Archive for the ‘Arts And Crafts’ Category

By Ralph Serpe

Learning any new form of art is always a challenge, and as a beginner, I am certain you have many questions about drawing. We all need a helping hand when just starting out, so I put together this list of handy tips to help you on your way to becoming a better artist.. I hope you enjoy!

1 – If at all possible, always draw from life and not photographs.

2 – When drawing, less is sometimes better. Do not attempt to draw every line and detail that you see or you will give your viewer too much information to absorb.

3 – Do not try and get all of the information in your drawing completed at one sitting. Drawing is a process. Layout the general idea of your drawing and then slowly add in your details.

4 – Do not be overly judgmental about your drawing before it is completed. This may cause you to become discouraged and give up.

5 – Do not take on subjects that are too complicated at first. This will certainly cause you to become discouraged if the drawing isn’t as good as you expected it to be. Start with simple subjects that you know you can complete and then progress to more complicated ones.

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6 – Forget everything you already know about a particular subject before you start drawing it. Draw what you see in front of you and not what you know already about that subject.

7 – Make sure you have excellent lighting. Nothing is more frustrating to an artist than poor lighting. If you can’t see you can’t draw. If you do not have a well lit room with natural sunlight to work in, then check your local art supply store or search online for full spectrum lighting products that mimic natural sunlight.

8 – Get yourself a pad of newsprint paper. Its very cheap and great for practice and doing preliminary sketches.

9 – Keep your pencils sharp. There are drawing techniques that require a blunt pencil point , but for the most part, you should keep your pencil points sharpened.

10 – Vary the weight of your lines. Use a variety of different lines in your drawing by pressing harder or by lifting your pencil. This may seem like an obvious thing, but when an artist becomes deeply focused in a drawing, they can sometimes forget to use this simple technique.

11- Keep a sketchbook with you wherever you go. Whenever you have a free moment, practice your drawing. It doesn’t matter if the subject is a light post, an insect or a garbage pail. The more often you draw, the more observant you will become.

12 – Do not over use smudging and blending techniques to achieve values in your drawings.

13 – Never throw out any of your drawings. Keep a neat portfolio of everything you draw. This is an excellent way to see your progress over time.

14 – Avoid looking at your drawing too often. Make sure you are constantly focusing on the subject and only glancing at your drawing. By doing so, you won’t constantly judge your drawing, or think something is wrong or out of place. Focus on the subject and draw what you see.

15 – How to hold your drawing instrument – Hold your pencil in a way that is most comfortable for you. Some hold the pencil just as you would hold a pen or pencil if you were writing. Others hold a pencil with the pencil between the thumb and index finger, with the rest of the pencil resting under the palm of your hand. Whichever method you use for holding your pencil, make certain that you do not hold the pencil too tightly.

16 – Practice the contour drawing technique – This very basic technique is simply drawing the outline of your subject without any shading to indicate form.

17 – Practice the hatching technique – This drawing technique uses a series of parallel lines drawn close together, in the same direction, which gives the appearance of value.

18 – Practice tonal or value drawing – In this approach to drawing we are indicating the various changes of light and shade in our picture without the use of strong edges and lines.

19 – Practice the blind contour drawing technique – Similar to contour drawing, only you do not look at the paper. The point of this exercise is to force you to better observe what it is you are drawing. You should have no concern over the outcome of your drawing so it is important not to peek.

20 – Practice the upside down drawing technique – Drawing upside down is a wonderful exercise to awaken the right side of your brain. When you turn an image upside down, you are making it somewhat abstract and unrecognizable. This forces you to draw what you see as opposed to relying on your memory to draw something.

About the Author: Ralph Serpe is an artist and webmaster of two fantastic websites for beginner artists. Follow the links that follow for more information:


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By Ron Peterson

The precious metal of gold has fascinated humans for thousands of years. But how do we actually get it out of the ground? Let’s take a look at the most common ways to mine gold.

There are two main gold mining methods, one is called ‘placer” and the other is ‘vein” mining. And another type of mining is when gold is collected as a by-product in the mining of other metals.

Placer Mining

Placer mining is practiced when the metal is found in unconsolidated deposits of sand and gravel from which the gold can be easily separated because of its high density. The sand and gravel suspended in moving water. Much heavier metal sinks to bottom and is separated by hand.

The simplest method of placer mining is panning. Here the miner swirls the mixture in a pan rapidly enough to carry the water and most of the gravel and sand over the edge while the gold remains on bottom. This was the classic method used by the Forty-Niners during the California gold rush of 1849 and has been immortalized in story, art, and song.

A more efficient form of placer mining uses a sluice box, a U-shaped trough with a gentle slope and transverse bars firmly attached to the trough bottom.

The bars — extending from side to side — catch the heaviest particles and prevent them from washing down the slope.

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Sand and gravel are placed in the high end, the gate to a water supply is opened, and the lighter material is washed through the sluice box and out the lower end. The materials are caught behind the bars and are gleaned to recover gold.

Another variation of placer mining is called hydraulic mining. A very strong stream of water is directed at natural sand and gravel banks washing away the lighter materials. The suspended materials treated as if they were in giant sluice box.

Currently the most important placer technique is dredging. A huge shovel of several cubic meters capacity lifts the unconsolidated sand and gravel from soil and mud and the placer process starts.

Vein Mining

Vein, or lode mining is the most important of gold recovery methods. Each ounce of gold recovered requires the processing of about 100,000 ounces of ore. Much gold is deposited in rock veins and this method accounts for more than half world’s total gold production. Gold in veins may be of microscopic particle size, in nuggets or sheets, or in gold compounds. The ore requires extensive extraction and refining.

One-third of all gold is produced as a by-product of copper, lead, and zinc production. Copper must be electrolytically refined to raise its purity from 99% to the more than 99.99% that is required for many industrial purposes.

In the refining process an anode of impure copper is electrolyzed in a bath in which the cathode is a very thin sheet of highly refined copper. This process

creates anode sludge which contains gold in quantities sufficient to make its recovery profitable. One-third of all gold is obtained from such by-products.

Silver and platinum are also recovered from the copper anode sludge in quantities large enough to more than pay for the total refining process.

Extraction, Refining and Uses of Gold

Ore from the gold mine is first crushed in rod or ball mills. This process reduces the ore to a powdery substance. The gold is then extracted by amalgamation with mercury or by placer procedures. Approx. 70% is recovered at this point.

The remainder is then dissolved in dilute solutions of sodium cyanide or calcium cyanide. The addition of metallic zinc to these solutions causes metallic gold to precipitate. This precipitate is refined by smelting and the purification is completed by electrolysis. The sludge produced in this process will also contain commercial quantities of silver, platinum, osmium, and other rare-earth metals.

Gold is one of the first two or three metals, along with copper and silver that was used by humans in these metals’ elemental states. Because of its poor chemical reactivity it was found uncombined and required no knowledge of refining. Gold was used in decorative arts before 9000 BC. And civilizations prized gold for its beauty.

A principal use of gold today is as a currency reserve. For centuries gold was used directly as currency along with silver. During the 19th century, gold assumed the role as the sole basis of the currencies of most nations. Paper money was directly convertible into gold.

World War I, however, disrupted the ‘gold-standard” system. The original gold standard was gradually abandoned. The United States stopped minting gold coinage in 1934 and the dollar eventually emerged as the principal unit of international monetary transactions.

Since the 1970s, gold has been bought and sold on the world market, with widely fluctuating prices. Today gold reserves maintain only a very indirect relationship with currency values. However, as gold has declined as a currency reserve, its use in industrial processes has risen. On top of this, its beauty and workability continue to give gold an important role in the world’s jewelry industry.

About the Author: Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of

Pandora Jewelry

. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.


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Moms Need Me Time

March 13, 2018

By Jennifer Houck

Moms are so busy with being a mom; they forget to take out time for themselves. Rest and Relaxation are two things for sure a mom needs to make sure they put into their daily schedule. This not only rejuvenates a mom, but also makes for a saner mom.

You know for yourself, if a mom is angry, upset, or tired, then the whole house is all in frenzy. Moms are for the most part in charge of making the house go smooth. We are either changing diapers, cooking meals, helping with homework, or spending mommy and me time with our children.

We are all about everyone else, so we must make sure to be all about us for at least 30 minutes a day.

What techniques can I do to help me give some me time?

1) Go in a quiet room and read a book or magazine.

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2) Late evening, take a quiet walk in your subdivision or neighborhood.

3) Relax in your bathtub with bubble bath and votive candles lit all around the bathtub or Jacuzzi tub.

4) Work on a hobby like sewing or scrap booking.

5) Go shopping for yourself or get a manicure/pedicure.

6) Sit out on your porch swing and just collect your thoughts for the day.

7) Watch a favorite sitcom or movie on TV after the kids go to bed.

8) Call up a friend and have a nice adult conversation without kids interrupting you.

9) Write in a journal to get thoughts off your mind and clear your head for the next day.

10) Divulge in your favorite food and not feel guilty about it.

These are just some ideas to get you started on making it routine to take out some time for yourself each and everyday. You will realize how less stressful each day is. Also you are doing something for yourself and not for everybody else.

About the Author: For more ideas and help on being a mom, visit

today. You will find great articles, tips and more.


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Large Wall Art Decor Ideas

February 24, 2018

By Alyssa Davis

A room’s, house’s, or office’s interior wall is actually like a blank piece of canvas. Put some artwork on it, and you can add character and details to any place in the house.

There are many ideas on how to creatively decorate your walls. Here are some of them.

1. Pictures

This is a traditional but time-tested way of decorating. Simply hang framed photos on the wall. Photos can be anything-family members and loved ones, memorable places where you went, or themed and carefully composed pictures of a certain subject. It is best if these pictures were blown up, or enlarged. It would probably be good if you keep the frame uniform; if you used a gold-leaf frame on a certain picture, all other pictures should use the same frame. Doing this effectively omits a look of chaos.

2. Paintings

This is another classical decoration. You can do either of two things: hang a large painting, or hang smaller multiple paintings. The two main criteria for selecting paintings are size and color. The painting should be too large that it will overwhelm the wall, nor to small to be lost in all other items.

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Paintings should be hung in a way so that its center is at eye level. When choosing a painting for a large wall art dcor, choose a bold color in your room or house and choose artwork that has that color in it. If you want muted colors, you may choose a black-and-white art with a light-colored mat or neutral colored frame.

Style should be consistent. For example, if your house or room is filled with antiques, the painting you choose may have antique-style frames.

3. Sculptures

Two-dimensional sculptures are also great for wall decors. Another idea is to surround a larger sculpture or painting with smaller ones. A good way of organizing such is to draw an imaginary rectangle and the part of the wall you want to focus on. Then fill that rectangle with a grouping of related art, in this case, sculptures.

4. Carpet and rugs

Beautifully designed carpets such as Persian rugs can be used as wall decors. Just make sure that it coincides with the theme of your room since these kinds of rugs usually have overwhelming designs. Please note that most Persian rugs are large and can dominate entire walls.

5. Unconventional materials

Do not limit yourself to paintings, photographs, and other classical art. You can use other materials. For example, an old wooden box can be repaired and hanged as a curio cabinet and a wall dcor at the same time. Wooden blocks can be used as candle stands. A piece of weathered driftwood can be used to accent a wall. The possibilities are endless.

6. Wallpaper

Don’t forget this simple large wall art dcor. Wallpapers can really define the atmosphere of a room. You can choose between plain colored ones for a simplistic design or a patterned one to establish a theme. There are endless styles available in home improvement shops

7. Lights

An artful display of lights is a contemporary wall dcor art. Spotlights suspended on the ceiling project beams on the wall. Carefully arranged, the beams can form patterns, lines, and spots that are as effective as any painting. Spotlights can also be used to highlight particular pieces of artwork.

About the Author: Article author Alyssa Davis is the contemporary design consultant and senior staff writer for Visit the store for a distinctive

candle wall sconce


wall art sculpture



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Super Glue Vs Miracle Glue}

September 29, 2017

Submitted by: Martin Jones

For the last half century or so the conventional wisdom for gluing something together when you really needed it glued now was to go out and buy a small tube of superglue.

Super glue or Krazy glue have been used for repairing a thousand different things – From broken toys, to fingernails, to skin.

But it has had its problems. Ive heard just about every complaint out there about superglue or krazy glue. Often, it just doesnt work or, the biggest complaint seems to be that when you are ready to use it there is nothing to use it has dried up. My unsubstantiated theory is that is why the containers have gotten smaller over the years. One never gets more than one use out of a tube of super glue because the cap glues shut and you cant get at the rest of it. So, the manufacturers have now made the tubes a one shot deal.

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Approximately ten years ago another product hit the market on this side of the Atlantic – an industrial version of this type of glue that has been marketed mainly through trade shows and events. The main ones available are Miracle Glue, The Last Glue, Pasco Fix and Lighting Bond. You can invariably find these glues being demonstrated at Home Shows and Boat Shows around the country. Most can now be found more easily on the internet.

Technically, the difference is this: The base of all of these adhesives is something called cyanoacrylate. If you move in the hobby circles, it is commonly referred to as CA. The latter, newer glues are far superior. The main difference is in the distillation process the number of times the product is distilled. Super Glue and Krazy Glue can be considered your raw form. They are your crude oil. The newer products: Miracle Glue, The Last Glue and the others are the refined oil. They are distilled several times. The solvents are distilled out. Solvents make super glue dry out too quickly and get brittle and discolor once cured.

In application here are some of the differences. The newer glues come in larger bottles which generally last much longer a year or two if kept refrigerated or in the freezer. You can get literally hundreds of uses if you take care of a bottle. Because there are no solvents, they will not dry out quickly when exposed to the air. If you forget to put the lid back on for even a couple of hours it isnt a problem as long as you dont knock it over. They bond extremely quickly depending on the material being adhered. And for the most part once glued the item will stay glued. The better ones dry both clear and flexible. For all the fishermen out there you can mend your waders with these types of glue as well. Because there are no solvents, you wont melt the neoprene. Super glue or krazy glue will eat a nasty hole right through your waders or wetsuit.

So, the next time your are visiting a Home Show, Boat Show and sometimes the state fair, have a look for the person demonstrating the miracle glue. Quite a show! You will be impressed, Im sure.

About the Author: Martin Jones has filled the

Miracle Glue

website with useful uses of Miracle Glue.


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