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1  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Die-cutting machines and customization on: March 13, 2011 12:06:50 AM
There are a lot of options out there for computerized die-cutting machines (Cricut Expressions, Wishblade, Pazzles, etc.). Does anyone which ones allow you to use images other than what's in the manufacturers' libraries? I'd like to make my own designs if possible. I can't seem to find any charts or spreadsheets online that make the research easy peasey. Any other features (including price) that might be a consideration for people looking into buying such a machine would be helpful as well.

Thanks in advance for your help! Cheesy
2  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Discussion and Questions / One-step Crimpers on: January 28, 2011 07:21:57 AM
Has anyone used one-step crimpers before?

From here:

How well do they work? Obviously you need to use crimping beads, but is there a specific size or brand they work best with?

I'd like to know before I run out and buy a pair. Thanks!
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Arrr! Need ideas to make my annual pirate party epically awesome! on: July 24, 2009 09:56:45 AM
I threw a pirate party last year in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th, although the party date's being changed for various reasons). I enjoyed it so much I've decided it's going to be an annual thing now. I just need to figure out how to throw a theme party for grownups - I'd be content to play children's party games, but I need to come up with something more...well, epically awesome. I want the party to be fun and memorable - basically I want to throw the best party ever so that people hope and pray they get an invitation for the next one!

Need ideas for:
Activities/party games for grownups
Prize for best dressed pirate (I could even do something that could be passed on from year to year, like a golden skull or something)
Anything else that would make the party to die for

I have a wide variety of guests - their ages will range from 20s to 50s, maybe even a little outside of that. I don't mind spending time preparing for the party, but this year I'm not going to have a large sum of money to work with due to being involved in a friend's wedding. But I hope to have a little more money for future parties, so don't hold back on ideas! Thanks so much!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / What is this embroidered on? on: May 22, 2009 05:57:37 PM
I recently stumbled across Etsy seller Oddstitch's work. I really love a couple of the pieces:



I'd love to try my hand at this, but I'm not sure where to start. Any idea what is being embroidered on here? Felt? Fleece? I'm at a loss.
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Is it possible to use means other than the pedal to adjust any machine's speed? on: March 14, 2009 09:17:32 AM
Is there a way to hack a sewing machine's speed, or can I purchase a different pedal, or install a speed dial, or is there some other way for me to get my machine to go at a slow pace that's not completely impractical? I'm frustrated to the point of throwing in the towel when it comes to sewing on my machine, and I was hoping you guys might have some suggestions.

If you care for some back story for a better perspective, here it is:

When I was a kid, my mom had an old sewing machine that had an actual speed dial on it. If you set the speed low, then the needle would move up and down slowly, no matter how hard you jammed the pedal into the floor. And it had several settings, so you could do ridiculously slow to ridiculously fast, and anything in between. This was super ideal for a kid to learn to sew on, because it meant you could ease into it, and get faster as you went along.

I only made a couple of projects when I was a kid (a heart-shaped pillow with a lace border is the only one I remember) , but I have longed to learn to sew for the last couple years. Unfortunately, my mom's old sewing machine bit the dust, so she replaced it with a cheap basic one. She didn't sew much, so she gave it to me. Woohoo, lucky me!

Unfortunately, there is no speed adjustment on this new machine that I can tell. And the pedal seems to be hypersensitive - I can only seem to get the machine to have two speeds - impractically slow (it would take weeks to make something simple at that speed), and super fast. Maybe not super fast, but fast enough that as a beginner sewer, I have trouble even sewing a straight line with it, and you can forget curves altogether. It's pretty much useless, as far as my skill level is concerned. I might be able to work my way up to going that fast, but in the meantime, that's a lot of wasted fabric.

So, I've ended up in a self-defeating cycle. I would save up for a machine if I had enough sewing ability to justify buying a machine, but I certainly won't be getting any of said ability using the sewing machine I have. Like I said, I'm so frustrated I'm about to give up sewing forever, and that would be a crying shame, because there's so much I'd like to do with it. Cry
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Discussion and Questions / New to Container Gardening - Where to Start? on: February 22, 2009 06:17:08 PM
I'm wanting to grow an edible container garden. Unfortunately, I know little about gardening (my six-month stint working in the Wal-Mart lawn and garden department was too long ago to remember much).

So, as with all my crazy projects, I'm turning to Craftster for help. Smiley I'm going to just throw my ideas out there, and any advice you can give would be helpful. There's a lot here, as I tried to include as much information as I could. Feel free to ask questions if I've left anything out.

Here's my list so far:

- Lettuce mix
- Grape or teardrop tomatoes
- Green onions
- Radishes
- Avocado
- Sugar snap peas
- Squash
- Zucchini
- Eggplant
- Black beans

- Fennel
- Oregano
- Mint
- Basil
- Rosemary
- Cilantro

- Edible flowers

The veggie essentials would be a lettuce mix and tomatoes (I'll eat tomatoes before fruit any day of the week!). I also really like green onions and radishes, although I wouldn't die for lack of having them. The other things on my list are things that I am just interested in.

The herbal essentials are mint (great for stomach upset!) and cilantro. Can you die from eating too much cilantro? Because it'd be a good way to go... Grin And I hear mint is all but idiot-proof, so that's good. I figure if I can keep at least just one thing alive, I might try all this again next growing season. Smiley Oh, and I thought it might just be easier to go with a Chia herb kit (assuming those will be fairly idiot-proof), and grow any that don't come in the kit in different containers.

Okay, so those are all the plants. Here are some other things I'm taking into consideration: I don't want to be overwhelmed, so I'm guessing growing the entire list my very first growing season would not be a good idea, if not just downright stupid - if it all dies, I probably won't be trying it again, and that would be a shame. I just tend to overdo my new crafty obsessions. Smiley I live in south central Kansas. I want to grow absolutely as much of it indoors as I can. I don't know if all of it can be grown in a container in the first place, if it needs its own container, and what size of container is best. I don't know how to address the sun/shade issue for stuff, because what I can't grow inside will be on a balcony. I'd especially like to know how to keep the lettuce from bolting. I don't know what I can grow from seeds, and what I would would be better off getting starts (or whatever the baby plants are called). I think I can figure out when to plant from the packets. Figuring out how much water is kind of a pain (although from what I remember, it's hard to overwater vegetables in the summer), because a lot of sources just say "water well", but then some will note just after that to keep all the soil moist at all times, and others will say just to keep the surface of the soil most, etc. - I find that just a tad frustrating. How well do self-watering containers work? I'll only have a few minutes (if any) in the morning, and then a few hours in the evening to tend to my leafy babies, so I'm not sure if that will limit my plant selection. I have a skylight in the kitchen that's got cloudy plastic over it, but is still pretty bright. My balcony has glass doors that will let light in, and is on the north side of my apartment.

I don't currently have a cat living with me (I've suckered talked my parents into taking my cat for a couple years until I have a little more money to cover her allergy issues), but may at some point. Are any of the plants I can grow indoors harmful to a cat?

One other weird thing. Is there a way to keep bees away from my garden? I know they're necessary for pollination, but I don't want them hanging around any more than they need to be. I'm ridiculously afraid of them (and other stinging insects), no matter how many times I tell myself they're not going to hurt me, the bees are our friends, I'm not allergic, etc. Aren't phobias great? >.<

So, start slinging ideas and advice my way! Many thanks in advance. ^_^ Oh, and if you have any helpful links, please post them - I'd like to find a central online location for all my questions, but I have yet to find any that have all the answers I need in one place. Hence this post. Grin
7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Video Game Craft Help/Links on: January 17, 2009 09:57:20 AM

Video game crafts are among my favorite posts here at Craftster. I've noticed that when a new video game project gets posted (usually cross-stitch), a lot of people ask how to make a pattern or where they can find the video game characters and images (referred to as sprites), so I'm posting a whole bunch of links below.

If you're in need of inspiration, think about this: the pixelated images from older and handheld game systems work well for cross-stitching, crocheting, knitting, mosaic tiles, Perler/Hama/fuse beads, quilting, and of course you can use just about anything to recreate the pixels if you put things in a grid (for instance, the picture at the top of this post is made up of painted pennies). And if you're not going for the pixelated look, the possibilities are endless.

So, here are a few helpful links:

Instructions on the entire process:

The Sprite Stitch web site frequently posts video game crafts, and has lots of patterns here:

Post on how to grid something in MS Paint:

Post on how to use Photoshop to make a pattern:

You can find lots of sprites at the Shy Guy Kingdom:

Or just do an internet search for sprite or video game sprite; you can always type in what you're looking for, followed by the word sprite, to search for it specifically.

There's also some really neat original work here:

Hope all this information helps!

Random Bonus Factoid: Did you know that pixelated is an old term for drunk?
8  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Marvin the Paranoid Android on: January 07, 2009 01:06:06 PM
When I joined the Douglas Adams swap (gallery here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=242756.0;all), I knew I wanted to do something involving Marvin. With lines like, "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to bring you down to the bridge. Do you call that job satisfaction? 'Cause I don't," how can you not love him? And being voiced by Alan Rickman just makes him that much better. Cheesy

I tried to make him look hunched over, but it doesn't really show up that way in the photo. Unfortunately, I made him with flesh-colored Super Sculpey, not realizing that it would take five years to get enough coats of paint on him to get him white. But it was well worth it, don't you think? Grin

Bonus: His eyes glow in the dark!

It sure was hard to send him to his new home!
9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Wedding Necklace - Final Draft on: December 22, 2008 10:33:27 AM
Finished version of the rough draft posted here:

I had a lot of requests to see the finished product, so here it is. It looks much better in person - it hangs much more naturally and the colors aren't showing up correctly here. My photography skills really don't do it justice.  Embarrassed

I had trouble with the design. I had wanted more strands for a fuller look, but couldn't seem to add them without taking away from the V shape of the ends of the strands, which is what I liked most about the necklace. After I'd already finished the necklace and it had been worn for the wedding, someone suggested putting shorter strands between. If I ever make another, I'll definitely try that, because I think that make it look fuller, while still keeping the dramatic angle. And a friend of mine just got engaged, so it might be fairly soon (if she likes it, that is!). Smiley

Please let me know what you think!
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / How Can I Identify Stitches? on: December 20, 2008 04:07:28 PM
Is there a photo gallery or something with pictures of stitches so that I can compare some stitching I'm unfamiliar with to it? I tried an image search online, but got mostly diagrams (and pictures of stitched up skin, which made me cringe in sympathy!). I've searched on this board, too. Maybe I'm just using the wrong search words or something, but I'd appreciate it if anyone knows of a source like this if you'd post it here - thanks! Cheesy
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