Is a Perfect "English Accent" Even Possible?

English is now spoken in over 100 countries around the globe and for the approximately 1.5 billion who speak it there exists an endless array of vernaculars-to be expected when you consider that for more than half that number, English is a second or learned language. But for the remaining 328-plus million people worldwide for whom English is the actual mother tongue, you will find an equally broad range of dialects and accents. If English is your first language, you should have no problem distinguishing an Australian accent from a South African one, or differentiating between an Irishman and a Scot. Neither, will you fail to miss the astonishing dissimilarity between a Newfoundlander from Canada and a Texan from the Southwestern United States-and the comparisons go on and on! Mind you, this holds true for almost all of the other major language groups of the world such as Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, etc., each of whom possess their own dizzying collections of syntax and pronunciations. Speaking of which, let's consider for a moment the single most widely spoken language in the world today, which happens to be Mandarin. It is the official language of China but it's by no means a simple affair encompassing about 7 dialects and 42 sub-dialects; and, here's the clincher, Mandarin is not the only language spoken in China! If you have future plans to trek across The Middle Kingdom, prepare yourself for encounters with Cantonese, Gan, Hakka, Huainan, Jin, Min, Wu, and Xiang, not to mention all their associated dialects and sub-dialects. And if that's still not enough, you might want to brace yourself for an additional 1500 or so dialects if you decide to wander into the tens of thousands of villages scattered throughout that vast nation. After those kinds of breathtaking numbers, the English language might seem a little tame in comparison. Actually, you would be somewhat remiss because English is not, shall we say, without its challenges. Simply peruse the Ethnologue, 16th Edition, M. Paul Lewis, Editor (an encyclopedic reference cataloging the world's nearly 7,000 known living languages), and you will soon discover some highly telling statistics where English dialects are concerned. For instance, in the United Kingdom alone you will find something in the order of 34 distinct dialects!

So what then is the "correct" way to speak English? Is there one ideal to which we must all aspire? Some would hastily bestow that crown upon the birthplace of the English language-the British Isles. The thing is, even on those densely populated pieces of real estate you're going to find a spectacular number of dialects (as already mentioned), due in large part to hundreds of years of linguistic evolution. Nevertheless, there is a lingering notion that the "superior" English accent is and always will be "Received Pronunciation" (RP), also known as the Queen's (or King's) English. And why not-let's face it, it just sounds so bloody good! Just listen to some of the better-known Brit actors like Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and Helen Mirren and I rest my case! But, is that reason enough to laud it shamelessly as many still do? The famous British playwright George Bernard Shaw, in his literary tour de force Pygmalion (1913), explored that very notion as he sought to make a critical statement on the superficiality of class, social status and language (with special focus on the "proper English accent"). In the story, we observe how phonetics professor Henry Higgins makes a wager with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can transform a thick-accented Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into an eloquent duchess within three months. Professor Higgins readily accepts the bet because he prides himself on being able to determine where a person comes from by simply identifying their accent. Of course, the Professor recognizes that Eliza's linguistic transformation will require some doing, but he feels completely up to the task because he comes armed with several pronunciation tricks designed to help the poor girl pronounce her vowels, diphthongs and consonants "in the way that she should." For example, to help improve her elocution he has her put marbles in her mouth and repeat the sentence, "The shallow depression in the west of these islands is likely to move in a more easterly direction." To help her pronounce her /h/, he has her say over and over again, "But in Hampshire, Hereford and Hartford hurricanes hardly ever happen." After endless days of strenuous work, Eliza's transformation from "draggle-tailed guttersnipe" into a refined, well-spoken lady is complete. When she utters the words, "How kind of you to let me come," at the Embassy Ball, everyone is dazzled by her flawless speech and impeccable pronunciation.

But let's chow down on some reality cookies right about here and fast-forward to the real world of today where no English teacher in their right mind would pull a 'Professor Higgins' on a group of students. First of all, the 21st century has adopted certain pet mantras not the least of which is being "politically" and "socially correct" at all costs. This new mindset has seen today's language teachers place far greater importance on developing a student's ability to communicate well rather than pronounce meticulously. After all, sounding 100% like a native speaker is of little or no value if the comprehension and communication skills are sub par. Nowhere is this more evident than with today's technology. It has allowed the world to mingle more, so to speak, and most notably on the Internet where English largely rules the bandwidth waves. The reason for this is that English is the language of big business, and as we all know money doesn't make the distinction on whether somebody speaks English like Jackie Chan or Sir John Gielgud. In fact, when contrasting the careers of those two gentlemen, both of them actors, it's Jackie Chan who comes out on top in sheer English film box office receipts while Mr. Gielgud had his British knighthood as well as his "Companion of Honour" and "Order of Merit" awards to keep him warm during his lifetime. But, there's still a far broader-reaching question that begs asking and that is what's wrong with having an accent anyway? To cite from one of my own personal teaching experiences, the greatest majority of my students have come from a French background. Invariably, the very first thing I always tell my newbies is that there's absolutely nothing wrong with speaking English with their "delightful" French accents! In fact, we should all be so lucky to speak like that!

So does this mean that striving for the perfect English accent and pronunciation is as dead as the Dodo? Well, actually let's just remove the word "perfect" out of the equation. Students should by all means still try to attain good pronunciation and a pleasant accent. How can they achieve that? It involves five factors that will absolutely make the difference, and they are as follows: a) Voicing, b) Mouth, Tongue, andLip Position, c) Stress and Rhythm, d) Intonation, and e) Word Parts. Let's take a brief look at each of them, starting with Voicing. In English, some sounds are 'voiced,' (the voice box is used) while others are 'voiceless' (the voice box is not used). This can be illustrated with 'plurals' ending in "s". When the plural word is 'voiced,' the "s" is pronounced /z/; unvoiced and the "s" is pronounced /s/. Secondly, we must consider the position of the Mouth, Tongue and Lips. Here, you could draw simple diagrams of tongue and lip positions, or have students imitate you as you model sounds for them-all while having a clear view of your mouth, lip, and tongue movements. After that, comes Stress and Rhythm. In English, the distinction between stressed and unstressed syllables is that stressed syllables are louder, longer and more clearly articulated, while unstressed ones are shorter, compressed, and said very quickly. The way ESL students will learn them is through lots of practice and examples. Intonation is also very important because it indicates the speaker's intentions. So learning to understand the different pitch/variations in English is critical. Finally, we have Word Parts, close cousins of 'voicing.' Basically, the Past Participle of regular verbs (ending in -Ed) has three possible pronunciations-[t]; [d]; [id].

In conclusion, although the foregoing are all necessary elements for achieving good pronunciation, it should again be stressed that students of English should not have the slightest sense of feeling inadequate if speaking like a native is not achieved. It is of far greater importance to have nice, natural phrasing. Besides, as we've already discussed, having a 'foreign accent' is not always a negative thing. Take celebrated French Chef Jacques Pépin for example. He was Charles de Gaulle's personal chef before immigrating to the United States in 1959 and is credited for almost single handedly bringing the French cooking craze to North America. He is a bona fide star, and I'm willing to wager that it probably has something to do with that charming French accent he has when he speaks English!…



How to Pass English 101, or the Equivalent, at Your University

It's your first semester in college. Your course schedule probably looks something like this: English 101 and about three other required courses – maybe an elective if you're a daring freshman. You're thinking to yourself, "English 101? Come on! They'll probably make me read some Shakespeare or something and I'll buy my paper online or write it quickly on my way to calculus." Wrong! Take it from someone who teaches English 101 – if you fall behind in the beginning, you stand little chance of making it up toward the end. You want to make sure that you keep up with the reading and the homework, because just because the number 101 is after the course name doesn't necessarily mean it's the easiest course in existence. Actually, this is a comomn misconception. English 101 is not a course you breeze through, paying little attention and putting little effort into the assignments. It's a prerequisite for about a million other classes, so you need it for that reason, but English 101 will also help prepare you for the rest of your academic career and is not to be taken lightly.

In today's day and age, English 101 is not just seen as a college course where students read and then write about what they read. There is small group work, connecting texts to one another and paper revisions to deal with. I will touch on each of these subjects seperately because they will each help you to be able to pass English 101 with flying colors. (Remember, I am not an expert on ALL English 101 courses in the country, but I did take one, I do teach one, and I have read much pedagogy on the subject. Trust me or not – either way, these hints will never hinder you from doing well.)

Small Group Work and Participation
Chances are, your English 101 professor, at some point, is going to break the class into small groups and ask you to work together. There could be many different reasons for this. Maybe your teacher wants you to work with students you don't know, or maybe he/she wants you to brainstorm ideas without his/her assistance. When you are in these groups, participate! You are not there to let someone else do all the work for you and trust me, your professor will notice if you're putting all of the work on others. A big part of English 101 is participation, and just sitting there waiting for class to be over most likely isn't going to cut it. Look at it this way – it's an excuse to meet some new and interesting people!

Connecting Texts
Yet another reason for your teacher to put you into small groups for brainstorming, this is an important part of what you'll learn. As far as my experience, this practice of "intertextuality" denotes the great conversation among texts, and in English 101, your professors want to introduce you to this conversation. When you read your assignments, really read them – underline, take notes, look words up and write down any questions you might have. This kind of productive reading will make it much easier to connect essay #1 to essay #2 and when your professor asks you to connect them in your paper, you'll already have ideas. Remember, you're not just going to read a story, an essay or a novel and then forget all about it. It will come up again and again, most likely in conjunction with other works, so do your reading!!!!!

This is a very important part of the writing process. You should never just write a paper, hand it in and forget about it. A big part of English 101 is writing drafts for your papers and then improving on them. This is another very good reason for small group work in college. I, for one, enjoy putting my students in groups and asking them to comment on each other's papers. The key here is to not feel bad telling someone that you think he/she needs to fix something in his/her paper. The commments you make should be constructive criticism and should help the paper along. Also, you should revise on your own. After all, we all like what we see right after we write something. Take some time; give yourself some distance and then go back and look over it again. The odds are you'll find a few things you should change or expand on and then your paper has traveled another step toward that elusive A.

English 101 is not a throw-away course. You're going to have to work and you're going to have to work hard. Look at it as a learning experience – you should use the values you use in your first semester of college in all of your other classes. Put some work into it – use some elbow grease! Brush up on your grammar or ask for extra help if you need it. After all, who on earth wants to take English 101 twice? Work hard and it will pay off!…



Looking at English Through a Latin Lens

In the year 1618, The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was touched off by an incident called "The Defenestration of Prague." The what?

Suppose you weren't familiar with that word "defenestration". How could you find out what it meant? You could look it up. Or, if you knew a little bit about Latin, you might be able to figure the word out for yourself.

Latin? What does Latin have to do with English? More than you might suppose. Let's find out.

In 43AD, during the reign of the Emperor Claudius, Roman legions invaded the island of Britain. After many hard battles, they conquered the people there and stayed for the next 350 years. They set up a government, built roads, established trade, and did one more thing: they spoke Latin.

In 1066, the Normans conquered England. They built castles and a thriving economy, and intermarried with the native population. And they did something else-they spoke French, a language that grew out of Latin.

These two cultural upheavals a thousand years apart had a profound influence on the English language. More than 50% of English words derive from Latin directly or through French. You use words that come from Latin every month of the year.

You don't think so? Just take a look at a calendar.

January From Janus, the Roman god of beginnings
February From Februarius, a festival of purification
March From Mars, the Roman god of war
April From medieval Latin aprilus
May From Maius (Maia), an ancient goddess of growth
June From Juno, Roman goddess of hearth and family
July Named for Julius Caesar
August Named for Augustus Caesar
September From stepem (seven) this was the seventh month of the Roman calendar
October From octo (eight) this was the eighth month of the Roman calendar
November From novem (nine) this was the ninth month of the Roman calendar
December From decem (ten) this was the tenth month of the Roman calendar

Latin still persists as Latin in some expressions. Have you ever said, "et cetera"? That's Latin for "and the rest." Have you ever heard the phrase "quid pro quo"? It means, "something for something", someone wants to make a deal. If something happens over and over again until we can't stand it any more, we say it's gone on ad nauseam (to the point of sickness)

Every time you touch a one-dollar bill, you've got some Latin in your hand. Look at the back of the bill. The banner in the eagle's beak says, "E pluribus unum" (out of many: one.) Above the pyramid is the phrase "Annuit coeptis" (He (meaning God) has increased our undertaking). Beneath the pyramid, it says "Novus ordo seclorum" (A new order for the ages.)

Some professions that at the time of the Normans used Latin exclusively, like law, still use many Latin phrases today. When a court adjourns and does not set a date to reconvene, it adjourns sine die (without a day). Someone who is not directly involved in a case may submit a brief as amicus curiae (friend of the court). A legal writ used to get someone released from custody is called habeas corpus (you should have the body).

But mostly, Latin words have become English words. The bulk of the words that come from Latin (linguists call them "Latinate" words) date from the Norman Conquest, and they fall into two categories. First are words that came straight from Latin without change. Read on for some examples of those.

How do you like to spend your time? Perhaps you like to watch a video (Latin for see). Maybe you'll watch the news about a dictator (absolute ruler) in a foreign land. Maybe you'll listen to the radio (ray) instead, or practice your tuba (trumpet), or your part for the chorus (group) concert. And don't forget to water your Mom's ficus (fig tree) like she asked you. If you don't, you'd better have a good alibi (someplace else).

Maybe you'd like to use the computer and run the cursor (runner) over your favorite games, until you get an error (mistake) message. Then you can always play with your cat Felix (happy), or go outside and take some pictures with your camera (room), or play fetch with your dog Fido (I am faithful). Sound like a super (over, above) day?

Many more Latinate words in English have been changed to a greater or lesser degree. Some are two or more Latin words (or pieces of words) in combination. If you know some common roots you can figure out the meanings of words you've never seen before. For example, if navigo is the Latin word for to sail, and circum means around, what does it mean to circumnavigate the world? If loquor means to talk, what does circumlocution mean? (To "talk around", never come to the point.)

Once you know the roots, you can see how they are combined to form all sorts of words. For example:

ex (out of) + patria (native land) = expatriate, a person who has traveled far from home.
Aqua (water) + duct (lead) = aqueduct, a system of piping water where it's needed
Quad (four) + lat(side) = quadrilateral, a figure with four sides.
Omni (all) + potens (powerful) = omnipotent, all-powerful, able to do anything

Some common roots are used in a lot of different words. The root vert means to turn. Adding different prefixes gives us:

re+ (back) =revert, to turn back to a former state or condition
per+ (completely) = pervert to turn completely from an intended use or goal
a+ (away) = avert to turn away, avoid, or prevent
dis, di +(aside) = divert to turn aside or distract
con+ (with) = convert, to turn someone or something with you, to your side
sub+ (from below) = subvert, to turn from below, to influence a group or movement secretly, from the inside
extro+ (outside) = extrovert, someone whose personality is turned outwards, who meets and greets other people
intro + (within) = introvert, some who is turned inward, a shy, retiring person.

The more roots you learn, the more words you can figure out. This study of how words came about is called Etymology. Your best tool to learn about words is a good, hard-cover dictionary. A quality dictionary will tell you not only what the word means, but also where the word came from.

And that defenestration thing? It has to do with something the Bohemian nobles did to the emperor's deputies. De means down from and fenestra means window. What do you think happened? You could look it up.…



BA in English and Struggling for Employment

Since I was a young girl, I knew that I would grow up and go to college. Like many young people, my future plans changed as I aged. I once wanted to be an archaeologist, then a pediatrician, and also a psychologist. As I ended my junior year in high school, I had applied to several colleges of interest. Then senior year began, and my life changed. During the first few months of my senior year, I became pregnant. I knew that I had new decisions to make, and keeping a child was one of them. I chose to keep my daughter. This also meant that supporting her would be my first priority and college was now put on the backburner. I vowed to myself, my family, and others around me that having a child would not prohibit me from going to college and making something of myself. I stuck to that, and I earned several degrees.

After I graduated from high school I have to admit that college was not on my mind too much. I had to find a place to live and work. My parents refused to support me, and like so many young girls who become pregnant, the father of my child was not in the picture. I had to do it all on my own. I met a man shortly after having my daughter, who is now my husband, and it was his sister who inspired me to remember that promise I had made. She insisted that I go back to school. I was determined to go back. Then I became a married woman. I had support from my husband and I was going to embrace that support. I enrolled in college, and so did my husband!

I enrolled in San Bernardino Valley College, a local junior college in San Bernardino, CA. It was fairly close to home and it was the inexpensive way to attend college. I had lost sight of what I wanted to do in life. I decided to just take a broad spectrum of classes and find my way. I took a load of general education classes. Two years after enrolling, May 2001, I had graduated with an Associate's degree in Liberal Arts. This degree was so broad that it did nothing to help me gain employment. I knew that I had to transfer to a four year college and continue my education. Again I was stumped. I had no calling. I went cover to cover through the college catalog several times. It was my husband who helped me decide my major.

My husband knew me better than anyone else. He told me that since I loved reading and writing so much I should major in English. I gave it some thought and finally decided he was right. I attended California State University of San Bernardino as an English Literature major. At this point I knew that I wanted to work with writing, but still I had no clear career in mind. All I focused on was completing college. I wanted to graduate. I wanted to prove to all of those people in my life who may have doubted my ability to be successful, that I would graduate. I would make something of myself. I graduated in December 2006 with my Bachelor's degree in English Literature.

I was at another point in my life where I had a degree and it was not very useful. I applied for jobs, but none of the jobs I applied for required an English degree. Many of the writing jobs required previous writing experience. I had not taken any journalism classes or proofreading classes. My degree seemed worthless. I was working for the United States Postal Service, and every day other workers reminded me that they too once had dreams, but they never reached them. They assured me that I would be working there until retirement. That job was not ideal and I hated every minute of it. I chose to go back to school.

In August 2007 I decided to get my Master's degree. I figured I would go back to college one more time and get a degree in Education, emphasis in English, so that I could teach. I enrolled at The University of Phoenix to get my MA and teaching credential. I had a new hope of becoming an English teacher. Many of the students in my MA program were substitute teachers. Many of them liked their job very much. In order to become a substitute teacher, you needed to have a four year degree and pass a test called the CBEST or California Basic Educational Skills Test. I took the test and passed. I applied at two school districts and was hired to be a substitute teacher in both districts. I have been a substitute teacher for two years now.

I finished my Master's program in December 2008. If I complete 16 weeks of student teaching I will have a preliminary teaching credential for the state of California. I would not have been able to get a job with just an associate's degree. Even my Bachelor's degree is just a stepping stone. In today's society, I needed to obtain a Master's and credential in order to begin a solid career. Unfortunately I have not finished. I am so close to finishing. I know I will finish, it is only a matter of time. My advice to young people is to have a goal in mind and make sure it is feasible. Do not just go to college to say you did. Go to college with a career in mind, so that when you graduate your degree will help you get the job of your dreams. Never settle for less, and never let anyone tell you that you cannot succeed.…



Best Schools for Online English Degrees

Considering finishing your English studies online? Many top schools in the U.S. offer students programs in the English major that they can complete entirely online. Many of these schools offer flexible learning a very affordable rates for their online learners. Here are a few.

University of Illinois at Springfield

Are you a prospective English major who is looking to finish their degree online? UIS offers a online bachelor's degree completion program in English. The program consists of 61 credits and is ideal for students who have already completed an Associate's degree or its equivalent coursework. Upon entry into the program, students are required to have a minimum amount of English composition course credit as well as literature course credit. UIS offers online students a special tuition rate, that is significantly lower than that of their on-campus tuition rates, at around $201 per credit hour.

Minnesota State University at Mankato

MSU offers an MA in English completely online. The program offers a technical communication option that can be taken. This special program requires a background in an area such as literature, speech or communications, with a minimum course requirements. The GRE is not required for this program and students are able to complete this program in about a year. Students have the option of doing a thesis, which requires only 30 credits of coursework to be completed within the program or an alternative paper plan which requires 34 credits. An internship is required in the program, which students may be able to substitute with prior industry experience. Best of all, students who are taking courses completely online are charged the same in-state resident tuition rate, no matter where they are, which is about $330 per credit hour.

Indiana University – East

IU offers a degree completion bachelors program in English. The program is designed for students who have an Associate's degree or at least 60 credits of credit that can be transferred to the program, with at least a 2.0 GPA. The two year degree completion program incorporates humanities, writing and communication into its program for a more diverse degree. Because of the many courses available online, students have the option of accelerating their degree by taking summer courses as well. The program requires very detailed general education courses that would be suit someone who has completed an Associate's degree or has completed all of the general education requirements at the home institution.

Source(s) cited:
UIS English Bachelor's Degree Online Overview
UIS English Admission to the Bachelor's Degree Online
UIS Tuition, Fees and Assessments for Spring 2010
Minnesota State University, Mankato MA English: Technical Communication Option
Minnesota State University, Mankato Tuition Fees – Graduate – Online
IU English Online B.A. Degree Completion Program
IU English Online B.A. Degree Completion Booklet


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What Car Should I Buy: A Beginner Guide!

What car should I buy for a beginner?

There are several cars you can start with, starting with an economical small car towing a light trailer behind a truck.

It is best to find at least two cars that are affordable and will get you on the road.

Once you know how safe a car is to drive, you can work your way up to a more powerful sports car.

The type of car you should buy depends on your style of driving, safety concerns, your wallet, and your needs as a driver.

When you consider what cars to buy for a beginner, the first thing you need to consider is the safety rating of the vehicle.

Is it worth buying or should you stay away?

How safe is it?

This question is most important when it comes to four-door sedans.

If the car has a low rating, it may not be worth buying, especially if the car will be used for transporting children.

A safe driver can get good grades in school, but that doesn’t mean you can take your car out on the highway without knowing how to drive it.

In fact, some people who are involved in an accident don’t even know how to fix their cars.

That is why it is so important to purchase a safe car.

There are so many different makes and models available on the market today that finding one that has been well maintained can help you avoid any costly repairs in the future.

Before you even begin thinking about what car to buy for a beginner, you want to think about what level of driving you plan to do.

Are you just learning to drive for pleasure or do you have a goal of becoming a safe, dependable driver?

Even if you want to become a safe driver, you can start by selecting a safe car from the beginning.

This is a great way to begin learning how to drive because you won’t have to worry about losing money if you get into an accident or have an accident that costs you lots of money.

The first and best thing you need to do is find out how safe the car you want to purchase is before you even begin looking.

You should first try to find out how much damage each vehicle has been through.

In most cases, vehicles that are sold for cheap are known to be unsafe because they have been abused.

Ask friends or family members if they can recommend any reliable dealers who sell cars for cheap.

If you don’t have anyone who can give you advice [click here] you can always check online to see what other people have said about various dealers.

Another way to find out about the safety of a particular car is to ask around your community.

People living around you will be able to tell you if a car is safe to drive or not.

Of course, you have to take their word for it, but it’s a good idea to ask around.

What car should I buy for a beginner to help them become a safe driver?

It would also be a great idea to find out from your local police force if they know of any reliable dealers in your area.

Ask them for advice.

What car should I buy for a beginner to help them become a safe driver?

If you are new to driving, you should get a vehicle that has a high safety ranking.

High-ranking cars are known to have a reduced chance of having accidents, which means that they are less likely to cost you a lot of money in repairs.

Now that you have found out what car should I buy for a beginner, you should make sure that you are ready to go out and drive it.

You never know when you might have an accident, and it would be horrible if you had an accident while on your first trip with your new car.

You never know when something may happen that could have unforeseen consequences.

That is why it is important to make sure that you are insured because if you get into an accident without insurance, you could owe a lot of money and be unable to get any money to fix the car.…



Zipper Fashion Rosettes

Metal zipper
Fabric scrap
Hot glue
White glue

You might have been saving zippers to sew into other garments, if those zippers go bad, but sewing zippers into clothing isn’t the only way to reuse them. Cut zippers up and use them in an unusual way to make embellishments for fashions and home decorating projects, rosettes for crafting, and other fanciful items. If you already have zippers, you won’t pay a penny for the rosettes, which can be used in many different ways.

Unzip a zipper and cut it, straight across, to remove the zipper pull, and to separate the two sides of the zipper. Since each piece has fabric stitched to it, it’s necessary to remove the cloth. Cut the stitches to remove the biggest part of it; use a lighter to burn off the rest. Remember to hold the zipper with a potholder because the zipper will get hot as you burn the fabric off.

When all of the cloth is off of the zipper it’s the easiest thing to turn it into a rosette. Simply lay it flat on a table and begin winding it around itself. Hold one end down, and wrap the other end around and around the stationary end. You’ll make a flat circle of zipper teeth, which is metallic and lovely. If you want the rosette to be larger than it is when you finish wrapping, use a dot of hot glue to hold the end in place, and start wrapping another zipper-half around it.

The rosette you make is a flat one but you can give it dimension by making another one on top of it. The top rosette should be a bit smaller than the bottom one. Add another rosette, and another, to create the depth that you want; make each rosette smaller than the previous one.

The zipper rosette will be easiest to attach if you glue a piece of cloth or felt to the bottom of it. Glue the finished flower to a purse, a garment, a lampshade, a mirror or picture frame corner, or even a hat. Attach it to a piece of fabric to make a curtain tie-back, or make a large zipper rosette, and turn it into a coaster.

Don’t like the metallic color of the rosette? Paint it! You can easily spray paint the zipper before you start, or paint the rosette when you’re finished. That gives you many options for coordinating colors on your fashions, or for your home decorating.


Internet / Posts

How to Build an Instagram Following From Scratch

With close to 500 million users, and counting, Instagram is slowly becoming a leading social media site, and we will try to help you get your first followers.

Simplicity is a major part of success when it comes to Instagram, and as we live in the society where information overload is a normal thing scrolling through the pictures with short captions seems like a perfect combination.

Both major and minor brands are trying to capitalize on this fast rise, so you should consider start to buy followers for instagram and avoid missing out on this opportunity.

In the next few paragraphs, we will lay down a roadmap and try to explain how to get free instagram likes daily, whether you manage your personal or professional Instagram profile.

1. Figure out your strategy

Before going any further, you should answer these few questions.

What is your end goal on Instagram?

Creating a community of regular paying customers on you web page from followers while providing good service. This is a top priority!

How will your Instagram page affect your business?


Your best bet is to have few established Instagram users in your niche promoting your product in exchange for money or free stuff. This way, you can bring traffic to you web page fast and have a better conversion.

What are you going to offer to your followers?

Ask questions, research, ask your peers what kind of content would they like to see from you. Check what hashtags are your followers using and use them in your posts only if they are relevant, you don’t want to annoy them.

After you got this down, you are ready to move on.

2. Setting up your Instagram profile.

This one is pretty straight forward. You just need to fill some basic info and add your profile picture.

Profile image

You should consider an image that is representing your product or your brand. Logo of your company is always a good solution.

Your bio

If you are not an established brand already, then you need to utilize this feature as much as possible. Make it sound natural and positive; you can also use symbols.

Link to your web page.

If you use Instagram for business, then this one is really important. Add your web page address at the end of your bio. This will give your followers a chance to buy your product and turn them into your customers. Make sure that your web page is mobile friendly; most of the Instagram users are on their mobile phones.

3. Setting up your content plan.

Goals and KPIs (key performance indicators like shares, comments, likes) are essential. Set them and use them to track your progress.
Your next step should be schedule for content uploading. There are various apps that can help you with this like ScheduGram or Simply Measured.


Choose pictures that you are about to post very carefully. Use only pictures that are related to your brand and your brand’s story. Make sure that quality of a picture, description and hashtags are all on point.
When it comes to effectiveness, you should consider this:

Brand-inspired images

Posting beautiful images with a powerful message can bring you a lot of exposure as people tend to react to the images that trigger emotions.
Some of the biggest brands in the world are using this technique and investing money in the production of their photos so they can use the power of visual storytelling to their advantage.

Reactive storytelling

Reactive storytelling is a great way of sparking conversation because when businesses use this technique, they can leverage a human truth or insight to generate instant feedback. This includes a cultural action, a brand relevant action or a niche action.

Inspirational quotes

One of the best ways to create a viral buzz is to trigger a strong emotional response. If you can achieve this, there is a big chance that you are going to see more shares, likes, and comments on your posts.
You should start by preparing ten images; this will be enough for the next three to four days, depends on how you spread them.

A Track Maven released a report suggesting that major brands are getting thirty-seven likes and comments per thousand followers. That’s 3.7 reactions for every hundred followers you make.

4. Build relationships with influencing people

There are places where you can get exposure and more followers like FreeInstagramFollowersNow.com, but there are people that have a big influence, and they are available only through direct contact. You can offer them free promotional stuff for shares, or pay them for the shoutout.


Instagram Direct is probably the best way for you to get in touch with the person who can help you promoting your product. It is private so you can send your offer that only influencer and you can see.

5. Manage your profile

With you profile, your connections and followers in place, it is time to manage your account. You can find a lot of very useful applications that can give you a better overview of your activities and activities on your account and also give you statistic and charts. Always have content ready for deployment and use the schedule as much as possible, it will make your life a lot easier.

How to grow an Instagram account from SCRATCH (With ZERO Followers!) - YouTube

Final thoughts

By now we hope that you realize how easy it is to have a successful Instagram page. Visual content is in high demand, and millions of users are already making a good use of it. Just remember to be clear with your ideas and always be in contact with your followers and respect them so you can see your brand grow and flourish.

Make sure to connect your Instagram page to your other social media accounts. This way you will be able to spread your brand and reach more people.
Leave your comments below and let us know if you had any success with the roadmap that we laid out for you, and how you managed to push your Instagram campaign to the next level.…



Having and Planning Family Night

Family night is growing more popular as children are finding more things outside of the home to do. Here are some tips and ideas to help you plan and have a wonderful family night.

Set a night of the week that everyone will be home and available. Plan your family night for this night.

Tell each family member and post it on the refrigerator, calendar and anywhere else that you can think of that will help remind everyone.

Decide your plans for family night. Do you want to play games, go somewhere else, see a movie or something else creative. There are some tips and ideas at the end of this article.

Do any shopping that is needed for that night prior to the scheduled night. This will reduce the stress on you.

On the planned day be sure to remind everyone that that night is family night and what time it is planned for.

Enjoy the night with your family and have lots of fun.


For each family night, choose a different family member and make on of their favorite meals.

Choose games that everyone enjoys. Some popular games are Monopoly, Uno, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. If you don’t have any games you can do several things to get some. Go to www.freecycle.org and sign up. Once signed up post a wanted ad for games and activities. Search at garage sales and thrift stores. You would be surprised what you can find in these places. If all else fails, and you can afford it, go to the store and purchase new ones.

Family night doesn’t have to be indoors or about games. You can take it outside or anywhere. Go to the park, play volleyball, go swimming, go to a museum, go to a movie, etc.

Make sure that everyone feels included. This will make family night much easier on you and more exciting for everyone else.

Try to do something different each night. Don’t tell everyone what activities you have planned. This will heighten the enjoyment and anticipation. Repeating the same activity will bore them and discourage everyone from wanting to do it again.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to plan the perfect night. This will discourage you from wanting to plan and do this again. Remember this is supposed to be fun. Things happen and it is OK. Just pick it up and try again.

If you have little children, plan many different things. Remember that young children have a smaller attention span and will lose interest quickly.

Ideas for young children could be anything such as reading books, playing with blocks or legos, coloring, doing crafts (also good for older children as well), watching a movie, playing outside, going to the park, etc.

Remember that family night is not about what you do. It is about being together as a family and enjoying each others company and time.

If it doesn’t go great the first time, don’t give up. Use this time as an example and change the way you do things and what you plan for the next time.

Once you start having weekly family nights, sit down at the end of each one and ask for suggestions for other family nights. This helps everyone feel involved and helps you come up with new ideas.

Try having a themed night. This could include Hawaiian night, pajama party, camping or whatever else you can think of. This makes things fun and exciting and you can come up with some pretty creative stuff to do.

Have a night where you all make the meal together or instead of making a meal, everyone makes their favorite snack. (It’s OK to do this every once in a while.)

I hope these ideas have helped you come up with some activities and a great way to plan your family night. Enjoy your family and the time you have together.…