If you were disappointed when Piknik the free online photo editing site went offline and closed up shop in early spring of last year, you needn’t despair because one of the best free online photo editing sites has found a new life as PicMonkey. ( On their website, PicMonkey claims that former staff workers for Piknik moved to PicMonkey and the others were absorbed into Google staff when they were bought out by Google+.) [Read more…]
Clown figurines and other vintage circus collectibles are a popular collecting area for many antique and vintage collectors. Here’s a little history on the origin of clowns…Clowns have always been a part of many cultures, and the art of clowning has existed for many centuries.
Although clowns in the past, were usually found in the courts of kings and queens ( I imagine everybody needed a laugh from the important matters of state that were part of daily court life) clowns can be traced as far back as the courts of Pharoah. A pygmy clown performed as a jester in the court of Pharaoh Dadkeri-Assi during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty about 2500 B.C. and court jesters have performed in China since 1818 B.C.
When the Spanish Conqueror, Cortez , conquered the Aztecs in what is now the state of Mexico, Cortez was surprised to discover clowns in the court of Montezuma. It is said that dwarf clowns, and hunchbacked buffoons were among the “wonders” that Cortez took back to Europe and presented to Pope Clement VII.
However, these clowns and other clowns of that time period, with their outrageous dress and crazy antics often wielded power and influence in royal courts, and their role varied from the clowns we know today.
Our modern day clowns can give credit to Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) who elevated the art of clowning to a theatrical fine art. He is credited for moving away from the harlequin type of clown of that day and was the first to use whiteface in his performances. A superb and engaging entertainer, he developed elaborate tricks and special effects.
Around 1874, two entertainers James McIntyre and Tom Heath developed the tramp characterization with which most people are familiar with.
Although, there is controversy over the exact origins of the tramp clown some say they represented the traveling “hoe boys,” or itinerant farm workers, who rode the rails from one town to another, often in rag tag clothing and covered with soot. They were known as hoe boys (or hobos). Famous clowns among this type of character are Emmett Kelly Jr. as “Weary Willie” the son of an equally famous clown Emmett Kelly Sr.
Emmett Kelly was a clown whose fame had become so notable, he was known throughout the world and was designated as one of the World’s most famous clowns. In 1972 Emmett Kelly, Jr., with help from his manager, established his own national circus. His circus was the only circus to perform at the White House, not just once but twice—once in 1972 and again in 1973 during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
Emmet Kelly, Jr.’s image and the image of other notable clowns are often available in prints, figurines and circus playbills and there is an active collecting community in this hugely popular genre.
Companies such as Lladro, Murano Glass , Flambro and other porcelain companies sell clown and harlequin figurines and other items that range in price from several dollars to a couple of thousand. In addition, there are many groups that collect paper and other circus collectibles from all around the world, some of these groups can be located on Flickr.
However, figurines are not the only objects that circus collectors purchase. According to Kovels, an antique price guide and collectibles publisher, circus collectors “look for posters, programs, popcorn bags, paper fans, toys, food tickets and pennants, the older or more unusual the better.
A Barnum & Bailey’s circus toy (circa 1900s) is a tin wind-up truck made by Strauss Toys of Germany. It’s 9 inches long and sold for $360 at a Morphy auction in Pennsylvania.
In my opinion, I find clown and circus collectibles beautiful and fun as they bring back fond memories of going to the circus when I was a child. However, there are some people who fear clowns perhaps as a result of so many horror movies that have typified clowns as scary and repulsive.
In addition, not only are clown figurines popular but clown or circus ephemera collectibles are also very popular, either for party decor, altered art or other DIY craft projects.
In any case, whatever your wallet size may be, you’ll be sure to find a clown figurine suitable to your pocketbook and budget– a memory of a clown or an event that made you laugh!
Images via Flickr = Double M ~ Mary Margret
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Basic Questions about Pinterest
What is Pinterest ?
It’s a massive online virtual bulletin board to bookmark images you love from around the web. In Pinterest terms, these bookmarks or images are called “pins” very similar to the items you might pin on a physical bulletin board. Your “pins” are visible to other Pinterest users and you can see the boards of others as well, unless of course you use their new “secret boards” available for your own private use and viewing.
How does Pinterest work?
Here’s the basics: (1) Surf the internet. (2) See an image/video you like of some DIY craft ideas that you are interested in using. (3) “Pin” that image/video to one of your Pinterest boards ( i.e. Wedding Plans, Dream Vacation, DIY Craft Ideas, are basic board names but your boards can be named whatever you want) to keep track of your pin and to share it with others.
How do I get on Pinterest?
Go to the main page on Pinterest.com You can request an invite by clicking the red button, or, you can ask someone that is already on Pinterest for an invite.
Add the “Pin It” Button to your bookmarks bar.
Go to the goodies page on Pinterest and drag the button into your bookmarks bar (it’s right at the top of the page in the blue box). The automatic install should be easy. This will download a little but powerful applet (called the pinmarklet) that will reside in your browser’s bar. Once it’s installed, whenever you come across something great to pin, simply click the “Pin It” button in your bookmarks bar and you will be redirected to a small Pinterest applet that will allow you to pin to any of your boards. (See the image below for a sample)
Pinterest Netiquette or What Makes A Good Pin?
Use relevant keywords in your descriptions.
Once you get familiar with Pinterest, you will notice that a lot of pinners often leave their positive expressions or opinions of their pin ( for example, things like “So Great!, I’m loving this! This is so cute! and other exclamations on their pins). However, your pin will more likely be found if you remember to provide keyword-rich descriptions.
Many pinners are using the hashtag “#”symbol, similar to what is used on Twitter in order to make their pins easily searchable . However, keep in mind some pinners are overusing these keywords. I would recommend that you do not use too many keywords, just make sure you use the broadest or most specific keywords that would make your pin easy to find and relevant to your readers. To find vintage items, use one or more keywords such as #vintage, #antique, #collectibles, #repurpose, #diy .
Write your own summary description.
Don’t copy and paste all the blog post’s content, the whole recipe or all the instructions from the original post directly into your pin. (There is a 500 character limit on the description) Not only does it clutter the images with unnecessary text it’s not good Pinterest netiquette. Plus, blog posts are copyrighted so pasting them in their entirety violates copyright infringement laws.
Pin from the individual post, not the home page.
When you decide to pin an image, make sure that you are pinning from the actual, individual post, and not from the home page. (To get to the individual post, click on the blog post’s title. If you can see a comments section at the bottom, it’s a clear indication that you’re on the individual post.)
This helps you direct those looking at the pin you have posted to go to the actual instructions or content of the page and not send you off into no man’s land. You will find that there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking through a pin, only to realize the post with the original image (and related content) is not available any longer.
Select the most visually interesting image from the individual post. Pinterest is a visually oriented website and you will find that the most attractive and well laid out photos usually get the most repins and likes. It seems that more and more, website owners and bloggers are taking Pinterest into account, enough to include images in their blog posts that would be popular for Pinterest users and “pinners”.
Don’t just be a repinner.
When you first start using Pinterest, you will probably be repinning pins that others have posted or pinned. As you search on the web, always be on the lookout for new and original pins. If you are on Pinterest often, you will likely recognize frequent repins so original and fresh content is always welcome. However, these boards are for your use, so don’t feel quilty if you are repinning something of specific interest to you or new to you.
Make sure you play by the rules and posted guidelines.
In case you get stumped, you can always refer to Pinterest’s netiquette rules. Know and understand the friendly guidelines Pinterest has put in place for its site. In order to enhance their user’s web experience, (and keep you coming back of course) Pinterest discourages spamming and other unwanted practices on their website.
Organizing Your Pinterest Boards and Pins
Organize your boards well. As in many things in life it pays to be organized, the more relevant and organized your boards are the more likely you and your followers will be likely to find your pins. Unclear board titles aren’t so helpful either.
Pinterest allows you to write a short description for your board. I would suggest you stick to accurate and helpful keywords in your description specific to what you’re pinning.
Take the extra time to see if a pin is a good one. Have you ever clicked through a pin only to discover that it leads nowhere or to unrelated content? So, before you repin, make sure you check the related pin first. It might take a little bit longer but it will help you and your followers to connect with relevant information.
Just a tip, when I find a pin that has all the info in the image I need but no corresponding content, I make a note of it in my summary description. It will serve as a reminder to me and others in the future, when I go back to that particular pin in the future.
Follow individual boards for a topic you are interested in. One of the nice things about Pinterest is that you can follow a person’s individual boards. You don’t have to follow a person and therefore, all of their boards (although you can do that too if all of their boards are of interest to you).
To subscribe to individual boards, simply click on the name of any Pinterest user and you’ll see all their boards. If you follow the person, you’ll follow all their boards. Otherwise, just pick and choose the boards you want.
Automatically include text from the original site in your pin description. If you’re on a site and you want to pin something, you can highlight a portion of text before clicking the “Pin It” bookmarklet. The text you highlight will automatically include this text in your description.
I like to add quotation marks when I quote directly and I suggest that you include a tiny snippet of text or phrase. You always want people to be directed back to the original site for the main content. I include my comments or notes in brackets; however, that is not general practice.
Extra Tips for Pinterest Users
Tag people in pins.
Simply add the “@” sign to your descriptions to tag someone so they know you were referring to them.
Add a price tag to a pin.
You can do this easily by adding a “$” or a “£” in your description. This works well, let’s say, if you are pinning from an Etsy shop or other online marketplaces.
Download Pinterest apps for your Iphone or Android device for pins on the go.
There are apps available for your smartphone or iphone so that you can pin to your boards when you are on the go. Find them on the Pinterest goodies page.
Most of all have fun pinning! And just one more tip, make sure you keep track of your time,you will find that it will pass quickly.