Thursday, January 12, 2012

Civil War Bullet Collecting: A Hobby that Honors the Past

Did you know that during the Civil War, more than 1000 different types of bullets were used?  This is one reason Civil War bullet collecting has become a popular hobby.  Another reason is that the time of the Civil War saw changes taking place in the development of firearms and ammunition.  The old round musketballs of the Revolution were being replaced with bullets in the shape we are accustomed to.  While musketballs are found on Civil War battlefields, the most common type of bullet used was the .58-caliber bullet with three rings around the base.  Many bullets found are splattered out of shape.  If you've always been fascinated by the Civil War and firearms, Civil War bullet collecting is a hobby you will enjoy.

With the advent of Internet buying and selling, Civil War bullets have become more collectible, and the prices have gone up quickly.  Not only this, sometimes sellers are not informed and ask more than the bullet is worth.  For these reasons, if you are just starting out in Civil War bullet collecting, you will want to buy a good price guide.  You can even find a price guide online if that works better for you.

Many Civil War bullet collectors also collect bullet molds and other relics from the Civil War era.  A real enthusiast might even investigate the possibility of becoming a Civil War reactor, acting out battles with others in towns and fields across the Southeast.

Civil War bullets can be collected by buying from other collectors, or you can begin by going directly to the battlefields to dig and search.  A metal detector will make Civil War bullet collecting easier.  You may also find buttons from uniforms, bullet molds, belt buckles, and other metal items from the battle.  Some of the bullets may be buried quite deep.  You will need to wear a headset and pay close attention to the changes in tone in your metal detector.  Hunting Civil War relics is prohibited on protected battlefields, but there are still old home sites where battles were fought.  Be sure to get permission from the owner and fill any holes you dig.

Some people have the idea that hunting for bullets with a metal detector indicates a lack of respect for the soldiers who died there.  They get this idea because sometimes bullet hunters find bones along with the bullet.  The fact is, however, that many of the bullet hunters who have found bullets this way have chronicled and mapped out there finds, resulting in many of the facts that we now know about the Civil War.

The Civil War fascinates Americans because of everything it stands for.  While everyone agrees that slavery is a terrible blot on the history of the U.S., there are some people who still discuss the issue of states' rights versus a strong central government.  Civil War bullet collecting is an interesting hobby, though somewhat sobering at times when considering the great number of casualties.  The memory of brother fighting against brother out in the cornfields and pastures will never go away.  Civil War bullet collecting is one way to commemorate this monumental historical event.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Start an Art Collectible Hobby and Beautify Your Home

Collecting is a fun hobby, and one of the most interesting things to collect are art collectibles.  Many different items can be painted with artwork and become an art collectible.  Hobby enthusiasts collect such things as saw blades, and wooden eggs which have had artwork painted on.  People even collect designer rugs as art.  Another art collectible hobby is collecting limited edition plates, thimbles, Christmas ornaments, and figurines produced by such companies as Bradford Exchange.  And of course, many people collect fine art paintings.

The person with an art collectible hobby will probably find his or her own favorite artists whose works they appreciate.  They can choose to focus on one particular artist, either past or present, or they can choose from the works of many artists.  On the other hand, they may collect art and art objects around a theme they enjoy, such as cigars, wild animals, or piano music. 

One may think of an art collector as a rich person who has the money to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an original Van Gogh.  A person of more modest means can collect art too, however.  Post cards are a good place to start.  Most art museum gift shops offer high quality, glossy postcards printed with some of their more notable acquisitions.  By buying those cards one really appreciates, anyone can have an art collection.

Ebay is a good source of art collectibles whatever type of art or collectible you fancy.  In fact, if you are just starting out, the choices and options can be overwhelming!  Just remember that you can sell your own belongings as well as buying those of others.  This should make the impact on the budget a little less powerful.  Other ideas for inexpensively collecting art collectibles are scouring flea markets, thrift shops, and garage sales.  You never know what treasure someone else may be getting rid of.

One nice thing about art collectibles is that artists can be found in every part of the world.  The art collector should scout the local art shows, museums, and artist's hangouts to find out just what sort of talent can be had less expensively and close to home.  Because of the local flavor of some artwork, art collectibles make good travel souvenirs.  For instance, the artist Linda Barnicott specializes in paintings of scenes, buildings, and landmarks found around  Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  Similarly, collectors can find local artist almost everywhere.

An art collectible hobby will keep you interested in life and give you a home filled with art masterpieces as well.  If you enjoy pretty and interesting things around you, consider starting an art collectible hobby today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If You're Collecting, Ebay Selling is for You!

If you or someone you know is interested in collecting, Ebay selling is something you need to get familiar with!  Ebay is a huge Internet site that allows people to sell or buy at auction almost anything you can think of.  There are very few restrictions on what you can buy or sell.  Are you fond of antique toasters? Bicycles?  Vintage rhinestone jewelry?  Stuffed toys?  Elvis memorabilia?  Whatever you are collecting, Ebay selling will probably have what you want.

Ebay is essential to know about if you are enthusiastic about your collecting.  For instance, if you collect a particular type of antique or vintage dishes, such as Fiesta, you can search Ebay for exactly the piece you need to complete your set.  In addition to finding the exact item you are looking for, there is a possibility you'll get it for a great price as well.  That tangerine colored pitcher might be yours for a song.  You just have to look.

Collecting is one thing, but what about when the collector gets more items than he or she can store?  What if they inadvertently collected duplicates of the same item.  Or what if you just have stuff you don't want anymore?  That's where Ebay selling can help.  You can list your item on Ebay, and another collector can find it and make a bid.  Ebay is a great way to recycle unwanted used items and make a few dollars as well as helping you with your collecting.  Ebay selling is not hard to learn, either.

For just about every item you can name, someone somewhere collects it, and they are probably searching Ebay for what they want.  So whatever you are collecting, Ebay selling can help you generate the money needed to add items to your own collection while getting rid of things you don't need.  In addition, you can be gratified to know that the item you didn't want, like the bikes your kids have outgrown, or your vintage clock, was exactly what some other collector was seeking.

Just like collecting, Ebay selling can get almost addictive.  It's a fun hobby that many people are discovering.  So where do you go if there's something special you are collecting?  Ebay!  Selling, you'll find, is almost as fun as collecting, so be sure to try it, too.  Remember, too, that Ebay can not only help you complete your collections.  It can also be a source for the things you need for other hobbies, interests, and needs in your life.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Beach Holidays for Fun in the Sun

Everyone loves beach holidays!  The little ones can dig in the sand and splash in the lapping waves.  The older ones can swim, get a tan, or just relax.  The inquisitive types can explore for sea life, tide pools, and drift wood.  The warm breezes and natural beauty are invigorating and restorative.  Any trip, however, can cause discomfort if you do not plan well.  Here are things you can do to make your beach holidays easier, safer, and more meaningful.

In many parts of the world, people head for their beach holidays in the family car. When planning a trip, it's always a good idea to give the car a good cleaning out first. This will give you more room for your luggage.  Stock you glovebox, too, with a few first aid and comfort items, such as sunblock, acetominiphen for headaches, a roll of antacids, a few cough drops, and a few bandaids.  Don't forget a couple of scrunchies or pony-tailers for long hair. Get the tires checked and replace any that are likely to go flat.  Get an oil change if it's getting close.  Road trips are not much fun when they include breakdowns.  And whatever you do, make sure you have a map and a place to keep it handy.

Travelling with kids is always a challenge.  They may be particularly excited and impatient when they know they are going on beach holidays.  Make sure they have cool water bottles and healthy snacks to munch.  Try a simple car game to make the time pass.  Many kids like looking for letters of the alphabet on signs.  If several people get involved it can be quite fun.

With beach holidays particularly, there is always a need to provide for skin safety.  Be particularly careful about being in the sun for long stretches of time between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Use a sunblock with a high SPF rating and replace it after getting wet or drying off with your towel.  The towel you choose can make a difference too.  Thick towels get heavy and tend to trap a lot of sand.  You may find you like thin towels at the beach.  Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and some sort of foot protection to keep your feet from being burned on the hot sand.

With a little preparation your beach holidays can be enjoyable and problem-free.  When you arrive home you will be relaxed, refreshed, and ready for work. Take a minute to unpack and get your laundry going.  It won't belong until the kids will be shouting, "When can we go on beach holidays again?"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Clay Pot Crafts: Make a Bell for the Porch

Clay pot crafts are a cute way to make home decorations.  In clay pot crafts, clay flower pots can be crafted into a variety of decorative things that appeal to gardeners.  Usually, the crafter begins with new pots.  The pots are often decorated with paint as well as being tied together with rope or cord to create things.

Pots for clay pot crafts can be purchased in many different sizes, from tiny ones not more than 2 inches in diameter, to huge ones over a foot across.  For a beginning project, start with smaller pots.  The beginner should also choose clay pot crafts that don't use too many pots in too elaborate a design.

An example of a good craft for someone new at clay pot crafts is to make a bell from two clay pots.  Buy one pot that is about five or six inches in diameter, and another that is very small.  You will use the small one as the clapper for the bell.  You will also need some decorative cord, two large wooden beads, and paint in desired colors.  You may also wish to purchase some glue-on jewels to decorate the bell.  The bell makes a nice decoration for a front porch.

Cut the cord two feet (60 cm.) long.  Fold the end over 3 inches (8 cm.) and tie in an overhand knot, making a loop.  This loop is for hanging the bell from a hook or a nail.  Now turn the larger clay pot upside-down.  Pass the loose end of the cord down through the hole in the pot.  Lay the pot on its side and slide one of the large wooden beads up the cord until it is about 10 inches (25 cm.) from the loose end.  Now tie the cord around the bead so that the bead cannot slip from its position on the cord.  If you have done this correctly, you can lift the pot by the loop.  In clay pot crafts, the beads must be large enough to stop the cord from going through the hole in the bottom of the pot.

On the loose end of the cord, you are going to attach the small pot in the same way.  Slide the small pot up the cord to make it easier to tie the other large wooden bead on the end of the cord.  Now when you lift the entire arrangement by the loop, the smaller pot should hang freely inside the larger pot, making a pleasant sound when it claps against the larger pot.

Decorate the outside of the larger pot with paint as desired.  You may like to paint it in black and white patches for a Holstein cow theme.  You may also like to decorate the top of the bell with silk or dried flowers and greenery and a ribbon bow.

For a variation on this craft, make three of the bells and hang them from a horizontal piece of driftwood or other interesting piece of natural wood.  When making hanging clay pot crafts, always make sure the beads are large enough and are tied tightly in place, because the clay pots will break if they fall to the ground.

Other clay pot crafts include making a large doll or scarecrow of nested pots strung together and painted.  The doll can sit on a chair or a step of the front porch.  Paint his face to look like a scarecrow, a jack-o-lantern, a gnome, or a child.  Clay pot crafts are especially suited to being displayed outside.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Arts and Crafts Idea: Foam Sheet Glasses Case

Are you a camp director, teacher, or homeschool mom looking for a new arts and crafts idea for your kids?  Or maybe you are a recreation director at a senior center or nursing home and could use a new project.  Either way, this arts and crafts idea will be interesting and fun for all.  This glass case can be used, given as a gift, or converted into a necklace purse.

To make the glasses case, you will need the following simple materials:  a square of craft foam, plastic or large blunt needles, lanyard lace or thick yarn.  Cut two rectangles from the foam, each 3-1/2 inches (9 cm.) by 6 inches (15 cm.).  With a hole punch, make holes on three sides of each rectangle, leaving one short side unpunched.  Make the holes 1/2 inch apart and allow at least 1/4 inch between the hole and the edge of the craft foam.  The holes need to line up so that the two pieces can be laced together.  If you are preparing the craft for small children, you should make the holes yourself.  Otherwise, the crafters can do this step if you have enough pairs of hole punches.

At this point the crafters can cut decorative shapes from other colors of craft foam, or you can buy sets of ready-cut foam shapes.  If you are doing the craft at a special event, like vacation Bible school, choose shapes that echo the theme of the event.  For instance, if the Bible school or camp has a cowboy theme, find shapes that fit well, such as boots, cowboy hats, and stars.  Let the kids choose the shapes they like and glue on as desired.  You might also like to provide beads or sequins to glue on as well, especially if the crafters are a little older.

The next step in this arts and crafts idea is to thread the plastic needle with the yarn or lanyard lace.  Yarn might be a little easier to handle, but lanyard lace is shiny and attractive.  In a pinch, some teachers of small children use a bobby pin as a needle.  It is certainly a safe alternative.  Simply loop the yarn through the opening and use the open end of the bobby pin as if it were the point of the needle.  The children can now begin to lace the front and back of the glasses case together.

To turn this arts and crafts idea into a necklace purse, simply attach a piece of lanyard lace to each corner making a long handle.  Kids will enjoy using this case as a place to store secret notes and small objects.  If they'd rather, they can give the glasses case to a parent, grandparent, or friend who wears glasses.  Either way, this arts and crafts idea will be interesting for all.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Craft: Bead and Pipe Cleaner Ornaments

Christmas ornaments made from ordinary pipe cleaners and inexpensive acrylic beads are very pretty and easy to make.  They look quite impressive yet are easy enough for small children to make.  This is one Christmas craft idea to use again and again.  Older people will enjoy making this Christmas craft, too, which can be varied to make a number of different sparkling ornaments for your Christmas tree.

To make the bead and pipe cleaner ornaments, you need common pipe cleaners in desired colors and acrylic beads.  Two types of beads are particularly effective when strung on pipe cleaners.  One type are called sunburst beads, but are also known as paddlewheel beads, snowflake beads, or starburst beads.  These beads have six faceted paddles spaced equally around a center that contains the hole for stringing.  When several of these sunburst beads are strung consecutively, they fit against each other in an interlocking pattern.

The other type of bead that is also effective for this Christmas craft is called the tri bead or propeller bead.  It has three rounded bumps arranged around the stringing hole.  Like the sunburst beads, the tri beads interlock when strung consecutively.  For the most sparkly and attractive Christmas ornaments, get tri beads and/or sunburst beads in translucent colors of red, green, and clear.  The tri beads can also be found in metallic gold and silver which can be used in this Christmas craft as well.

Pipe cleaners can be found in silver and gold tinsel as well as chenille of all colors.  For the Christmas craft, the best colors to use are the metallics and Christmas colors.  The beads cover the pipe cleaners, but the ends will need to be twisted together and made into hangers, so they show.

Anyone, even small children, can string these beads on pipe cleaners.  Bend up the end of the pipe cleaner so the beads don't fall off.  The pipe cleaner works like a needle, making a needle unnecessary.  For best results, show the children how to alternate colors when stringing, or start a pattern of three colors.  When the beads are strung on the pipe cleaners, they can be bent into different Christmas shapes.  For instance, string red and clear beads alternately, then bend down one end of the pipe cleaner for a candy cane shape.  Or alternate red and green beads and form a circle for a wreath.  Use red pipe cleaner to form a small bow to decorate the wreath.  Form a hanger for the Christmas craft or simply slip the circle over a branch of the tree.

If you experiment with clear beads and silver pipe cleaners, you can make some beautiful snowflake or star ornaments.  Snowflake designs can be twisted of silver pipe cleaner only, without the beads for a simple but pretty decoration.

Bead and pipe cleaner ornaments are a Christmas craft you will find yourself using every year.  Children and their parents will both appreciate this simple yet pretty Christmas craft.