Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why Would You Want a Green Home

 Benefits of Green Real Estate

As we move forward into the new millennium, individuals all over the world are focusing more on the environment and processes which preserve natural resources. Everyone, whether they are old enough to drive or not, has become familiarized with a hybrid car. These environmental options are not only available for traveling, they are widely available for improving your living conditions as well. By now, most home owners are familiar with the term “green homes.” Sure you may have heard it mentioned in a conversation or when purchasing a home, but you may not understand what a green home is and why they are important. 
In order to understand what all the fuss is about, you should to know the basics of green living.

 What Exactly Is a Green Home and Where You Should Build One

 Green homes are eco-friendly homes, which take advantage of natural resources in order to provide electric, water, heating, and home decorations. In order to create a green home, the location is an essential part of the process. When deciding on a location for your green building, you may want to consider places you visit most. If possible, choose a location near schools, super markets, or banks because it will reduce expenses associated with traveling. Choosing to place the home on a steep slope enables you to maximize sun exposure for heating. It also gives you the ability to install a solar power system on the roof while sun exposure is maximized. If you are able to use natural resources to light your home, you do not have to spend money lighting the various rooms in your home.

 Heating is also greatly benefited by this location. A home placed in the side of a steep slope provides natural insulation surrounding several of the walls which are encompassed by the ground. Energy efficient appliances for heating, cooling, lighting, and cooking are great because they use less energy to operate. As these appliances are necessities in every home, choosing energy efficient appliances allow you to save a lot of money over time. Green homes take advantage of renewable resources and building materials as much as possible. Using non-toxic and rapidly renewable materials enables you to create a living environment with beneficial air quality. For flooring or other surfaces, consider using a rapid-growing wood material such as bamboo. Reusing old materials is also a green option.

 Why Would You Want to Live in One

 Not only are green homes aesthetically pleasing, but they also provide a variety of cost saving benefits to the home owner. By utilizing natural resources for energy, you greatly reduce your electric bill each month. If you choose to install a solar system or hydro-electric system for your home, you could remove your energy bill entirely. Green homes are very good for the environment. These homes reduce waste materials while conserving natural resources. Because most green materials are non-toxic, they greatly improve air quality and water quality. They also serve to protect the ecosystem and biodiversity by providing biodegradable products to use when building or decorating. Your health is also greatly improved by green living. The sustainable design and use of technology greatly enhances the quality of life for the home owner. Green living reduces noise pollution and they improve productivity in homes and business locations.

Just because you currently own a home and have not previous chosen to go green, does not mean you are out of luck. You can consult with a licensed architect any time to develop a plan for your home to go green. If you do not already own a home, consider a consultation with a home designer in order to develop the perfect green home for your family.

Friday, October 5, 2012

How to make stitch and crochet markers

Crochet Stitch Markers

Tutorial: How to make crochet stitch markers

It seems like my recent post about stitch markers have generated quite a bit of views, I guess I’m not the only one that finds them adorable. In case you don't know which post I’m referring to, go here: http://charmingbeadz.blogspot.com/2012/10/stitch-markers-what-they-are-how-to-use.html.

So since so many are interested in stitch markers I have decided to make a tutorial on how to make them, cause I know readers just simply love tutorials! They are really fun to make cause you don't need a lot of materials, and they are super easy to make too!
Here are the things that you will need to make a simple beaded stitch marker (the one that we are making today will be an open marker which means they are perfect for crocheting):

·        Beads
·        Headpin
·        Lobster clasp
·        Round nose pliers
·        Chain nose pliers
·        Cutter

Materials needed to make stich markers

Tools needed to use to make stitch markers

1. Slide your bead/beads through a headpin.  Here I’m using 2 pearls and some spacers.

step nr 1.

2. Holding the bead firmly in one hand, use the other hand to bend the headpin 90 degree downward, just above the last bed. Push your nail at spot where you will be making the bend with the hand holding the bead so that you get a neat bend.


3. Leave about 7-8mm of the pin and use your cutter to cut away the rest. The length of the headpin will determine the size of your loop. If you want a smaller/bigger loop, the length of the pin should be adjusted accordingly. 7-8mm should give you a medium size loop, the way I like it.


4: Time to make a loop.
Take your round nose pliers and grip the tip of the wire firmly, leaving just a tiny little bit of wire peeking through the barrels of your pliers. 


5. Now rotate your wrist to twist the wire into a semi-loop.

6. Release the wire and rotate your wrist back to its start position, grip the wire one more time and rotate again till you get a complete loop.
(If you are having trouble with this, you can check out the many video tutorials available on Youtube, just search for Jewelry Making Simple Loop, you should find all the help you need).


7. Now we will need to open the loop to insert the lobster clasp. To do this, firmly hold the neck of the loop with your round-nose pliers.  

8. Using your chain-nose pliers, grip the tail of the wire where the opening. With both hands gripping on the pliers firmly, gently twist one pliers up and the other down. Now there will be an opening in the loop.
(Again, if you struggle with this step, those Youtube videos should be able to help)

9. Insert the lobster clasp through the loop.


10. Using the same method above, close the loop.


So there you go! Easy peasy steps to making your own stitch marker and/or crochet markers.
Stitch marker - final product

If you do not wish to use lobster clasp and prefer to have a set of closed markers, you can use any suitable sized ring-type findings you can find at your craft store instead. 

Have fun crafting!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Stitch Markers – Aren't They Fun

Stitch Markers – what they are, how to use them and why are they so much fun?!!

When I was younger I loved to try new things, fun and creative things (hmm maybe not much has changed). For instance, I tried sewing – I sewed little dresses and shawls for my Barbie doll; I tried patchworking – made a little quilt for my nephew when he was just a tiny little baby, I wonder if my sister-in-law still kept it; I also tried knitting and got one sweater out of it, it was pink with purple stripes and very comfortable (Im sure mom still kept it somewhere, I should try and look for it and post a picture)! I still find these things that I learned then interesting and wish one day I would be able to pick them up again.
I think all knitters would agree with me that one of the fun things about knitting is having all these cool looking supplies, knitting tools and notions to play with. From the thousands of beautiful and colourful balls of yarns to various types and sizes of needles, from fancy row counters to cute little markers!

When I was learning how to knit, collecting these tools and supplies was the best part about knitting. Every other day when I went for my lesson I would bring home something new, usually yarns cause they were so irresistibly adorable (which I end up never using). Other times needles, cause I absolutely had to have all the sizes available. Im sure all you knitters out there can relate!

One thing I didn’t find back then were stitch markers like the ones we have today. Those days stitch markers we had were these colorful little plastic ones, they were cute back then but nothing compared to what’s available today.

So what are stitch markers?
Stitch markers are usually little round rings (or you can also find fancy square ones these days) that are slipped onto a needle to mark a spot in a row. Stitch markers are very crucial especially to free-crocheting and are often used to count rounds. They are also used to mark certain number of stitches and where blocks of different stitches to be placed. There are generally 2 types of stitch markers, closed stitch markers and open ones. When crocheting, only open stitch-markers are used.

How to use stitch markers?
For close stitch-markers all you need to do is slip the ring onto your needle to mark a spot (for whatever reason) in a row and continue knitting as normal. When you reach the marker again, simply slip it from one needle to another and continue again. For crocheting however, you will need open markers. Instead of slipping them onto your needle, you place them on your stitches. They can be added, adjusted and removed anytime.

So why are they so much fun?
Because they are so cute!! These days, stitch markers are like little accessories for your stitches, they come in all sorts of designs and made from all sorts of materials. Some of course prefer plain plastic rings as they are light and practical. I simple love the colorful beaded ones (not that I use them but they are still very pretty to look at) but that is probably because I love little pretty beads.

I started making them for fun a couple of years back and I even sold a few here and there. There are too many to choose from and you can easily get them from the internet. These are some of the ones I've made. They are just like your jewelry except you don’t get to put them on you! 
Stich Marker

Stich marker example 2


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stained Glass : A Forgotten Art Form

Stained Glass Wonders : A Forgotten Art Form

Image by : Ish Maelo
 Stained glass windows have long been associated with religion, but as we have embraced other forms of art such as oil painting and sculpture, stained glass is still very much inaccessible to the general public.
So why have we not embraced this beautiful craft in other walks of life?

A Religious Upbringing
In Europe, the art of stained glass reached its height between 1150 and 1500 when it was a popular addition to many buildings and, adorned with important religious iconography, it often acted as a focus point for prayer and worship.
In religious based stained glass, inspirational images depict disciples and other important cultural figures. The iconography of light as a binary opposition of evil has helped cement the stained glass window firmly in the culture of many strands of Christianity.
“I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay their foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”
Isaiah 54:11-12
To theologians in the medieval ages, the images of saints amongst others depicted in the windows were brought to life by God’s presence, light itself.
Sainte Chapelle, or the ‘Holy Chapel’ in France was commissioned by King Louis IX of France and houses one of Christianities most important relics, the crown of thorns.  It is fitting that such a beautiful monument encompasses this important symbol of Christianity and shows the stature and cultural significance that stained glass still has in modern religion.

A Tradition and an Art
The process of making stained glass is a complex one, powdered metals are added to molten glass, giving them distinct colouring. This method of adding powdered metals to create colour is also one used in fireworks displays. For example, copper compounds are used to create the colour blue.

Making a Comeback
The Glass Windows of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in the Netherlands are actually constructed from hundreds of screen shots from Dutch television programmes. The pictures have been blended in an abstract style to give its unique aesthetic and it is one of the best examples of modern stained glass design.

Image by: Lauren Manning

A Degree of Respect

Stained-Glass Window Studies at the Swansea Institute was mocked in the Daily Mail, ironically the same newspaper berating students for choosing to go to university instead of taking more practical avenues into employment.
Other arts are regarded as great works of craftsmanship, why is stain glass production anything less than an art form? It’s one we must remember and one that we can treasure by exploring both its past and its future, hopefully in an abundance of new architecture.
We should be celebrating the passing on of an ancient art form from one generation to the next, not mocking it.


Dan Izzard writes articles for Eurocell, who provide an extensive range of windows and composite doors for your home.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top 5 Summer Activities for Children

 Top 5 Summer Activities for Children

Keeping your children active over the summer can be challenging. You still have to work, but they no longer have to go to school and this can cause some issues. They need activities that can keep them busy or at least give you some type of break if they are usually home all day during the summer. There are many activities for children of all ages that can help keep them busy for at least a portion of the summer months.
Your children will benefit greatly if they stay busy during the summer. They will be happier, more active, and can make new friends. Here are five of the best activities your children can enjoy this summer.

Summer Activities :

 1.  Summer Camp
 A great way to get a week to yourself and allow your children to have fun is to send them to summer camp. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts offer summer camp programs, if they are already involved with one of these organizations. You can also find camps from the YMCA, churches, and many other organizations in your area.

summer camp

2.  Sports Leagues
Another great way to keep your children active is signing them up for different sports. Usually you can find baseball, golf, softball, basketball, soccer and even volleyball leagues for your children over the summer. Who knows, they may end up on a team sponsored by CJ Pony Mustang and end up with a really cool uniform shirt.

3.  Fun Summer Classes
Some areas offer summer classes that have very little to do with traditional school. These classes range from cooking classes to outdoor wilderness classes—there is something for every child. They just need to pick something they are interested in. Older kids might even get to work on cars and do things like change the calipers or learn how to do their own oil change.

4.  Day Camps
Another great way to get your kids out of the house and keep them busy is to send them to day camps. Some of these offer different field trips, swimming activities, and more. They can attend a few days a week giving you a little time to yourself, while they have fun enjoying new activities.

5.  Fairs and Carnivals
If you are looking for a summer activity you can enjoy with your children, look for a local fair or carnival to attend. You can find plenty of fun activities for everybody at a carnival or a state fair.
Regardless of what you choose for your children, it is important to get them out of the house and away from the television and video games. They need to stay active and many children would rather be active than lazy anyway. Choose a few good activities for your children and help them find something they will enjoy.


Top 5 Family Fun Night Ideas

 Top 5 Family Fun Night Ideas

 As corny as the name sounds, "Family Fun Nights" are a great way to relax, have fun, and bond with your family! With everyone living such busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to get everyone in the same room at once. With the kids going back and forth from sports practice, violin lessons, and parents working long hours, it can be a tough task to get the entire family together even for dinner. Family fun nights allow you to have everyone together at once, converse, and take a break from your crazy lifestyle. If you're looking for a big get-together, invite grandparents or relatives. If you want to keep it low-key, keep it to just your immediate family, order a pizza, and break out the games! Board games can often become tiresome and take an eternity to finish (Monopoly, anyone?) so it's important to get creative with your game ideas. Below is a list of ideas to have a blast during your next family fun night.

Movie marathon
Get a bunch of movies together and choose a theme such as Westerns, horror films, Star Wars series, or Disney movies, depending everyone's ages and interests! This is a cheap and easy way to guarantee some family fun without the price of a movie theater. Besides avoiding the crowds and prices of a theater, you can laugh out loud and comment on the film. Pop some popcorn and relax!

movie marathon

Arts and crafts
If you have young children, arts and crafts are a great way to stimulate you kids' creativity. Break out the crayons, paint, and glitter (if you're feeling brave) and come up with a fun project idea, such as a bird house or homemade t-shirts. Tye-dye is a fun idea for summer, as long as you have a lighted outdoor area.

family crafting

Trivia Night
Test your knowledge with trivia night! There are fun topics for all ages- whether you want to test general miscellaneous knowledge or find out who knows the most about Harry Potter. For an even better experience, try using a dry erase prize wheel, and give out mini prizes to the winner of each round!

Baking Competition
Bring out your family's competitive side and hold a baking competition! Find out who makes the best chocolate chip cookies or banana bread. This can get messy, so make sure to save time to clean up.

Reading Night
If you have small children, you understand the importance of reading at a young age. Pick a favorite book or compilation of short stories and take turns reading it to the family. You can get creative and really "get into character" to make it an entertaining and exciting experience!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Starting To Work With Pandora Beads

Calling Pandora beads 'beads' is sometimes misleading. Pandora are an extensive range of collectable charms, like the popular charm bracelets of the last century, but with a classy modern twist. There are literally 1000's to choose from. Some are limited editions, some are commemorative, some support charities. All are designed to help the wearer capture their special moments and turn them into two-tone, sterling silver or 14k gold jewelry. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of Pandora beads go to charity.

Pandora bracelet

Working with Pandora charms is easy, fun, and creative. The hardest part is deciding how you will capture your memories and arrange them. Charms come in all shapes and with a cross-section of price tags from.

Authentic Pandora beads have a a thread inside each charm, with the exception of the fixed beads/clips and the spacers. Pandora bracelets have a screw thread on each end, so all genuine Pandora charms simply screw onto the bracelet utilizing the exclusive thread system. The bracelets have 4 threads. Two in the centre and one at either end. If it doesn't have the thread, it's not Pandora, and we suggest that only authentic Pandora charms are used with the Pandora bracelet system. Each bracelet section holds around 5 charms, though charms come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes weaning you can sometimes fit more or less.

There's some creative variety in you choice of arrangement and overall type. Pandora sells two types of bracelets, those with the 'barrel' clasp and those with the 'lobster' clasp. In addition to the 'bead-like' charms, there are also 'dangling charms'. Coming in a variety of cameos, gold drops, pearls, two-tone's with silver threaders, birth stones, etc. 'Clips' are used to space the charms, both to help arrange charms symmetrically and to prevent the bracelet from stretching by balancing out the weight. 'Spacers' are utilized to pack out any empty spaces on the bracelet where there's no space for a standard sized charm. 'Safety chains' are also popular, allowing you to add a chain to the end of your bracelet that will hold it on your wrist as you open and close it, to avoid any accidents.

Charms, in all their forms, are very collectable. Pandora makes limited addition pieces and regularly stops production of one charm in order to make way for a new range or to commemorate a new event. If there's a charm you are fond of and you hear it's being retired, it's a good idea to grab it while you can (or perhaps mention it 'subtly' if you have a birthday coming up). While there are shops online, Pandora is also available in many retail outlets world wide, and you will often find 'country specific' ranges in these stores. For example, the Pink Enamel Heart dangle is a UK only exclusive to match a similar pink bead charm that was retired the year before, and the 2012 Olympic Medal is one of the Best of British collection released this year to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic games.

pandora beads

Whether you complete one Pandora bracelet, or many, it's a beautiful, timeless, and personal way to capture memories. A string of moments from special times, guaranteed to make you smile for decades to come. Have fun, get creative, and start your collection slowly. Making sure each charm has a memory behind it - perhaps chronicling the birth of a child, your marriage, a year in another country, or your daughters years at university - it's the perfect way to create a treasured piece of jewelry that will stay in your family forever.

Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY Vintage Photo Frame

 DIY Vintage Photo Frame

 Looking for a gift for your dad this father’s day? Did you forget to buy your mom a gift for mother’s day? Or maybe you want to be a June Bride and you’re looking for a good centerpiece for your tables for the coming wedding? You should take a look at this wonderful centerpiece idea that can either be a memorable fit that would almost last forever, or just a self-reminder of memorable experiences that you had with a certain someone. 
This “Instructographic” will teach you how to make a vintage photo frame using Mason Jars. It’s a wonderful addition to your rustic collectibles, or your vintage-themed wedding. 
The best part about this is that you can make them yourself; using any kind of photo and flower you want. Be it a message to your loved ones or a memorable photo of you or a friend. For more details about how to make this gift, do read on!
Source: JafGifts.com

Make Your Own Beautiful Vintage Photo Frame

Friday, June 22, 2012

Facts About Birthstones

Learn interesting details about Birthstones

Are you looking for alternatives to your typical diamond as your engagement ring? Why not go for each other’s birthstones? Birthstones are traditional gems that specify someone’s personality, depending on which month he or she was born.  For example, garnet is the birthstone for January, while babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone. Aside from telling someone’s personality based on these stones, birthstones are also involved in different myths and legends, about how they were formed and how can they heal someone; each stone having its own unique healing properties that no other gems have. If you want to find out more about these amazing birthstones, Brilliance.com made a wonderful infographic, describing each of these gems, together with the personality they symbolize. Hopefully, this can help you find a good alternative to your diamond engagement ring – either that or convince you to get a diamond anyways, since it’s also a birthstone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yarn Makes Me Happy

From Grandparents to Glam-parents

Whether you're retired, or heading into retirement age, you probably don't actually feel all that different from years before. You're probably thinking you're not ready for the knitting circle just yet, but you'd be surprised.

There's no 'proper' age to take up knitting, and even if you do, you don't need to be limited to drab cardies and shapeless hats. There's a massive choice of yarns out there to choose from, from chunky to soft yarns, as well as bright pastel shades and vivid colours.

If you think knitting makes you elderly, think again. You could create wonderful clothes, accessories and even toys for the grandchildren that are as bright and vital as you are!


Treat Yourself to a Knitted Makeover

Even if you're not used to knitting, or are incredibly rusty, you can follow a few online knitting lessons and techniques on sites like YouTube. These are incredibly handy as they show you how your knitting should look as you go, which is a lot tougher to describe in books. Most people start with simple things like scarves, as you can really develop your technique. When you get a bit more confident, you can start to work on other projects. Remember, there's no hurry. Just take your time; knitting is supposed to be a relaxing hobby!
As you learn, you can make some fabulous garments. To do this, it's good to know the different kind of yarns out there. As you get to know wool yarn for knitting and crochet, you'll realise there are lots of variations. Saying this, here are a few different kinds that you'll come across when starting your new project.

Natural Yarns

The most common natural fibre yarn is from wool. Wool is perhaps the most popular yarn for making clothes, which is mainly due to its affordability and the varieties of colour it's available in.

Synthetic Yarns

It's incredible how synthetic fibres have developed over the years, offering a cheaper alternative to natural materials. There are a wide range of thicknesses among synthetic yarns, of which acrylic is the most common. If you're just starting out, it's worth choosing inexpensive synthetic yarns as this gives you the opportunity to practice without spending too much on natural yarns.

Yarn Blends

There are many yarns that offer a blend of different fibres. This creates more flexibility, allowing for a wider range of projects that need different requirements. Yarn blends can include a mixture of natural, natural and synthetic, and synthetic yarns. For example, cashmerino is a cashmere/merino blend. You can also get wool and acrylic blends.
Hopefully, this has given you a bit of a background to creating your own exciting new projects!
For a wonderful selection of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarns, head over to Pack Lane Wool's online store.

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