Sunday, April 01, 2007

Traditional Baby Handprint Crafts

Traditional Baby Handprint Crafts
by: Katrina Harper

Sensational New Baby Handprint Crafts are Safer and Take Less Time to Complete than Ever Before.

Traditional baby handprint crafts are a fun way to preserve memories of your baby. All you need to make traditional baby handprint crafts are some easily available craft items and loads of imagination. Crafters have used these methods and variations of them for centuries.

You can put your baby's handprints on ceramic tiles, clay, fabric or paper.

Other traditional baby handprint crafts include casting the baby’s handprint in plaster. For this smear, some oil on the baby’s hand so that the plaster does not stick to the skin. Next, put the hand in the plaster in a container or a tray and press it gently so that the full imprint appears. Remove the hand and clean it thoroughly of plaster.

You can carve in the baby’s name and birth date in the wet plaster before it sets. Use your creativity to beautify the traditional baby handprint crafts with accessories. You can insert a straw in the wet plaster so that you can insert a ribbon and create a wall hanging out of your baby’s handprints. Once the plaster sets, remove it from the container and it is ready to put on show.

You can use colored paper to make traditional baby handprint crafts. For this you need paper plates or bright yellow and orange colored paper, scissors, gum, markers and wobbly eyes or nose if you so desire. Cut out the inner circle for the sun and trace the baby’s hands on to the colored paper for the rays of sunshine. Trace the handprints a number of times on the yellow and orange paper, cut them out, and then stick them alternately on to the inner circle. Make a face with the marker, stick the eyes, and nose to complete the face of Mr. Sunshine.

To Make traditional baby handprint crafts on ceramic tiles, you need an unglazed tile of 4” or 6” depending on the size of the hand, a soft brush, a pot of ceramic under glaze in a dark color, a container of clear glaze, sponge, and tissues to clear the mess. You can get all these materials at your local hobby center and order the tiles beforehand, as they may not be available singly.

Clean the tile with a wet sponge and wash the baby’s hands with soap and dry well. Paint a single coat of glaze across the palm and keep the fingers apart so that the fingerprints appear on the tile. Ensure that the hands are steady and then gently press the palm and fingers for the full hand impression. To commemorate this event, paint your baby’s name and date of birth alongside the handprint. Next, you must let the tile dry and then fire it before you put a coat of clear glaze. Your traditional baby handprint crafts are now ready for display.

Traditional baby handprint crafts can add a twist to your Halloween decorations. You can trace out the handprints on green paper and cut them out. Make them more frightful by adding pointy fingernails or a blood trail. Stick them behind doors to scare your friends. You can use other variations of this idea by using glitter and other dreadful colors. Thus, traditional baby handprint crafts can make a great memento for your child when he grows up.

About The Author
Katrina Harper

Author-crafter-site owner Katrina's Baby Handprint Crafts

Wouldn’t you just love to keep the memories of those very special moments you had when your baby was still tiny, Traditional baby handprint crafts ideas will allow you to do just that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fliptrack put music to your photo presentation

Want to make a special presentation of your photo albums with music background and special effects? Try FlipTrack beta. After a few attempts, I finally succeeded in embedding a photo presentation of Kuching, the cat city of the Borneo Island at Kuching - the cat city. And the best thing was, I managed to do it for free!

FlipTrack beta is an interesting beta program which enables you to make a presentation of your photos with special effects like zoom in, zoom out, dissolve, add text, etc., and with background music from their preselected list of hundreds of pre-licensed popular music.

It took me some time to get used to the program. I had to find out the hard way that to add photos to the presentation, you have to select the photo by double clicking on the photo one-by-one, or press the ctrl key, select multiple photos, then click the Add Photo FlipTrack Add Photo Icon icon at the top left of the window. You will then be guided through a couple of steps to name and add your musical photo presentation to FlipTrack beta library of presentations. To put this into your website or blog, you will have to go to FlipTrack beta, look for the musical photo presentation you just made, copy the script to embed into your website or blog.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Quick Tips On How to Draw a Realistic Face

Quick Tips On How to Draw a Realistic Face
by: Todd Harris

There are many artists who struggle with drawing a face and having it actually look like the person you are drawing. These tips should help you to achieve a more realistic outcome and have your drawings come to life.

The first tip is probably the most important. When you are drawing, draw from a good source or reference. For instance make sure that your photo is a really high quality. Make sure that the photo is big and clear, and not a lot of different lighting sources. Choose a subject that is interesting to you. If you want, a good idea is to draw something of one of the masters, like Beugereau. If what you are drawing doesn't hold an interest for you, you won't do as good a job on it, you'll have less patience, lose interest and never finish. But again, make sure that your reference is high quality because if it's not, you'll end up with garbage.

Next, begin your drawing with your outline. Different artists use different methods for this. Also, time is a consideration, so whether you use a grid method or do it by eye, make sure you are accurate. Of course, the grid is going to be more accurate but time or environment may not allow for this method. Also, as you gain more experience you may go by the eye more often as well. Block in and remember that you don't want to add in the fine details yet. Don't get caught up in working on an eye and all of the lighting and shapes of the eye at this point. Avoid finer detail till later.

Then you can start to divide the light from the shadows, hitting the core shadow outline hard making a distinct value difference between light and shadow.

Then go over it with a towel or cotton balls. Never let your skin come in contact with the paper because your sin is made of oil and it will cause great ugliness to appear on your drawing! Instead use a piece of paper under your drawing hand to help you avoid this. Some artists use gloves made for drawing as well. Try and hit the shadow hard and then after you have gone over with a towel erase out some highlights and make the core shadow darker.

You can start darkening shadows make sure that you are using your referenc to figure out where these are exactly. You may have to do this several times till you establish the value you are after.

Not all of the shadows are going to be dark. Never forget where your light sources are coming from. This is extremely important. Look for where the shadows are falling in direct relation to where the light source is coming from.

Start adding the finer details to your drawing.

Blend in light spots and identify the highlights in your subjects hair. A very beginner mistake is to draw each and every strand of hair. Hair needs to be treated as a mass. Remember this and your hair will turn out more realistic than ever before.

Once you feel you are done, you are almost done. What? Well when you are working with graphite, it can be extremely messy and you may need to do some major clean up of smudges. Use a kneaded eraser to lift these.

Take your time with your drawings and you will begin to see that these techniques can be really beneficial. Anyone can learn to draw, it takes some patience and willingness.

About The Author
Todd Harris is a master artist who is currently working as a concept art director for a multi-billion dollar corporation. He is trained in the Florence Academy Method. is a resource based website devoted to aspiring artists wishing to master figure drawing. Visit Learning2draw to get tips, tricks, and techniques to master the human form.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Which Knitting Yarns Should You Choose?

Which Knitting Yarns Should You Choose?
by: Michael Saville

Anyone who has anything to do with knitting will know the importance of knitting yarns. For many people one of the most enjoyable aspects of the craft is browsing through the many yarns available in a knitting shop. This is because there are numerous textures of yarn and a vast array of colours to choose from. All in all choosing your knitting yarn is a pleasurable experience.

People who are experienced in the art of knitting know the importance of using the best quality knitting yarn they can get hold of. In fact what type of knitting yarn to use is one of the most important decisions a craftsperson has to make. The choice available is vast and the decision depends on what garment you want to create. So for example, if you are looking to make a scarf or a hat you could look to use ‘New Fizz' or for a lightweight summer top use ‘Dune', or for a realistic animal colour use ‘Foxy'. For general garment creation, one of the best known kitting yarns is ‘Sirdar'. Often the better yarns are provided with a range of knitting patterns leaflets.

Australia is famous for both the quality and types of knitting yarns produced. Remember to use the knowledge of the yarn supplier so that you can get the best yarn for the job you have lined up. The hand dyed yarns are available in an extensive colour range and those in natural fibres consist of ‘Merion wool', ‘Cashmere', ‘Cotton', ‘Mohair' or ‘Alpaca' in addition to ‘Jo Sharp' pure wool and ‘Heirloom Alpaca'.

There are some things to remember. Firstly, it is always a good idea to do a tension square as you may need different amounts of knitting yarn. As far as the patterns are concerned you should remember that the pattern and the ply should be the same, so use four ply yarn for a four ply pattern and ‘Aran' yarn for an ‘Aran' pattern. Your knitting pattern whilst looking attractive needs to be suitable to the garment you want to knit. A good place to start particularly if you are relatively new to knitting to look for patterns is the yarn skein, which comes wrapped and nearly every one of these will have a pattern on it. This is particularly good as the pattern will be correct for the yarn being used. The other advantage is that these patterns are in effect free. There are old favourites such as books and magazines. Often books give step by step instructions as well as a general knitting overview. Finally, an ever growing source of information on both knitting patterns and the best knitting yarns to use is the Internet. This includes dedicated knitting sites and an increasing number of forums where enthusiasts can ask questions, provide advice and share tips and tricks.

For a sophisticated look choose ‘Tuscany' fashion yarn for tops and accessories. Other accessories choices include ‘Firefly' and ‘Illusion' which are ladder type knitting yarns. If you prefer a sparkling look go for either ‘Medici' or ‘Vegas' to improve the look of the garment. To keep warm in winter choose a chunky knitting yarn, some two ply yarns contain fifteen percent wool.

Knitting yarns do not have to be expensive. Good quality yarns at lower cost include ‘Aran', ‘Double Knit', four ply, three ply as well as two ply. Fashion yarns include ‘Milan', ‘Gypsy', ‘Amore', ‘Apache' and Sirocco which comprises of eighty percent cotton. You could even try ‘Eskimo DK' which is soft and furry and is available in plain colours. So it makes sense to take advice and take your time when choosing knitting yarns.

About The Author
Michael Saville has written more articles on Knitting. These can be found at Knitting and Sewing. The site provides information and advice for people looking to take up knitting as well as for experienced participants in this increasingly popular activity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Computer Scrapbooks

Computer Scrapbooks
by: Barbara Miller

When digital cameras were first released on the market, everyone was excited. Finally, here was an easy way to take and store photos. No more would our closets be plagued with boxes and envelopes housing a hodgepodge of unorganized photographs. What we didn't realize was that soon, our computers would be filled with a hodgepodge of unorganized photographs.

The explosion of home computers and the Internet has led to an increased need for people to organize computer scrapbooks. It's easy to accumulate literally thousands of digital pictures, and it's just as easy to get them all mixed up. Try finding a favorite photo as you're scanning through a list of numbers and letters. Creating computer scrapbooks makes it quick and easy to locate the photographs, as soon as you want to see them.

When preparing your computer scrapbooks, the first step should always be renaming your photos. You should use file names that are easy to understand and organize, rather than keeping the default names set by your digital photography software. Anyone who has used a digital camera or camera phone knows just how hard it can be to decipher the file names, let alone selecting the photographs. Proper titles listed in computer scrapbooks make it easy to remember which pictures you have.

One key point to remember is that all of your computer scrapbook files will be sorted in alphabetical order. This can get confusing, particularly if you're naming pictures by date. Rather than call your photos 'January10', 'April21' etc, use the numerical format year, month and then day. Those same files will now be called 20050110Baby and 20050421Baby. In doing so, your computer will display them in the correct date order for you.

After your photo files have been renamed, you need to create folders to store the different types of photo files. Try organizing your computer scrapbooks by subject, theme or occasion. This will allow you to find your photos much easier later on. For example, create a folder called 'Baby Pictures' and save all of your baby photographs in that folder. By setting up and following a naming system, you'll soon have the most well organized computer scrapbooks around.

Whether or not you print your digital photos, always create backups of all your computer scrapbook files. There are many archiving programs that can be used to compress large files, enabling them to be stored on a CD or other removable disk. It is essential that you label your CDs to keep your computer scrapbook backups as organized as the originals. You can write the title on the CD itself, but you should also remember to alter the name of the CD as read by the computer. Most CD writing software automatically prompts you to give the CD a title, but check the instructions before you start the burning process so you, and your computer, will be able to clearly identify the CDs.

Digital cameras make it easy to take and save pictures. Computer scrapbooks make it easy to find the pictures anytime you're ready to take a trip down memory lane or share the digital images with your friends.

About The Author
Barbara Miller writes for several popular web sites, including (close new window/tab to get back to this page).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fabric Stores: The Nuts and Bolts

Fabric Stores: The Nuts and Bolts
by: Heather Larson

There was a time when going to the fabric store meant you were looking for material to make a dress. No longer is this true. Today, beautiful fabrics by the bolt are available to everyone who has designs on reupholstering their furniture. When you visit the fabric store it can be a bit overwhelming. Your mind will go from not being sure of what you want to recover your furniture with, to having so many options it seems like a daunting task to make a decision. Be prepared for the myriad of choices you will have.

The first thing that you need to do is make a list of the furniture that you would like to recover. Have an upholsterer visit your home and give you measurements for all of the pieces you would like to have recovered; they should happily do this in anticipation of the business it will bring them. Typically, you will be given a measurement in yards. This is the number you will want to take with you to the fabric store because, upon finding the perfect material, a store representative will ask how many yards you would like to have cut from the bolt.

Next, you will want to take some small things from home, that will give you an idea of the color for which you are looking. You might have a favorite accessory that would assist you in matching fabrics to your room. One helpful tip is to take color chips from the paint store with you. These can easily be taken in your tote bag and will be invaluable in selecting your fabric.

Make a game plan as to how you navigate the stores. Most fabric stores have a very deliberate way that they organize their bolts. A particular arrangement is the store’s method of enriching a customer’s experience for them. Upon arriving at the store ask about the store’s sample policy. Most fabric stores have a specific sample policy which they will ask that you adhere to because you are sampling their inventory and cut after cut slowly but surely costs the store money which raises the prices for you. So sample lightly! Here are three sample policies from around the Atlanta area.

1. Samples have been cut and are provided on a safety pin attached to the bolt.

2. You can obtain a pair of fabric scissors from the desk and cut your own samples. When doing this make sure the sample is smaller than a dollar bill.

3. A store representative will cut the sample for you.

Keep in mind that more expensive fabrics, such as silks, will require a store representative to assist you or have samples already available.

After learning about the stores sample policy, you must then determine how the store is organized. You may also want to ask someone from the desk about this when you are inquiring about sampling. Most likely you will find the fabrics have been organized in one of the following ways.

1. By Color: Solids and patterns of the same color will be grouped together.

2. By Pattern: Solids will be separated from stripes without regard to color, etc.

3. By Fabric Type: Silks will be separated from chenilles, etc.

Once you have determined the layout of the store, pull out your accessories and color chips and begin your search. There will be an overwhelming amount of fabric from which to choose. Do not let that intimidate you. Once you have chosen your color, material or pattern of choice, begin looking in the appropriate section. Decide what attracts you to particular fabrics. What is the most important thing in making your decision? Is your room in need of glamour, or do you need a sturdy, durable weave to withstand the children? In general, lighter weight fabrics will be less durable that weighty fabrics. When selecting a fabric, also pay attention to the weave. Is it dense? The denser a fabric is, the more durable it is. Thick and tightly woven fabrics are great for the years when you are raising a family, while silks add glamour and are far more delicate and difficult to clean.

Whatever your goal in selecting fabrics, you can be sure that you will find the perfect one at a local fabric store. Surprisingly, they are very reasonably priced and you can take your selection home with you the same day. You will love your reupholstered furniture all the more because you selected the material on your own. Have fun shopping for fabric. It will bring out the designer in you.

About The Author
Heather Larson works as a home stager for various real estate companies and individuals in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a contributing writer for Atlanta Design Directory.

Copyright © 2006 Heather Larson.