Sew what?

Home Economics used to include sewing but it seems that many of our secondary schools are dropping this art from the curriculum. Is sewing a dying art? Do we have any need for it anymore? Any piece of clothing was sewn together but with manufacturing outsourcing so much work, designers are now struggling to find people skilled in using different kinds of sewing machines. It seems that somewhere along the way, sewing became an image of the domestication of women. Career women didn’t have time for making things or mending things. Why bother when clothing was available in mass, cheaper than ever before at the local store?

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Sewing can be a very relaxing and therapeutic activity. If you rip your favourite item of clothing, wouldn’t it be easier to know how to put a stitch in it rather than having to replace it entirely? Imagine the thrill and feeling of accomplishment after designing and making your first craft item. With Christmas fast approaching it’s a perfect time for a new hobby – creating a festive piece of craft using designer Christmas fabrics. A cushion is a good first piece to try and it will look totally unique and bespoke as part of your home decoration. For more information visit http://www.higgsandhiggs.com/fabrics/christmas-fabric/show/all.html.

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Fortunately there are many local sewing classes available across the country and also magazines and online guidance so you never need to feel on your own. Most of the classes will expect you to bring your own sewing machine but you can also take classes in sewing by hand. It would appear that the world of crafting is keeping these skills alive and is becoming very popular.

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There are some great projects that you can achieve with a little sewing knowledge. Turn old bootcut jeans into skinny jeans, Lavender heat packs, bags, cute baby headbands, gift bags, seat cushions, fringe purses, wallet organizers and ruffled hems to update old sweaters. If you have the creative flair, or even if you don’t, you will be able to design completely individual gifts and pieces for your home.

Maybe you are a budding dress designer and want to start creating pieces that are only on paper at the moment or keen to have a career in the fashion industry. As more and more schools drop it from the curriculum, it may have to be an activity that is enjoyed out of hours.

England’s Most Haunted Village

Sitting in the countryside, on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire is the pretty little village of Prestbury. With its beautiful houses and picturesque scenery, it looks like any other idyllic Cotswold village – but beneath the charming façade this village is a little different. Legend has it, that this is the most haunted village in England. It is not really surprising, given the age of the village that it has some resident spirits. It is mentioned in the Doomesday Book in 1081 so it has been around a long time! Prestbury became very popular with wealthy visitors to Cheltenham in 18th – 19th century – they visited the Grotto Tea Gardens, an upmarket outdoor tea room with a summerhouse, and came to take in the views from Cleeve Hill. Prestbury is a particularly pretty village, with its chocolate box cottages, with honey coloured walls it is easy to see why it attracts so many visitors. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in one of these pretty cottages, http://reliable-remodeler.com/  has great ideas for home improvements and making the most of the home!

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The Burgage is Prestburys oldest street, and also where the most hauntings are reported. There are many sightings of a charging horseman on a white horse riding down the Burgage. While on his way to fight in the war of the roses it is said that he was killed by an arrow. A skeleton was found in the area in the 20th century, with an arrowhead in it. Many people believe that this is the skeleton of the horseman. He isn’t the only horseman to ride down the Burgage – another unfortunate ghoul who rides along the haunted street is a headless horseman who was knocked from his horse during the Civil War – on his way from the nearby Sudeley Castle to Gloucester. He was beheaded by the Roundheads of Prestbury.

Further along the road, is Sundial Cottage – there are many reports of sightings of the spirit of a young girl here who plays the spinet. A family took refuge in the cottage during the second world war and saw the girl many times, and heard her music in the house.

Prestburys most famous ghostly resident is the Black Abbot. There have been numerous sightings of the Abbot in the churchyard of Saint Mary’s Church. The Abbot also used to be seen in the church itself, until it was exorcised. He always walks the same route – appearing in the churchyard and walking through it before disappearing into a wall! The picture below was taken of the spook in 1990 and is still one of the most famous ghost photographs ever taken.

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Of course, a visit to the village will not guarantee that you see anything paranormal, but if you have an interest in the paranormal, or even want to spend time in quaint English village with a few resident ghosts, Prestbury is well worth a visit.

Ways In Which Technology Is Transforming Finance

Like any other industry, financial services organizations have notably focused on the reduction of costs. However, thanks to the drastic change of the business environment in recent years, this sector is now faced with the double challenge of keeping up with the regulatory demands as well as with the preferences of a tech-savvy generation which actually wants to access banking and other financial services with the help of apps and instantaneous data access. They virtually want to perform all their financial tasks online or through apps. Today, if they are accessing the internet to perform regular banking facilities like checking account balance, transferring funds etc, they don’t hesitate to complete more elaborate functions like applying for loans online as well. Continue reading Ways In Which Technology Is Transforming Finance

What Does The Discontinuation Of Infopath Mean For Users?

When Microsoft announced discontinuation of InfoPath, it was not the end of the story. Your forms did not stop working all of a sudden. It has remained a part of the SharePoint ecosystem. Even when Microsoft made the announcement, it made it clear that like all its Office products, it will also keep getting support for a decade. So you can continue seeing support for the product until 2023. But with limited capabilities, everyone can see why it is important to look out for an infopath replacement.

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Support for InfoPath

According to Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, the next on-premise release for SharePoint will also include support for the InfoPath Forms Services. You can continue getting support on SharePoint Online until Microsoft has an announcement to make the future.

Microsoft has been promoting its InfoPath users to embrace its new Contextual Process Apps. They have been working on this for some time. The concept behind this is to get the business processes of its users connected just like the users are.

Contextual Process Apps – The Concept

The key points of this new concept are as following:

  • Awareness – The concept intends to keep users aware of all relevant data. It must be available to them where and when they need it. Users should not have to sift through lots of ‘noise’.
  • Analysis – It should help create value from all the process data so that users can interact with it. Microsoft intends to use telemetry from business processes for understanding user actions and making continuous efforts for improving the processes.
  • Capture Data & Output – The system intends to deliver data in the desired formats. Thus, data will be available through the process in formats that is easily usable.
  • Business Process Management – Another aspect of the concept is to maintain balance between effective management of activities, flexibility and versatility for users.
  • Collaboration – The company intends to offer collaborative tools for helping its users create content. It intends to continue with the model within business processes to simplify them further.

Microsoft has pointed out 4 options how Contextual Process Apps will manifest them within the Office Forms product plan. These include Excel surveys, structured documents, list forms, and app forms. While the company is busy providing solutions, there are other infopath replacement options which are available to users.

Even when the company continues to support InfoPath, there are many limitations and it will be best to move onto something that is available without any restrictions.

How WYSI Can Enhance Your Business

Many business leaders like to think in terms of OODA loops. OODA stands for observe, orient, decide, and act. This refers to how quickly you and your business can gather information, decide how to respond to that information, and then actually respond. In the fast-paced business world, you are always competing with someone else to be the fastest and most innovative. In this competitive climate, the business with the fastest OODA loops tends to be the most successful, and when that business is competing with another business, the objective is to disrupt the other’s loops. A robust, cutting-edge internet presence is the best way to accomplish all of these goals. Continue reading How WYSI Can Enhance Your Business

IT Basics: What Every Startup Needs To Know

Information technology plays an essential role in the day-to-day operations of startups. If you are to compete against other market participants, investing in technology is an absolute must. But rather than treat it as a business expense, look at technology as a gateway that opens up new business opportunities.

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Benefits Of IT

It protects vital data. This encompasses customer contact details, inventories, payroll, projected numbers, and so forth. Having reliable IT support allows you to back up gigabytes of crucial data into a secure remote facility. In the past, businesses were limited with physical devices like flash drives and compact discs to save and secure information.

Streamlined operations

A solid IT infrastructure in place yields maximized profits, reduced costs, and increased efficiency. One of the key factors that distinguish workforce productivity is how efficiently employees can collaborate with their coworkers. Modern IT solutions are necessary to enable dispersed teams to communicate without issues.

Reduced costs

Upfront cost of IT services can be somewhat rich. However, consistent implementation of Ottawa managed services can lead to reduced costs. The business can expect to recoup the initial costs via long-term savings. A good example where IT can help cut costs is effective employee training through a dedicated software application, which can be reused by future employees without having to be completely replaced or repaid for. Getting help form a professional company can give you the security your business needs.

How Much IT Do You Need?

You don’t want to skimp on IT services, but at the same time you also don’t want to splurge on them. Spending too much money on tech will force you to overwork the tools to recoup expenses and, as a result, consume more of your time and attention. Spend too little and competitors that have the best tech working for them can easily crush you.

As a startup, your IT goal should be to implement sufficient tech to see a tangible benefit, avoid worst case scenarios, and identify new market opportunities as they unfold. Keep in mind that technology has a cost beyond its dollar value. It will also cost you time to implement, maintain, and to retrain your workforce to use the technology proficiently. Be sure to work with industry experts to get the most benefit.

5 Ways Document Management Software Helps Improve Your Small Business Efficiency

If you’re considering about going all digital with your business’ documents—stop just thinking about it and start planning the transition today. Not only does digitizing your office’s documents eliminate bulky paper storage, it actually saves you money.

By choosing the right document management software for your business, you’ll save time searching for the documents you need, meaning that you’ll have more time to get actual work done. Are you still not convinced? Let’s take a look at five key areas where document management software can transform your business.

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Document management software creates a powerful database for your documents.Even if you have most of your files for your business in digital format, the standard search options on your computer are not really powerful. By adding keywords and tags to your documents, you can easily find the right document by searching by client, case, account number, and other metadata.

You’ll actually be able to search the full text within the document, too, so you won’t have to guess at titles when you’re actually in search of a single phrase or idea. All of this can add up to hours of reclaimed productivity.

It makes documents more secure. You can lock your paper records up in a file cabinet, but there’s no way to prove that no one is looking at them. Document management software can tell you exactly who accessed the document, when they accessed it, and why. Access rights can be determined on a number of levels, including groups, departments, and individual users.

  1. You can automate your workflow with document storage software.You probably already have a system for dealing with documents as they come into your business. Now imagine if that entire process happened on its own. There would be no need to waste time a resources making sure that a document was properly labeled and all appropriate parties were notified of its arrival. You could set up automation whereby a document, based on its source, was automatically filed in the correct location and the correct users were notified of their access to it.
  2. You can save money on storage. You can eliminate your offsite file storage location with document storage software. Even if you store all of your records onsite, you still need to pay for the space to keep them safe and dry. Get rid of the file storage room and give a deserving employee a fancy new office.
  3. It will be worth the time you spend scanning. Some people might be discouraged from investing a lot of time into a plan to scan all of their paper documents, but there’s no reason to think that it’s wasted time. In fact, many document management systems use optical character recognition, a powerful tool that allows the software to “read” the text on the document. By teaching the software to organize the scans based on language in the document, you’ll save time on the whole digitizing process.

6 more hardwoord flooring trends for 2016

Classy, timeless and warm, hardwood flooring never goes out of style. Here are six more flooring trends to look out for this year.

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Modern vintage

A pleasing mix of old and new, modern vintage flooring looks traditional, but is finished with cooler and more contemporary shades. Flat planks add to the vintage look. This style particularly suits cottage style homes or traditional red brick properties, and blends together the period aspects of the house with the more modern elements.

Natural looking

Modern homeowners are embracing simplicity and using identical flooring throughout their entire homes for a clean, pleasing finish that flows between rooms. Flooring is laid in the same way in every room, and finished with the same natural-looking products for a harmonious space. Using solid wood flooring throughout the home gives a warm, cosy, Scandinavian feel to the property.

British and European woods

People are becoming reluctant to import wooden floors from China and other far-off countries, and manufacturers that use local wood are pushing this aspect of their range as a big selling point. Consumers increasingly prefer their wood to come from relatively local regions. Reputable retailers such as UK Flooring Direct (http://www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/solid-wood-flooring) will always be able to tell you where a particular range of flooring was manufactured.

White oak

Red oak has traditionally been more popular among homeowners, but there has been a huge shift towards white oak in recent years. White oak lends itself well to more modern interiors and looks great when finished with contemporary wood stains.

Hardwood throughout the home

It’s becoming increasingly common to find hardwood flooring in every room in the home, even kitchens. People are becoming wise to the fact that hardwood not only looks good, but is also durable and adds value to the property. House and Garden magazine explains how hardwood flooring can be a design feature in its own right, so it makes sense that modern homeowners are embracing it. It is a relatively simple way of updating the entire property, and most owners will find they recoup any expenditure on hardwood flooring once they sell their property.

Site-finished flooring

Site-finished flooring allows the fitter to customise any stains and finishes to perfectly suit the individual home, and ensures a pristine and professional finish.

Why a Gloucestershire Village Has Been Named the ‘Living Cotswolds’

Head to the large expanse of area in southern England spanning the counties of Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire – then you are within the Cotswolds region.

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The Cotswolds boundaries have expanded in recent times and are now approximately 25 miles across and 90 miles long. According to the Daily Mail, Oxfordshire County is the most popular destination when visitors head to the Cotswolds, but go further west and you will uncover a little gem nestling within the Cotswolds. Gloucestershire is beginning to earn its reputation as the ‘Living Cotswolds’, where residents carry on their everyday activities and as a visitor you really do feel like you are part of the community. In fact, it has been said that it doesn’t feel like a holiday base at all. The area is bustling, and the beautiful Cotswold stone houses are there to be lived in rather than used as holiday homes.

Living the Life

So if you have spent some time holidaying in Gloucestershire and enjoying what the area offers, with its quintessential English pubs and fabulous walking routes, then you may be considering relocating to the area to live the Cotswolds dream. If you you are considering renting a property rather than purchasing, your first port of call could be a Gloucester lettings agent who will guide you through the process.

But which one? Gloucestershire is a relatively large county, but if your dream is to be as near to the Cotswolds as you can, then you will require an agent that knows the surrounding area and can source the right property for you. Companies such as http://www.tgres.co.uk/about-us are perfectly placed to advise and find the perfect property for you, whether you are new to the area or have lived there all your life.

Which Part of Gloucestershire?

There are some stunning towns and villages in Gloucestershire. In fact, the flourishing small town of Nailsworth has recently been voted as one of the best places to live within the UK.

If you are looking for something larger, then try Cirencester, which still retains the Cotswold charm and character but has plenty to do as well.

Visit the area and decide for yourself. One thing is certain, however: you will come away with a desire to go back and stay!