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Not Another Arts and Crafts Show?

Not ANOTHER Craft Show?
Craft Shows… So much fun to walk and gawk but work you say? No… Never! Although it may seem like a thorn prickling your creative side, Craft Shows are 100% beneficial and a great outlet for passing out business cards and putting your crafty little name out there.
You will need to find a Craft Show that is right for you. I have several questions handy when trying to locate the perfect Craft Show for my niche and personality:
1.) How big is the show? How many people did they have attend at previous shows?
2.) What are their entry fees? Do they have a flat fee for your booth or do you have to pay a percentage of sold items?
3.) How do they promote the art show?
4.) How many vendors do they usually have and how many are selling similar items to yours?
5.) Will your product blend in? Does it feel right? Follow your gut instinct.
Once you determine if this is the craft show for you then you will need to come up with a plan for how to set up your booth and how to display your craft items. I usually define my space with display boards. You can decorate these as you wish while outlining the areas of your booth.
Make sure your space is easily accessible to your customers and that they are free to move about in a comfortable position. Avoid overcrowding, this will make your customers feel tense and not want to stay and linger. I prefer a “Y” shaped design with my tables, although a “U” or “L’ shaped design would work as well. Don’t place too many items on your tables, you don’t want your customers overwhelmed and just give up and leave.
When placing your items on your tables for display, place them in a way that your customers can visualize the product as if it was in use. For example, light your candles and place them in a beautiful arrangement. If you are selling a vase, place flowers inside. If you are selling jewelry, invest in jewelry display busts, writs, etc. If it’s clothing, invest in a mannequin. If you are displaying baskets, place beautiful fruits or practical items such as magazines. Work with levels, everything lying flat can appear boring or drab. Make sure your table cloths are in colors that compliment your items and not drown them out, making visualization difficult.
Last, but not least, offer sale promotions. Sales such as buy 1, get 1 free. Pair like items for 2 for 2 specials. Offer coupons if customers purchase to keep them coming back. Always include your business card so that customers are able to become repeat customers with ease.
With a little hard work and some creative juices flowing, you can really have a successful craft show experience and gain a tremendous amount of exposure for your special products!…

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Do-It-Yourself Graphic Design – A Huge Variety of Backgrounds For Business Cards

Online do-it-yourself graphic arts is on the rise for many reasons, but two are primary:

By doing your own graphics design, you can save 30% to 50% on the final cost of your printed materials.

The average person has become computer aware to the point that most people can do their own design and end up with a very professional this in mind, many large trade printing companies are making the software required to do on line graphics available to their printing customers and resellers. With this growth, there is also considerable capital expenditure going into, not only the software, but other requirements like appealing backgrounds. The backgrounds are sized and laid out according to the printed media they support, and are categorized for the wide number of businesses or trades they represent.

For example, we recently went to one of the DIY Graphics sites and reviewed the available backgrounds for business cards. There were 25 separate categories of backgrounds for business cards with anywhere from 20 to 100 individual backgrounds in each category. Following are examples of the categories:

Abstracts – Colorful tie-died backgrounds that fit nicely into more creative professions like writing or designs

Animals – Variety of pets and farm animals for grooming or pet retail businesses

Babies – Ideal for announcing a new addition to the family or advertising handmade baby wear.

Beauty – Appealing backgrounds for stylists, skin specialists, nail technicians and more.

Business – A broad category of many backgrounds that range from office settings to business people shaking hands to creative representations of a single world of business.

Colorful – This category provides bright and contrasting colors with the goal of catching the eye. This category would apply to paint businesses, art stores, art schools and more.

Construction – Specific to the construction industry, this category offers many backgrounds showing different phases of construction, including design, earth moving, building, etc.

Fashion – Trendy and colorful, these are great for fashion design or retail.

Floral – Flower arrangements, flower gardens and more that are ideal for the floral business.

Food – Mouth watering and focused on restaurants, cooking schools, chefs or catering.

Jewelry – Great backgrounds for the jewelry retail, jewelry consignment, or jewelry design.

Landmarks – Used to professionally promote tourism, politics or initiatives of many kinds.

Scenery – Several options for these, including therapy, relaxation skills, meditation, etc.

Law and Justice – Designed for attorneys, judges and government offices.

Medical – These are directed towards doctors, nurses, hospital administration, medical supplies and more.

Nature – Great backgrounds for environmental businesses, recycling, all natural products, etc.

Real Estate – Apply to residential or commercial real estate.

Sport – For sports teams, coaches, trainers, schools, training camps, etc.

Technology – Can be used for people involved in internet marketing, hi tech sells, web sites, search engine optimization and more.

Transportation – Wide variety of cars, trucks, vintage cars, futuristic cars which could be used for car salesmen, mechanics, parts houses, etc.

Travel – Exotic locations, sunsets, palm trees, around the swimming pool and more. Great backgrounds for travel agents, tour guides or any other tourism types of businesses.

Wedding – Bride and Grooms in many different settings before the wedding, during the wedding, after the wedding, leaving the wedding, etc. Good for wedding planners, conference centers, hotels and above are just a few examples of the many categories and backgrounds available to the do-it-yourself graphic artist for business cards. The main message to convey is that there are not many trades, businesses, vocations or events that DIY Graphic Artist could not find an appropriate, professional background for.…

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Learning Guitar: No Other Article Online Provides You These Tips

Learning how to play the guitar is an activity that quite a few people want to try. However, many of those same people are the ones that never actually do it. That’s why this article was written. Here are a few tips anyone can use if they are ready to start learning how to play the guitar today.

Make sure to learn music notation as well as guitar tabs. This will help you to understand what you are playing. Memorize the note name for each string, and also which note belongs to each fret. This knowledge is especially helpful when you are playing melodies and riffs.

Don’t forget to have fun! This is something you desire to do, not something you need to do. Don’t let it become a stressful chore that you dread. Once you do that, boredom or dread may set in, and practice will cease. Keep practicing and remain patient.

When you decide to learn how to play a guitar, do whatever you can to get a good quality instrument to learn on. You may be able to borrow or rent a guitar if you are unable to purchase one for an affordable price. Your first guitar shouldn’t cost more than $200. Just make sure it sounds great when properly tuned.

If you are learning to play the guitar, build calluses on the fingertips. Calluses are going to help ease the pain that you get when you practice regularly. It takes time to build callouses, but practicing often can help you get them faster. You can also look into a variety of products that will do the job for you.

Before you get calluses on your fingers, you are sure to feel some soreness. Using a guitar with nylon strings or an electric guitar may be less painful for you. Steel-string acoustic guitars are the most painful instruments for beginners. You might feel better when you soak fingers in alcohol, but stay away from toxic substances such as turpentine.

Teach yourself to use different keys when playing songs. The same song sounds different in varying keys, and you will learn chords more easily. It will also assist you in better understanding music. You will understand and appreciate the music more.

If you’re committed to learning how to play the guitar, you have to practice. Nothing that is worth having comes easily. You should aim to get in at least half an hour of practice most, if not all, days of the week.

Get yourself a metronome. A metronome will help you get into a rhythm and learn timing. You won’t have a problem keeping the tempo with a metronome. Use it when learning new chords or songs to improve your skills.

After reading these useful tips, now you are able to begin learning to play the guitar. This article won’t make you a musical prodigy, but it can help you get started. Use these tips to help you stay on track and play the guitar as much as you want to.…

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MMA Training – How to Develop Incredible Power Using These Three Elements

The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself. ~Winston Churchill
Are you training for Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, or any of the hundreds of martial arts practiced in the world? Have you found your attacks to lack impact? Are your defenses crumpling under an onslaught? What allows a much smaller opponent to throw his larger adversary through the air as if he were merely a puppet? What enables a woman to defend herself against a bigger, taller, stronger man attacking her? One word: power. By the end of this article, you will know the three physical elements to increasing your power.
Power is the ability to do or act. Power is the capability of doing, or accomplishing something. Notice the word “strength” is absent. Many people make the mistake of assuming strength and power are synonymous. With the proper knowledge and training in three areas, a physically weaker person can overpower a stronger challenger.
Structure is the first element to cultivating incredible power, and it is the result of a strong connection to the ground. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re floating weightless in outer-space. How are you going to run? How are you going to move at all? Without some connection to a stable surface, or rockets, you’re not going anywhere. Back on earth, the best way to develop a strong connection to the ground is balanced posture. Head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over feet. With this short checklist, it is easy to remind yourself throughout your day to reevaluate your posture. If any one of these elements is not in line with each other you will not be in balance, and your power will suffer.
Positioning is the second pillar of incredible power, and can be analyzed by three aspects: distance, rotation, and level. Distance is how far you are from your target. Rotation is circling around the other fighter. Level is if you’re above, below, or on equal footing. So positioning is the skillful application of all three elements to be in the right place at the right time. Different techniques are most effective at varying distances, so to maximize your power, use the right tools for where you are. Kicks for far away, punches at medium distance, knees and elbows for close combat, and grappling for the closest contact. Sometimes you need to rotate around to the back side of your opponent to be most effective. Maybe you need to change levels suddenly to increase your power. There is a saying, “If your throws lack power, get closer to the ground.” By sinking your body weight and lowering your center of gravity, you’re enlisting the basic forces of physics to help defeat your opponent.
Timing is the third pillar of power, and is typified by being early, late, or right on time. If you’ve ever heard of “beating someone to the punch,” that’s being early. Waiting to let the other guy put himself in a disadvantageous position before capitalizing on it, is being late. You can imagine timing like merging on to the highway with a car right next to you. You have two options: hit the gas and hope the other driver isn’t as fast, or you can drop back and pull in behind. At that point, no matter what the other driver does, you can respond to it with superior distance and positioning.
Now you can see how distance, positioning and timing all work together to generate power. If you’re at the right place, at the right time, and have the proper structure you can generate power others won’t be able to believe. During your MMA training, always be asking yourself if you’re using the three elements effectively and increase your power.…

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Mixed Martial Art Training 101

This article is all about mixed martial art training, but first let me tell you what MMA really are. It can be defined as a fighting style in which the fighter is allowed a wide range of moves and techniques, which are a mixture of traditional as well as non-traditional fighting styles. Therefore, it’s the use of both the grappling and striking moves and techniques while standing as well as on ground in competitions so that all the different backgrounds could compete on a single platform. In simple words mixed martial arts can be defined as the blend of diverse fighting styles that creates an all-round good fighter.
MMA have started gaining more and more popularity, especially with the entry of pay per view reach and now many people all around the globe are interested in getting mixed martial arts training in order to become an all-round fighter.
Why are this is form of fighting becoming so popular? Well, you cannot be called a great fighter, if your expertise is in just one style of fighting. In order to be called an expert you have to be a master of different types of styles of fighting and therefore, the need of learning martial arts training enters everyone’s mind.
There are many different styles of fighting out of which some are wrestling, boxing, kick boxing, Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai, Karate, Kung Fu and what not. Hence the more experienced a fighter becomes the closer he is to become a great fighter. It is really important to employ MMA in your training as well as against opponents and according to many fighters who have gone through many phases of fighting, mixed martial arts training is much harder than actually fighting.…

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Scapes and Forms: Zaria Art School, Sustaining the Rudiments in Contemporary Art Practice

In this year 2011, January 22 would probably remain a unique day, not for any other reason but for the fact that, it ushers an event that has historical connotation to Nigerian artists based in Zaria. On that Saturday morning around 10:00 am, amidst the harmattan weather with its penetrating cold wind which has little or no respect for people wearing light denims, a teeming number of artists were brought together to partake in an art workshop titled: Scapes and Forms. The workshop pulled artists from their studios into an open environment where creative talents/endeavors were artistically harnessed in a delightful manner to produce different forms of visual representations. The occasion was more or less like a midpoint for both lecturers and students especially of the twin-departments (Fine Arts and Industrial Design) in ABU Zaria, to refresh their artistic skills but largely in various two-dimensional forms: painting and drawing. Over sixty artists, who responded to workshop with enthusiasm, gathered in front of Samaru market, Zaria, to artistically take the Scapes and Forms of the activities going on in the area.
Shortly before the commencement of the workshop, Dr. G.G. Duniya, who happened to be the lead facilitator of the workshop (assisted by Mr. Lasisi Lamidi), addressed participants before declaring it open. In his address, Dr. Duniya highlighted the essence as well as the purpose of the workshop, and what it (the workshop) intends to achieve: “This painting and drawing workshop is intended to serve as an avenue for creative minds to interact and share drawing and painterly ideas, away from the normal studio setting. The workshop is also expected to expose professionals and student artists to the numerous possibilities in art, using varied media and techniques or experiments”. He concluded by saying “we advice you to feel free and express yourselves in the Zaria Art School’s freedom of expression, using forms before you and the materials that suits your creative impulse”.
Immediately after the address, easels were mounted by some artists while other artists took strategic sitting positions that best suit their views. But more interestingly, cars brought by some participants to the venue were automatically turned into stabilizing platforms for keeping drawing boards while the workshop goes on. On the other hand, a good number of participants were seen squatting on the ground with their drawing boards, taking artistic view of their creative taste. The venue was an utmost contradiction to studio environment as it offers seeming challenges but mostly to the advantage of the participants. For example, the traffic of people in the market at the other side of the road, the moving vehicles and cyclists as well as sounds/noises generated by the traffics, contributed in shaping the aura of the workshop’s venue into a disorganized and noisy environment. This is unlike studio situation which is usually calm and serene; however, the venue was probably the best for that kind of workshop since the participants of the workshop later converted the inherent challenges therein, into creative opportunities by displaying their artistic talents in various two-dimensional forms.
In terms of attendance, the participants of the Scapes and Forms’s workshop, cut across undergraduate and postgraduate students of both Fine Arts and Industrial Design departments, as well as lecturers in the Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The uniqueness of the workshop was not only because it was held in an out-door environment that stimulates high creative impulse for exciting artistic designs, it also lies in the fact that some students, probably for the first time, find themselves drawing or painting along side with their lecturers (professionals). This scenario was highly favoured by mutual interactivity between the two (lecturers and students) with jokes and funny comments to keep the venue lively while the workshop progresses.
Another factor which contributed to adding more flavour in the workshop was the open thematization “Scapes and Forms” which paved way for diverse artistic creations. In view of that, it was common to see interplay of different media in different styles in the works the participating artists. Hence, one artist is painting while another artist sitting next is drawing in charcoal. But most importantly, the open theme favoured creative diversity on the part of the participating artists especially on the choice of art expression which was generally seen in their works. For example, Dr. Ken Okoli opt to take the photographic aspect of the event, while Mr. Wesley (a lecturer in sculpture) decides to reveal the other side of his artistic flair in painting.
Call it a Zaria affair; but for those who were present can agree with the writer that it goes beyond that point as the presence of artists from other art schools attended. For example, the presence of Mr. Tony Emodi and Mr. Emmanuel Eroka both from Yaba College of Technology, …

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Do You Want to Be a Master Ninja? Then You Must Insure That Your Body and Mind Are Up to the Task!

Do you want to be a master ninja? I can certainly understand why. But, let me say that, after having that same goal myself for more than 20 years, it’s not as easy as you would think.

When I discuss this, you might think that I’m talking about how tough the training can be. And, on one level…I am.

But, I’m also talking about the fact that the art of ninjutsu, as a composite martial art and life mastery system, is made up of many more skills and study areas than practically anything else you could do. That’s not pride or bragging – it’s a fact.

And, the fact is that, with all of the study areas which make up ninja training, you will need more in the way of time, resources, and energy than you can currently imagine. And to do that, you have to make sure that both your body and mind are capable of engaging in the training over the long term.

I know. I know. You can do it. And I’m sure that you will give it all you’ve got. But, remember, not only have I heard that before – from both past students AND past training partners (which number in the hundreds) that no longer train – but I have walked the Path and have experienced those moments when I wasn’t sure if I could go on.

When exploring how you can make sure that your body and mind are up to the task, there are several questions that you should ask yourself. A few of these questions include:

1) What can you do to increase your body’s level of fitness, health, and energy level?

2) What do you do that inhibits your wellness, level of health, strength or flexibility?

3) Is your lifestyle – including your job, living environment, and daily activities – conducive to positive, energetic, and vibrant living, or are you surrounded by and subject yourself to negativity and the debilitating effects of distractions, confusion, and energy draining people and activities?

I can promise you that, to attain a respectible level of mastery in your ninjutsu martial arts training – if you are to become a ninja in every sense that the word implies, you will need…

1) More oxygen than you currently take in

2) More nutrients than you currently feed your body

3) More pure water than your body currently gets

4) More energy-stimulating exercise than you currently engage in, and…

5) More scientific exercises designed to open, focus, stimulate, relax, and control your mind

And…

You will need a mentor – a teacher who can introduce you to, not only what you need, but also…

…everything within the world of ninjutsu that you didn’t even know existed!…

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How To Make A Mosaic Frame

Have you been looking for some quality time to spend with your family that involves imagination, creativity, and a sense of accomplishment? Parents are always looking for new ways to connect with their children and teach them something new. Why not create something that’s unique, and original from simple items that may be lying around your home?
Here is a simple, yet fun project that doesn’t take long at all to create. And what you will gain from such a simple project is priceless!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1. Flat-faced wood frame
2. Piece of mirror approximately the size of the frame
3. Tile adhesive
4. Mastic Putty
5. Spatula
6. Gray and silver artist’s acrylic paint
7. Artist’s brush
8. Safety glasses
9. Pillowcase Hammer
10. Work gloves
NOTE: Wear protective glasses when breaking the mirror, also edges of mirror are sharp so work gloves are recommended.
Instructions:
Step 1. Place the mirror inside a pillowcase. Carefully hit the mirror to produce irregular pieces about 1″-2″ in size.
Step 2. Apply tile adhesive to the frame, one section at a time, and lay down mirror pieces, leaving a small space around each for putty. Let dry overnight.
Step 3. Follow the directions on the package of the mastic putty, you will need to knead it well before opening the package. Roll the putty into long lines to make it easier to maneuver around the mirror edges. Fill in the spaces snuggly with putty.
Step 4. Once all the spaces have been filled, paint can be applied even while the putty is still wet. Mix a little gray and silver paint together and paint the putty to replicate the leading in a glass window. It may take as long as a week or two to dry thoroughly. Be sure to keep it in a dry place, as humidity impedes drying.
I found that this project was simple and very fun, I hope that you have the same experience. This is one project that you can surely reflect on!…

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Taekwondo a Path to Excellence by Doug Cook

“Taekwondo a path to excellence” by Doug Cook is an exceptional book for martial artists, not just those who practice taekwondo. The subtitle of this book is “Achieving Physical and Spiritual Enrichment Through Disciplined Practice,” and while Cook’s specific practice is the art of taekwondo from Korea, I believe much of what he writes is applicable to any martial art, regardless of style or country of origin. This is not a technique book, but rather a text that shares the author’s journey and how taekwondo positively impacted his life.
Through Cook’s journey, this book explores taekwondo and can stimulate others to explore their own martial art path. Yes, I do believe those who practice the Korean arts will enjoy this book the most. I personally do not do taekwondo, but my experiences with my chosen art of hapkido are similar, and when Cook wrote about his trips to Korea, it reminded me of my time in the Land of the Morning Calm. (Not to mention, it made me a bit homesick to return)
The book is divided into seven parts. Part One focuses on what taekwondo is. The author explains it as more than just striking and kicking, and I found myself agreeing with much, especially the importance of “Do.” The second part explains a bit of history of taekwondo, including a bit of Korean history. Part Three addresses becoming a steadfast practitioner of the art. I really liked this part and think most practitioners can relate the author’s message to their own practice, regardless of art. The fourth section of the book has some very good advice aimed at beginners. Since we are all beginners at some part of our art, this chapter is good for everyone, but especially those starting their journey. Part Five is more personal to the author regarding his students, colleagues, and experiences. I found it an inspiring chapter. Part Six is fairly short, but provides some wisdom regarding the economics of the martial arts, something anyone who wants to make their living by teaching must deal with. Finally, Part Seven, relays some of the experiences of the author on his training trips to Korea. Those practicing Korean arts that have not yet traveled to Korea may be inspired by this chapter to journey themselves to their art’s country of origin. As I mentioned, it made me think of my time there and made me yearn for my next visit.
This was an enjoyable well written book that prompted me to ponder my own journey in the martial arts. I think it is a valuable book for martial artists, especially those that practice taekwondo or other Korean arts. Definitely recommended reading for all taekwondo stylists.…

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Who Can Be a Martial Arts Instructor? Part 2

In part 1 of this article we discussed some of the negative aspects of martial arts teachers. I would prefer not to dwell upon this since there are so many good instructors out there. So, let’s continue with what makes a good instructor.

As I said, YOU CAN BE A MARTIAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR!

How do I know that? Well, given sufficient desire, motivation and effort there is no reason why this should not be possible.

In reality, not everyone is suited to this career. Some people just desire other things from life. But, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that many martial arts instructors also have other careers. Some are PhD’s, some are medical doctors, some are plumbers, and one famous instructor even pulled a rickshaw when times were hard. It has not always been possible to make a living at the martial arts.

What are some of the requirements?

Excellent training at a reputable school

Sufficient rank (at least in the black belt range)

Permission from your instructor and/or organization to start a school

What are some of the traits of a good teacher?

Nobility of character

Honesty

A good work ethic

A desire to help others

A well-developed talent for teaching

Good business sense

These and other requirements are, I think, necessary for the success of a teacher of the martial arts.

You must bear in mind that teaching classes is not the only responsibility of the teacher. One of my teachers once said to me when I told him of my desire to be a teacher, “You can either be a good teacher or you can be a businessman – not both.”

This is one of the few pieces of advice I chose not to believe. In this day and age you must be both. Unless you are born with a sliver spoon in your mouth (rich) you will have to be responsible for all of the operations of your school. You will have to be a businessman as well as a teacher.

I will say here that while teaching the martial arts can lead to a comfortable and satisfying life-style, the profit motive cannot and should not be the primary motivation for the aspiring teacher. There is a lot of hard work to do even after the hard work of learning your art.

Starting and running a school can be tricky. You need patience and perseverance but the rewards can be great.…