February 8, 2012
We turned our garage into a movie theatre/game room! Here's how we did it:
Buy some silver screen paint from Hope Depot or Lowe's and paint the area for the screen. It's MUCH cheaper than buying an expensive movie screen. I hung red curtains on both sides of the screen to imitate a theatre environment.
Projectors are still expensive, but not NEAR as expensive as they used to be, especially used. You can hook the Xbox up to it and stream Netflix, or rent movies, or play a game. Add some cheap seating and some kids and you have a party. There's a fridge to the left you can't see!
I have 2 window units to combat the Texas heat, and a radiator for the cold winter. You MUST block the sun out with curtains. I used computer speakers for the sound system and laid some cheap carpet down to cut down on the echo. We have LOADS of fun, and it's not as expensive as you might think. Comments please!***
February 7, 2012
Meet Old Faithful, my trusty digital piano that has been my practice keyboard, private lessons instrument, and webpianoteacher.com superstar for over 8 years. I picked her up at Best Buy for 500 bucks and it nearly broke me at the time. I needed a piano to teach with in my home and this was the cheapest I could find. It's a Casio Privai PX-100, and I don't even know if Casio makes them anymore.
The technology is so advanced these days, even a cheap board can have a realistic piano sound. The keys are weighted so it feels like a real piano. There aren't too many bells and whistles, just the basics, but that's all I need. You can record up to two tracks, which is helpful for recording one hand and then adding the other hand on playback. There is are all sorts of rhythm tracks and songs in the song bank, but never use any of it.
There are enough quick sound patches to cover most situations. You can click two patches at once to layer, and there is a split button which is nice for piano and string bass in the the left hand. The built in speakers aren't bad, but you can use the headphones out jack to connect to a sound system and really crank it up. I now have 2 other much more expensive digital pianos, but this one is my favorite. I'll continue to use it as long as it will have me!