Tag Archives: hobbies

Is Coin Collecting a Lost Art?


Is Coin Collecting a Lost Art?

by Amy Lignor


Once upon a time collecting coins was a beloved hobby that a great many people liked to do. Before the art of scrapbooking became big, coin collecting (numismatics) was the choice for those who wanted an activity to do during their leisure time that would provide pure entertainment.

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Some will say that coin collecting became ‘lost’ in the shuffle. However, with the highly-rated list of TV shows (Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, American Pickers, etc.), people are seeing coin collections being discovered in old barns and storage lockers and are becoming excited about numismatics once again.


A hobby allows you to have fun, and be creative. Coin collecting is not a hobby, however, that the wallet can take if you are a person who takes hobbies far too seriously and looks at them as being competitive. There are those in coin collecting that shell out hundreds – even thousands – of dollars to purchase a single coin. But it still remains true that the coin you spend the least amount to own, or that cool coin you find buried in the back yard that perhaps was dropped by an actual Yankee or Confederate soldier, is the one coin that will have the most value to you.


It didn’t help coin collecting either when, back in 2009, hobby periodicals were reporting that more than a million counterfeit coins were being discovered; coins that people actually ‘lost their shirts on’ when they believed they were ‘special’ and ended up being worthless.


If you actually wish to be a coin collector, you need to look at the big picture. Coin collecting should begin at a beginner’s level, much like stamp collecting. This level is a great deal of fun, will build your collection over time, and not give you a heart attack over how much money you may be taking out of your wallet.


To begin, start your own coin collection with the change you receive on a daily basis while you’re learning all the ins-and-outs of the hobby. The State Quarters are the most often chosen series for people who want to start that coin collection. In circulation all over the country, the series has a great deal of interesting coins, with each state having their own unique design. And by collecting these, you take no risk whatsoever. If you learn that coin collecting is not for you, than you can simply spend the coins – no cash lost whatsoever.


Another great series to choose at the beginning is the Presidential Dollar series. This is the next step up, seeing as that this particular series of coins is not as widely available as the State Quarters. But you can go to your local bank and see which coins they have available, or even do a search on eBay or Amazon. (NOTE: Presidential Dollar coins for the current year can be found on the U.S. Mint’s site.)


Your next step would be to find an inexpensive album to utilize in order to keep the coins organized. There are ‘special’ albums already made for those State Quarters as well as other particular series. When one is filled, you can move on to the next series that catches your eye and gets those creative juices flowing.


When it comes to coin collecting, just remember that the one key to being good at the hobby while also having a good time is knowledge. Knowing the history about the coins you’re searching for is a must, and learning the history is extremely cool. And, by all means, never get discouraged. If your collection isn’t growing as quickly as you want it to, you can go back to the bank, take the “duplicates” you have and trade them in for a roll of new quarters. In that roll you most likely will find one you don’t have as of yet. Look at it as a treasure hunt. A little “Indiana Jones” to make the hobby even more adventurous.


And speaking of adventure…get out there with your metal detector or borrow a friend’s and get to work. If you live in the Deep South, the West that was being “won” long before you came into the world, or in New England – an area that is filled with history – you have a very good chance of finding historical objects in the ground. Coins can certainly be among them just waiting for you to dig up and bring back into the world.


By starting small and working your way up to more valuable coins, your knowledge will increase each and every day. But, above all, make sure that coin collecting is fun for you, because that’s what a hobby is all about. Have a great time while learning more about something that really interests you!


Source:  Baret News




Scrapbooking for Beginners!


Scrapbooking for Beginners!


When it comes to the arts & crafts/hobby world, there is one that has climbed the charts of popularity over the past few years. Scrapbooking calls out to a variety of people who, let’s face it, are truly sick and tired of cellphones clicking away, yet never producing PAPER copies of your grandchild’s photos. I realize that these electronic photos are simpler to use as backgrounds on laptops and backgrounds on the cellphones themselves, but they take away from the grandmother who wants to carry those PAPER copies in her purse to show off to others. But…I digress.

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Scrapbooking also appeals to all those out there who love to create and color, draw, and put together books on “topics” that are special to them. But, how do you begin that art of scrapbooking so that you can start making the perfect Christmas presents for everyone you love? That’s easy enough.


First, we talk about supplies. This is not an overly pricey hobby (although it can be for those who wish to go grand when it comes to weddings, etc.). For the basic scrapbook, supplies include: card stock and/or patterned paper, acid-free adhesive which could be tape or liquid, embellishments or stickers that coincide with the topic you choose, sharp scissors, your photos that you wish to include, page protectors, and the album, itself. Hobby Lobby is a fantastic store to find all kinds of these supplies.

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Now…how to choose a topic for your scrapbook? There are millions of topics you can go with. You just have to remember that the art of scrapbooking is basically telling a story to others, so think about the moments or events in your life that you would like to share. And you don’t have to “go big” when choosing your topic. Such as, you do not have to put together a huge scrapbook of your life with your mate. Start small: trips, moments or memories you wish to treasure, things like that. And if you find that telling a ‘story’ is too hard, just pick a specific theme such as, a kid’s graduation, a birthday, or even a pet scrapbook that’s all about your love for the four-legged creature in your life.


When it comes to the size of a scrapbook, the two most popular formats are 12”x12” and 8.5”x11”. There are so many varieties of albums and papers that are already cut to these sizes, but keep in mind that a twelve-by-twelve layout will give you more space to add text, stickers, and other embellishments to a page with a picture that’s already 8.5 x 11”.


There is also no law, by the way, that you have to “go big” in this area either. There are mini scrapbooking albums that are a whole lot of fun to use. All the way down to a 4” x 4”. There are also albums that are round, rectangular, triangular – you name it, they’re out there.


Now, it is time to choose those perfect photos of yours. For this step, try to remember that less is more. The scrapbooking pages themselves will be lovely, colorful and most likely will already come with embellishments, so there is no need to include every photo you have on hand. Take the absolute favorites so that your scrapbook will end up being 100% meaningful to you. Choose the photos with the best lighting and focus and add more than just the smiley-faced ones. In other words, when choosing to do a scrapbook of that new grandchild, include shots or drawn pictures of the little baby hands and feet, a shot of their first Christmas, their favorite toy, etc. But make sure to save photos for the next project.


Why? Because, just as it is with that precious grandchild, one scrapbook will never be enough!


Source:  GIG News



Herping: A Nature Activity That’s Tipping the “Scales”


Herping: A Nature Activity That’s Tipping the “Scales”

by Amy Lignor


There are a million lists put out daily, it seems, that tell you all about the most popular sports, hobbies and activities in the U.S. Well, there just so happens to be one that’s climbing up the charts, tipping the scales (literally) when it comes to finding, photographing and spending time with a creature of nature. Move over birdwatchers, THIS is herping.


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Green anoles mating

There are even herping shows for herping enthusiasts being held more and more across the U.S., where any and all can attend the event to see the largest variety of reptiles and amphibians in one place at one time. There are actual laws in place where this hobby is concerned as well, and even lists and documents about how to be a herper, where to go, and how much fun you will have.


First, it’s important to note that when it comes to choosing herping as your outdoor activity, the habitat of these particular animals tends to be fragile. In fact, many things that humans can do that seem to be of no danger whatsoever to other species can be detrimental to these creatures. Depending on where you choose to travel to practice herping, conditions do change. Cold winters are a poor time to ever try herping, considering that a high percentage of these creatures are dormant when the snow flies. And when it comes to the weather, especially if the Southwest is your choice of where to herp, rain, or lack of it, definitely affects the activity of these desert animals. The phase of the moon also changes when and where to herp because these nocturnal species can be influenced highly by a half or full moon.


When it comes to photographing these creatures, state parks can be the greatest places to do so. There, you can find extremely hard to locate reptiles in their own habitats. Unfortunately, if you are driving through those parks at night, very slowly, you can be suspected of illegally collecting the animals for captivity. But if you tell the personnel at the park what you want to do, chances are they will simply allow you to take your pictures.


If looking for the best two states for herping, New Mexico is one and Florida is the other. When it comes to Florida, herping enthusiasts have everything to choose from: the Sweet lands, the Keys and the Florida Everglades.


The Everglades is a whole lot of fun to spot reptiles and amphibians, especially when you consider that through the Glades run two main roads, Alligator Alley and the Tamiami Trail. There is both good and bad brought by these roads. Once easy to cruise, they are now known for heavy traffic that continues to take a toll on all wildlife attempting to cross them. But when it comes to the outer fringes of the roads, everything from water snakes to racers to the coolest reptile you can think of can be spotted. And the road SR 9336 is perfect to drive at night during the warmer months to spot mud turtles, corn snakes, eastern diamondbacks, as well as Burmese pythons. Just watch out for those water moccasins which may be waiting in that tall grass.


In New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment offers over 120 species of reptiles and amphibians. Among this number is four species of horned lizards and over 45 snakes. Herping is absolutely free and is extremely stunning in this desert paradise. From spotting the bright green and yellow collared lizard sunning itself on a fence to perhaps (if you’re lucky) sighting that Gila monster traveling along the desert trail (don’t touch, by the way), you have a ton of chances to see the coolest of the cool.


You know it’s an activity that’s growing exponentially when you note that there is an association representing herping called, The North American Field Herping Association. Dedicated to bringing together amateur, private and professional herpetologists from Canada, the United States and Mexico, they strive to educate one and all on how best to conserve and manage native North American reptiles and amphibians.


In other words, jump on the herping bandwagon now and hit the most awesome trails in America.


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Source:  Baret News