Tuesday, September 20, 2016

10 Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns Online

Whether you’ve been doing cross stitch needlepoint crafts for years or if you’ve just taken up a new hobby, incorporating the Christmas holiday in your creations is a great way to make decorations or personalized gifts for friends and family. Here’s a look at ten free Christmas cross stitch patterns you can use to add a little festivity to your holiday cross stitch craft projects.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns – Bev’s Country Cottage:
Bev offers a nice selection of full-color Christmas cross stitch patterns, featuring angels, holly, trees, and my favorite – Computer Santa! There’s also a selection of tiny cross stitch patterns and bookmark patterns.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns – Alita Designs:
This website offers several Christmas cross stitch patterns, including angels, candy canes, Madonna, jingle bells, and holly. Patterns are black and white, include printing directions, and each have a color key.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns – About.com: December 25th Calendar Date:
About.com offers an excellent Christmas cross stitch pattern for a beginner. This easy cross stitch design depicts the December 25th calendar date. Embroidery thread colors are up to you, as this does not include a color key, but it looks like only two colors are needed for the design.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns – Free Patterns.com
You will need to register for a membership, but don’t worry, it’s free. Not only does this site have an excellent selection of Christmas cross stitch patterns, pictures of completed craft projects using the design are included. Some of these patterns are complex, making these patterns challenging for the expert crafter.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns – Candy Cane Alphabet
This free cross stitch pattern is in PDF format and gives you extremely detailed instructions on how create alphanumeric characters in candy cane form.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns Free Patterns Online.com
This website offers a variety of patterns including poinsettias, Christmas gift tags, Santa, bows – and more! All cross stitch patterns are in full color format.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns – The Mouse’s Gift
This is too cute! This Christmas cross stitch pattern features a mouse wearing a Santa costume, holding a candy cane, in front of a very large Christmas gift. This would be a perfect pattern to use on a blanket.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns: Angel of the Christmas Season
Here’s a beautiful Christmas Angel cross stitch, in printable PDF form from FaveCrafts.com. This pattern includes instructions and a color key. You might need to enter your email address to register.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns : Do It Yourself
If you really want to get creative, you can create a Christmas cross stitch pattern in your own kitchen without spending any money! Get out your Christmas-themed cookie cutters and a piece of graphing paper. Center the cookie cutter to use as many whole squares as possible. Then, trace the cookie cutter over the graph paper. Use colored pencils or crayons to add facial features, decorations, and color to your pattern.

Free Christmas Cross Stitch Patterns: In the Snowy Garden
Another pattern from the Cross Stitches club is “In the snowy garden.” This cute, full color cross stitch has three dancing snowmen, holly, and Christmas gifts.

Hopefully this gives you a few starting points and ideas to find free cross stitch patterns online. Good luck with your holiday cross stitch projects!

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10 Free Music Marketing Strategies that Increase CD Sales!

Marketing marketing can be costly, time consuming, and sometimes beyond the reach of an independent artist or group’s resources. Here are 10 free music marketing strategies that will increase artist/group awareness, build large fan bases, and lead to increased CD sales.

1. Set up a music marketing and merchandise table at each gig.
Do not let the size or length of a show determine weather or not you take the time to set up a music marketing – merchandising table. Every opportunity to market your music to potential fans must be taken. A simple table with a black or colored cloth, artist/group banner, and loaded with CDs, Flyers, T-shirts, and email sign up sheet is all that is needed to draw attention. Attention equals CD sales.

2. Give a compelling reason to buy your CD.
When you are on stage do not simply announce that your girlfriend or boyfriend is at the back of the room with CDs for sell. This is not a reason to buy. Give potential fans a reason to want to buy the CD. Tell a compelling story about the recording session, featured players that appear on the CD, special recording techniques, producers used, or anything else that may draw attention and get potential fans to go to your music marketing – merchandise table and buy.

3. Capture email addresses at live shows.
Consistent music marketing newsletters delivered via email have proven time and time again to be a great source of CD sales. Live shows are a great place to build your opt-in email list. Have your girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, sister, or anyone you can find walk around the club/venue during your live performance and ask folks to sign up for your free newsletter. In addition, make sure you place a clipboard with pen attached at your music marketing – merchandise table for increased sign-ups.

4. Send consistent newsletter to fans updating music activities, shows, and information.
As you begin to build your opt-in email list you will need to send consistent music marketing email messages and newsletters to your fans. Do not over market. A weekly email updating fans of upcoming gigs, press mentions, and other artist/group activities has proven to work best. The last thing you want to do is send too many music marketing messages to fans and become another junk email in their minds.

5. Place an eye catching music marketing ad on all social networking sites linking to online store.
Social networking sites like myspace.com, youtube.com, and facebook.com have increased independent music exposure more so than any other music marketing channel in the history of music marketing. However, many up and coming artist/groups never fully realize the benefits these type of social networking sites offer. Do not be afraid to advertise the fact that you or your group has a CD for sell. Each one of your social networking sites must have an eye catching advertisement to buy your CD in a location that anyone who visits your page will be sure to see. Make sure you link the advertisement directly to your online store or page on your website where potential buyers can make the purchase with a single click.

6. Give the first single off your CD away for free.
In the marketing world it is called a “loss leader.” You give potential customers something for free in order to get them to want to buy the entire CD. By giving away a song for free you are giving potential fans a way to hear your music that will potentially lead then to want to buy the rest of the songs or your CD so they can continue enjoying the music. Do not be afraid of giving a song away for free. If the potential fans likes the music heard, it has been proven that they will by the CD.

7. Make it easy to buy your CD online.
If you have your own website make sure that you have links on every page of your site leading potential customers directly to the page where they can click on one button to buy your CD. Avoid shopping carts that make potential customers click through pages of categories, sections, etc. before landing on the actual product page.

8. List swap with similar artist/groups in your genre.
As you work your social networking sites you will come across similar artist/groups that you like as a music listening fan. Contact these groups and ask if they are interested in cross promoting your group to their opt-in email list in exchange for you doing the same. Do not give them your list and do not directly market your music to their list. Have them mention your group to their fans and you do the same for them. A recommendation from them about you and vise versa will gain you a lot more fans than trying to directly marketing to people who have never heard of you before. Plus, if you use their list or give your list to them this is considered SPAM. Don’t spam!

9. Gig swap with artist/groups in your genre in other Cities and States.
Gig swapping works very similar to list swapping. Ask similar artist/groups from other Cities and States than your own if they will let you open for them at their next show. Offer them the same in your City. You may not get paid for the show, but you will gain new fans. Each of you should market the other artist/group in all music marketing efforts to get the most out of the swap. Opening for an established group in a new city rather than trying to headline a show on your own will gain you more fans and lead to additional CD sales.

10. Perform at high profile events for free.
The more people you perform in front of the more potential fans you can win. Do not be afraid to perform for free if the show will be in front of a large number of potential new fans. The more fans you have the better your chances of selling CDs. City events, charity events, store/business openings, and community events are a good place to start. Watch your local news and read the daily paper to find events that may fit within your genre of music. When you find an event you feel may have a large number of potential fans, reach out and contact the organization and let them know you would like to perform at the event so you can gain new fans. Try to get them to include you or your groups name in future marketing of the event as payment for your services.

As you can see, not all music marketing activities have to be costly or time consuming. For the up and coming artist or group all that is needed to build large fan bases that buys CDs is creativity and consistency. Always remember to give potential fans an easy path to buy your CD and merchandise and do not be afraid to let your fans know what you have for sell!

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10 Free Summer Fun Activities for Couples

You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy summer fun activates with the one you love. From kite flying to sleeping under the stars, these free fun activities will make the sunny days of summer sweet and memorable. So share these summer fun act ivies with your true love or couples you know who could use a little free romance this summer.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#1 FLY A KITE

Flying a kite is a fun summer activity that’s totally free. Go to the local park on a breezy day, or drive down to the beach in the early morning when the wind blows in from the sea and fly two kites. Not only is the summer activity good for the soul, it’s good for the body too when you run together and laugh as you fly your kites side by side in the sky.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#2 WATCH THE SUNRISE

Watching the sunrise is a perfect fun summer activity for couples. Get up early, meet each other on the beach or lakefront and cuddle under a warm blanket as the sky turns purple overhead. And be sure to bring a thermos with steaming coffee, to make this free fun summer activity all the more enjoyable.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#3 WATCH THE SUNSET

A sunset not only looks different from sunrise but feels different too, which makes it a perfect end of day fun summer activity for couples. Bring a basket filled with dinner goodies, and enjoy your summer picnic as the sky turns red and the sun dips below the horizon.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#4 PICNIC

A picnic is an ideal free summer fun activity for couples. Pack your favorite foods, and don’t forget luscious summer berries, a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes. Spread a blanket under a tree in your local arboretum or park, and be sure to bring a poetry book or joke book to share together and make this summer activity especially fun.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#5 BICYCLE RIDING

Bicycle riding is a perfect free fun summer activity for couples. Load your bikes in the trunk by taking off the front wheel, or by leaving the trunk open and tying it with a rope. Or better yet, use a bicycle rack to load them on top or behind your car. Look online for perfect bicycle riding parks, then go riding round a lake or through a wood for a fun summer activity that’s good for every part of you.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#6 HIKING

Hiking is the perfect summer fun activity for couples. Drive to a local mountain or lake, and let nature surround you from all sides and make this fun summer activity no less beautiful because it is entirely free. Take a guide book on local mushrooms or berries, and pick a few goodies along the way. Pick a wild flower for her hair. Or fold leaves to make into free whistles.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#7 SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS

Sleeping under the stars is a wonderful, free summer activity for couples. Just zip your sleeping bags together, and choose a beautiful spot to sleep under the stars on a warm summer night. Even your backyard can become a romantic place when you gaze up at the sky and forget all your troubles.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#8 ART FAIRS

Free art fair are ideal summer fun activities for couples. Just run an internet search for arts and crafts or art fairs in your area, and you’ll see that most summer weekends have something going on somewhere. This summer fun activity can become even better if you combine it with picnicking after your morning’s art fair stroll.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#9 BARBEQUE

Family and friends are always having barbeques on summer afternoons, and there’s nothing quite as fun and free as a barbeque where someone else is cooking. Take turns with your friends and family, and enjoy 10 free barbeques for every one you host. It’s a perfect free summer fun activity for couples.

Free Summer Activities for Couples:#10 BOATING

Even a blow-up dingy can form the basis for an excellent free fun summer activity for couples. Relax in the sun as you row yourselves luxuriously across a shimmering lake. Be sure to bring along a fun drink and fresh fruit. And if you row yourselves far away from the madding crowd, you might even try a little skinny dipping.

More Free Summer Fun Activities

Fun Backyard Summer Kid Games: Forget about watching TV or playing video games, with these fun backyard summer kid games, kids will have the best summer ever right in your backyard.

5 Backyard Summer Landscaping Ideas for Outdoor Fun: Make your backyard summer landscaping specially geared for outdoor fun. From splashing in the sun to sitting under the stars, your backyard landscaping can make your garden a fun place to sit with friends and family all summer long.

10 Fun Places to Go with Your Dog in Summer: From flying a kite together, to a day at the beach, or dancing in the park, these fun places to go with your dog will make your summer more fun than ever.

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10 Free Things to Do in Denver for Fall 2009

In today’s economy, with travel costs rising, wouldn’t it be nice to get some freebies once you reach your destination? I offer you the following list of totally free attractions in the Mile High City, and nearby areas, that will help you get the most bang from your non-existent buck. Note the dates and plan accordingly and you can have the same trip that the not-so-savvy paid a premium for.

1. Denver Zoo (2300 Steele Street, Denver, 303-376-4800) www.denverzoo.org

Mammal and birds and fish, oh my! This one is always a favorite before the snow hits the ground and the animals go into hibernation. Sunny Fall days are so perfect in Denver, too. Free days: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 – Sunday, October 25, 2009 – Sunday, November 8, 2009 – Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2. U.S. Mint (320 West Colfax Avenue, Denver, 303-405-4761) www.usmint.gov

Money makes the world go round. See how it’s made! Free Guided Tours Monday through Friday 8am-2pm with reservations.

3. Denver Art Museum (100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, 720-865-5000) http://ift.tt/HE6sEO

Also know as “The DAM”, which makes kids laugh. Tons of family friendly exhibits or go kid-free. Free days: Saturday, August 1, 2009 – Saturday, September 5, 2009 – Saturday, October 3, 2009 – Saturday, November 7, 2009

4. 16th Street Pedestrian Mall and Free Trolley http://ift.tt/MFYMAi

Almost a mile of shops, clubs and restaurants located in downtown Denver on 16th St. Open practically 24 hours. Grab some souvenirs, try a locally-made beer and see some interesting street performers.

5. Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, 303-322-7009) www.dmns.org

See Egyptian Mummies, Wildlife Exhibits or take a Prehistoric Journey. Kids will love the Discovery Zone. Free days: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 – Sunday, September 13, 2009 – Sunday, October 4, 2009 – Monday, November 2, 2009 – Sunday, November 22, 2009

6. Coors Brewery Tour (17735 W 32nd Ave, Golden, 303-277-6061) www.coors.com

Unique self-guided tour of the brewery. Main reason to go: free beer samples (must be 21 for those).

7. Denver Botanic Gardens (1005 York St., Denver, 720-865-3500) http://ift.tt/pqK8tl

Jurassic Gardens exhibit, Summer Concerts, Walking Trails. So much to do. So little time. Free days: Thursday, August 20, 2009 – Saturday, September 19, 2009 – Friday, October 23, 2009

8. Brown Palace Hotel (321 17th St, Denver, 303- 297-3111) www.brownpalace.com

Open for business for over 100 years, made of onyx and built over an artesian well. Lots more fun facts presented on the free tour! Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm with reservation.

9. Capital Building (200 E Colfax Ave, Denver, 303-866-2604) www.sos.state.co.us

Famous for it’s gold dome, get some Colorado history and see some preserved tapestries and stained glass windows. Free Guided Tours Monday through Friday 9am-2pm with reservations.

10. Fall Foliage Tours www.colorado.com, www.chiff.com

In late September, choose from several different scenic drives around the outskirts of Denver into the Rocky Mountains themselves.

Tags:10 Free Things to Do in Denver for Fall 2009

10 Festivals with Fireworks Over Lake Superior!

Lake Superior is an amazing sight! Holding 10% of the world’s fresh water, it’s the largest fresh water lake in the world. It’s also surrounded by some of the American Midwest’s most amazingly beautiful forests, many of which are on protected lands and in state and national parks.

Fourth of July celebrations located on the shores of Lake Superior range from elaborate music and fireworks events, to old fashioned small town festivals. If you’ve always wanted to see fireworks light up the waters of one of America’s greatest lakes, then here are ten Fourth Of July celebrations to consider as you make those summer vacation plans!

Note: List is in geographical order, following the shores of Lake Superior from West to East. All events occur on July 4th, unless stated otherwise.

Fireworks in Grand Portage, MN

Grand Portage is home to the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The Grand Portage Lodge and Casino is open to the public and manages public events in the area. Guest services at the casino will begin checking people in for the evening fireworks display at 10 AM on the 4th of July. The first 500 people will receive a 4th of July souvenir. Fireworks begin at dusk.

Cost: $49 for the night

Fireworks in Grand Marais, MN

The parade begins at 8 PM on Wisconsin Street in downtown Grand Marais, followed by live music in Harbor Park. Fireworks over the Grand Marais harbor begin at dusk.

Cost: Free

Fourth Fest in Duluth, MN

Minnesota’s largest fireworks display will happen during the Fourth Fest celebration at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. Gates to the festival open at noon on the 4th, with a carnival, foods & crafts vendors, and live bands playing continuously from 12:30 PM to 10 PM.

Fireworks begin at 10:10 PM and will be synchronized to music broadcast on NU92 (92.1) FM.

Cost: Free

A Superior Fourth Of July in Superior, WI

The Citizen’s Fourth Of July Committee has planned a day full of events for A Superior Fourth Of July, beginning with a parade at 11:00 AM. The Superior Singers perform at Pilgrim Lutheran Church at 1:00 PM, the Tower Avenue Car Show begins at 2:00 PM, and “The Bugs” will perform at the Head of the Lakes Fairgrounds from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. Fireworks will be held at the fairgrounds at dusk, which should be at about 10:15 PM.

Cost: Free

Fireworks in Bayfield, WI

A parade followed by patriotic speeches will be held on Madeline Island at 10:30 AM. A Blindfolded Dinghy Race will be held at 4:00 PM and Fireworks will be held at dusk in Bayfield’s Memorial Park.

Cost: Free

Independence Day Parade & Celebration in Ashland, WI

The Independence Day Parade & Celebration in Ashland begins with an Ice Cream Social on the Courthouse lawn from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The parade through downtown Ashland begins at 11:00 AM and is followed the Ashland Historical Society’s Cemetery Walk in Mt Agnes Cemetery at 2:00 PM, the Chequamegon Bay Band Concert at Memorial Park at 8:00 PM, a Fire Run at 9:45 PM, and fireworks over Chequamegon Bay at 10:00 PM.

Cost: Free

Independence Day Celebration in Copper Harbor, MI

The Independence Day Celebration in Copper Harbor begins with a parade at 10:00 AM, which is followed up with games and a cookout at the Copper Harbor Volunteer Fire Department in the Township Park. Fireworks over Lake Superior begin at dusk.

Cost: Free

Lumberjack Days in Baraga, MI

The Baraga County Lumberjack Days are an annual celebration that begins with the crowning of the Lumberjack Days Queen and end with fireworks over Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay. This year the festivities run from Saturday, July 2nd through Sunday, July 3rd and include several parades, a street dance, a flag raising ceremony, Karaoke, and a championship tug-o-war.

Cost: Free

Fourth of July in Marquette, MI

The Marquette Area Fourth of July Committee puts on a full day of activates, beginning with a Dog Dash in Picnic Rocks at 8:00 AM. That’s followed by the American Legion Baseball Game in Legion Field and the Decorated Bike Rodeo and Contest in Lakeview Arena, both at 10:00 AM. The Veterans’ Memorial Re-Dedication will be held in Harlow Park at 11:00 AM. The Fourth of July Parade through downtown Marquette will begin on Washington St. at 2:00 PM. Then the festivities move to Lower Harbor with the Fireman’s Competition at 4:30 PM, a Boat Parade at 9:30 PM, and Fireworks at 10:00 PM.

Cost: Free

Fireworks in Munising, MI

There are all-day Fourth of July festivities every year in Munising. At the time of this writing, the schedule had not yet been published; but, according to the Alger County Chamber of Commerce there will be a soap box derby, a Parade (usually held at noon), festivities by the bay, and fireworks over Lake Superior (usually at 10:00 PM).

Cost: Free

Bonus Listing:

Nothing But Stars in Isle Royale National Park

Best known for the packs of wild wolves and other wildlife, Isle Royal is a must see location for all outdoors enthusiasts. The only way to get there is by boarding a ship like the Ranger III out of Houghton, MI, or the Royale Queen IV out of Copper Harbor, MI.

Rock Harbor Lodge is the only hotel on the island and, according to guest services, fireworks are prohibited on the island and no special parties or events have been planned. All interpretive services and tours will be running according to their usual schedule.

If a 4th of July under the stars with nothing more dramatic than a campfire and the howling of wolves is your idea of a perfect celebration, then Isle Royal is the place to go.

Cost: Contact Rock Harbor Lodge

Tags:10 Festivals with Fireworks Over Lake Superior!

10 First Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas to Wow Your Spouse

One year ago this day you married the person of your dreams. That time was filled with excitement, stress, and anticipation of the life together to come. With the first anniversary approaching, don’t let your spouse down. You want your gift to convey, I’m just as crazy for you as I was a year ago. Since the first anniversary is known for paper here are few ideas of memorable gifts you can get for the one you love.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #1 Tickets

How about purchasing tickets to your spouses favorite concert, sporting event, theatrical performance or even tickets for a second honeymoon or get away? You could make this gift the total gift alone or use it as a supplement to something else special. Pick something that both of you can enjoy and make memories at.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #2 An Invitation

Take the time to handcraft an invitation to invite your spouse to something special they will enjoy, a nice dinner out or in prepared by your hands. An invitation is a way of putting a special touch on the occasion, also letting them know you put some time and effort into the details plan an outing.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #3 Cards

Now I have two ideas for cards. One is to create your own card, with a personal sentiment directly for your spouse, they will appreciate the effort and care put into it. Next you could purchase a deck of personalized cards or create them, with different tasks and even “chores” that you are willing to offer them as a gift to show your love.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #4 A Newspaper

Purchase a newspaper of the day you were married and even frame it for memory sake. Also there are multiple places online that you can have plaques and items created stated what else important in history happened on that day.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #5 Flowers

There are not many women who don’t like receiving flowers, and granted they may not smell as good as roses, why not have a bouquet of flower made for your wife out of paper. It will show some imagination and will be a nice addition to any gift.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #6 Money

Who doesn’t like money? But not to quick with this. You will have to know your spouse and their reaction to this gesture. If it is a chance money will offend them by thinking you put no effort or love in the gift, forget about it, and do something else. You could possibly consider finding a creative way to present the money, such as money roses, in a corsage, etc.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #7 Scrapbook

Nothing would be more special than to have a scrapbook compiled documenting your beautiful wedding day or even milestones of your first year of marriage.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #8 Books

Is your spouse an avid reader. Why not purchase then a special edition of there favorite work or just something that would hold a special meaning to them, inscribe it and give it with love.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #9 A Letter

In the age of the information highway, cell phones, text messaging and instant messages no one really takes the time to communicate anymore. Take the time to sit down, gather your thoughts and hand write a letter to your spouse to express your love. This will surely be dear to their heart and something they will revisit for years to come.

First Anniversary “Paper” Gift #10 You

Lastly for those who are spontaneous and adventurous, give them you. You coming out a large cake or gift box, whatever suits your personality best. It will be something they are sure not to forget.

Hopefully these paper ideas have got your creative juices flowing.

Tags:10 First Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas to Wow Your Spouse

10 Free Halloween Costume Patterns

With Halloween still a ways off there is still time to make your own costume. Here are ten great and free Halloween costume patterns to help you get started.

Jack-o’-Lantern – This Jack-o-Lantern costume is great for kids and has full instructions on how to make it. This free Halloween costume pattern is a classic.

Lego Block – This lego block Halloween costume pattern is laid out for kids but could easily be enlarged for an adult as well. The key is to match the color of the clothing underneath to the block itself.

Star Trek Uniform – This is not a pattern for a replica uniform but more a general approximation to use as a Halloween costume. They break down the different parts of the costume so you can make as much or as little as you want.

Fairy Wings – These wings work for a fairy or angel costume for a child. The site has complete instructions for making these for your Halloween costume.

Baby Lady Bug – This free Halloween costume pattern makes a cute lady bug costume for your child. It also has full detailed instructions with photos.

Pocahontas – This simple Pocahontas costume pattern is designed for a child but could be enlarged to work for an adult as well. It requires only basic sewing skills to complete.

1948 Dress – These free costume patterns are great if you want a period Halloween costume as they are authentic patterns from the 40s. They require solid sewing skills but look great when completed.

Victorian – There are dozens of original Victorian era patterns for both men and women that you can use for a Halloween costume. They are advanced patterns that will require experience sewing to complete.

Skunk – This Halloween costume for a toddler requires no sewing and is easy to make with a few items. The instructions are easy and detailed.

Statue of Liberty – These instructions make a simple costume for a child. There is no sewing required but some pieces are glued together.

Tags:10 Free Halloween Costume Patterns

10 Free Things to Do in Pittsburgh

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time in the city of Pittsburgh. There are many things to do in Pittsburgh that won’t cost you a penny. Check out these 10 free Pittsburgh activities.

Take a walk around one of the area’s beautiful parks. There are over 15 miles of running and biking paths that run through the city and connect to the river fronts. With 2,500 acres of public parks, there’s much to see and it’s completely free.

Attend a poetry reading. Carnegie Library, Slaughterhouse Gallery, Hemingways, and City Books are just a few of the numerous venues that host poetry readings and open mic nights. Most of these scheduled activities are free.

Watch a movie in your favorite park. Cinema in The Park is a great event sponsored by Comcast. At dusk (usually around 9pm), Pittsburgh’s favorite parks turn into outdoor movie theaters. Schenley Park, East Liberty, West End/Elliott Overlook, Brookline Memorial Park, Arsenal Park, Grandview Park, and Riverview Park all participate. Bring a blanket and enjoy a free movie.

Listen to a band at the Southside Works or Station Square. Throughout the summer, Southside Works hosts street parties that feature free live music. Every Friday in July and August Station Square hosts a ‘Street Jam’ which also offers free music and activities.

Visit one of the overlooks on Grandview Avenue in Mt. Washington. You can’t put a price on the beautiful view of the city from Mt. Washington. Try to get there to watch the sun set and you won’t regret it. In 2003, USA Today declared the nighttime view from Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh the second most beautiful sight in America.

Visit the Nationality Rooms in University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. There are 26 Nationality rooms in the Cathedral of Learning. Designed by the various ethnic groups that live in the county, each room displays the crafts, culture and architecture that help make Pittsburgh such a diverse city.
(If you want a tour, it’s $3.00– almost free!)

Tailgate at a local sporting event. You don’t have to have a ticket to the game to enjoy the numerous Pittsburgh sporting events. Tailgating can be just as fun! Whether you’re cheering for the Pirates, Steelers, or Penguins, wear your black and gold and head to the stadium or arena. Pittsburgh fans are generous towards other Pittsburgh fans so you might get a free beer or hot dog.

Take a walk in the Strip District. There is always something going on in ‘the strip’. Pittsburgh’s warehouse district is known for its unique shops, so walk along the strip and take a look around. The best time to visit is a Saturday morning when all of the street vendors are out and about.

Visit the Carnegie Main Library. With varying free events, monthly book discussion groups, a film lounge, and thousands of titles under its roof there’s always something to do at Carnegie Library.

Picnic at Point State Park. Pack a sandwich and head to the ‘the point’– the area where the three rivers meet. Eat in the park or around the fountain.

Tags:10 Free Things to Do in Pittsburgh

10 Female Child Stars with Successful Careers

Child stars have been a subject of controversy since the first ones began growing up in front of us. Alcoholism, drug abuse and financial troubles have dogged so many of them that it is difficult to imagine why any parent would let their child enter that industry. Fortunately, it does not always turn out badly for child stars as this list of female child stars who found success in youth and adulthood shows.

Drew Barrymore – Barrymore, 35, current generation of the Barrymore acting dynasty, began her film career at age 5 in the movie Altered States. This was followed up with E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial at the age of 7. She had a highly-publicized youth that landed her in two trips to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. In spite of the pressure from early successes and living up to a well-respected Hollywood name, Barrymore made the leap from child actor to adult producer, director, actress and owner of her own production company, Flower Films. Some of her more recent films include 50 First Dates and He’s Just Not That into You.

Kirsten Dunst – Dunst, 27, began filming television commercials at the age of three and had a small role in the Woody Allen film New York Stories at the age of 6. Her star went into orbit when at the age of 12 she starred opposite Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire. She spent some time in treatment for depression and came out a revitalized person as evidenced by her role as Mary Jane Watson in the Spiderman trilogy.

Christina Ricci – At 10, Ricci had a role in the film Mermaids but came to fame through her role as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values. With no known run-ins with the law or stints in rehab, Ricci seems one of the few to transition smoothly to acting as an adult. Her recent films include Sleepy Hollow opposite Johnny Depp and Monster where she portrayed the lesbian lover of Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer played by Charlize Theron.

Jodie Foster – The 47 year-old actress has seen her share of controversy over the span of her career and remains a much-loved, talented and very private individual. She began her career at age 3 as a Coppertone girl and was soon appearing on television shows. Her first movie at age 8, Menace on the Mountain was a television film and was followed by a string of Disney movies. In 1976, she made three movies, each of which earned her praise recognition and awards: Taxi Driver, Bugsy Malone and Freaky Friday. The 1981 attempt on President Reagan’s life by John Hinkley, Jr. was an effort by the shooter to impress Foster, then a freshman at Yale University where she late graduated magna cum laude. She went on to hone her craft and has won two Academy Awards, one for The Accused and the other for Silence of the Lambs. She also produces and directs films.

Elizabeth Taylor – Taylor filmed her first movie at the age of 9, There’s One Born Every Minute and she hasn’t looked back since. Among her earlier films were Lassie Come Home, The White Cliffs of Dover and National Velvet. With more than 60 film credits she is perhaps remembered best for roles films such as A Place in the Sun, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Cleopatra. She is known for her jewelry collections and launched three different perfumes contributing to her vast wealth. She was treated for alcoholism in the 1980’s and is remembered for the 8 marriages she has racked up in her lifetime.

Brooke Shields – Shields began modeling at 11 months old as was the Ivory Soap baby and continued modeling into her teens. Her ads for Calvin Klein jeans were controversial, given her 14 years of age and her hidden but nude upper half in many of the ads. The 1978 film Pretty Baby had Shields playing a child living in a brothel, filmed when she was just 11. This was followed up with The Blue Lagoon in 1980 which had many nude love scenes between the two teenagers in the film. Despite this controversy, Shields has gone on to forge a successful career and have a family. She worked extensively in television, with the hit series Suddenly Susan and still works today.

Helen Hunt – Hunt began her career in television as a teen, late than many of the others on this list. Television shows and made-for-TV movies were her main gigs through the 70’s and 80’s though she made a number of movies during this time as well. Twister boosted her film career followed by her Oscar winning turn as Carol Connelly in As Good As It Gets. In 200, she churned out 4 films – Dr. T. & the Women, Cast Away , Pay It Forward and What Women Want, costarring with Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Mel Gibson respectively.

Melissa Gilbert – Gilbert came to fame as Laura Ingalls on the Little House on the Prairie television series based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, a role she maintained for ten years. She was nine years old when filming began. With television commercials in her background, she beat out 500 actresses for the role. She continues to work mostly in television, making appearances on a variety of shows. She was twice elected as president of the Screen Actors Guild in 2001 and 2003. She currently plays Ma Ingalls in a musical version of Little House on the Prairie on tour through the USA in 2009-2010. In spite of her admitted battles with drugs and alcohol, Gilbert has led a successful life after being a child star.

Kristy McNichol – McNichol had numerous roles on television in guest spots and commercials before landing her first series role on Apple’s Way at the age of 12. Two years later she shot to fame as Buddy on the series Family, where she earned 2 Emmys for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series. She ventured into feature film in the late 70’s and early 80’s but allegedly had drug problems that resulted in her losing work. She was given another chance when she took the role of Barbara Weston on Empty Nest for 6 years. Health issues, diagnosed as bipolar disorder forced to leave the show and she decided to retire from acting, choosing to focus on healing herself. While some may question whether her story constitutes success, I believe her willingness to recognize and fight her demons after 24 years in the business does make her a success.

Shirley Temple Black – Undoubtedly the most recognizable child star ever, Shirley Temple began entertaining audiences at the age of 3 and churned out film after film until she was twelve. Temple made a few films in late teens but her box office appeal had dissipated and she retired from acting at the ripe old age of 21. She married, adding her husband’s name to hers and went to sit on the boards of major businesses before being appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and later to Czechoslovakia. For a complete biography, read Associated Contributor Lucinda Gunnin’s piece entitled Shirley Temple Black: A Woman Ahead of Her Time.






Tags:10 Female Child Stars with Successful Careers

10 Free Business Tools on the Web

When running a business online or off, there are many factors to consider and many things to do to help grow your business. I have gathered a list of ten of my favorite free tools and websites that offer free tools and have decided to share them.

1. McDar.net (http://www.mcdar.net/) Here you can utilize free SEO tools, a keyword analysis tools, check your ranks with popular search engines, and even look up domain names for free, and also get a free list of web hosting companies to consider.

2. MarketLeap.com (http://ift.tt/2crAReY) This website will help you figure out how popular your link is with their “Link Popularity Tool”. Also useful is their “Search Engine Saturation” and “Keyword Vreification”. They also offer a variety of SEO tools.

3. XML-Sitemaps.com (http://ift.tt/2cQYo6D) On this site, you can use the free sitemaps generator tool.

4.Free Downloadable Purchase Order (http://ift.tt/2crCfOZ) If your company does not have software that prints up purchase orders, this can be a very valuable tool. A purchase order helps you keep track of items purchased from a vendor. This really comes in handy for retail locations or companies that handle an inventory of other supplies, like office equipment, that is generally received by employees, rather than the owner or accountant. Once an order is received, the paperwork can be either faxed, emailed, or given by hand to the accountant.

5. The Employee-Run-Budget Worksheet (http://ift.tt/2cQYU4A) This worksheet will help employees to better handle the budget by utilizing simple organization tactics.

6. Employment Application (http://ift.tt/2crCmtF) With this handy application, hiring your employees just got easier. Now you won’t have to spend hours trying to figure out how to design an application and what to include or leave out.

7. Workplace Safety Tool (http://ift.tt/2cQYWJO) Is your workplace a safe environment for you and your employees and customers? Use this to help you determine just that.

8. Free website submission tool (http://ift.tt/2crB4iz) This was designed for residents of Canada, but it also includes US search engines like Google, so if you’re not Canadian, it is still worth using.

9. Business Owner’s Toolkit (http://ift.tt/1I8jJXp) From selling your products to utilizing the US government, this free business owner’s toolkit is a must-have for serious business owners.

10. Buzgate (http://ift.tt/2crB9mo) This website has business information, tools, and articles to help you run your business smoothly. If you have something to contribute, you can also submit it to the site.

Tags:10 Free Business Tools on the Web

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