Monthly Archives: February 2013

7 Reasons Why People Collect Antiques

Source: designsponge.com via

As a fan of PBS’Antique Roadshow, I often find myself pondering what prompted a person to collect the item they are showcasing in the first place.  In the popular show, you get to see a huge variety of collectibles from furniture, to quilts, to decorative collectibles, to fine art, musical instruments and  paper collections.  The show hosts often asks the collector how they came about acquiring the item and the individual stories often vary.  But other than the occasional person, who basically fell into acquiring the collectible by accident (as an heirloom or gift), most of the guests loved and sought after what they collected.  So after a little soul searching, I put together a list of positive reasons why people collect.

  1. Money and Investment or Creating Family Heirlooms – You enjoy finding and collecting items that you want to leave as part of your inheritance or to make a statement of who you were to future heirs. Usually your collection, will have a dual purpose of not only pleasing you aesthetically but actually have an inherent monetary value that is established by antique experts and similar professionals.  Most collectors in this category collect fine art, furniture, vintage fine jewelry and other similar items.
  2. Collect for Sentimental Value or Nostalgia – Fond memories of the past or your childhood, inspire you to collect those objects that promoted your happiness and the process of collecting these items inspires these positive feelings.  Many collections can remind you of close relationships with loved ones or admired mentors  and the influence that these people had in developing your personal taste and style.
  3. Personal Hobby – The time and attention you put in researching, finding, purchasing, cleaning or restoring your collectibles and then displaying your collection, relaxes and or energizes you.  Engaging in your hobby makes the cares of life seem distant and provides you with a sense of accomplishment and restored energy.
  4. Personal Aesthetics – Your sense of style draws you to the aesthetics or beauty and rarity of the items you collect. Most avid collectors enjoy finding unique ways to display their personal collections throughout their homes.
  5. Enjoys the “thrill of the hunt” of finding rare items – One of the best parts about collecting is the thrill of the hunt.  The expectation of finding a treasure is a big motivator for the collector.  Many collections have been built by  carefully combing through boxes and tables at a yard sale or flea market, a sudden find at an auction, going through listings in the local paper or online (Craigslist…anyone?), or even an unexpected find at a store.  And when you find that item, it’s an awesome feeling!  This is especially true if you have been conducting a search for a long time or if the item is rare.  Acquiring the item or desired collectible, has less of a thrill for this type of collector than the thrill of searching for and finding it.
  6. Enjoys the restoration of antiques and collectibles – Not all collectors restore their collectibles, but many develop skill sets that bring added beauty and value to the items they collect.  These collectors enjoy the process so much and with added practice become so good at it, that they soon find themselves giving away their collectibles to grateful recipients and/or selling the items they restore.
  7. Feeling of Community/Social  – Over time, many collectors have individual and highly specialized knowledge about the items that they collect, that they find themselves joining or participating in groups that collect similar items.  And what should be surprising about that?  Many collectors enjoy the conversation regarding a similar collectible, the praise they get for the items they might have collected, and the additional knowledge and expertise they gather  from engaging in discussions with those who have broader collections of similar items.

So there is my wrap up of what I believe are the reasons why people like to collect.  While this blog post doesn’t address all of the reasons why people collect, I think it gives a broad idea of what motivates many collectors and the underlying reason common to most collectors is that they enjoy it immensely.  What motivated you to begin collecting?

5 Whimsical Free Fonts for Valentine’s Day DIY Crafts

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If you are contemplating making any DIY crafts for Valentine’s day, (whether it’s greetings cards, tags or labels),  it helps to have great fonts in your decorating arsenal.  I have compiled the following whimsical free fonts from a great online site resource  for free fonts.

The styles vary and the terms provided for their use by the font author varies; however, all those that were selected for this blog post are free for personal or commercial use.  These fonts (or typography, if you want to get technical) are all from the same site or font foundry, Dafont.

Selecting Your Font

The font designer usually provides a visual template of how each letter of the alphabet will look, or if there are any characters that are missing or not included in the font file,  for example, punctuation or other symbols.  They also include information as to whether the font can be used for personal or commercial use or whether they are requesting a donation.

The Dafont site has a cool feature that allows you to print the word phrase to preview just what your greeting card, tag or label might look like with the word phrase you have chosen.

All these fonts were located under the Holiday > Valentine’s section; however, there are hundreds  more available. The whole site has literally thousands of fonts.  They have sans serif fonts, serif fonts and script fonts available for your use.

I selected these because they were the most decorative (and they were searched as to the most popular) for the holiday, but I would suggest you check out the site for additional cute or romantic fonts that would suit your style or fancy.

1. Krishart

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2.  Fatty Heartfatty-heart-font3. Heartland

heartland-font

4.Times New Romance

Times-New-Romance

5. Queen of Hearts

queen-of hearts

The font files are downloaded via a zipped file and it will contain a font file usually ending with the suffix .TTF.

The instructions for the  installation of the font files vary per computer but they are not that difficult. If you have a Windows Vista operating system or a Mac, usually it requires just dragging and dropping the saved .TTF file into your fonts folder on your computer. Otherwise, you might want to check your system’s operating “Help” file to find out how to install your fonts.

Once you get familiar with the site, and adept at loading your fonts the trick will be to see if you can stop at only one!

Limoges Porcelain Boxes: 5 Tips to Consider Before You Purchase


Visit antiquehelper.com

When most people mention Limoges porcelain trinket boxes, they usually realize you are talking about high quality, upscale, and imported pricey porcelain that will be treasured for generations.  But in spite of its expense, this type of porcelain is worth its hefty price as it has retained its value since they began producing porcelain trinket boxes from this region in the 1700s.  The current trinket or pill boxes were thought to have originated from the snuff boxes of the aristocratic Frenchmen of the late 1700s.

It was the  discovery of Kaolin clay near Limoges France in the 1700’s that  created a new industry in France — hard paste porcelain. (Which up to that time was a highly secret manufacturing process and hard paste porcelain was only being manufactured in  China .)

Although they were popular in France, these collectible boxes were not popular in the United States because no means of exporting to the American market had been attempted.  At the time it took traveling to Europe to find and buy the pieces. In the 1960’s,  porcelain importer Charles Martine contributed to the awareness and popularity of the Limoges boxes we see now.

A collector should expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 per piece.  Since prices and reputable vendors vary, the following tips should help you in your hunt for these desirable collectibles.

  1. When trying to set a value on a piece, looking at the quality of the hand painted decoration can be more important than valuing its age or when it was produced.  Keep in mind high quality hand painting adds more value than the work of an unskilled porcelain painter.
  2. Unlike other porcelain pieces, there are fewer reproductions of Limoges porcelain and therefore, a collector can shop with more confidence that the trinket box he or she is buying is likely to be authentic. It wouldn’t hurt however to invest in a few collector books to get as much information about the different styles and designs available during different time periods.  Armed with this information a collector or shopper is more likely to select what he or she wants, pay closer to its estimated value  and to be satisfied with this expensive purchase.
  3. Understand that Limoges does not come from a specific company or corporation by the name of Limoges, Inc.; but is a city and region in France.  Therefore, porcelain that comes from this region can be defined as Limoges porcelain according to French law.  As a result, this beautiful , delicate porcelain was produced by a number of factories in France from the late 1700s until around 1930 when ornate design styles changed to more basic and simple designs.
  4.  Keep an eye out for the words Peint Main or Décor Main which means the trinket box has been “painted by hand” and check and see if the artist painted his or her initials on the box.  Boxes that are marked Rehausse Main are a combination of a decal transfer and hand painted details.  A decal transfer is a specialized design decal that is applied on the porcelain and permanently bonds with the porcelain during the firing process.
  5. Although many companies over the years have manufactured Limoges boxes there are a few which actually own their own Limoges companies and are known as high quality importers and manufacturers. The company names that are associated with exclusive Limoges designs and high quality porcelain are Artoria Limoges, Chamart Exclusives Inc. and Chanille to name a few.

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Image Credit

Photo courtesy of Antique Helper

How to Create A Basic Photo Collage Using PicMonkey

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Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and there are probably a lot of projects you might have on your mind to create.  But why not create a simple photo collage (using  a free, easy and  intuitive online photo editor)  that you can share with family, friends and of course all your loved ones.

The following steps should get you started quickly.

*Remember: Picmonkey is free to use and requires no registration.  (Of course,  PicMonkey tempts you with all the goodies and bells and whistles in the paid Royale features but their basic tools work really well.)

Steps to Create a Basic Photo Collage

Go to the Picmonkey website.  Go to Your Main Menu and Select the “Create A Collage Feature”.

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In this tutorial, we will be using  Picmonkey’s current “Sweetheart” theme sample pictures and include one of my own, so that I can show you how to include your own pictures as well  as use Picmonkey’s options.

Photo #1 shows the basic template layout and the main menu options on the left hand side.   Go to the “Photos” option and you can select  your photos from the drop-down menu.

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Photo #2 shows the picture of the vintage kitten valentine card image that I uploaded and the option now should read “From My Computer”. Your photos will be available to you by toggling between these two options.

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Photo #3 –  To create the layout for this example, select the “Layouts” option from the menu and then select the “Square Deal” option and choose the 2 x 2 square photo layout, four squares total.

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Photo #4 was included to show you the “Fabric Swatches” option on the menu in the event you wanted to use a fabric swatch image rather than a photo, but for this tutorial we will only be using the pictures shown.

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Photo #5 shows the template filled with the pictures which I just dragged and dropped into the template.  Notice the small grey rectangular area  that it is shown in the screenshot as I dragged over the kitten valentine card. When you see this on the template, it means that Picmonkey will be creating a new square or rectangle to make room for the additional photo being added to the layout.    Picmonkey will automatically adjust the template to the new photo I have dropped in and the photo template now has five photos.

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Photo #6 shows what the template looks like once I have completely dragged and  dropped in the photo of the vintage valentine card. So, the basic template with a white background (the default) has been created.  Adjust the images to your liking.

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Photo #7 shows the “Background” option on the Main Menu. You have four options in this menu, you will have to preselect or adjust:

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The following are the options included in this menu:

  • Spacing – This slider gives you the option to adjust the spacing between the photos based on pixels.  For this tutorial, we chose 12. (Which stands for 12 pixels)
  • Corner rounding – this option allows you to adjust the corners of your photos if you like by a percentage. I chose 15% for this example.
  • Color – Picmonkey allows you to choose the color for your background based on the rainbow like selector, the color picker tool which looks like an eyedropper, and by the hex# (a six digit number that graphic designers use to identify specific colors).  For this example, I used the color picker tool and picked the color from the vintage kitten valentine heart, and “Voila!” the background is filled with the matching color.
  • Transparent Background – Choosing this option would knock out your background and make it see through or transparent .  Keep this box unchecked for this example.

Now that you have finished your  creation,   you can adjust it to your liking.  When you have made all your adjustments, you will now save your photo collage to your computer.

Photo #8 shows you what the menu option looks like once you click the “save” button above your template.  Picmonkey usually gives you a standard file name for your photo and will save it to your computer. To save time,  I usually add a letter to the end of the name and rename it later, but you can name your photo whatever you like.

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A photo collage template at 1024 x 1024 pixels will print out at 14.2” by 14.2”, so you can use the change option to resize your photo at this point or you can save the photo to your computer and go back into Picmonkey and resize it with the “Edit a Photo” option.

And that’s it, you now know the basics of creating a photo collage.  As you play with the options, you will be able to adjust the photo collage to your liking and create a wonderful image to share with your loved ones!

You Might Also Like:

How to Use Picmonkey to Kickstart Your Photo Editing Skills

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Image Credit – Main Photo

Pictures were Picmonkey’s photo samples by C.Fisher Photography

Valentine Postcard

Vintage elements by Graphics Fairy

Fonts by Dafont “Susie’s Hand”

Heart Tape strips by PuglyPixel