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21  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Attaching gimp and braid? on: July 21, 2011 01:13:31 PM
Hi!  Does anyone have any tutorials or instructions (or vast banks of knowledge) on how to attach braid and gimp trims to a finished piece without the ends unraveling and/or looking sloppy?  The last time I tried, it about brought me to tears.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
22  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Brother LS2125-i Machine Review on: May 17, 2011 07:37:41 AM
Brand: Brother

Model: LS2125-i

Year: I got it refurbished in 2007

Cost: ~$50 (again, it was refurbished, purchased from a discount store)

How long have you had the machine?  About four years

Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine?
  It's a super basic sewing machine.  It has ten built-in stitches.

What are your favorite features?  It doesn't have any real "features" that stand out, but I love its simplicity.  It takes virtually no effort to use once you learn how it works, and it's very easy to maintain.

What are some of the unique features it has?  It doesn't have any unique features, just the standard ones.  It does a straight stitch, several zig zag styles, buttonholes, and a few others.  It comes with a couple feet, the most useful being the zig zag foot and the zipper foot.

How well does it run?  For the cost, it runs way better than I had expected it to.  It can handle multiple layers of material or the most finicky chiffon.  The key, as with any machine, is to have the correct needle in.  It's not without faults, but most of the problems I've had have been due to human error or impatience.

Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself?  Actually one of my favorite things about this machine is that it took a nasty tumble in the back seat of my car (it was not secured in its box, just sort of set in, and it fell out) and I thought I was screwed.  I am fairly confident that any repairs to this machine would cost more than I paid for it.  However, I took it in, unscrewed the housing around the needle mechanism, which was pushed in, it popped back on its own, I cleaned it, re-screwed the piece, re-threaded it, and turned it out.  The light didn't work.  But it sewed!  I have pretty good eye-sight so I continued to use it without the light.  About 8 months later, I was  sewing one day and the light miraculously turned itself back on.  It's been about like new ever since.  The only problem I have is that my tension seems to be getting a little out of whack, but so far, it's nothing I can't deal with.

What are your least favorite features?  I wish it had a few extra bells and whistles every now and then.  It doesn't even have a thread cutter.  However, it's met every demand I've had in four years of learning how to sew, and sewing bags, purses, clothing, occasionally intricate costumes, and plushies, so I can't complain too loudly.

Would you recommend this machine to a friend?  I would and I have!  This is a great beginner machine for someone who just wants to sew for a hobby or do light work.  It's dependable and decently put together.  It would also be a terrific machine to teach on because it's not complicated at all.
23  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Sewing Machine Reviews on: April 11, 2011 12:14:19 PM
Hey, everyone!  This is where we'll eventually house our list of machine reviews.  Between now and then, though, we need for you crafty peeps to write some for us!  Here's a suggested starting point for your review.  Use as much or as little as you like, but please at the very least include the brand and model of your machine.  Thanks!  I can't wait to see what you all post!

Start a NEW TOPIC with your sewing machine brand and model as the title, please, to help stay organized.  I'll add links to this page as people post!





How long have you had the machine?

Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine?

What are your favorite features?

What are some of the unique features it has?

How well does it run?

Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself?

What are your least favorite features?

Would you recommend this machine to a friend?

Reviews that have been posted:

SuzyScissor Bernette 715
Abeeroad's Bernina 330
Aislynn's Brother LS2125-i
katpac's Brother SE-400
craftydame's Brother SE-350
alwaysinmyroom's Brother Innov-is 900D
AnruiUkimi's Husqvarna Viking - Designer 1
kaz814's Husqvarna Viking Topaz 20
chloelicorice's Janome AQS2009
CraftyMcCrafterson's Juki DDL 8500
CraftyDiem's Juki TL-98E
jungrrl's Kenmore 385.15108200
CraftyMcCrafterson's Nakajima 2801
Quilter_Mom_Of_2's New Home NHR 652421
Jinjeet Phoenix's Pfaff 138-6
Abeeroad's Singer 7442
kaz814's Singer 4166
chloelicorice's Singer 4411
Listessa's Janome 4030PR
24  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / New changes! on: April 11, 2011 12:07:16 PM
Hi, everybody!  We're about to get rolling on collecting all the discussions here about different sewing techniques and making one big giant list of all the different sorts of techniques and tutorials for them.  In looking through the past boards, there've been a lot of threads on the same couple of topics.  In order to not leave anyone out, and to make sure all the information we can get is in one place, I'm going to start merging these topics together.  Some of them are very old, and some of them are brand new, but they're all going to become one single topic for the discussion of a single technique.  And you'll be able to continue to post and discuss or ask questions in these!

Second, we would absolutely LOVE to have honest to goodness machine reviews on here.  I'm going to post a form which you machine lovers can use, modify, and make suggestions about, but as you post your reviews, I'll add them to a stickied thread so they'll be easy to find.  You don't have to use the form, it's just intended to be a jumping off point.  What we want is to know what kind of machine you have or have had, and what you liked about it!

So we're going to be making a couple changes, but at the end, we'll have a HUGE resource for you guys!  I hope you all enjoy it, and are able to contribute to it over time!
25  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / [April Fool's Day] CRAFTSTERLAND CLASS: Make Your Own Sewing Machine! on: April 01, 2011 10:50:08 AM
Class: Make Your Own Sewing Machine!
(for more info on Craftsterland in Craft Nebraska, check this out:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=377142.0

Teacher: Aislynn

Location: Craftster Compound, Metal Shop and Computer Lab

Class Size: 42 students

Class Description:  Have you spent hours searching for that perfect sewing machine?  The one that does it all, comes with everything, and doesnt cost a fortune?  Well this class will teach you how to build your own!  Well be making a fully functioning electric machine with up to 120 built-in stitches that youll program yourself.  The class will take up to 12 hours, with two breaks for meals, to be provided by the Craftster Compounds cooking classes.  

Please be prepared to use light welding equipment.

Cost: $95 per person for the class cost plus $120 per person for materials. At the end of class, you may purchase the machine youve worked on for only $75!  Any machines not purchased then will be sold on Etsy and the profit will go to support Craftster.

What to Bring:
 A minimum of one gallon of coffee, prepared and sweetened to your personal taste.  We dont want anyone getting sleepy around the torches!
 A pack of universal needles.
 Scrap metal
 Duct tape
 Paper clips
 A motherboard, compatible with PC programming.
 A kitchen stand mixer, gently used is fine.  
 Protective Eye Gear (rhinestones encouraged!)
 Heavy Work Gloves elbow length

**Stay and for an extra $100 and six hours, equip your machine for machine embroidery!  You can use it in our Embroidery Class!

**Take your protective gear and any dinner scraps over to PixieVals Trash to Treasure class!

Picture courtesy of Sarah at The Delicious Life!  She'll be helping us out by lending us her spare torches.  Thanks bunches!
26  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Tiger Eyes Lace Scarf on: February 05, 2011 01:00:56 AM
I finished this last week.

It took one skein of Naturally Caron Spa in Dark Driftwood and about ten days.  It was such an awesome pattern (free on Ravelry!) and it knit up so quickly.  I didn't use lifelines, and only had to un-knit a few times to catch mistakes.  The yarn was sort of a pain, but I used size 7 needles, and knit very loosely, which reduced the splitting a lot.  This was my first attempt at a decent sized lace pattern, and it was pretty easy to do.  Taking pictures of it was the hardest thing!  Oh, and the thing rolled up like crazy before I blocked it.  I blocked in this manner: I laid the scarf down stretched by hand into shape, on my ironing board wrong side up.  I covered it section by section with a wet washcloth, and then put my iron (set to "synthetic") over the cloth until it was only damp.  It sort of flattened the yarn a bit, but that only emphasized the pattern more, so yay!  Next time, though, I'd use wool and just block it in the traditional way.  This one was for a gift, and I wanted to make it as easy to care for as possible, while still being a little luxurious.  The Spa yarn splits like crazy, but man is it SOFT!

27  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Texas Ren Fest 2010 on: February 04, 2011 10:58:15 PM
...I'm only three months late!

These are the costumes I made for my friend and I to go to the Texas Ren Fest last November.  Hers is roughly 4 yards of the most PITA blue brocade with a gray cotton lining and some ridiculous number (~20?) of yards of lace, blessedly machine stitched.  I deconstructed a McCall's pattern which was intended to be all one dress and made a separate chemise, overdress, and tied on sleeve bits.

It took HOURS to stitch all that lace on, but it was well worth it.  Without it, the costume looked really bland.  It's far from perfect, the bottom edges of the split front skirt kept wanting to close, while the top had a pretty gap.  But it looked okay, and she said it was comfy.  It laced up both sides to allow for fitting.

Mine I'm super proud of!  It's fully reversible.  The bodice is a Butterick (I think...maybe McCall's?) that I cut all as one piece for the front, and two for the back (construction mishap, it should have been one and one), and I stole the little peplum/waist tab bit from another pattern.  I also omitted the back lacing (it had back and both sides) and just did the two sides.  Side lacing bodices are a pain in the tush to get into, and next time, I'll omit the sides and just have the back.  And probably put in an invisible zipper in the side.  (Shhh!)  Anyway, the bodice itself was less than a yard each of black twill and blue cotton/poly blend that was called "rodeo cotton" at Joann's.  It's stiffer than the twill, and has the smallest bit of sheen to it from the poly.  I hand-stitched the three lines of trim (velvet on the outsides, and braid in the center) and beads.

The underskirt is also reversible.  The orange is on one side and the red is on the other--it helped keep the lines of the hoop skirt, which I got off Ebay, from showing through.  It's just a gathered full skirt from a Simplicity pattern.  The chemises are also both from the same Simplicity pattern.  I really wish I had clearer pictures of both costumes, but we were intent on enjoying our weekend!

Oh, and in the future, I totally need to wear a corset.  I interlined that bodice with a layer of duck, on top of the cotton and twill, and there were STILL wrinkles.  I was trying to avoid anything with boning, but it looks like I'm going to have to suck it up.  Also, I need to re-do my friend's sleeve thingies, as they kept wanting to fall down all day.  Some interfacing ought to do the trick, no problem.
28  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions / How to enlarge a hoop skirt (word tut) on: October 22, 2010 09:13:56 PM
Hi, there!  So a friend of mine and I both got hoop skirts from Ebay.  Naturally, the advertized up-to-42" waistband only expanded up to maybe 32", max.  And that was pushing it!  However, never fear!  Since it's an undergarment, and no one's going to see them, there's a really quick and easy fix for it.  Right now I don't have pics worth posting, but I'll see what I can do.

First, it's important to note that these petticoats have two side seams and an opening in the back, which is intended to remain open, with velcro and a tie above.  If your petticoat doesn't have side seams, you can cut your own.  Here's what I did:  The very first thing I did was to remove the elastic waistband.  I seam ripped down the two side seams to the first hoop (right around low hip level).  I sewed the existing opening closed.  I didn't just use the existing opening, because you want two openings that are directly opposite one another.  If I hadn't had any side seams, I would have used the existing opening and slit down the skirt opposite it.

So now I have my hoop skirt has no waistband, the existing opening is sewn shut, and the two side seams are opened.  I turned the edges down on those open seams and top stitched, so they won't fray.  I took some waistband elastic that's about 4" long (the finished length depends on how much you need to increase the waist).  I sewed the elastic to the top edge of one side of one opening.  I took another 4" piece and sewed it to one edge of the opposite opening.  Then I put the skirt on and pinned the other end of each elastic to the other edge of skirt.  (I'll add a picture soon to show what I mean!)  Sew the elastic down.  What you should have is a skirt with two openings on either side, with the elastic holding the edges of the openings together.  Finish the waistband with a zig-zag or twill tape.  And voila!  A quick and dirty upsized hoop skirt!

You want the two openings to be opposite each other, and you want two openings (not one) so that the hoops hang evenly.  One opening will cause the hoops to skew off to one side, as will putting the openings both on one side.  I really hope this helps somebody!  I've been sorely disappointed in the past when I've purchased something and it would have fit had it not been for the waist.
29  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Using a Commercial Sewing Pattern on: August 06, 2010 10:45:07 PM
I first started sewing because my body (like most!) doesn't fit regular old dress sizes.  Shopping is a nightmare if I want a dress!  It used to be separates all the way.  So three summers ago, my husband got me a machine, and I picked up a bunch of patterns on sale, got some fabric, and proceeded to get frustrated to tears by the pattern instructions!  Since then, I've learned by trial and error, through the wonderful folks here at Craftster, and a couple other online resources, how to sew, and how to read and use patterns.  Since summer is the best time to sew up a couple of sundresses, I thought others could use a tutorial on using patterns.  I used a Simplicity pattern for a fairly modest sundress.

How to use a Commercial Sewing Pattern

This tutorial assumes you know how to use your sewing machine, and understand basic sewing terms.  If you need help with this, check out this thread, right here!   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=246210.0
This tutorial, though it uses a dress pattern as an example, can be used with any commercial sewing pattern.  

Step 1.  (For clothing only)  Take your measurements (or those of the person the garment is intended for).  Measure over your undergarments.  Measure at the fullest part of the bust, the smallest part of the waist, and the fullest part of the hips.  Write these down and keep them with you while pattern shopping.

Lets take a minute to talk about sizing.  Ready to wear sizing, or RTW, is the standard sizing that commercial clothing manufacturers use.  Your RTW size is probably going to be very different from your pattern size.  There is, as far as I can tell, no real relationship between those two sizes.  Typically, your pattern size will be anywhere from one to three sizes higher than your RTW size.  If youre a size 2, and you go to the fabric store and see that the smallest pattern size is a 6, dont worry!  A RTW size 2 is about a pattern size 6.  If youre a RTW size 0, you may need to take in your garment a little bit, but a commercial pattern should still be perfectly usable.

However, and this is a big however, pattern sizes have ease built in.  EASE includes both wearing ease, that is, the extra space you need inside your clothes in order to move around comfortably, and design ease, which is the extra room needed to make a garment drape the way the designer intended.  A corset may have no ease, or negative ease, which is to say, the finished garment will be smaller than your body, because you get laced into it.  On the other hand, a sweatshirt will probably have a bit of ease to it, as they tend to be a bit baggy.  A fitted garment should have 1-2 of ease, total.  So say your bust measurement is 36.  Your finished garment should measure 37-38 at the bust.

The cruel trick of pattern companies is that your pattern size will probably have more ease than you really need to get the right fit, so you need to go down a size or so.  But theres a solution!  Most patterns have the finished garment measurements printed somewhere at the bottom of the envelope, or on the pattern pieces themselves.  Youll want to compare these with the pattern sizing, as well as your measurements, to pick a size to cut.  It sounds really intimidating, and convoluted.  It is convoluted.  But after you try it once or twice, it becomes second nature.

Step 2.  The fun stuff!  Lets go shopping.  Pick a fabric store.  Make sure its a fabric store, or at least, a store which sells fabric and sewing materials.  Somewhere in the store should be a long table or desk with pattern books and a bunch of filing cabinets.  The books are most likely to be for McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue, and Burda.  There may be a few others as well.  The books organize the patterns by type (formalwear, casual dresses, pants/skirts, tops, costumes, and crafts/accessories, or something similar).  If you know what you want to sew, find that section in each of the companys books, and see what your options are.  If you just want something basic to learn on, look for a skirt or pajama pants or an apron.  Most of the books will rate their patterns from Easy to Advanced.  If youre new to all this, pick something rated at the beginning end of the scale.  Once you pick a pattern, write down the pattern number.

Step 3.  Check out those filing cabinets.  The patterns are stored in them, in numerical order.  (The numbers correspond to when the pattern was released, not to what order they appear in the book.)  For each clothing pattern, there are most usually at least two different envelope options, each one with a different size range.  Now is when we look at that pattern sizing nonsense.  Find your pattern envelope and flip it over.  On the back (if its McCalls, itll be on the flap) theres a sizing chart.  Find your measurements on the chart, and see what pattern size you are.  If your measurements arent the same proportion as the pattern, pick the largest, to make sure you have enough fabric.  Make sure the envelope youve got has the right size range for you.

Step 4.  More fun stuff!  Also on the back of the pattern, there should be a section labeled Recommended Fabrics.  This will tell you what type of fabric will suit your project best.  Fabric stores arrange their fabric by type, so look for the section(s) that apply to you.  Dont be afraid to ask for help!  Pick one you like and check out the end of your roll of fabric (called a bolt).  You should see a sticker with lots of information.  It will tell you the fabric content, the fabric name, possibly the manufacturer or designer, as well as washing instructions.  Itll also tell you the width.  It should be in the neighborhood of either 45 or 60 (usually 43-48 and 54-62) and may be written in the following manner:  043in.  This is important!

Step 5.  Look at the back of your pattern again.  Near the sizing scale you ought to see another grid, one that lists the different pattern views along with two lines for each, one labeled 45 and one labeled 60.  There may also be a line for interfacing or lining.  Pick your pattern view and look at the amount of fabric required for your size (or the largest size your measurements fall into).  The fabric is given in yards and fractions of yards.  When you purchase fabric, you purchase the length, by whatever the given width is.  Make sure youre looking at the right width.  If you need lining, follow the same procedure.  Interfacing is sold either by the yard, or pre-packaged.  If you need heavy weight, craft weight, or sew-in interfacing, itll most likely be on a bolt.  Light and medium weight fusible can be purchased pre-packaged, or by the yard.

A note on muslins, toiles, and mock-ups:  99% of seamstresses will recommend doing whats called a muslin, toile, or a mock-up of your clothing pattern, before cutting into your good fabric.  This process involves using a cheap, scrap, or re-purposed (why, hello, old sheets!) fabric to make up the pattern, with no finishing, to check the fit.  If its a basic pattern, you may be able to just pin everything together at the seam allowances, to see how its going to fit.  If youre unsure, though, just use a simple straight stitch and do a dry-run through your construction.  At the very least, mock-up any areas that are fitted, or which have an important shape to them.  A gathered skirt doesnt need to be mocked up.  A fitted tulip skirt does.  Most important, this will help you figure out exactly which size you really need.  So always try to make sure you have enough trash fabric at home to do your mock-ups (it doesnt have to be pretty!) or watch the sales.  You can always try to make a usable mock-up, and turn the pieces into your lining, or a second garment.  This step isnt absolutely critical, but it can save a whole lot of frustrations.

Step 6.  Notions.  Look at the back of that pattern envelope once more.  In the neighborhood of the fabric recommendations, youll see another section labeled Notions.  This is all the rest of the stuff you need to make your project complete.  Thread, elastic, zippers, buttons, snaps, all of that will be listed here, and organized by pattern view.  Get everything all at once, if you can, so you dont forget anything, and it all matches.

Step 7.  Go home!  Or to the Laundromat.  You need to wash your fabric before you cut into it.  This is very important.  Most fabrics shrink when washed, and you want to make sure that happens before you sew it up.  Wash the fabric per the instructions, or as you intend to wash the finished garment.  Wash the lining, too!  If its dry clean only fabric, its your call.  It should be washed beforehand, thats all Im saying.  Your cut ends will fray a little bit when you wash, thats normal, and its okay.  You can trim the threads off later, if it bothers you.  If you think its going to shrink and/or fray a lot, you can always purchase 1/8-1/4 of a yard more than the pattern calls for, when you buy your fabric.

Step 8.  While your fabrics washing, take out your pattern.  Before you cut, read through all the instructions, thoroughly.  See what it wants you to do with each piece, and in what order.  Make sure it makes sense.  It may not the first time around, especially if youre new to sewing.  Look up any terms or techniques youre unfamiliar with.  For my pattern, this was my first time doing pockets, so I read that section over three or four times, to make sure I really understood all the steps.

Step 9.  Check out the first page of instructions.  You should see a line drawing of all of the pattern views, and all of the pattern pieces, which are numbered and labeled.  The labels will tell you which pieces are for which view.  

You only have to cut those out, unless you want to make multiple views.  Open up your pattern paper, and find the pieces you need.  The paper is thin and flimsy, but as long as you go carefully, itll stand up to a bit of abuse.  

Make sure you use scissors meant for paper, and not fabric.  Fabric scissors will dull if used on paper, and wont cut fabric as well.  Cut out the pieces you need, then re-fold the paper (you can iron, and make your own folds, or follow the original folds.  It can be tricky!) and put it back in the envelope.  You may want to iron your cut pieces if theyre badly wrinkled.

Step 10.  Retrieve your washed and dried fabric.  Iron it if its really wrinkly.  Trust me, this helps a ton, especially if youre using cotton!

Step 11.  Look at the pattern instructions.  There are more line drawings which show how to lay the pattern pieces out on the fabric.  You should see a big rectangle, representing the fabric, and notes saying selvages (or sels) and fold.  The selvages are the factory finished edges of your fabric that run widthwise to the bolt.  

Fold your fabric as shown, so that the fold and the selvages are in the right orientation.  Most commonly youll fold it in half length-wise, with the selvages touching.  Sometimes youll fold it width-wise, and sometimes youll have two folds, so that the selvages touch in the middle.  Lay out your pattern pieces as shown.  

Theyll have arrows on them showing how to line them up with the grain of the fabric.  Once theyre all on there, and theyre pointing in the right directions, pin them down.  You may have to fold, cut a few pieces, and then re-fold to cut others.  Some pattern pieces are cut two at a time, where the fabric is folded over, and some are meant to be cut on the fold itself.  If you have a piece that has a line running parallel to one edge, with two arrows pointing to that edge, and the word FOLD, place that edge directly on the fold of your fabric.  Cut around the rest of the edges, leaving the fold intact.  When youre done, youll have one big piece.  This often happens on skirt fronts, bodice fronts, and some stuffies.

Pattern markings:  Youll notice notches, circles, and lines drawn onto your pattern pieces.  When youre cutting, notch your fabric where shown, but instead of cutting a V into the seam allowance, cut it out, away from the pattern piece.  

These are used to line up seams.  Use pins or chalk or a quilting pen to copy other marks like pleat lines, circles, and squares.

Step 12.  Time to sew!  When you pin edges together, pin close to the edge, and so that the pins are perpendicular to the edge.  This keeps the fabric from slipping around.  Follow all of your directions, and dont skip any!  The little details like understitching, interfacing, and pressing make all the difference in the completed look of your project.

Step 13.  Photograph your project and post it on Craftster, so everyone can see how much you rock!

30  CLOTHING / Costumes: Discussion and Questions / Hand-bound eyelets? on: July 22, 2010 02:09:05 PM
So I've read a couple tutorials about these things, and I'm really interested in using them on my next project.  Does anyone here have any personal experience with them?  I've embroidered before, and know the buttonhole stitch, and I've done metal grommets before, so the mechanics of it aren't confusing, but I'm curious as to how they hold up, if they stretch out, anything along those lines?
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