Monday, April 30, 2012

Investing in British Art

Investing in British art is very beneficial for your wallet, as well as for the joy the pieces can bring you. Although it can be a great investment, it is still wise to only buy art pieces that you truly enjoy; because unless you turn around and sell them to make a profit you will be looking at your pieces for quite a while. Even taking this into consideration, there are a number of reasons to invest in British art. Some of these reasons include to gain status or prestige, to make money, or simply for the enjoyment of building a collection that you love. The reason you decide to invest in art really isn't all that important, as long as you're having a great time doing it.

At the moment one of the best sellers in British art are contemporary paintings. Both living as well as dead artists work have recently become very popular. This popularity drives the prices for their paintings higher and brings a higher value to the pieces. One of the most talked about and celebrated contemporary artists is Ken Howard. His paintings are generally done in a traditional style in both oils and water colors, and they have seen a very large increase in both price and popularity. Ken Howard is only one of many popular artists to consider when thinking of investing in art. While he is known for his paintings, there are many other art mediums to consider, such as sculpture or limited edition prints.

When deciding to invest in British art, or art of any kind, it is important to know and understand the art market you've chosen. It is best to just focus on the area of art that you've chosen to learn as much as you can so you can find the best pieces to invest in. Some ways to do this are to find books and art magazines, search the internet, and to visit and art galleries. Art galleries are especially beneficial because the exhibition artists and staff can be extremely knowledgeable and can give you plenty of information on the art subjects and pieces you're interested in.

Two of the biggest issues when investing in any art work is cost and the art's value, both now and in the future. Although it is important to focus on buying pieces that you like, you must still focus on its quality as well. Some people are tempted to buy work by the hottest new artist on the scene, but it is best to consider the fact that the odds of their success make this a strategy that's very risky. Before making the decision to purchase pieces of this nature, there are a number of factors to consider. Think of the quality of the artist's work as well as their reputation in the art world, the subject of their pieces, and the attraction that other buyers show to the artist's work.

When purchasing newer pieces, make sure that they are of good quality and posses original framing; for older pieces, watch out for damage. You should also make sure that each older piece is documented, and any piece that you buy contains the artist's signature. Without this key piece, the work will be far more difficult to sell later on.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

All About Christian Grey

Christian Grey is a business mogul and highly-sought after bachelor based in Seattle, who owns multiple businesses and high-end properties. He is also a driven philanthropist who strives to make the world better for those who are poverty stricken. His stunning good looks compliment his intellectual and economic prowess. Christian has intense, burning grey eyes, thick, tousled hair and a body fit for gods. He is strong, motivated and charming to say the least.

Unfortunately, he also has a dark side that includes a troubling childhood and a craving for dominant/submissive style sex that sometimes crosses the lines of pleasure and punishment. Christian is known for his no-nonsense style of relationships, whether in the bedroom or in the workplace. At the start of the series, it seems he may either be celibate or gay, the speculations are mixed but none are accurate. The truth is, Christian treats his sexual relationships like business partnerships; with contracts, compensation and rules to go with. His sexual menu is diverse yet almost completely cold, without emotions or real connections. We learn that he lives this way not only to protect his heart but also because the cold dominant/submissive relationships are the only way he knows how to interact with a woman. Christian Grey's painful childhood includes drugs, prostitution and the witnessing of his mother's death at a very delicate age. His world fell apart when she died and he has never got past it, despite being adopted by amazing parents, Carrick and Grace.

Luckily for Christian, meeting Anastasia Steele flips the world he knows onto its back and opens him up to a new way of life that tests every rule he has ever had. Christian Grey develops into a loving, giving, doting boyfriend and husband as the story develops. He changes before our eyes and learns that there is a time and a place for a bit of pain but real love is about pleasure and trust. Anastasia refuses to be Christian's submissive so Christian must change his ways to keep her and luckily for readers, he obliges. The way that Christian takes care of Anastasia is nothing short of mouth-watering; he is a lover and a provider, a knight-in-grey-armor and a magician. Anastasia's wish is Christian Grey's command and this is what the loyal readers love about him.Who ever will be casted to play Christian Grey in the upcoming movie Fifty Shades Of Grey will surely have their hands full.

Monday, April 23, 2012

All About Anastasia Steele

Anastasia Steele is the female protagonist in the erotic trilogy beginning with Fifty Shades of Grey. We are introduced to her character as a soon to be university graduate who is awkward, lacking in style and somewhat insecure. She has a taste for books, lots of books, and her life consists of school, friends and a future in publishing. Anastasia Steele has a chance meeting with Christian Grey, our male protagonist, and it changes her world completely. He falls (pun intended) for her the moment she trips into his office and eventually wins her heart as well.

Anastasia transforms from a shy, clumsy girl into what some readers may consider a sex-crazed woman. Although when we meet her she has only been to second base, she is a quick study under Christian's teaching and is soon an adventurous vixen. Anastasia discovers a world that she never knew existed and as she does, her confidence grows. With the help of Christian's practically overflowing bank account (and at first to her disapproval) Anastasia evolves into a high-fashion wearing, powerful business owner. Anastasia Steele moves fairly smoothly from one world to another as she uncovers Christian's dark secrets and tries to mend his scarred and tender heart. Her love is often overwhelming and her persistence hovers on nagging, yet she is still a perfect opponent for Christian's character.

Anastasia's upbringing virtually prepared her for such an opponent. Her mother has been married several times and she was raised primarily by her stepfather, Ray. Ray is ex-military and is somewhat closed-off when it comes to conversation. Despite this, his love for Ana is undeniable and she learned priceless lessons from him throughout their relationship, including how to shoot which comes in handy in the trilogy's third book.

This not-so-traditional childhood and adolescence affords Anastasia with a different kind of confidence and strength that isn't readily apparent. Christian's desire for a submissive in Ana is quickly set aside when he discovers what a surprisingly feisty girl she is. Anastasia Steele is unpredictable in many situations but as readers get to know her, her emotions become transparent and we want desperately for her to get through Christian's thick walls so that she can heal his heart.

Anastasia Steele is a traditional female romantic-protagonist in that she is the regular girl swept off her feet by a rich, attractive man... but she is different if only for the simple fact that she has A LOT of work to do to truly "get the guy" heart and soul.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Different Types Of Personalized Calendars

Choosing personalized calendars is not as simple as it sounds. There are several things that should be considered before making a purchase. It is important to determine whether or not the calendars are being given as gifts, what kind of finish the calendars should have (glossy or matte) and the style of the calendars. The style is the most important of these choices and there are several styles to choose from including:






Specialty or Novelty

It is important to keep in mind the function of the calendar when choosing a style. For example, if it is a gift for someone who loves to plan each day in detail, a poster calendar would be inappropriate. If it is to be used as a promotional or fundraising item, a wall or planning calendar may not be cost effective. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages depending on its intended function.

Wall Calendars

These calendars work for just about everyone. They are the standard 28-page calendars that hang on a wall and typically have a picture on the top page and the calendar on the bottom page. They are not only decorative; they also offer plenty of space to write in important events or appointments. They make wonderful gifts for family or friends and can be personalized with family or other photos at just about any photo processing center.

Poster Calendars

Typically used to reference dates, poster calendars can vary in size from 11"X14" all the way up to 24"X36". These can be personalized with one large photo, or made into a collage of several photos. It is important to remember to make the font big enough to be seen from a distance yet not be too disruptive of the photo or picture.

Notecard Calendars

Usually promotional items used by companies in marketing, notecard calendars can also be used simply as a reference or wallet calendar and can be easily personalized with a photo or other picture.

Desktop Calendars

Some desktop calendars can be used as reference calendars and some are big enough to replace the typical wall calendar. These make wonderful gifts for the busy executive who is constantly referencing his calendar or going to meetings. Like wall calendars, the desktop version can be easily personalized with pictures or photos to make them unique.

Planning Calendars

These calendars are similar to daily or weekly calendars because they have space to write in important dates and appointments. But they are typically a spread of one month which limits the amount of space in which to write. They are small and portable making them excellent for the person constantly on the go or someone who prefers a pocket calendar over the wall version. Many photo processing centers can personalize these, or they can be ordered online.

Specialty or Novelty Calendars

These calendars can be just about anything. They can be made into soccer balls, magnets, pop-ups, or anything else. Depending on their size and shape, they can be personalized with a photo or picture. These are truly unique and make wonderful gifts for the person who has everything, including a calendar.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dollars and Sense and A Holiday Club To Boot

It was crunch time as the sound of a hundred and twenty seven children aged from six to twelve years filled the hall with exuberance and excitement. This holiday club had been eagerly anticipated by the children. The leaders had worked extremely hard to make it a memorable occasion. Jungle decorations and artwork filled the stage and surrounding walls.Net like structures hung from the ceiling and housed a rainbow of balloons. The musicians leapt to the stage and the children lustily sang their repertoire of new and favourite songs.

Beaming parents and friends watched from the sidelines as the children answered questions, competed in quizzes or volunteered their assistance. When the winning team was announced the roar was deafening. The question,

"Would they like another club in the next holidays?" received a resounding, "Yes".

So, what made this event so successful? When it comes to children's work, the answer is always the same, planning and organisation. The budget was very limited as, irrespective of their financial situation, the aim was to provide a positive outcome for every child attending at a minimal cost. The organisers were aware that some invited families could not afford to pay even a nominal fee.

How to Create the Right Atmosphere?

Individual creativity shone in this arena. Off to the white goods stores the team headed, where they pleaded for boxes from display refrigerators, washing machines and kitchen appliances. Palm trees and ferns, trees and animals were all drawn onto the boxes, painted with acrylic paint and then cut out. The tree trunks interlocked so were free standing as were the palms and ferns. In the main, only the animal faces were visible, peeping out from behind the exotic foliage. Birds appeared to be flying through the air, but they were strung on old fishing lines. By the time the team had finished you could almost feel the steam of the jungle heat rising. CDs of jungle sounds and bird songs were playing in the background and enhanced the atmosphere.

What Crafts to do?

With such a wide age group to cater for, was craft to be individual pieces or a team effort? A combination of both was chosen. Paper plates(not laminated ones) of all sizes were the preferred medium.

For the tiny children, lines were pre drawn in towards the centre of the plate, but only just beyond the rim. The children's task was to cut the lines and an older person lapped the cut areas over one another forming a bowl shape which they stapled into place. The younger children then gathered leaves, pieces of string and anything else that was available to make a,' nest' on the inside of the, 'bowl' and glued some of their,' finds' onto the outside as well. They then coloured simple bird templates using shading powders, cut them out and popped them in the nest.

The older children were encouraged to decide which animal face they would like to make. Their choice influenced the size of plate used. By drawing a pear shape, most animal faces can be made. Some 'pears' need to be inverted while others require elongating or making the bulb of the,' pear' a little plumper. (This principle works for monkeys, lions, giraffes, donkeys, and even cats and dogs.)

Once the desired shape is achieved, it is helpful to slightly fold the plate in half and cut through the two pieces to make the face symmetrical. The off-cuts can then be used to make ears or horns. Sometimes an extra plate is required and definitely so, for an elephant. Staple or glue the ears or horns in place. Try it for yourself. You will be as surprised as the children were by the fabulous faces they were able to create.

Three children's jumpers, (grey, brown and a tawny colour) purchased from a thrift shop were unravelled. The crinkled wool was pre-cut to enable the children to make fur or manes to add to the faces. Piles of wool and glue were placed on the tables to be shared. Eyes were made simply from crumpled up cellophane in tones of green and yellow and glued in place. They were then outlined in pen. Mouths were drawn on with pencil or pen and coloured or painted with the shading powders turned into water colour with a spray of water.

Group Work

A jungle scene had been pre-drawn on a roll of white paper (off-cut from the local newspaper) and as children finished their craft they were invited to work on the mural. Some shaded, while others daubed paint (They used daubers to do this and the effect is similar to Australian indigenous art work). The end result was a magical scene with a minimum of fuss and the other children were free to spend extra time on their animal faces or bird nests.

Musical Instruments:

No Holiday Club is complete without music. Tiny pine off-cuts were given to the team and the children decorated them with coloured paper turning them into castanets, old horse shoes were spray painted, strung with ribbon and struck with an old spoon, small plastic bottles were filled with rice and sealed tightly before being given a spray of paint and large tins with their labels removed were decorated with ribbon and became the drums. Note: All spray painting was done by adults beforehand.


These were age appropriate and the children were divided into teams. Every child was issued with one of four different jungle motifs to pin on their shirts with their name tag, making it very simple for the leaders to identify both individuals and teams. Well known games and some new ones were adapted to fit in with the jungle theme. Prizes were kept to a minimum with the end score being the important team goal. Stickers for encouragement were as popular as ever.

Story Telling:

Puppetry, sketch and tell and drama ensured that the children's interest and concentration were held during story telling times. They were also involved in making the, 'sounds' or clapping etc as required by the leader. Variety was the key.


The leaders knew the songs well and played and sung enthusiastically making it fun for all. The use of action songs employed excess energy in a positive fashion.


'Duty of Care' courses had been completed by all leaders and police checks done, health and safety guidelines were in place, registration forms recorded allergies and emergency phone numbers and where possible, were completed before the club began, enabling name tags etc to be ready on arrival. Leaders were responsible for accepting and returning children to and from their parent or guardian.

Dollars and Sense:

To keep over one hundred and twenty children happy and entertained for a total of six hours over two days for less than two dollars a child makes dollars and sense in today's economy! It can be done as long as you have volunteers who are well trained and in tune with the needs of children. Bring some 'Dollars and Sense' to your community and enjoy the creativity you will have with your friends or colleagues.