Friday, August 21, 2009
Over the past several years there has been a drive for us all to become healthier, eat better more natural food, exercise more and even improve the way we rest. Consumers have been demanding more natural goods, and we are witnessing a swing of “back to nature” in many retail fields. It is with no surprise then that we are seeing companies supplying healthier goods to meet with customers’ demands. The world of bedding and linens has not been exempt from this trend and one can now find many natural fibres replacing the more conventional synthetic beddings. Coverings such as polyester and other synthetically made linens are not as sympathetic to our bodies needs as natural products are. Down, wool, cotton and silk are all examples of natural products seeing resurgence in the bedding market. As manufacturing techniques become increasingly sophisticated the prices of production decreases, making once prohibitively expensive bedding products more accessible to a mass market.Silk bedding has seen a huge increase in both trade and expansion of products recently. The silk filled duvet market in particular has grown tenfold from five years ago. Take a look at silksleep (dot) com who have been trading for several years now exclusively selling silk bedding products. Silk as a bedding product is both natural and healthier than using a synthetic product. Silk bedding by nature is inhospitable to bed bugs as the natural protein in silk repels the bugs and mites, making for a healthier sleeping environment. Some silk duvets are layered using mulberry silk, working enough silk together in a grid pattern to be able to be stitched into a duvet. This layering effect has a beneficial result as the silk allows our body heat to regulate itself, which in turn gives a better more relaxed nights sleep.Silk linen and pillow slips have also seen remarkable growth in the past few years. This is again because of sophisticated production techniques but also because there is a renewed demand for natural products. There is now a wide range of silk linen on the shelves in many good retailers and online stores. Many sell mulberry silk products which are far superior to other kinds of silk. Mulberry silks have been specifically harvested for a targeted production process. Be it for clothing, bedding or decorating, the durability of mulberry silk over other silks is noticeable and should be favoured if at all possible. Healthier living is making an impact round the world and bringing new and exciting products to our shores. Silk bedding is just one example of a return to basics trend – thankfully we now live in a world that allows us to go back to basics in style! Next time you are out and about, give natural a second look.
Family crests are not what you might think. The term "family crest" is sometimes used interchangeably with the heraldic terms "coat-of-arms" or "family shield," but a family crest is actually only one portion of the heraldic display known as a coat-of-arms. The crest is usually the uppermost design element in a coat-of-arms, standing on top of an armor helmet depicted in the coat-of-arms. It is analogous to the crest on top of the heads of some birds.Design Elements in Family Crests.Different animals and other graphic representations may be used in the design of family crests. A hand or arm holding a weapon, a lion, horse or dragon, or the wings of an eagle or another bird are often seen.A wreath (torse) in the family liveries (the principal colors of the family shield) usually surrounds the crest. In family crests of nobles such as princes, dukes or earls, a coronet often takes the place of the torse or sits on top of the torse.Historical Underpinnings of Family Crests.Heraldic coats-of-arms and family crests originated in Europe's early Middle Ages, and they came into popular use during the feudal period. Medieval knights used their crests and coats-of-arms to quickly and easily identify themselves to friends and foes during tournaments and battles. For example, a knight's shield and helmet were usually painted with colorful, vivid design elements from his coat-of-arms, oftentimes the family crest. A similar system - but with different graphics - evolved and came into use in feudal Japan.Other than reigning Queens, women are generally not entitled to bear or use family crests, and neither are members of the clergy. These exclusions are an historical artifact that arose because women and clergymen did not fight in battle or participate in medieval tournaments, and accordingly they would not have had a helmet on which to display a family crest. Because the stylized representations which we now think of as being family crests originated as displays on top of actual armored helmets, there was no mechanism to ever create a family crest for a woman or clergyman.Family Crests Today.By law, in several countries, only certain specific people ("armigers") are technically entitled to bear or use family crests and coats-of-arms, even today. But family crests are such attractive designs that they have become popular as wall displays and as part of the design of some jewelry. Like coats-of-arms, heraldic family crests relate to a specific historical individual or family name, and sometimes they symbolically portray that individual's deeds or events that occurred during the family history. Typically, very specific symbolic devices, colors and patterns are combined to create a heraldic family crest, and each of these components tells part of the story of the person or family that the crest belongs to. They are, however, typically highly stylized and it is sometimes very difficult to accurately decipher the symbolism used in a family crest. But even when the meaning of a family crest has long been lost in the mists of time, it is a beautiful, highly decorative design that evoke the magic of the Middle Ages and links us to a noble past.
The Nature of Rare Collectibles.As their name suggests, all rare collectibles are scarce, hard to find items. They can be antiques that are desirable because of their age, type of craftsmanship or some other unique feature that represents the past. Some rare collectibles are so old that they are considered to be antiquities - artifacts of an ancient civilization such as ancient Greek or ancient Chinese society. Alternatively, rare collectibles can be of very recent origin, sometimes being only a few years old.The common denominator of all rare collectibles, no matter what their type or age, is rarity. Frequently, because of their scarcity and their appeal, rare collectibles are also valuable. But whether they are valuable or inexpensive, rare collectibles are always important pieces in a collection.Rare is ...The definition of "rare" or "rarity" changes with the type of object, and accordingly, the definition of "rare collectibles" is somewhat imprecise - there is no strict line of demarcation between what is "rare" and what is "not rare." In some instances an item is considered to be a rare collectible because only one or two examples of that object are known to exist in the entire world. In other cases, hundreds or even thousands of a particular object may have survived to the present, but because their existence has not yet been discovered (such as very old porcelain dolls that were kept in a trunk that is now buried in an attic) or they are fragile and easily damaged (such as pottery, an early postage stamp or a 200 year-old piece of paper ephemera), high quality examples are considered to be scarce.Almost Any Type of Object Can Become a Rare Collectible, if Scarce Enough.Thousands of different types of rare collectibles exist throughout the world. Certain coins and postage stamps, books and manuscripts, pottery, weapons and other militaria, antique tools, original artwork, antique furniture, and paper ephemera can all be rare collectibles. "Paper ephemera" consists of written or printed material that has survived to the present despite the fact that the pieces were originally produced as disposable items, intended to be quickly discarded or destroyed. Examples of ephemera that can be rare collectibles include certain postcards, posters, trade cards, leaflets, exposition programs and advertising flyers, all common enough at the time, but mostly thrown away almost immediately. Some autographs, travel souvenirs and collectible memorabilia are also rare collectibles.Rare collectibles can be from anywhere in the world and from any culture. Rare Oriental collectibles include small items such as Chinese Dynastic pottery or temple objects, as well as large items such as articles of traditional clothing or armor from the Japanese feudal period. European rare collectibles are equally varied, and range from ancient Greek statuary to the beautifully illuminated (illustrated) maps that were drawn by early cartographers during the Age of Exploration in the 16th Century. Collectible, rare objects from the Americas include certain pieces of Native American (Indian) pottery, blankets or beadwork, original historical documents from Colonial or Revolutionary times, and ancient Inca, Aztec or Maya amulets, pottery and carvings.Why Collect Rare Collectibles?Many people seek out rare collectibles because of their inherent value. For these people, rare collectibles are a form of investment. But the primary motivation for many other collectors is the "thrill of the hunt" - that certain sense of satisfaction that is felt when a very hard to find piece is tracked down and finally located somewhere in the world