Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rubber Stamping – Easy and Creative

Enter the phrase ‘rubber stamp’ in the Yahoo! search engine and you will be faced with over 3,000,000 results. What is rubber stamping and why is it so popular?

Many women (and men) recognize that despite the fast pace of life we lead everyone needs to devote some time to themselves. Whether young or old many women are finding rubber stamping a creative outlet that permits them to relax, share and have an excuse to get together with their friends. You might call rubber stamping the ‘quilting bee’ for the 21st century.

What is rubber stamping?

Rubber stamping as a hobby is far more of an art form than the basic stamps you remember using as children. While the tools are similar (stamp and ink) you will be simply amazed at the thousands of products available for avid rubber stamp enthusiasts.

Rubber stamp users enjoy displaying their creative geniuses by using these simple tools to make elaborate and personal note cards along with other items like bookmarks and even artwork for display. Many individuals who enjoy scrapbooking also use rubber stamps to embellish their work.

Why is rubber stamping so popular?

Perhaps it is the fact that society in general has become so focused on electronic means of communication like email and cell phones that people are looking to a more traditional means of correspondence like handwritten notes. Rubber stamping takes that ideal to new levels as each card can take a significant amount of time to create depending on the intricacy of the design.

Another reason for the popularity in rubber stamping and scrapbooking is the social aspect. It is easy to see from the online forums that many enjoy talking about and comparing creations with other rubber stamp users.

Others form groups in their local area, either with friends or through rubber stamp classes that are held in craft stores or by local enthusiasts. While spending time together creating and sharing ideas and stamps they are able to relax and enjoy each others company.

What do you need to start rubber stamping?

Paper, ink and a stamp is the premise of rubber stamping but that is over simplifying the process as anyone who’s been to a craft store or specialty rubber stamp store can attest.

You will soon get accustomed to terms such as ‘mounting’, ‘cushion’, ‘vellum’, ‘pigment’, ‘embossing’ and so on. The variety of papers, inks and stamp images are daunting – thus allowing each creator to develop a completely original card.

Rubber stamps can also be used on fabric, wood and even plastic with a little know-how. Specialty papers and inks add to the diversity of appearance and texture. Learning or devising new ways of combining materials can lead to impressive creations. Incorporating other items – dried flowers, ribbons, trinkets and other personal items as well as layering papers are all extensions of the rubber stamping passion. To get some idea of what can be done with rubber stamping view the gallery images available on many websites that sell rubber stamping materials.

If you are not sure where to begin you can find many books with project ideas or take a class to learn the basics. Check your local craft or art supply store if you’re interested. Ask a few friends along or start some new friendships as you learn to create memorable items with rubber stamps

Stamp Collecting as a Hobby

Stamp collecting is one of America’s most popular hobbies, with an estimated 20 million stamp collectors around the nation. The hobby is also popular among collectors from many other countries throughout the world. Old and young alike enjoy collecting, reminiscing, and exploring foreign countries through the hobby of stamp collecting!

Stamp collectors usually focus on one stamp collection category because there are numerous stamps and philatelic items issued. The most popular stamp collections categories include postage stamps, Federal Duck stamp, souvenir sheets, first day covers (FDCs), First Day, and counterfeit or forged postage stamps. Additionally, stamps may be categorized as definitive or commemorative stamps. Definitive stamps are easy to find because they are common. Commemorative stamps are specialty stamps celebrating events and occasions; only available for a limited time, but most can be found through various dealers.

To begin collecting stamps as a hobby, ask friends and family to save any stamps, especially foreign or unusual ones, to add to your collection. With the global community the Internet provides, ask online friends, as well as fellow stamp collectors to send or swap stamps from foreign countries. Grandparents and older relatives may also be a wealth of valuable resources when it comes to finding rare stamps. Antique and philatelic shops are other places to begin building a solid foundation for a great stamp collection. Subscription to magazines and related publications are also a great roadmap for stamp collecting.

Avid and beginner stamp collectors alike take special precautions when handling and preserving their stamp collections. Stamps pasted on envelopes should be removed carefully by soaking the envelope face down in warm water. When the stamp has separated from the envelope, remove the stamp with stamp tongs, tweezer-like metal instruments used for handling stamps. Once stamps have been gathered, dry them in a stamp drying book. Complete collections or individual stamp specimens should be kept in a clean album or stock sheets, both making excellent display cases.

While the majority of U.S. issued postage stamps are easily accessible and not worth much in value, there does exist highly valuable stamps every collector seeks. Some of these include: the 1865 British Guiana “Black on Magenta” , the Sweden “Three Skilling Banco”, and “Hawaiian Missionaries.” Other various items of value valuable include souvenir sheets from foreign countries, rare plate number coils and unique misprints. Popular, and more affordable, items among collectors are Confederate U.S. Stamps, United Nations Stamps, 19th Century Stamps, Asia Stamps, and UK Stamps.

Stamp collectors comprise thousands of local and national organizations where buyers and sellers congregate to buy, sell, share, and swap stamps. There also are national collectors’ organizations, such as the American Philatelic Society in the United States. Also, the ease and convenience of the Internet makes stamp collecting as a hobby much more enjoyable by allowing collectors to buy and sell stamps from the comfort of one’s own home. Stamp catalogues such as Stanley Gibbons, Scott catalogue, Michel, and Yvert are essential publications for earnest collectors around the world. These catalogues serve handy guides for organizing, classifying, and appraising entire stamp collections, as well as individual items. The American Stamp Dealer Association, Inc. (ASDA) is another excellent resource for both beginner and expert collectors. ASDA hosts popular stamp shows across the nation drawing large crowds of beginners and experts alike.

While some individuals view the future of stamp collecting as pessimistic due to the advances in technology such as e-mail, avid collectors remain optimistic. Stamp collectors will always be searching for rare valuable finds, even in the midst of all the new stamps being issued every year. The proof is in the fact stamp collecting as a hobby remains one of the most popular pastimes in the United States

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Acne And Stress

Stress - Since your skin in your largest organ, how you live can sure influence how healthy your skin is. And stress, not necessarily "bad" stress, but rather certain external and internal stressors, factor into this health equation. So let's take a look at how to handle these stressors with regards to acne prevention.

External Stressors- A goal of acne prevention would be to keep your skin pores clear from clogging and becoming infected and irritated, resulting in blemishes and inflammation. So you need to take a look at your external environment throughout the day for factors that could trigger skin pore clogging. Here are some examples of what to look for: grease, oils and sun, like being around open fryers in kitchen areas, or around machine oil and grease in workshops or factories, or out in the sun all day on a construction jobsite. Too much oil, grease or sun on the skin can clog pores and trigger acne and other skin irritations.

Minimize contact by wearing long sleeves and other protective wear and gear and discussing further options with your dermatologist or healthcare provider. With regards to being out in the sun, note that a small amount of sun each day can be fine and healthy. However, extended periods can trigger the sebaceous glands to create more oil as your skin dries out. At the same time, the dried out skin needs to be cast off or shed at a faster rate than...

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The Many Causes Of Acne

Acne remains a bit of a mystery. It seems to be partly hereditary, but why some people are affected by it and others are untouched isn't exactly known. We do, however, understand some of the biology behind it.

The main culprit is the excess production of sebum, an oily substance whose function is to keep skin and hair lubricated and supple. The production of the oily sebum blocks the skin's surface, which provides an ideal environment for bacterial growth. The bacteria multiply, the skin area becomes red and inflamed, and then a pimple pops up.

The Role Of Testosterone

The excess production of sebum is caused by ...

Continue to read: The Many Causes Of Acne