Handmade Gift Baskets - Craft

First of all, gift baskets are a great way to give an assortment of different gifts to someone in an attractive package. And when the gift items are removed, the basket itself can be used for other things. Gift baskets are appropriate for everyone from your boss to your best friend!

There are lots of companies where you can purchase great gift baskets for practically any occasion. However, it can be more special and enjoyable to make your own gift basket. And, it's easier than you might think!

First, choose a basket that's wide and deep enough to hold filler material as well as your gift items. Confetti or shredded paper makes fantastic filler and comes in a wide variety of colors. You'll also need clear cellophane or sheer fabric like tulle to wrap the basket, and a nice bow or ribbon to finish it off.

Selecting a color scheme for your basket is a great way to make it look professional and polished. For a new mom, go for soft pastels like pale pink or blue. Grass green with a touch of cool white is ideal for a golf lover's basket. For a chocolate or coffee themed basket, shades of brown are always nice. Corporate baskets look great when adorned with filler and ribbon in conservative shades like navy accented with a touch of gold or silver. Your color scheme can be reflected in your filler material, ribbons and bows, and even the gift items you choose.

When choosing gifts for your basket, go for items that are either universal in appeal or personal to the recipient. Gourmet non-perishable foods are always a good choice. Or, try a theme basket. Examples of themes include coffee, new baby, beach, wedding, sports, and gardening.

It's important when filling your gift basket that you make the basket look full. A sparse basket just isn't as appealing as one that's filled to the brim. Add enough filler so that the gift items are slightly elevated above the top of the basket. Then, place the gifts in a pleasing arrangement, wrap with cellophane, add a bow, and you're done!

Finding Gift Basket Supply Items
Gift baskets -- they're an ideal choice for anyone from a co-worker or associate to a friend or family member. Making a custom gift basket can be enjoyable as well as rewarding. The delight a thoughtful and creative gift basket can bring will make all your effort worthwhile! Finding gift basket supply items has never been easier than it is today. Gift baskets are wildly popular and you can find supplies at craft stores and even online!

The first thing you'll need to buy is a basket or other appropriate container. Attractive pails, wooden boxes, and fabric totes can all make acceptable substitutes for a basket. Select a basket (or other container) that offers enough room for filler and your gift items. You don't want empty space showing, so the smaller, the better. A gift basket should be stuffed to the brim! Filler can be anything from shredded paper to faux moss or even festive colored confetti. Filler gives your basket a professional appearance and provides somewhere to nestle the gift items.

When choosing what to put in your gift basket, go for a theme. Your theme could be anything from gourmet food to golf. For a special occasion or holiday, the theme chooses itself! Many of the items for your gift basket can be purchased at a variety store like Wal-Mart or Target. However, you might have to do some searching for harder to find items like gourmet foods.

You can always hop online and get everything you need at DesignItYourselfGiftBaskets. Although this fantastic company offers ready-made gift baskets, the best thing is their do-it-yourself service. First, you'll choose a theme. Examples of themes include gourmet, coffee, chocolate, wine, golf, spa, new baby and more. Then, it's time to choose the basket. Baskets come in every style from shades of wicker to wooden boxes. Finally, it's time to select your filler items. You'll be amazed at all the fantastic foods and gifts you can choose from!

After you've created your virtual gift basket, it's brought to life by a professional gift basket creator and shipped to you or the recipient of your choice. Wide selection, great gift basket supply items, and helpful customer service makes Design It Yourself Gift Baskets a cut above!

Homemade Gift Basket Ideas
Gift baskets make wonderful gifts for most anyone. Maybe you're seeking an ideal gift for a client, co-worker or supervisor. Or perhaps you know an expectant mother or have a friend with an upcoming birthday. Need to say thank you or express sympathy? A gift basket can do all that and more. There are lots of great companies out there that sell ready-made baskets, but making your own can be fun and make the basket more personal. Read on for some homemade gift basket ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

The Basics: When creating a homemade gift basket, you'll need a basket or other attractive container large enough to accommodate all your gift items and deep enough to hold a good amount of filler. Filler can be shredded paper in any color of your choice, faux grass or festive confetti. Finish off your basket with some cellophane wrap and a bow that matches your main color scheme.

For a New Mom: Try a light colored or white basket filled with pale pink or blue filler. Great items for one of these baskets include toiletries like lotion and shampoo, teething rings, rattles, plush animals, towels and washcloths, and even an outfit for baby to wear and a pair of fuzzy slippers for Mom!

In the Office: Corporate gift baskets can be filled with gourmet coffees, cured meats and cheeses, assorted jams and jellies, chocolates, or any other type of non-perishable edible that a hungry executive may enjoy. Co-workers and bosses can be hard to buy for, but you'll never go wrong with gourmet food!

For the Chocolate Lover: Fill a basket with brown shredded paper and fill with goodies like chocolate bars, boxed chocolate, truffles, hot chocolate mix, and even a cute chocolate-related gift book!

For a New Bride: To help a blushing bride make herself even more radiant, try a gift basket filled with stress-relieving spa items. Massage oils, a pretty loofah puff, a soothing gel eye mask, and a book of romantic poetry are all ideal choices!

For the Gardener: For a gardening enthusiast, fill an attractive metal bucket with fake grass or moss. Then, add garden related items like seed packets, gardening gloves, a gift book about gardening, and some nourishing hand crème to soothe overworked hands.
Use your imagination and come up with your own creative homemade gift basket ideas. The recipient will certainly appreciate the time and effort you've put into their gift basket.
Author: Frances Coleman.

Ivory Carving Craft

These very well carved and polished crabs are a late Meiji period product. They are about 4” wide, 2 ½” high and 1 ½” thick. Aside from some small old repair and hair line cracks due to their age, they are in great condition.

This early 20th century ivory carved beauty is 10 3/4 inches tall, 2 ½ inches wide and 2 inches thick. She wears a simple and elegant robe and holds a bouquet of flowers. The black metal stand is a later custom made piece. The statue is in excellent condition.

Japanese Craft From Bamboo - Take Ningyo Doll

These wood dolls are a specialty of the Fukui Prefecture. The bamboo is sliced, split and reassembled to form the doll and clothing with graceful or powerful poses. These dolls are made of natural and tinted pieces of bamboo. They represent subjects from mythology, kabuki actors, and famous dancers.

Japanese Craft : Wood Sculpture Doll

Kamo Ningyo (Yanagi Ningyo) are cheerful short and squat willow dolls. Kyoto National Museum states that they were quite tiny - less than 3" tall. They are typically between 5 and 7 cm but some dolls are less than 1 cm (3/8") tall! Cloth was glued to the unfinished wood, which was shaped to represent the clothing. From J.A.D.E.'s "Japanese Doll Terminology" we find that Takashi Tadashige, a priest at the Kamo-gami shrine, is credited with creating the first kamo doll in the mid-18th century. He carved his dolls from scraps of willow wood and glued on scraps of cloth, carving grooves to tuck in the raw edges of the material since he did not know how to sew.

Kokeshi are simple, turned, traditional wood dolls treasured by generations of Japanese people and are still being made by Japanese craftsmen today. Kokeshi are perhaps one of the most popular little souvenirs of any trip to Japan

Chinese Decoration, Perfectly Balanced

Chinese decorating includes colors that are bold and symbolize the many different aspects associated with life and culture. The dominant positive colors which make up Chinese palette include red, yellow, green and purple. Red, representing good luck, celebration, happiness and strength, is plentiful throughout Chinese decor. Yellow or gold exemplifies health and a long life. Green, the color of tranquility, thought and growth, also represents family, and is another favorite in this design. Another fashionable color is purple, which represents spirituality.

Negative colors, conversely, which are generally avoided in Chinese design are black, representing bad luck and suffering, and white, which is associated with death.

Norwegian Woodcarving - the Pinnacle of Norwegian folk art

Woodcarving has always been an important means of artistic expression in Norwegian folk art, and reached a high level of artistic proficiency early on.

The wooden sculptures found in Osebergdronningas (the Oseberg Queen's) burial mound were of such high quality that there are hardly any artists living today who can replicate this type of work. Woodcarvings on boats, sledges, wagons and churches, often featuring amazing fantasy creatures, are proof of the highly developed artistic skill and competence of the time.

With the introduction of Christianity came the building of churches, and woodcarvers were employed to adorn God's house. Most of the doorways of Norwegian stave churches feature incredible woodcarvings representing some of the foremost in Norwegian folk art, perhaps even in Norwegian art in general -- from the ornamental woodcarvings of fantasy creatures around the doorway of the Urnes Stave Church, to the rich vine-like ornamentation on the stave churches in Valdres, to the patterns reflecting historical events carved around the doorway of the Hylestad Stave Church. Inside the stave churches, the wood carver's craft was also often put to work, for example, to create spectacular creatures in the ceiling staring down upon the churchgoers below.

During the Norwegian renaissance toward the end of the 17th century, woodcarving was primarily confined to the churches, where traditional Baroque patterns were commonly used to adorn altarpieces and pulpits. But woodcarving was also used to decorate the interior of homes, such as on moulding and furniture, as well as the geometric woodcarving used on household articles such as mangling rollers.

The 18th century was the Golden Age of Norwegian wood carving, and the intricate designs of the acanthus plant were created in wood by the skilful hands of master woodcarvers. This design was first used in an altarpiece - completed in 1699 by a Dutch craftsman -- for the Oslo Cathedral. From this holy site the trend spread to the woodcarving environment in Hedmark, and later to the Gudbrandsdalen valley, where it became most prevalent. The first master of the craft in this district was Jakup Bersveinsson Klukstad, whose altarpiece at Lesja Church was a masterpiece of woodworking. Later, the acanthus design was commonly used by craftsmen to decorate the interior of homes, as well as for cupboards and clock cabinets. Among the craftsmen were famous figures such as Sylvfest Skrinde and Ola Rasmusson Skjåk (Skjåk-Ola) both from Skjåk, in addition to Jakup Rasmusson Sæterdalen and Hans Olsson Helleløkken from Vågå. All these woodcarvers are richly represented in museums in the Gudbrandsdalen Valley. Many of the wood carvers also carved tombstones made of soapstone, which is typical for the Gudbrandsdal Valley.

In the early 1800s, the most important market for woodcarvers was adorning the interior of homes, and the acanthus pattern was the most popular pattern. Over time, the woodcarvings came to be used less for large pieces such as cupboards and clock cabinets and more for smaller household items such as photograph frames and souvenir items.

In the latter part of the 19th century, a formal educational curriculum for the art of woodcarving was established in Hardanger and in the Gudbrandsdalen Valley. Lars Kinsarvik in Hardanger developed a new style, the Dragon Style, based on ornamental themes taken from the Viking Age and the doorways of various stave churches. Lars would come to be a significant trend-setter and educator, and decorated many cafes around the country with the end-products of his woodworking skills. He is also responsible for adorning several church interiors made in the Dragon Style, particularly in the western part of Norway. In Dovre, Hjerleids Husflidsskule (school of arts and crafts) began teaching woodcarving and became a leading educational institution in the field of woodcarving. The school continues to this today to have a dominating position in this field.

India Craft - Dokra Metal Craft

The word Dokra or Dhokra was used to specify a group of craftsmen of traveling type, scattered over Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradash and were identified by their marvelously fashioned and ornamented metal goods. The craftsmen have later on established in some areas of Bardwan, Bankura and Midapur districts of West Bengal parting their itinerant nature.

The expression Dokra in Bengali is used with disdain for those who are communally stumpy and detested. Of all craftsmen in West Bengal, these metal smiths are generally most mistreated as social outcasts. Consequently they are called Dokras.

Dokra structure of metal casting is said to be oldest form of metal casting and is precisely known as ‘cire perdue’ or lost wax procedure. A duplication of the preferred product is made with wax on a clay center with all its improved particulars of designs and decorations. A small amount of coats of delicately ready clay paste is applied over the replica and dried out in the shadow.

When the wax-image is done it has to be purified with pancha- varna or the five minced pigments. The joints of the constituent parts of the wax model should be toughened with copper rod or nails before being enclosed by the clay mould. These supports may be chiseled off after the wax model melts away in the heat of the furnace.

These Dokras craft an assortment of imagery and figures of gods and goddesses, birds and animals. Their major items of manufacture are measuring cutlery of different sizes and anklets and tinkling dancing bells for the Santhals. They make paikona, dhunuchi, pancha pradeep, anklets, ghunghrus with mixed aluminium by the lost wax process but do not make any imagery or figures. The dexterity of Dokra is exclusive in that no two Dokra products are alike. Of exacting attention is the way humble every day wares are perfected with immense love, care and creativity.

Dokra castings usually include of home beautification accessories like lamp holders, lamps, chains, and a variety of symbols of ethnic folklore and religion, and beautiful tribal jewelry of tribal Indian designs and patterns. In current years, this eternal tradition of wonderfully fashioned, decorated and handcrafted goods of Dokra artisans are in immense command in domestic and foreign marketplace because of it primeval plainness and enthralling folk motifs. Untutored in recognized institutions, the talent and artistic sagacity of these people are the outcome of the instinctive and intuitive innovative sense evolved over thousands of years.

In current years, the product of Dokra artisans are in immense command in domestic and foreign market because of it primitive simplicity charming folk motifs and powerful form. 57 families are still occupied in the crafts scattered in the districts like Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan and Midnapur.

Chinese Metal Art Crafts

Metal crafts, which mainly include cloisonné, filigree inlays, variegated copperware, tinwork, iron pictures, golden and silver accessories, etc, play a special role among China's arts and crafts.


Cloisonne is a kind of enamelware where the design colors are separated by thin metal strips. Its major processes include making a red copper roughcast, forming patterns on it using thin copper strips, filling patterns with different colors, firing, and polishing. Cloisonné integrates bronze and porcelain skills, and traditional painting and etching. It is the pinnacle of traditional Chinese handicrafts.

Cloisonnefirst originated in Beijing. The earliest piece of cloisonne was made in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), while the best examples were produced during the Xuande reign (1426-1456) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). During the Jingtai reign (1426-1456) of the Ming, handicraftsmen found a dark blue enamel that gave cloisonné a gorgeous, solemn appeal, which is still used today.

During the Qianlong reign (1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when pure copper was used as a roughcast, the art of cloisonné reached its pinnacle.

Cloisonnefirst originated in Beijing. The earliest piece of cloisonne was made in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), while the best examples were produced during the Xuande reign (1426-1456) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). During the Jingtai reign (1426-1456) of the Ming, handicraftsmen found a dark blue enamel that gave cloisonné a gorgeous, solemn appeal, which is still used today.

During the Qianlong reign (1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when pure copper was used as a roughcast, the art of cloisonné reached its pinnacle.

Beijingers still like to decorate their homes with cloisonnearticles and young women adore cloisonné bracelets and earrings. Cloisonné articles also make great gifts.

People are attracted to its beauty and glittering thin copper strips.
In Beijing, most hotel shops and tourist stores sell cloisonné articles, which can be as big as sacrificial utensils, screens, tables and chairs, or as small as chopsticks, earrings, candy boxes, toothpicks and smoking paraphernalia. They are works of art with a practical value. Recently, handicraftsmen have developed a multi-coloring technique to make cloisonné , which has resulted in more refined and gorgeous products.

** The Process

As one of the famous arts and crafts of Beijing, cloisonné is a form of famous traditional enamelware with a history of over 500 years. The making of cloisonné involves an elaborate and complex process, which includes base-hammering, copper-strip inlays, soldering, enamel filling, enamel firing, polishing and gilding.

Base hammering is the first step in the making of cloisonné. The material used for the body is copper because copper is very malleable and ductile. This step requires sound judgment in the shaping and uniformity of thickness and weight. It is, in fact, much like the work of a coppersmith. The only difference is that when an article is shaped, the coppersmith's work is finished, whereas the cloisonné craftsman's work has just begun.

The second step is filigree soldering. This step requires great care and high creativity. The artisan pastes copper strips to the body that are 1/16 of an inch in diameter and a desired length chosen by the artisan, making up a complex but complete pattern. The artisan creates a blueprint in his or her mind and makes full use of his/her experience, imagination and aesthetic perspective in setting the copper strips on the body.

The third step is applying color, which is known as enamel filling. The color is like the glaze on ceramics and is called "enamel". Its basic elements are boric acid, saltpeter and alkaline. Due to the differences in the added minerals, the colors differ accordingly. Usually, iron will turn gray; uranium, yellow; chromium, green; zinc, white; bronze, blue; and gold or iodine, red. The colors are ground into powder and deposited into the cells separated by filigree.

The fourth step is enamel firing, which is achieved by putting the article with its enamel filling into a kiln. Soon after, the copper body turns red, but after firing, the enamel in the little compartments will sag slightly, which will require re-filling. This process will go on repeatedly until the little cells are full.

The fifth step is polishing, which begins with emery. Polishing aims to even out the filigree and the filled compartments. The whole piece is again put into the fire and then polished once more with a whet-stone. Finally, a piece of hard carbon is used to polish the article a final time to obtain some luster on the surface.

The sixth step is gilding, which is done by placing the article in gold or silver fluid, charged with an electric current. The exposed parts of the filigree and the metal fringes of the article will again undergo another electroplating and a slight polishing.

Fruit Carving Knife for Professional Fruit Carver

If you have heard about how wonderful Japanese knives are, these fruit carving knives from Thailand are their counterpart in the world of professional fruit carving.

The two knives here are hand-made in traditional styles and have been used by professional fruit carvers in Thailand for fruit carving for many years.

Because the knives are so lightweight they are ideal for long hours of intricate carving. The incredible blades are strong but flexible, thin and so sharp that they cut like scalpels. Cutting with these knives will feel exact and the laser-sharp blades will hold their edge.

The handmade wood-handled knife is suitable for beginners and advanced carvers. The blade is extremely sharp, and the knife lightweight. Note that the blade is sharpened on one side only.

Pictured here is the knife both with and without its protective wood cover (please note we will only send you one knife, not two as pictured here). Wooden handled knife: 5 7/8" overall length with a blade of 2". We recommend hand-washing these knives in mild soap water and drying before storing. Not dishwasher safe!

Meaning of Art Gallery

What is an art gallery? Art galleries are venues where various forms of art and works of various artists are displayed to public. Among the various forms of art like photography, sculpture, art illustrations, hand loom etc. showcasing of paintings are common. The prime objective of art gallery is to promote art and inspire the young artists. Art galleries can be regarded as the best place for art lovers and artists to acquire knowledge related to art.

Both the species can share their interest and concentrate in promoting art among the public. In the art galleries, various works of admired artists are displayed and are preserved for the next generation. The collection of art galleries are rapidly changing. Moreover, the tradition of showcasing art has been shifted from venues to online. Artists and art aficionados can upload their work online and can send it to their friends through emails and e-cards. The art gallery is classified into private and public galleries.

The public galleries display permanent collection of art. Whereas, private galleries carry the private-owned for profit-motive and sale works of art.

Fresh artists will find art gallery and art festivals as niche to exhibit their skills. They can reveal their ideas to the world. The art galleries feature a wide range of art forms. Many galleries carry world wide significance and visitors visit the galleries across the world. People evaluate the works of art and also get a chance to purchase the work they think to be worthy. There are numerous art galleries imparting knowledge and inform art lovers about the changing ideas related to art along with creating a platform for the unsung artists.

Art gallery is also a great place to meet art heroes personally. The art lovers can have a vivid insight into the artists' psychology and their skills to shape their ideas. So, to know art and artists in a better way visiting art galleries are rewarding and essential.

Source: www.articleblast.com

The Pacific Ethnic Jewelry

Pacific ethnic jewelry, pacific jewelry designs, south pacific jewelry, handmade ethnic jewelry pacific northwest jewelryThe history of Pacific ethnic jewelry is truly remarkable and some of the stories are absolutely incredible. As with so many cultures, jewelry was as important, if not more important, as clothing in the Pacific. For one thing, the materials used in jewelry making, and even the jewelry itself, was often used as currency. In the beginning, the only materials that were unavailable was metal.

It was not used until after early Asian or later European contact. Therefore, most of the jewelry you’ll see from the Pacific is usually strung. Some of the materials readily available were coral, jade, bone, bamboo, teeth, shells, seeds, nuts and feathers. The gathering of these materials, which took considerable effort, was even considered dangerous, at times. This was caused by hostile neighbors, unpredictable trading partners, treacherous coral reefs and the hazards of open sea travel in small canoes. Men usually made these long and dangerous trading expeditions while the women worked closer to home, gathering on the reefs and foraging in the bush for the required materials needed for the Pacific ethnic jewelry.

A perfect example would be the story of the men of the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain. Nassa shells were used as a means of trading in this region. Habitants would collect Nassa shells in palm leaves or bamboo containers. These shells harvested live shellfish, but they stored them in their houses where they were prepared to endure the stink of decay in anticipation of the wealth to come. When the seas calmed, canoe traders came along the coast to the north to exchange goods for these shells. This trading took place in an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, sometimes even out at sea from canoe to canoe.

For the New Zealand Maori, nephrite became the ultimate material of prestigious weapons, tools and jewelry. It was so valued and treasured by the Maori Culture and since the source was limited to three main geological localities, sea travel to these sources was almost impossible along the rough weather coast of south Westland. Therefore, all the jade had to be carried out on the backs of men and women over the high passes of the Southern Alps. Braving ice, snow and freezing rivers and only dressed in light coats and plaited sandals, they used rope ladders to get across cliffs and reed rafts to cross larger rivers.

Odd materials used in Pacific ethnic jewelry were held in high esteem. Dog’s teeth were used as currency and worth more than any other animal teeth or shells. Even when incorporated into jewelry, they still retained their monetary value. Another interesting material of value was the boar’s tusks. Normal boar tusks were incorporated in jewelry and sometimes also had monetary value. I had to mention this because it’s just too cute! Pigs were highly treasured and a favorite boar might have its ear pierced so that it could wear a shell earring or piece of red cloth. Pigs with tusks that have grown into a full circle or even into a double circle were especially valuable.

Twisted cords of reddish brown flying-fox fur and beads of dull green jade (serpentine) also assumed special value. The sensual appeal of the shapes and textures of polished jade or large volumptuous cowrie shells was well recognized in many Pacific cultures. Fragility and ephemeral beauty were of utmost importance as they used feathers, precious shells and flowers. Pleasant scents and sounds made during movement were sometimes important reasons for choice of materials. Thus fresh flowers, fragrant grasses and herbs were added to body decoration as much for their aroma as for their pleasing appearance. For instance leg rattles of dog’s teeth were worn on the leg because they enjoyed the sound.

Glass trade-beads have become an important element of Pacific jewelry since the first arrival of Asian and European outsiders. Some very ancient beads found their way into the western fringes of the Pacific through Indonesia into western New Guinea and through the Philippine Islands into Micronesia. Old trade beads are usually seen as isolated single specimens incorporated into otherwise traditional jewelry. You could find them strung among drilled shell discs or inlaid in gum or resin. At one time glass beads on horsehair became popular. Cheap, brightly colored glass beads and tubes are still being brought into some islands today for use in Pacific ethnic jewelry.