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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Color help? on: December 03, 2008 11:14:12 AM
Hey guys! I'm looking for some help with the colors of my apartment. I LOVE bright, vibrant colors, but I live in an apartment so I can't really paint the walls here. I feel like I've done an okay job incorporating color so far, but it's a little monochromatic for me. So I recently decided that in addition to all of the red in my living room I'd start introducing some teal artwork. I started painting some foam panels to get up on my walls when suddenly my mother went and repainted her whole living room red and teal. Weird, right? So now I feel like the fun of my red/teal room is sort of spoiled and I'm looking for a fun alternative to accent all of my red.

Here's my living room as it is right now (Sorry, I was lazy with the blinds this morning- only two are open):

And when I decide on a new color I have this cool vaulted ceiling at the other end of the living room for some nice big artwork (Please ignore the clutter):

SO- who has some fun color suggestions for me?! Smiley
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Fondue for a gift- Help please! on: November 30, 2008 10:21:38 AM
Hi guys!

So my step-dad's birthday is this week and I haven't had any idea what to get him. Then today I realized that he would LOVE a home-made fondue mix. They already have the fondue pot and everything, but they're both kind of lazy about cooking so it would be great if I could give them a SUPER easy Cheese Fondue mix and an easy Chocolate fondue mix. Unfortunately everything seems sort of overly-complex when it comes to actually being cooked. Anybody have any good recipes for a mix that will store well until they're ready to use it and which they can just sort of heat up and eat one night?

Oh, and not that it's a big deal with fondue, but my step-dad is a vegetarian.

3  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Entertainment Center on: April 12, 2008 02:37:27 PM
Hi Guys!
So I nearly posted this in "Reconstructed" because I didn't build the thing, but it was built brand new for me, so I put it in here.
I am very fortunate to have a step-father who likes to build things and who recently offered to build me a new entertainment center. Since I'm still using the $20 tv stand I bought when I moved to college 8 years ago (wow, I feel old), I was super excited to accept his offer. The furniture in my house is a dark espresso color (almost black) and since he built the center with maple, all of his stain soaked in to the wood and it looked AWFUL. SO my wonderful brother & brother-in-law offered to sand it down for me so I could restain it with a gel stain.
Here are some before & during sanding shots:

During (the one standing is my bro, the other is his wife's bro):

And a nice plumber shot:

You can see the other half waiting to be worked on in the background:

It took them an entire afternoon to finish sanding everything, then my sister-in-law & I re-stained and varnished the thing. SO this ended up being a big family effort, but I think it is lovely now. There are a few finishing touches left to do, but here are a few action shots right now. I think Star Wars: A New Hope is a fitting way to break in the new EC, don't you?

It looks almost black in these photos, but in person it matches my other espresso furniture perfectly. I hope you guys like it as much as I do! Smiley
4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Valentine's Day / Valentines Day activities for the office? on: February 06, 2008 09:52:09 AM
Hey guys,

I'm trying to come up with some fun Valentine's Day activities for my office. There are about 300 people on my floor who will be able to participate and we have a group of about 10 people and a pretty small budget for organizing these events. Here's what I have so far:

1. I have a valentine's maze and two word hunts that we can either email or hand out to everyone.
2. Guess how many Hershey's Kisses are in a jar to win the jar of candy
3. I'm trying to talk to the community college to get a deal on cookies. Then we'll have everyone buy the cookies to be delivered to their friends' desks for $1. All proceeds will go to an (as yet unselected) United Way charity. I'm going to suggest the local Food Bank as a charity.
4. Decorating brown paper bags and passing out valentines (like we did in elementary school). I may pre-make valentines that people can print out and write on. And we'll give everyone notice so they have time to go buy valentines for their friends. We could also have a contest for the best bag.

It's a pretty busy time of year for us, so the activities can't be TOO time-consuming. And we always have a really poor turn-out for things like bake-offs, so those are kind of out. Does anyone have more ideas?

5  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Vegetarian Entree for Christmas Dinner... help! on: December 23, 2007 06:17:13 AM
My mother just got married this year to a vegetarian (for health reasons). I am cooking the Christmas dinner this year and all of our side dishes are veggie-friendly, but I was looking for a nice entree that my new step-dad could eat in place of everyone else's prime rib roast. If the dish requires baking, I am going to need the oven temp to be 350 degrees for everything else I'm making.
If it helps, the side dishes that I have planned so far are veggie crostini, stuffed mushroom caps, herb cheese puffs, butternut squash and maybe a corn casserole. Oh, and smashed red potatoes. SO... any ideas for me?
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / I need help with Harry Potter Trivia on: August 26, 2007 06:11:44 AM
Hey guys! So my sister-in-law's birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and I wanted to get her a good Harry Potter Trivia game. This is because my brother and I enjoy getting together to play Star Wars trivia when she's out of town on business. The last time we did this we started talking about how nice it would be if we had a Harry Potter trivia game so the three of us could play trivia together. Unfortunately, the only trivia games based on the books are for books 1 or 2, not all 7.

SO I've been thinking about making one, but I'm a little concerned about coming up with all of the trivia cards. That is a LOT of trivia for all 7 books and we know the books PRETTY well, so they'd have to be challenging questions. Does anyone have any idea where I could find a LOT really challenging HP trivia questions from all 7 books? I figure I need to make a few hundred trivia cards with multiple categories of questions on each...
7  GLASS CRAFTS / Glass Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Sandblasting questions on: June 16, 2007 02:45:01 PM
Hi guys! There was a sale at hobby lobby today and on a whim I bought one of those little sandblasters for glass etching. I've etched a bunch with gels and things, but this'll be my first foray into sandblasting. Tomorrow I'm going out to buy a mask and safety goggles (I already have some leather crafting gloves). But I'm wondering what works for stencils? Can I still use my contact paper to make stencils, or do I need something more durable?
The Sandetch thing was $25 down from $40 so I really wanted to get it, but I'm a little nervous about the fact that I don't know much about etching that way. I'd appreciate any advice or tips any of you more experienced folks have to share.

8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Help for an "American" package on: January 26, 2007 08:44:38 AM
Okay, so I am making a package to send to a friend of mine who is living over in Japan. He specifically asked me if I could mail some DVDs to him because he can't get ahold of them in Japan. Since I'll be going to the trouble of mailing a package already I'd like to make it really fun and include some little knick knacks from America. I don't know if I'm dedicated enough to actually do the whole "America in a box" theme, but the idea has crossed my mind.

Anyway, a little bit about my friend- He and I used to be pretty close back in high school and then in college we kind of went our separate ways. It's only recently that we've started talking again. Ummm... he's a vegetarian and he's really in to music. That's actually how we met- we both used to go to a lot of shows back in the day. He says that all he misses from the US are his friends and going to shows (I guess they're really expensive over there). Since he likes candy a lot I'll  probably mail a few candy bars, but I think he'd like some little trinkets as well. He loves odd little knick knacks- I know in Japan he always buys these cheap "mystery bags" from the gas station near his place. I think his favorite thing to get in one was a bunch of little green army men.

Does anyone have any good ideas of small things that remind them of the US (or the midwest- we're from Iowa)? It could be something I make or something I buy... Oh, and what kinds of candy do you think are the best to send? I'm going for something that wouldn't be availble in Japan but that is kind of a big deal here in the US.

I'm currently looking for a job, so my finances are pretty tight. So whatever I do has to be kind of thrifty...

Thanks for any advice you can give!
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / I have a stupid question!! on: December 18, 2006 07:11:30 AM
Hi guys,

So I've been thinking about making some fudge to give as Christmas gifts to my family members. However, I am unused to making food that doesn't get eaten right away (I also don't like fudge, so I've never kept any around), so I'm wondering how far in advance I can make the fudge? I've been thinking about trying that microwave recipe everyone seems to like.

But I'm going to be travelling a lot to my different families, so there is going to be a difference of many days (almost a week!) between the making and delivering of the sweets. And no matter whose house I'm at I'm a young 'un (at 25. funny, huh?) and I am kind of expected to steer clear of the kitchens, so I can't really make it at anyone else's house.

SO my question is, can I make the fudge and expect it to still be good when it is given almost a whole week later? Also, do you guys have any cute ideas for packaging/wrapping a gift like fudge? Thanks!!
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Let's Share Our Christmas Gift Ideas! on: November 19, 2006 04:00:25 PM
Hi I just joined craftster today. I've gotten kind of frustrated looking for gift ideas online because everyone has such specific needs. I thought it might be cooler and easier if we all just said what we're already planning to make for our own friends/family instead of asking for ideas from other folks. It may spark new ideas.

So I'll start:

For my little sisters (11 and 14) I drew the two of them as Gryffindor students. (I'm a professional illustrator)

For my brother and dad: I'm still brainstorming, but I've already made pencil holders out of old floppy disks. That works well because we all work with computers a lot.

For my sister in law: We got some old records at goodwill and we're going to try melting them and forming them into useful things. I've never done this before, but my mom says she did it a lot in the 70s. Smiley

For my sister in law and my step mom: Homemade coasters (I'm just covering wooden blocks with fun paper and painting a sealant over- oh and putting some cork on the bottoms). Oh, and my step mom has been asking for a drawing of her dog for about 3 years, but I hate drawing animals. But if I get around to it, she'll get that as well.

For my mother: She used to LOVE the show WKRP in cincinnati and I just happen to have some old hardware for converting VHS files into digital files. So if I can find the old hardware and get it all hooked up right I'm taking some of our OLD tapes of the show and putting them onto DVD.

For my dad/aunt/uncle: my aunt gave me a HUGE batch of old family photos which I put about 60 hours of digital retouch work into (I also used to work as a retouch artist at a photo lab). So I touched those up, but I kind of did too good of a job because I brought them to wal-mart for printing, and wal-mart (QUITE rudely) refused to give them to me because they looked so professional (because I WAS a professional) that they thought I was stealing the images. There were three photos that really HAD been taken by a professional, but that was about 40 years, 80 years, and 95 years ago. The rest were taken by family. So I don't know if I'll be able to get these printed off or if it was wasted effort.

I have a few more folks to figure out. My old college roommate's always tough, and I have a new step-dad and I don't quite know what to get him. And there are a few others. I never feel like I can give baked good or anything because when we get together everyone from the family brings many batches of cookies and candy and everything anyway. there are always so many cookies and whatnot that it'll last for WEEKS after Christmas is over.

Oh, and  I'm starting a new company and I have no money at all, but a LOT of time for crafts. That's why EVERYONE's gifts need to be homemade.

SO- what are you guys doing?
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