Monday, 8 June 2009

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Chinese Painting Techniques

Still remember I drew and colored a lot when I was in nursery and primary school. We used color pencil, water color and etc to paint the drawings. I could still remember there’s a hole in my water color painting due to excessive water in the painting. I’ve given up painting since schooling as I was not good at it. Now, it's so enjoyable and relax looking at beautiful paintings.

Chinese painting techniques is different from other types of painting techniques. Here’s a book that we can learn the techniques.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Wood Furniture

Do you own wood furniture? Any idea what kind of wood is your furniture made of? Most of the time, it is difficult to determine what kind of wood the furniture is made of if it is not clearly labeled with the furniture. Here are some woods that are easily identified for making furniture.

Ash is a tough hardwood known primarily for its excellent bending abilities. Ash varies in color from creamy white or gray with a light brown cast to a dark reddish brown. The price is moderate.

Basswood is a common hardwood that is often used in combination with rare woods such as walnut and mahogany. Its color varies from creamy white to creamy brown or red with broad rays and sometimes slightly darker streaks. The grain is straight and even. Basswood is close-grained, with very small pores. It is inexpensive.

Beech is another hardwood that bends easily, but it isn’t as attractive as ash. Beech is often used with more expensive woods on things like chairs, table legs, drawer bottoms, sides and backs of cabinets. Beech takes a stain well and is often stained to look like mahogany, maple, or cherry. Beech is both hard and heavy and is difficult to work with hand tools. It is inexpensive.

Birch is a common hardwood that is used in all aspects of furniture construction. The wood is light yellowish brown and very similar in color and in grain to maple. The grain is quite pleasing and is pretty expensive.

Butternut is hardwood, often called white walnut. The grain is pronounced and leafy. Butternut stains well and is often stained to look like dark walnut. The wood is light and is easy to work with. It’s usually pretty expensive.

Cedar is softwood that is used primarily in chest drawers
and closets. It has a distinctive scent and is effective in repelling insects. The wood is a light red, with light streaks and knots and the grain is beautiful. Cedar is moderately expensive.

Cherry is used in fine furniture and cabinets. Its color varies from light brown to dark reddish brown and it has a very attractive and distinctive grain. Cherry is difficult to work with hand tools and is expensive.

Elm is hardwood that has excellent bending qualities. It’s used in all types of furniture. Elm is light brown to dark brown and often has red streaks. Elm has become a rare wood that can be hard to find and expensive.

Gum is a hardwood that is often used in veneers or in combination with rare woods. Gum’s color is brown with red or darker streaks. Its price is moderately low.

Hickory is hardwood and is noted for its strength, hardness, and toughness. It is used in rockers, Windsor chairs, lawn furniture, and some veneers. The wood is brown to reddish brown. Its price is moderate.

Lauan is a mahogany look-alike and is used in less expensive grades of furniture. The wood varies in color from tan to brown to dark red and is pretty expensive.

Mahogany is a traditional favorite for fine furniture and one of the most treasured furniture woods in the world! Mahogany varies in color from medium brown to deep red-brown and dark red. Its grain is very distinctive and attractive. It is very expensive.

Maple is a strong, dense, attractive hardwood, used in furniture and for butcher blocks. Its color is light brown and the grain is usually straight. Maple is difficult to work with hand tools and is usually expensive.

Oak is valued for its strength and its attractive grain. It is used for solid furniture. White oak is a rich grayish brown color and red oak has a pronounced reddish cast. Both types of oak are distinctively grained with prominent rays or streaks. It is moderately expensive and red oak is usually less expensive than white.

Pecan is quite strong and used a lot in dining and office furniture. The wood varies from pale brown to reddish brown. The wood is difficult to work with hand tools and the price is moderate.

Pine is softwood used extensively in old Colonial furniture. The wood varies from cream to yellow-brown, has clearly marked growth rings and is closed grained. It is inexpensive.

Redwood is distinctive softwood is used primarily for outdoor furniture. It is resistant to decay and insects. The wood is a deep reddish brown and has well-marked growth rings. It is moderately hard, and is easy to work with hand tools.

Rosewood is like mahogany and is one of the finest and most valued furniture woods. Rosewood varies in color from dark brown to dark purple. It has strongly marked black streaks in it. Rosewood is difficult to work with hand tools and is very expensive.

Sycamore is used extensively in inexpensive furniture. It is very resistant to splitting and is also a favorite wood for butcher blocks. The wood varies from pinkish to reddish brown in color and has prominent closely spaced rays. It is moderately easy to work with hand tools and is moderately priced.

Teak is one of the choice furniture hardwoods. Teak varies from rich golden-yellow to dark brown with dark and light streaks. It is very expensive!

Walnut has traditionally been used for fine furniture and is still in demand today. Walnut is chocolate brown and sometimes has dark or purplish streaks. Its grain is very striking and attractive. It is very expensive.

Hope a little background of different types of wood could help you find your perfect piece of wood furniture!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Jade Jewelry Buying Tips

Jade is beautiful and stands for good luck. Most of the time, we are afraid the jade jewelry we buy is fake. Below are some easy steps to buy jade jewelry.


1. Find out if the stone is a jadeite or nephrite mineral. Both jadeite and nephrite are similar in resemblance and hardness but differ in colors and chemical compositions. Jadeite is more expensive / higher value and has a wider range of colors.

2. Look for intense colors jade. A wide range of colors including various shades of green, yellow, red, white, lavender, brown and black. Green is the most popular color of jade. The more expensive jade is in darker green. Also semi transparent to translucent jade is more valuable than opaque jade.

3. Buy high quality jade. Jade comes in 3 grades. Grade A, B & C. Select Grade A jade is natural and untreated without undergone artificial treatments.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Classification of Jade

Suspicious if the pieces of jade you own are artificial? Jade is classified to Grade A, B and C under international classification and used by the jade industry.

Grade A
This is natural and untreated jade. Only undergoes traditional process, which are not defined as ‘artificial treatments’ and recognized internationally. The natural color is also called ‘true color’.

Grade B
This is natural jade but chemically bleached to remove impurities and then impregnated with polymer to enhance translucency. This treatments damage the structure of the jade. The artificially treated Grade B jade is unnatural and become discolor after a period of time. Heat or household detergent will break down the polymer.

Grade C
This jade is not only chemically bleached to remove impurities but treated to enhance color. The color will be rich and becomes discolor after a period of time. The transparency and equality will lose under strong light, body heat and household detergent.

When you heard “Real Jade” or “Real Jade with Natural Color”, will you think it’s a Grade A jade? It may be a Grade A jade or it may not be. Grade B jade (treated jade) is still 100% real jade with 100% natural color but has been artificially treated.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Chinese Jade

Chinese Jade is very rich in culture and has a long history. It went through a long process of development as early as the New Stone Age 10,000 years ago.

Jade was made into many other items, such as vessels, tools, ornaments, utensils and etc. In ancient time, there were also musical instruments like flute and chime made out of jade.

For the Chinese, jade symbolizes power, status, beauty, perfection and prestige. They also believe jade can bring them luck, peace, wealth and health. There is a Chinese saying “Gold is valuable but jade is invaluable”. However, different people will have various views on the value of the same jade object. It is difficult to have a unanimous standard.