Oh to Own a Designer Dress!

How many women can honestly say, without crossing fingers behind backs, that they have not gone weak-kneed at the sight of that oh so alluring designer dress, which sparkles so suggestively in the shop window? It can be safely assumed, judging by the popularity of such dresses, that those who answer 'no' are in the minority.

Seemingly innocent at first glance, the power a beautifully designed garment can hold over a person, is astonishing. Just go to any designer shop and you will hear the agonised mutterings of 'Oh, I really should not … No, I'm not going to buy it … Well, there's no harm in just trying it on .. Oh God, I love it … No, I can not buy it … Ok, just this once … '

The heart usually prevails and the person in question returns home with the contented feeling they have just bought something special; something that not everyone else has. This is the lure of the designer.

Although clothing's fundamental purpose is to protect the body from nature's elements, its role has radically altered over time. Historians believe the first clothes consist of materials like fur, leather and leaves, which were wrapped around a person's body, thus sheltering them from the weather. In today's society however, clothes are viewed more as a statement about an individual, rather than being necessary for their survival.

Advances in technology, such as central heating, helped to bring about this change, but it is understood that Charles Frederick Worth, born in England in 1825, shaped the world of clothing, and in particular, women's dressmaking; thus giving birth to the term 'fashion' in the way we understand it today.

After moving to France to work for Parisian drappers, Gagelin and Opigez, Mr Worth married one of their models, where he began making dresses for her. Soon after, customers began asking for replicas of the dresses, which prompted him to seek financial backing for his own dressmaking business.

In time, he became named for his designs, which were much simpler and said to be more flattering for the lady's figure than others of the time; he has become popular with an array of rich, distinguished women, including royalty and the famous. He also moved away from letting women design garments themselves, and instead chose to display his own designs at fashion shows, which were held four times a year.

So the rise of the designer dress began, and other fashion designers followed suit to create whole collections of designer clothes.

Fashion designers are now commonplace, designing clothing for individual clients, specialty stores and / or high-fashion department stores. What distinguishes their clothing from the norm is the originality of design, coupled with the limited availability of garment numbers.

This, essentially, is what makes designer clothing so bought after and is why those skilfully crafted designer dresses can make one go weak-kneed in praise – not only at the thought of possessing one, but also in the knowledge that they own something unique.

Treadmill Deck Info: Treadmill Decks Materials and Warranty

Treadmill deck is the material that forms the hard surface on which you run. In other words it's the supportive surface. This article identifies the decking from the tread belt which is the belt that moves across the decking.

Important

Treadmill manufacturers do not provide a great deal of information about the actual construction materials of their decks. These days most treadmills, especially if priced above $ 1,000 are constructed with decently strong tread decks (usually medium density fibreboard with a duo phenolic coating – all discussed in detail below).

However, strength is not the be all and end all. If strength were most important, more treadmill manufacturers would use metal. Metal is used, but not extensively.

What are decking construction objectives?

Like I said above, if strength was the only objective, metal or steel decks would rule the day. But strength is not the only objective. Quality decking should:

  • Be strong
  • Be durable
  • Have some elasticity (ie slightly flexible, but not bouncy)
  • Minimize noise (ie muffle noise if possible)
  • Have a smooth surface to minimizeize tread belt friction

What materials are used?

Often you'll see reference to solid wood, medium density fibreboard (MDF), and metal as materials used for treadmill decks. For coating you'll usually read about phenolic coating. The article explains these different materials.

Materials

1. Medium density fibreboard (MDF)

MDF is created by breaking down wood into fibers (sawdust) and then forming the fibers into a solid treadmill deck with wax and resin. The usual thickness is 3/4 "to 1". You can read more about MDF here.

MDF is the predominant material used for treadmill decks.

2. Solid wood

The deck is made out of 3/4 "to 1" solid wood. The trouble with solid wood is it's hard to find a piece of wood that is perfect. MDF, although not perfect either, ensures a consistency that's hard to find with solid wood.

Particle board: Particle board is no the same as MDF. Particle board is not fiber-based. It's a solid wood composite product. The result is that particle board is much weaker than MDF. MDF is denser and stronger.

Avoid treadmills with decks using particle board. You'll be lucky to get a year out of it.

3. Metal

Metal decks are not nearly as durable as solid wood or MDF decks. It's heavier and does not create as "soft" of a surface as wood or MDF. Running on metal or steel simply is not as enjoyable as on solid wood or MDF.

What material do I recommend?

MDF deck that is duo or triple coated with phenolic resin coating.

The coating

Some treadmills are covered on both sides (duo-coating, sometimes also referred to as triple-coating), while lower-quality treadmills coat only 1 side of a treadmill deck. The better deck is coated on both sides which helps reduce warping. It's also better for reducing friction with the tread deck along the entire surface area on which the tread belt moves.

Best material used for coating:

Phenolic: This is the best coating material. You'll pay more for phenolic coating, but it's worth it.

What is phenolic resin coating?

Phenolic resin coating is a plastic resin. When a treadmill deck is covered with phenolic resin, wax the wood deck is unnecessary.

Can you build your own if your original deck breaks?

Yes, but it's not advisable unless you really know what you're doing. Simply slamming in a sheet of plywood or MDF is not going to do it. There's properly coating the deck and ensuring it securely attaches to the treadmill.

The last thing you want is your deck to break apart when running or walking.

This is why having a lifetime warranty on your treadmill deck is important. Decks often break or crack (especially with lower-priced treadmills).

Decking Considerations

Replacement frequency

The range in the number of hours of use treadmill decks are good for is astounding. Some lower-end treadmill decks are designed for 500 hours, while other warranty their decks for life. Naturally the intensity of use and weight of users will impact the duration of a treadmill deck.

Is it reversible?

Some treadmill manufacturers make reversible tread decks so that you can get more mileage out of them.

Is reversible good?

It depends. Some manufacturers make treadmill decks that are warrantied for a lifetime without having to reverse them. Others do not come with a lifetime warranty and can not be reversed. These may have the shortest lifespan. Then there are treadmills with reversible decks which in theory doubles the lifespan of the treadmill deck.

The warranty

Ideally, the treadmill you buy will have a lifetime warranty on the deck. This is indicative the manufacturer stands behind the deck and in the event the deck fails, you get a replacement.

Cushioning technology

Cushioning technology is pretty cool these days. Treadmill cushioning technology includes the amount of, type of, and quality of the treadmill cushioning.

SEO Consulting For Big Brand Companies – 16 Guidelines For SEO Consultants to Beat the Competition

While the basic principles of SEO strategies are the same for most websites, there are certain techniques and strategies on which SEO consultants need to emphasize more when optimizing big brand web sites. An SEO consultant when selecting between different SEO services for big brand websites should apply strict planning and proven strategies that must be tailored to the specific needs of every web site.

1 – Establish your Authority:

Big brand web sites must establish their expertise in the field they are serving. Authority is recognized by both human visitors and search engine spiders by proving that their websites are the source of valuable information in their fields. Big brand websites must contain many pages dedicated primarily to providing useful knowledge to their clients. It can be in the form of a glossary of terms, frequently asked questions or tips and advices to their customers. The content of these pages must be of high quality and perfectly optimized for different keywords.

2 – Create semantic theming and siloing:

It is vital to create semantic branding for big brand websites by rearranging their pages and their internal link structure to represent clear categories that can be easily recognizable by both human visitors and search engine spiders.

An SEO consultant should divide the pages of the website into categories or groups. Each category must contain pages with closely related subjects and keywords. For each category there should be an index page where all the other pages of the same category will link to and the category index page will link back to them. Each category index page must have at least 5 – 10 pages from the same category pointing links to it with different relevant keywords as anchor text for these links.

Each category index page will link to the home page and the home page will link back to this category index page. You can create cross links between pages of the same category, but not between pages of different categories.

This type of internal link arrangement will increase the topical relevancy of every page and improve its search engine rankings.

3 – Review and clean out pages that are off topic:

After establishing the theming structure of the website, review every page and rewrite it removing all information that is not related to the specific topic or category where this page belongs to.

4 – Number of indexed pages and content:

SEO Consultants should match the amount of indexed pages and their content in big brand web sites to the amount of indexed pages and their content in the competitor's websites. If the pages of the competitor's websites have 500 words each, you should not have only 100 words in each of your pages. Your competitor's websites will look more authoritative.

5 – On-page optimization:

Proper on-page optimization will put the most relevant keywords where the search engine spiders go looking. Use long-tailed keywords as frequently as possible in the different pages according to the semantic theming of the website.

6 – Rewrite title tags and description metatags:

Big brand websites with thousands of pages typically have many duplicate title tags and description metatags. Rewrite unique title tag and description metatags for every page using keywords relevant to every page to enforce the new theming design of the whole website.

7 – Improve HTML Code:

Over years and with many configurations and additions, the big brand websites typically accumulate a lot of bad HTML coding. Clean up the code and make all links absolute as this gives the pages more relevancies when visited by search engine spiders.

8. Add footer links:

Using links in the footer of the pages is an effective method to strengthen the anchor text for the main pages and enhance the themic structure of the whole website.

9. Finish on-page optimization before starting off-page optimization:

Do not attempt to do any off page search engine optimization before you finish on-page optimization to a reasonable level. First fix the content and internal linking structure as much as you can. It does not make any sense to get more potential customers or search engine spiders visiting a big website which is completely messed up.

10 – Build high quality back links:

One of the biggest challenges to any SEO consultant is to acquire high quality back links from respectable sites. SEO consultants must avoid buying links that will lose its value over time. They should concentrate most of their energy on getting such links from relevant websites and ask for anchor text relevant to their subjects.

11 – Combine organic SEO campaign with PPC:

Combine organic SEO campaign with different forms of paid advertising like paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion in different search engines.

12 – Implement a fully optimized blog on the web sites:

Big brand websites need at least one blog to engage its customers more in their news and events and to drive more relevant links to the pages of the main website. Many big brand companies have more than 5 well maintained blogs.

Continuously add new content to the blog to increase spider activity which will spread to the whole site. It will also attract a steady stream of readers and potential customers.

13 – Social media marketing (SMM):

An SEO consultant providing SEO services to a big brand company must establish a strong presence of this brand name in different social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. He should also encourage sales and marketing personnel to get involved in the discussions around their brand, products and services.

14 – Reputation management:

SEO Consultants should consistently monitor the brand reputation on the internet to take quick actions so that they can resolve any problems stated by customers in any website. There are different software programs available to enable companies to monitor and track any indication of their brand on the internet.

15. Publish highly optimized press releases:

Big brand companies should regularly publish highly optimized press releases about different activities, events, new products or services. This will emphasize their authority and enhance visibility.

16 – Monitor and track your progress:

SEO consultants must have a set of tools to allow them to monitor and track their progress in the different aspects of their SEO campaign and to detect every possible change in the progress of their search engine optimization planes. Start by establishing a base line to know where you are concerned ranking, link popularity, convergence rates and other metrics.

Creating an aggressive search engine marketing (SEM) campaign for a big brand website with tens of thousands of pages typically needs a meticulous SEO plan that takes all search engine optimization problems into consideration. An SEO consultant should continually interpret and evaluate the results to adjust his strategies accordingly.

The Hopi and Their Jewelry

Hopi Silver Overlay Jewelry

The jewelry of the Hopi has a style distinct from that of the other Native Americans. The Hopi are known for the use of silver overlay, which utilizes a technique of fusing two layers of silver. The eye-catching and often elaborate design is on the top layer, while the bottom layers serves as a base.

It was not so long ago that the Hopi developed this technique. In fact the Hopi were not much into the making of silver. In their relative isolation on the northeastern Arizona high plains, or mesas, they were somewhat firewalled (so to speak) against external influences. Even their interaction with other Native Americans was limited.

Silversmithing of Native Americans

So while the Navajo learned and developed their silversmithing skills, a technique brought to the south-west of the American continent by the Spaniards, and which was then taken up by the Zuni, the Hopi were still practicing their own artistic heritage based on weaving and pottery. They were also adept at the making of kachina dolls, for which they deservedly remain renowned.

Time, of course, would not stand still, and even reliably isolated communities began to open up. Trading and commerce grew and the Hopi through their interaction with the Zuni exposed them to the craft of silver jewelry, at which the Zuni were now skilled. Lanyade, a Zuni, learned his silversmithing from the Navajo, and began to sell his silver jewelry. He travelled among the Hopi and Sikyatala became his student in 1898.

Sikyatala

Sikyatala is credited to be the first Hopi silversmith. It is reported that while Lanyade was at the Hopi reservation for four months, making and selling his silver jewelry pieces, Sikyatala was studiously observing and learning from the master at close range.

Sikyatala then began to use the technique of making silver jewelry. Other Hopi also began to follow and emulate the work of Sikyatala. In time the Hopi developed their own style, that of using overlay silver.

Hopi Silversmiths Paul Saufie and Fred Kabote

This technique did not so much evolve as was created by the Hopi silversmiths Paul Saufkie and Fred Kabote who were involved in a program at the Museum of Northern Arizona in 1938. After World War II the Hopi Guild was formed to encourage a program of silversmith training .

The designs of the silver overlay jewelry of the Hopi were also unique in that they adapted designs from the old broken pottery pieces of the 15th and 16th centuries. New motifs were also incorporated by the Hopi Guild, including kachina symbols.

The cross-currents in Native American jewelry nowdays mean that there are cross-influences as well. And different styles from the different currents may well find themselves evident in any piece of modern American Native jewelry.

But the fascinating development of Native American silversmiths and their crafts, in their different streams of artistic design, does not entirely obscure the original creativity. The silver overlay technique was the creation of the Hopi, even if it may now be employed by others.

Michael Kabotie

In ending, it may be noted that the work of Fred Kabote was continued by his son Michael Kabote (also spelled 'Kabotie'). Michael Kabotie recently passed away at the age of 67. He was a trail-blazer in the Native American fine arts movement, both as a Hopi artist and jeweler. His paintings were well-received, depicting traditional Hopi life. For a number of years, he also tapped the Hopi overlay technique at the Idyllwild Arts program in Southern California.