Saturday, June 30, 2007

Red Hat, Pink Hats, Fedoras - How are they manufactured?

While the hat is a familiar article of apparel, most of us don't know how they're made. The construction of a hat depends on what kind of hat it is. For instance, some hats are made as a generic blank, then blocked into shape with heat and steam. Others are sewn out of oddly shape pieces of material that look little like the hat they are going to become.

Straw and felt hats are among those that are blocked. In industrial uses, this is done with a large machine that can block many hats at once. Prior to the invention of blocking machines, this was done by hand on a metal pan. The brim and crown may be done using two different forms, depending on the style of hat to be made.

Because steaming the hat is what allows it to take its shape, there are several different kinds of hats that all start out looking the same. Bowlers, fedoras, and other kinds of felt hats are created as a shaped felt blank. Then, they are placed onto the hat block and any shaping or creases that are desired are put in. The brim is then trimmed to the desired shape, and the hat is finished. Straw hats are created in much the same way.

Straw hats are often coated in a stiffener or protective varnish. Felt hats may also contain sizing to stiffen them. All these agents except varnish are designed to dissolve when exposed to heat and water, so that the hat can be reblocked by a professional if needed. Finishing off blocked hats involves attaching a brim wire if one is necessary to the style, and adding a sweatband and any decorative bindings that are appropriate.

Other styles of hats, such as baseball caps, are both sewn and shaped. The individual pieces of the hat are cut from fabric, which may be treated with a stiffener, then machine sewn together. If the brim or crown requires shaping, this process is often done after the hat is assembled, unless it would harm the hat. The hat may then be finished like any other hat, including hemming and adding a hatband.

By the time a hat gets to the store, it has been through a number of complicated processes. Making a hat is almost more like sculpting than conventional garment making, because of its three dimensional nature. Now that you know a little bit about what goes into the process of making a hat, you'll be able to better appreciate wearing one.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How To Keep Sports Cards In Top Condition

Collecting basketball cards can be fun but can be difficult. When you collect basketball cards, you can collect your favorite players and much more. However, getting the card is only half the trouble. If you do pull the card of your wanting, you will still have the trouble of seeing whether the card will be in good condition or not. Card grades and conditioning is very important because people only want the best. Having a card of someone good if nothing if the card is not in good condition. When collecting you should control what you can, how good the card stays in it's current condition.

When keeping your cards, be sure to:

1) Open the pack carefully: When you open the pack of cards, you can possibly damage the cards inside by the way you hold it and by how you place the cards. You can do this correctly by holding the pack of cards with two hands and by clearing space to place your cards. YOu should hold the card near the sides, but not on the corner.

2) Placement: When you have your cards in your hand, you have to put the cards in a safe location. You can do this by buying a container, closet or safe which can prevent people from going through them, prevent water and much more. You should also place the cards in small piles so that not too much pressure is placed on one card.

3) Protect: When you pull a card that you think is valuable or you want to save in top condition, you have to keep the card in a holder. You can place the card in a sleeve, which is a thin sheet that is shaped for the card to be placed in. This protects the card a little but not from hard and heavy material. Next, you should place the card in a holder that is harder and can also contain the card and the sleeve that is protecting it. Next you should then place the things by order. You should place cards of the same set together, place rookie cards together, holders and more so that the same things can support one another. If you have a valuable card that you want to showcase to others, you should then place the card in a snappie, which is a very harder glass container that holds that card so that it is crystal clear. You can also use identifications, such as tags and stickors that will help you identify where a particular card is.

4) Organize: When you have a lot of cards, you may want to buy small plastic boxes that you can order and place things together. This way cards are separated and are not messy. You will be able to manage your cards better and look at them when you want to. You can also place cards in small plastic bags, zip lock bags that can effectively hold the card.

5) Don't be haste: When you protect your cards, remember that you should not be too quick but to be careful when handling everything.

6) Clean: At times, you may want to clean off dirt and more than fall onto your cards over the course of time.

7) Fix: If you are able to, you can fix up your card only to a slight degree. You can reshape the corners a little if they are dented, you can wipe away an autograph mark that is stray. However, when you are doing this, you run the chance of further damaging your card. To further answer this, when you make a decision about whether or not you want to fix up your card, you must think about the risks.

Collecting card is something that is fun, interactive and interesting but isn't if we let our collections go to waste. We have to make the needed preparations to keep our collection a thing to look at.

Monday, June 25, 2007

British Silver - Restoration 1660 - 1697

The Protectorate headed by Cromwell broke down in 1659 and it was decided to restore the monarchy. Charles II came to the throne in 1600. This is where the term Restoration originates in regard to British history.

At this time London was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe and also a major port. Traders and manufacturers were extending their activities in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Foreign visitors and returning exiles brought new ideas to England.

The monarchy set themselves a luxurious lifestyle that was copied by other nobles and wealthy families. The resulting huge demand on production of silverware began to impact on the supply of silver for the mint and some unscrupulous people practiced coin clipping, to provide a supply of silver for other items.

The lighter gauges of silver still used continue to be embossed with designs derived from the Netherlands. Floral motifs were very popular amid scrolled and spiraling foliage. Occasionally animals were included in the design.

The baroque style from Europe is evident for a short period, it had virtually disappeared from England by 1670, and this consisted of lobular scroll of indefinite form and the appearance of grotesque masks of human and animal form.

Many Huguenot goldsmiths came to England in this period and they had an influence on the designs of the day. We see the chinoiserie style, influenced from the Orient; we also see simplicity in tankards, tumblers, cups and spoons and in the silverware for churches.

Two handled cups and covers continue to be popular. The caudle cup is gourd shaped, beaten from thin metal and embossed with floral styles. It has a domed cover and small horizontal flange. The handles are cast in various shapes.

The porringer is a more substantial cup with an almost flat bottom that is supported on a shallow moulded base. Covers tend to be stepped and slightly domed with a finial in the form of a baluster; some covers can be found with three cast feet that enables it to be inverted for use as a salver.

Wine cups are being replaced by crystal glasses but were still produced in silver. Beakers were also made along with single handled mugs. Tumbler cups, produced from a single piece of metal, beaten so that the base is heavy and returns the tumbler to the upright position were also popular.

Tankards continue to be popular with the most common holding a quart measure; many are quite plain in design.

Monteiths appear, these being a large variety of punch bowl with a scalloped edge from which glasses can be hung by their base.

The world of trade introduces tea, coffee and chocolate, leading to the production of vessels specifically designed for these products.

The first teapot resembled the coffee pots of today, being a tall tapering cylinder with a conical cover. Tea was mainly made in porcelain teapots and these could be purchased on most London streets by 1669. The first traditional melon shaped silver teapot with wooden handle appeared between 1669 and 1679 and was made by Charles Shelley.

Coffee pots and chocolate pots appeared, similar to each other in design, the chocolate pot being smaller and having a second smaller cover on top of the principal cover.

Ewers and basins were made but more for decoration since the fork had now been introduced to England and this reduced the need to wash ones hands at the table.

Three pronged forks were produced and cutlery sets were made for travelers, these being smaller than the table version and consisting of a knife, fork and spoon in a small case.

Candlesticks, snuffers, taper sticks and wall sconces can also be found from this period.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How To Make A Diaper Wreath - 5 Easy Steps - Pictures Available

Follow these diaper wreath instructions and enjoy making your own baby diaper wreath. Pictures available below.

How to make a diaper wreath Step 1.

Let's go Shopping. You will need the following to make your baby diaper wreath.

  • A foam wreath base. Available from craft stores or a florist. A good sized diaper wreath base is around 12 inches (30cm)
  • About 12 - 16 baby diapers. Small if you want a flatter look. Large baby diapers for a fuller fluffier look. Clean of course :-) Note that small is more useful for mum later.
  • Around 10 baby items. A great idea is to use items that mum can use afterwards. Here are some ideas.
  • Bottle brush




    Pilchers or Bloomers

    Bar of chocolate for mum


    Dummies, Pacifier

    First toy

    Teething ring

  • Double sided sticky tape to help hold things in place.
  • Curling ribbon. Remember to get appropriate colours. This will tone the wreath so you may want to get artistic here. Craft and $2 stores normally stock mountains of curling ribbon.
  • About 16 strong clear rubber bands. Available from the post office or any stationary department.

How to make a diaper wreath Step 2.

Layout all the items mentioned above to create your diaper wreath.The dining table minus the children is a great place to start.

How to make a diaper wreath Step 3.

Place the ring down flat on the table.

Open a diaper up a little and with the front ( the bit that goes on bub's tummy) facing up, slide it like a clothes peg from the inside of the wreath over the wreath with the top on top and the bottom (bum bit) going under the wreath.

I recommend using a rubber band to now put around the diaper on the outside of the wreath. Some people will cut ribbon and use it, but a band will be more secure.

OK. Got the idea, now continue around the wreath and adjust after all the diapers are on your diaper wreath so that no wreath bit's are showing.

Now cut the same amount of 12 inch (30cm) ribbon as the diapers that you have used and tie them around where the rubber bands are. Curl the ends.

How to make a diaper wreath Step 4.

Now is the time to get all those cute baby items out.

Lay them loosely on the outside of the diaper wreath where the diaper is tied together with the rubber band and ribbon.

Try a few different combinations to get the best colour effect. You can use the double sided tape to help hold them in place as you tie them onto the diaper wreath. You only need to loop the ribbon through the rubber band and then tie over the baby item. Tie the ends off in a bow and curl.

Continue to tie all the items onto the diaper wreath.

How to make a diaper wreath Step 5.

Depending on the look that you want to achieve, you may now want to loop extra ribbon around the diaper wreath itself to add extra colour.

Congratulations- Your first diaper wreath

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Woodworking Made Easier With 3D CAD

I remember trying to build my first wood project, using an old hand drawn plan and trying to figure out exactly how I was going to make this thing. The plan itself was ok, not great but ok. Some of the views were hard to follow, some of the details difficult to read. I took my time and would have to admit the project turned out great, I even impressed my self. I still have that entertainment center in my basement.

Today most woodworking plans are created in some sort of 3D CAD system. You'll see these plans in woodworking magazines, plans that you buy from a woodworkers store, online or anywhere else you might buy your plans from. Since the birth of using 3D CAD systems to generate plans the details and views in plans have most certainly gotten better, much better, while I'll even go as far as saying almost perfect! Still there are some plans where the views are a little hard to decipher and some things are left for you to figure out. Sure there usually is step-by-step instructions which do help, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what do you think the actual 3D model the plan was designed from worth? A 3D model can be rotated and viewed from any angle, you can zoom in to any spot, you can hide any component to get a better look or to take a look inside you can measure anything you want to. It's as close to having the project completely built without actually having the project completed or even started.

Having access to the 3D model is a godsend for any woodworker, no more do you have to just look at hard to follow detail views or one page plans with notes and arrows going every direction, you can simple sit down at your computer look at the finished project any way you want to and determine the best possible way to complete the project. is the answer to your prayers guys. You can stop by and download there free plans and try it out. Any plan that you either download for free or purchase comes with a pdf document that you can print on your home printer that serves as a step-by-step how-to build the project with detail views, full scale templates, cut lists, tips and tricks to make the project easier, tons of 3D views and oh yah; you also get the original 3D model and FREE viewer! How can woodworking be any easier? I guess if I built your project that would be easier.

Make sure you stop by and at least download your free plans and see just how easy woodworking can actually be.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Playing God - Landscaping Your Model Railroad Layout

One of the more fun aspects of model railroading is planning and executing the scenery and landscaping that your track and engines will meander through – for some it is almost like playing God in that you can decide and create on any scene you desire.

From fanciful hobbit themes, alien worlds or realistic recreations there is nothing that you cannot create and display, all it takes is a plan, some materials, a little skill and some time.

First and foremost you need a plan or at least a concept.

- Do you want to duplicate an existing landscape?

- Do you want a faithful historical recreation of a place now lost in time?

- Are you more inclined to creating a never-before seen or unlikely scenario to wow the masses?

Making a choice on one theme for your layout and staying true to that theme is perhaps the most important keys to success. If you change your methods and style in the middle of your landscape the result will be inconsistencies that will detract from the overall impression you are trying to form.

Ideally those you invite to view your work will see a delightful scene and the harder they look the more detail enforcing that scene they will find. Nothing is more enjoyable then hearing those delighted squeals as a viewer notices ever more subtle details as they come closer and closer … and the key to that is consistency.

Once you have a plan for the theme you need to decide on track placement and terrain. Many modelers create the terrain and then try to force the track to follow through that, just as occurs in real life – but one of the advantages of modeling vs. real life is that you can consider all aspects and requirements up front. If you know you will have a bend or a switch at certain points why design rough terrain that you will then try to overcome with 'grading' in your models at those points?

Next you should collect your materials – some items you can find around the house, others you may wish to purchase from dealers such as and or your local hobby shop but always stay true to your plan. Just because you find an amazing little miniature you long to use doesn't mean it belongs in this model! Common materials you will need include:

1. Tables or Stands

2. Plywood (preferably ¾" outdoor grade) for base if using stands

3. Glues

4. Twigs, 'dirt' gravel, crushed or powdered stones, herbs etc. for plants and groundcover

5. Paints of various kinds for touch-up, covering the base and backgrounds etc.

6. Poster board, wax paper, aluminum foil, tissues etc. for texturing and shaping

7. Styrofoam blocks and sheets for shaping

Optional items you may wish to use include:

8. Plaster of Paris and / or fiberglass

9. Talcum powder, pepper and salt, cayenne pepper – for texturing and colorants

10. Corkboard and cork 'paper'

11. Roof repair tar (for road surfaces etc.)

12. Paintable caulks and adhesives for securing items in place

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What are Proof Coins?

In coin collecting, the "proof coin" is a type of coin that is often sought out by collectors. They are specially created coins with higher standards and finish. The qualities are quite different than the typical circulated coin because of their reflective characteristics and construction.

So what makes a proof coin so different? A newly minted coin may not be circulated to the public, but that doesn't necessarily make the coin a proof coin. To really understand the difference, you'd want understand how the coin is made.

Proof coin construction is unlike circulated coins. The coin is forged when two dies strike and collide with the metal. The two dies have the front and back sides of the coin engraved with the coin design. Moreover, the coin is struck twice giving the design a finer detail than other coins. By striking twice, the metal is embedded more into the template of the die and allows finer lines and shapes.

The proof coin is also unique by the polish and treated die, which gives it a different appearance compared to circulated coins. The dies are applied with acid and the background of the die is polished. This gives the coin a mirror-like feel for the background and a frosted look for the other parts of the coin design.

Proof coins also have a notable distinction. The coins will typically have a letter, a mintmark, near the year embedded on the coin. The letter provides the location of where the coin was minted. Common places include P for Philadelphia or D for Denver.

In coin collecting, the grading of proofs is based on "PR" or "PF". This is not too different from the grading of other non-circulated coins. The grade could be anywhere from PR60 to PR70, where PR70 would be perfect. If the grade is lower than PR70, the grade is less perfect as it gets lower. Sometimes the grade may fall below PR60 if the coin was mishandled during the manufacturing process.

There is a variant of the proof coin called "reverse proof". Reverse proof coins are very similar to the proof coin. However the big difference is that the field (the empty space) has a frosty-like characteristic, almost like tarnished metal. The raised devices (raised images) have a mirror-like quality. It's commonly thought that only one side of the coin has the reverse proof characteristics—because the word "reverse" is often associated with the reserve side of the coin. But both sides have the reserve-proof characteristics.

Another variant of the proof are the prestige proof coins. These coins were the commemorative pieces during the 1990s, like the popular state quarter sets.

The coins do not come cheap. Depending on the year or collection, proof coins can set you back from a few bucks to thousands of dollars. It's important to assess the coin's value by consulting a professional coin collector or appraiser.

For coin collecting, proof coins should be valuable pieces in any collection. Proof coins are constructed with more precision, better materials and finer instruments. All of these provide coin collecting a trophy piece for any collector.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ugg Boots

The Ugg Boot is a generic term for a style of boot, constructed of sheepskin, with the wool as the inner lining and a tanned outer surface. The terms ugg boots, ugh boots and ug boots have been used interchangeably in Australia as a generic term for sheepskin boots for generations. In the 1960s Australian surfers would put on ugg boots to warm their feet after coming in from riding the waves, and people in Australia would often wear ugg boots around the house during the mild winters.

Ugg Boots Popularity

Their popularity increased as a result of World War I and World War II, when sheepskin boots were popular with aviators, because of their need to keep warm in non-pressurised planes at high altitudes. Ugg boots have also been popular with surfers and competitive swimmers since at least the 1960s, for keeping warm while out of the water. Most Australians only wear ugg boots around the house, or on trips no further than local shops. One of the more popular ways to wear them is to wear the boot over the bottom of the pant leg, although you can also see people wear the boots with the bottom of the pant leg fitting over the boot.

Due to USA trademark laws, many companies selling into the USA now market these boots as Sheepskin Boots. It is recommended that you find the manufacturer-recommended products for protecting your boots, as alternative products could damage them. Made only from the finest Australian Merino wool, Ugg boots are comfortable, good for your foot health and highly beneficial for your well-being. You can keep your feet happy because we take such pride that all our sheepskin footwear, including kid's, women's and men's boots and moccasins are manufactured solely in Australia from 100% sheepskin hides.

The Genuine Merino fleece used for our classic short and tall ugg boots always feels wonderfully soft to the bare skin and can be worn without socks or stockings even in the coldest situations.

Ugg Boots History of Australia

They evolved in Australia as a type of slipper for cold weather use and are also known as ugh boots and ug boots. In Australia, sheepskin boots have long been popular with people in rural occupations, who have ready access to the raw materials, such as sheep shearers. Ugg boots saw a huge increase in popularity in 2003, partly due to the myriad of small Australian manufacturers who had been plying their trade for decades and partly due to substantial marketing by an American company, UGG Australia, a subsidiary of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which now manufactures these boots in China. By 2003, Deckers had begun a campaign of legal threats against Australian manufacturers and vendors using variants of "ugh boots" as descriptors of their wares. In January 2006, they were successful in having Deckers Australian trademark removed, and the words and the names were once again generic terms for sheepskin boots.

Ugg boots are a very versatile piece of footwear. Today, Ugg boots are the gold standard for luxury sheepskin footwear.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dooney & Bourke Handbags - Why Do You Buy Them?

Dooney & Bourke handbags are not only affordable luxury bags, but have high quality and style wrapped into one. You will never regret the purchase of a Dooney & Bourke handbag and it's because of what comes along with it.

Dooney & Bourke handbags are functional, durable, fashionable and extremely stylish. With the many exciting designs and styles coming put semi-annually, there is no wonder why you buy them and continue to worship them year after year. Dooney & Bourke allows you to feel like you have made major accomplishments in you life and to celebrate you are going to buy a designer handbag. Why not reward yourself for your hard work?

With all of the big designer names out there on the market that claim they are the #1 leader in fashion, it has come down to who can offer me high quality, style, and high design that won't break my bank. You can depend on each Dooney & Bourke handbag to have high quality, style, high design and most of all affordability.

The styles and colors of the bags allow you to be fun and playful one day and business oriented the next. The owner feels free and can loosen up with what they wear their handbags with. You can wear a just about anything and any color with these bags. With all of the styles with explosions of colors in them you never have to worry about matching your bag with your outfit.

Prices range from $100 to $300 for the smaller bags. The larger bags are still affordable with prices ranging from $300 to $500. You can find the cutest Dooney & Bourke handbags in fine department stores such as Macy's, Dillards, Bloomingdales, or at their own boutiques in New York, California, Las Vegas, and at outlets throughout the U.S.. The best places to buy from are online. Some online shops offer Dooney for much lower prices than you will pay in retail shops. Many women have caught on to the auctions that eBay offers and have saved hundreds of dollars on their handbag purchases.

So, why do you buy Dooney & Bourke handbags? We know it is because of the great features and many styles of the bag. Like the Dooney "It" handbag, for instance, has weather treated cotton with leather trim and color coordinating lining. Its functional and durable with its inside zip pocket, cell phone pocket, pocket for lipstick, inside key hook, and adjustable handles. The storage pockets make it easy to find what you need and quicker. These bags are perfect for the new season. With spring amongst us, the vibrant floral colors of the "It" bag will go very well with whatever you pull out of your closet to wear.

Could it also be because of all the luxury handbags on the market today, Dooney & Bourke comes out on top. You can't beat its affordability. Just about any one can own a Dooney & Bourke handbag if they really wanted one. I know of a place that has authentic Dooney for under $100. No joke!

So, again I ask, why do you buy them? You buy Dooney & Bourke handbags because you can and you're worth it. Plain and simple!