Wicker Buying Guide: What to look for when you buy online
A room furnished with wicker can set a comforting, romantic mood. Enjoy the company of friends and family outdoors at an intimate wicker dining set, or in a cluster of deeply cushioned wicker couches, loveseats, or even a porch swing. We sell wicker furniture from the highest quality manufacturers on the market, and most of our wicker is designed for outdoor use, enduring through season after season of pleasure.
The biggest part of your decision to buy wicker will certainly involve matching the furniture to your patio, home or garden decor. However, investing in an outdoor wicker furniture set is more than a merely aesthetic decision. Knowing a little about the history of wicker, how it is made, and how it should be used and cared for will not only help you choose high quality furniture that is made strong to endure the tests of both time and weather, but will also teach you how to protect and maintain your investment in the future.
What is Wicker?
The word wicker means 'slender, flexible twigs or branches'. Wicker furniture is made from the careful interlacing, weaving, of these pliable canes, willow branches, reeds, synthetic materials, or even spiral twists of paper. The word 'rattan' is often used interchangeably with 'wicker', but actually describes the long tough stems of the rattan palm. The word 'rattan' is also used to describe wickerwork, the characteristic weaving of these stems to make furniture and baskets.
The weaving of rattan or wicker furniture is a traditional craft, related to basket-weaving, first popularized in America during the Victorian era, when concerns about upholstered furniture being unsanitary made the clean lines and smooth surfaces of wicker a more appealing alternative. The allure of wicker skipped a few generations, only to return in a much improved variety of styles.
Today wicker design incorporates function with fashion, transgressing your grandmother's fussy-looking designs, and replacing them with large furniture with comfortable cushions and a large range of colors for both the wicker frames and their upholstery. Colors like chocolate brown, alpine green, burnt reds and warm yellows have replaced the standard cottage white wicker color in many applications. The new styles of wicker appeal to both men and women with wide seats, plush cushions and sturdy, natural sleek and simple lines.
Contemporary wicker furniture styles are offered with a great variety of nature-inspired prints, including very popular tropical toiles and botanicals. The cottage garden party look of Grandma's chintz can be updated by adding striped throw pillows, or pillows and accents with other simplified, complementary patterns and colors. Using earth-toned colors, like olive, lime, sage, marigold, lemon, amber, and even a soothing sky blue helps expand your patio space and decor by including the palette of the outdoors.
Use a neutral color palette of taupes, grays, sand, terra cotta, and grass green to provide an even more outdoorsy feel. Green is a very versatile color, blending well with dark and warm toned wickers. Adding nature-inspired accent furniture in materials like stone or linens also helps to create hints of the outdoors inside.
Or, use splashes of vibrant colors to brighten up your patio or porch. Our wicker is also available with bright, fun colors and prints that add instant cheer to your outdoor decor.
Wicker works well with upholstery, polished wood, and wrought iron. Wherever you use it, wicker adjusts to the room and makes itself at home.
Outdoor wicker is made to be more durable than indoor wicker. Since reeds and canes can mildew or rot when left outside, natural materials such as these are protected with resin coatings or paints. Some outdoor wicker is made from strong paper fibers twisted around metal wire for strength. These cords are then coated and treated with paints and treatments that seal the fibers, thus ensuring their longevity. Wicker does age over time, but with proper precautions and by positioning your wicker in more sheltered areas like covered patios and gazebos, you can decrease the chance of wear.
Resin and plastic have now been perfected to look like reeds, cane and rattan, and can withstand bad weather conditions including rain and snow. The durability of these materials and the ease with which they can be cared for have allowed wicker furniture to earn a permanent spot outdoors. Bringing them in during the winter is still good for maintaining the quality of finishes and cleanliness; just hose them down in the spring to prepare them for a summer of use.
Learn how to collect autographs from celebrities and famous people for almost nothing!
Ever wanted your favorite movie and TV star's autograph? How about your favorite author? Or sports personality? Here's a little secret: autographs of public personalities are quite easy obtained! All you need is some stationery, some postage and a few addresses. And it's a relatively cheap hobby to take up, too.
Most celebrities - actors and actresses, authors, sports personalities, politicians and other people in the public light - oblige through-the-mail autograph requests as a part of their public relations. In most cases, they will provide a signed photo of themselves or sign items you send them.
The first thing you'd want to do is find the addresses of celebrities whose autographs you want to collect. You can find mailing addresses of actors and actresses care of their agents or their show (you can find the address in the rolling credits at the end of the show). If you know of celebrities who are currently in town you could send a request care of their hotel or the theatre/stadium they are acting/playing in. Requests can be sent to authors through their publishers, and politicians generally have their mailing address well publicized. The best place to get celebrity addresses, however, is the Internet - there are a lot of sites online that feature autograph collecting and good addresses to send to. www.autographcentral.com is a good starting point for address lists.
Your through-the-mail requests should include your request letter, any items for signing and a SASE. Your request letter should at all times be polite, neat and short - no more than one typed or handwritten page. Also, it's good to be sincere when making your request - it helps to write about the celebrity's achievements. Your letter should make it very clear that you are requesting an autograph. You could include with your request a photograph or index cards you would like the celebrity to sign. Remember that at no time is the celebrity obligated to send you an autograph, although most of them do. Tools of the Trade
Autograph collecting is relatively cheap; a lot of the money you spend will be on stationery. For starters, you will need 9" by 12" envelopes for your SASEs. These should have your address as both the addressee and the sender. It helps if you mark clearly on the corner the words "DO NOT BEND" so whatever sent to you doesn't get mishandled. Of course, you need envelopes large enough to contain the SASEs and request letter. Business-sized envelopes are recommended - the SASEs can be folded. Lastly, you need the required postage on the SASE. If you don't have the same kind of postage from the celebrity because you live in a different countries, try getting International Reply Coupons (IRCs) from your post office. These coupons can be exchanged for postage of equivalent value internationally. Building the collection
Depending on how many and how frequent you send requests, you could get successful replies as early as two weeks to maybe a year. For most part, you should get authentic, sometimes even personalized, autographs through the mail. Be prepared, however, for unsuccessful replies; some of your requests might get rejected or be unreplied. The key to this hobby is to send requests frequently and regularly to ensure a steady stream of requests coming in.
You might want to start carefully filing and storing your autographs or frames them from display. Generally, you should keep them in a cool, dry place, filing them in clear pockets; if you plan to frame them and display them, remember that the images tend to fade in sunlight and time.
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