose” the screen. You need a good light source for this process. We have an exposure unit that can expose 20″ x 24″ screen. It has a halogen light along with 2 black lights to help diffuse (or even out) the light. The exposure unit is basically a box with a glass top and a lid that has a black matte and a vacuum frame. The light source would be contained in this box. Some do it yourself printers that work from home actually use the sun for this process. It’s very time consuming, but it works!

To expose a screen, taking the film positive you created and place it on the glass top with the right reading being up. Then take the dried screen and place it on the glass top with the film positive under it. The screen mesh will be touching the film positive. When you close the lid, there is a vacuum frame that will suck all of the extra air out of the frame. This vacuum frame will pull the matte close to the screen frame. This is essential for a crisp image to be burned into the screen mesh.

At this point, the length of time will be dependent on your emulsion and light source. This is something you can talk to your emulsion supplier about. It’s really a matter of testing. Most problems occur in this stage, so it is critical that you understand this process through testing, training and trial and error. The better you are in this area, the better your prints will be.

Once the image is exposed into your emulsion, you can take the screen to a washout booth. Lightly spray both sides of the screen with water. I garden hose with a sprayer on the end works well for this procedure. You do not want a lot of pressure but you do want some. After waiting for a couple of minutes, you can go back and begin spraying your screen with water. Spray on the outside of the frame, or the side that was touching the film. The inside will naturally be softer because the light had to shine through the emulsion to get to that side. As you spray down the screen, you will see the image on your screen. What happened is, wherever there was black on your film, the light did not shine through. Since the light could not expose the emulsion, it remained water solulable. Wherever the light shine through the emulsion, it hardened and will not wash away. Let the screen(s) dry.

4. Printing Press. Choosing a printing press isn’t nearly as critical, although you are looking for a quality press. To be honest, you may want to stay away from all-in-one units and similar machines. They are a waste of money. Even though you can print just as good of a print with these machines, they are costly and they slow your process down. When I started, I was told a 4 color 4 station press is just about all I needed. They were right. Very rarely did I ever need to print anything more than a 4 color design. Later, as I grew, I purchased more machines that allowed for more colors. But the first 5 years of my business, I believe I had 1 6 color job and 1 5 color job. So it wasn? critical for me to spend more money on a 6 color machine. What you are looking for in a press is a solid frame, micro registration and rotating platens. Outside of this, you don’t need much more than that. Obviously, a auto-press is what we use now (and is preferred), but these can run anywhere from $50,000 – $100,000 or even more.

5. Conveyer dryer and flash unit. To actually cure the ink, you need a heat source to reach 320 degrees for your ink. If you can reach 320 degrees in 1 second, it’s cured. If it’s 10 seconds, it’s cured. As long as it reaches 320 degrees, you are good. A flash unit is a unit that you place over your platen (arm that you place the shirt on). This flash unit is meant to flash the ink just long enough where it is not cured and it is not wet. This will allow you to print colors on top of colors if needed, and you will need it! Many people use these units to cure their shirts. This is not wise. If you have a flash unit over a platen, it has to reach 320 degrees to cure the ink. This heat will eventually warp your platens, causing printing problems in the long run. It will also heat your platen up enough that when you put another shirt on it and print, it will semi cure the ink in your screens, causing a clogging and poor printing. So buy the flash unit and use it for it? intended purpose, to flash the ink, if you have to. If I print a single color on a shirt, I will not use a flash unit at all. If it is white printing, then I will. The reason for this is, you would print white on a shirt, flash it, then when the shirt comes back around to you, it needs a second print. This gives you a good vibrant white. If you are printing a color on a dark shirt, you would also print a white underbase, flash it, then print an exact image with a different screen over top of it with the color you need.

The conveyer dryer is needed to increase your production. When you finish printing a shirt, you pull it off of your platen and place it on the conveyer dryer. Basically, it’s a dryer that has a belt on it that goes through a tunnel of heat. When it comes out the other side, it is cured. There are temperature strips that you can place on the shirt to run through the dryer and make sure the heat and speed setting are correct. Raytek also makes a heat gun that when the shirt comes out, you point the laser beam at the ink and it will give you a temperature reading. Remember, 320 is the magic number!

6. Inks and miscellaneous. The ink you will use is a Plastisol ink. There are so many manufacturers and types of inks, it? good to find one and stick with them. I can give you suggestions of what I feel are good, but it’s all up to you in the end. You will also need squeegees. A squeegee is basically a handle with a rubber blade on the end. This blade is what you use to push or pull the ink through the screen and onto the shirt. There are so many miscellaneous items that it would be good to talk to a supplier about what you need to get started.

7. Screen prep and registration. Your scoop coater cannot reach all areas of the screen, so you want to tape out the areas that did not have emulsion. There are special tapes made to do this, but packing tape works well if you remove it right away when you are finished. Simply tape the inside and outside of the screens wherever the emulsion did not cover. If you have a one color design, placing the screen on your press is quite simple. If you have more than one color, this is where the registration marks are needed. After placing your first screen on the press, you would do a test print. Place some ink on the screen and rest a squeegee on the frame close to the head. Pull the ink across the screen and onto the shirt. Next, take your second screen and place them on the next head. Align the registration marks on the screen to the marks on the print you made. Once in place, you can lock them in and adjust the micro registrations if necessary. Once locked in, do a test print. If everything is registered, you can tape up the registration marks on your screen and you are ready to print.

8. Your first print. You will be working upside down when you print t-shirts. The collar will be closest to you. After placing the shirt on the platen, pull your screen down. One thing I did not mention was off-contact. If you look between the shirt and the platen, you should have a gap. This is called your off-contact. You need about 1/8 between the screen and the platen. This will give you just enough room to make a print and allow for the screen to snap away from the shirt. This gives you a clean print. Some people will push their squeegee and others will pull. Whatever is comfortable to you is best for you. Personally, I’ve always pulled my squeegee. This means that when I pull down my screen, I grab my squeegee and pull the ink towards me. You want to have the sqeegee at an angle, but not too much. A 70 – 80 degree angle is good. If you go too much of an angle, you will get a heavy print and it won? look very good. If the angle is a 90 degree, then you won? get the proper pressure, giving you a light print. The good thing is, if the first print does not work out for you, you can print it again, right over top of it. The registration of the machine will be the same so even if you rotated the press and came back to it, it would still print good.

As with anything, practice is what is needed. Make sure that whatever you do that works, keep it consistent. A firm grip on the squeegee, a consistent angle and a quick stroke will give you a good print. When you find that print, keep it consistent. Good luck!

About The Author
Michael D’Elena has been the owner of Reckless T-shirts (http://www.RecklessTshirts.com) for 3 years. They specialize in screen printing and embroidery for the Phoenix, AZ area.

Eco Soy Candle Making Craft by:Thomas Husnik

eco-soy-candlesIn very little time you can create eco-friendly and recyclable candles that will spice up a room. Why buy another petroleum based paraffin candle when you can enjoy making your own healthy, 100% All-Natural wax candles for your home, office, friends, and family? Of course, the candles you create can also become ideal gifts. Not only will you save money giving personalized candles, the people receiving your hand-poured, home-made candle creations will cherish them. Materials
Recycled glassware such as Mason jars, candy dishes or thrift-store cups
1 package braided wick (size-appropriate for chosen candle containers)
Soda-can tab
Pencils or pens
Tape
Melting pot or old cooking pot that you’re no longer using for food
EcoSoya soy wax flakes
Craft or candy thermometer (optional)
Cinnamon essential oil
Cream City biodegradable cotton ribbon (optional)
Hot-glue gun and glue
Directions
1. Cut a section of braided wick a few inches longer than the depth of your chosen glassware container. Tie an end of the wick to a soda-can tab. To stabilize wick, add a dab of hot glue to the bottom of the tab, then affix tab to the bottom of the container. Wrap top of wick around a pencil or pen a few times and tape it down temporarily. Set aside. Repeat process for additional candles.
2. In pot over medium heat, melt about 1 lb. EcoSoya flakes per 1–2 medium-sized candle(s). Stir continuously until soy wax melts to about 155 degrees. Once it’s completely liquefied, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes, continuing to stir.
3. Once the temperature has dropped about 5 degrees, add 10–20 drops cinnamon essential oil and mix well. (It’s okay to wing it without a thermometer, but be sure you have backup containers on hand. Soy wax is easy to work with, so you’ll probably be fine.)
4. Pour liquid wax into container(s), leaving an inch or two of space at the top. Let dry overnight. The set soy candle wax should look smooth and creamy-white.
5. Remove tape and pencil from wick. Leaving about 1” of exposed wick, snip off the excess.
6. If you’re giving these candles as gifts, add another layer of sustainable goodness by adorning them with biodegradable cotton ribbon—tie it in a fancy bow or hot-glue a piece around the rim. Giving never felt so good…for the earth!

Helpful Hints
• Empty salsa jars and jam jars make great candle containers.
• Choose containers that are less than 4” in diameter.
• Incorporate alternative fibers by using hemp wicks.

Why Soy Wax?
• It’s biodegradable and sustainable.
• It’s pesticide- and herbicide-free.
• It provides a longer burn without a soot buildup.
• You can clean it with soap and water, eliminating the need for solvents.
• It’s made from 100% natural soybeans
Candle Making Supplies

Chainsaw Craft By Thomas Husnik

cheriecurrie_carvingbear


Chainsaw carving is truly a fantastic craft to create a sculpture out of a log with a chainsaw. A beautiful way to add the finishing touch to your landscaping project. The earliest record of chainsaw carving history goes back to the 1950’s when it all began. It wasn’t until the early 60’s that the chainsaw dealerships started lining up and the state fairs and forestry expos for this craft though, and it has been building popularity and following ever since.

Equipment

There are a few valuable tools in particular that are used in chainsaw carving, the main one being a chainsaw of course. It is important to choose the right chainsaw for carving, because you do not want to have one that is so heavy you will not be able to lift it. At the same time you do not want to have too light of a chainsaw that you will not be able to carve properly.

There are also other smaller tools that you may want to use for your chainsaw carving as well, such as knives or shorter blades, to get into the tight areas and do sculpting.

Just like any type of art it takes practice and patience to become proficient at chainsaw carving. If you want to become very skilled at it you will need to seek out a quality instructor who is willing to show you the fine details and tricks that are related to the art. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. If you want to become a craftsman take your time and learn. Don’t get frustrated if your first attempts don’t work out so well. Patience and practice and it will come. After time your efforts will pay off and the skills will become more automatic and the carving will flow much easier.

There are some great chainsaw carving instructors out there that you could get to help you out, at least at the very beginning when you are just getting started. They will be able to help you find the right tools for the job and show you tips and tricks of the trade.

Take all of your lessons seriously and put all of the information to use. Your instructor will take you through all of the steps in creating a chainsaw carving. Listen to all that he has to say, even holding you chainsaw properly is vitally important, not only for your safety but for the desired angles and shapes of the cuts you are trying to make.

If you really take your time and develop quality skills you can make a good living at chainsaw carving. There are many who do and if you are interested you have to get serious and practice all the time to get really good. See Cherie Curry’s story here

http://www.chainsawchick.com/

So you want to be a custom bike builder? Start with motorcycle kits By Michael Holmes

chopperSo you want to be a custom bike builder? Well friend, before you rush out shopping for motorcycle kits, that will set you on the road to riches and fame, stop and think about the level of expertise and artistry the top builders have attained. More importantly think about how long it has taken them to attain it! Let’s look at a few key issues…
Education
You’d be surprised how well educated a lot of today’s top bike builders are. Several of them have degrees (some more than one!) ranging from mechanical engineering to business and marketing management. Billy Lane, the founder of Chopper Inc, has several patents relating to motorcycle technology in his name for example. What about someone a little more “old school” like Dave Perewitz? Dave has accumulated close to forty years of mechanical, metalworking and painting experience. Not theoretical, but genuine hands on, early morning late night kind of experience. Could you put that kind of time in? Matt Hotch is still only young, but has gained an incredible amount of practical experience customizing first bicycles, then VW’s before moving on to custom bike building.
Facilities
These guys are building choppers and custom bikes that are state of the art. They don’t get thrown together in the yard; the motorcycle shops have all the tools and equipment required to produce almost anything out of metal, not just bikes. Just as important are the other services these builders use; the local chrome platters, machinists, painters and so on. These guys have just as important a part to play in the construction of these one off bikes as the designer builders themselves.
Desire
All the top custom bike builders live for one thing; building the best bikes they can. They literally live eat even dream about custom bikes (and looking at some of the more way out creations you can totally believe this from the designs they produce!) They are constantly striving to build bikes better. It’s not about money for the top guys, I am convinced of that.
So where does that leave Average Joes like you and me? Actually, I don’t think we are too badly off; in fact if you want to build a custom bike, it has probably never been easier. Here’s my take on it….
Education
There is an unbelievable amount of information for the guys who want to start down the road to custom bike building. Videos, books websites, all of them help to flatten the learning curve for a novice. Most of the material out there relates to motorcycle kits, and for the beginner, building a motorcycle kit is definitely the best way to go if you want to get real hands on experience. After that there are motorcycle maintenance courses, which again will allow you to get up to speed as fast as possible in your quest to become the next Arlen Ness!
Facilities
To put together a shop like the ones you see on television costs thousands of dollars. But you don’t need all that stuff if you start with a motorcycle kit. Motorcycle kits can be put together with some pretty basic tools, providing they are of good quality. Two things that are an absolute must in my opinion though are a torque wrench and a basic lift. With these two tools, you can tighten the motorcycle kits fittings correctly, and not break your back while you are doing it!
Desire
Well this is one area where you can match the pros, no question. If you really want to be a custom bike builder, start doing it for fun and put your motorcycle kit together. http://www.chopperguys.com/id40.htm

Etsy: The Handmade’s Tale

etsy2If you have a craft you love but don’t know ware to sell it or maybe your looking for something unique and don’t know where to find it? Here it is.Etsy is a website that allows users to buy and sell handmade items. The company charges users a flat listing fee (of 20 cents per items), and takes a commission of 3.5% off all items sold. Etsy has a very slick Flash interface, which, combined with a smart taxonomy for listing items, makes it easy for users to find items, and helps sellers improve visibility. Items are listed under broad categories, such as Accessories, Clothing, Art, etc., and further listed under user-defined tags. Since its launch in June 2005, the site has continually added new widgets and features, and has seen corresponding growth. As of December 2007, the site boasts over 100,000 registered sellers, and has seen over 2 million sales.http://www.etsy.com