Home Lesley

Holiday 2011 Rush in Full Swing!

Posted in Miscellaneous , on November 20, 2011 ,

So ya, it’s been over 4 months since my last post. Having a baby keeps ya busy, amirite?! However, I’ve been rocking out soap and crochet orders as fast as I can whenever the geekling naps, and the holiday rush is in full swing… did everyone just suddenly realize that Christmas is right around the corner or something?

Incoming shameless plug: Hey, everyone! Christmas is right around the corner! And of course you want to be the one that gives the most geektastic gifts in your circle of friends, so get over to GEEKSOAP and get your order placed ASAP to guarantee timely holiday delivery.

/End spam.

So what’s been happening the past 4.5 months? Well about a month after the geekling was born, as if I needed more on my plate, we decided to buy our first house. And then move 5 days before I went back to work from maternity leave, and a week before my in-laws came to stay with us for a week. Like I said, it’s been just a little intense around here!

Somehow I’m managing a full time teaching job, a new baby, prepping for the holidays and the move/settling in/decorating a new house and all of the responsibilities that come with it, and filling an insanely ridiculous amount of soap orders on the side. Somehow I’ve been successful at all of this so far without feeling too overwhelmed… yet. To help keep it that way, this year you may have noticed that I’ve pared down the GEEKSOAP shop to only focus on my top sellers for the holiday season; this is one of the checks and balances I’ve put in place to ensure that I don’t get in over my head over the next month. I want to make sure that all of my online customers are happy and that I can get orders out in a timely fashion AND still have time for my family. If you’re looking for something that’s currently not available, just drop me a line and I’ll happily get you squared away to make all of your geeky gift-giving dreams come true. :)

Also on the radar is a GEEKSOAP store redesign coming… well, sometime soon-ish. It’s in my head and I’ve got some ideas, but nothing has really been started yet. I hope to make your geeky soap shopping experience even better with the redesign. More on that as I start fleshing the plan out.

Oh! And I almost forgot! I’ve got a super fantastic geeky DIY gift tutorial coming soon that will help you create the perfect last minute gift for the comic book geek in your life. I can’t share yet because I’m giving this amazing handmade gift myself in a couple of weeks, but stay tuned! You are seriously going to love how simple yet AWESOME this gift turns out. And even though I said it’s for the comic book geek in your life, it can easily be modified to suit ANYONE! Yay! See you back here with that tutorial in a few weeks! Until then… good luck with your holiday shopping, and happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Game of Thrones GEEKSOAP Geek Soap

Posted in Showcase, Soap , on August 1, 2011 ,

Game of Thrones soap by GEEKSOAPOr should I say… Game of FOAMS?!

When playing the game of foams, you win or you die. Make sure to smell your best no matter where your loyalties lie.

Winter is coming… be the one true clean in the north by siding with the Starks.

Sigil: Grey wolf on winter white
Scent: Betrayal. A crisp combination of pine, cedar, and eucalyptus with just a hint of campfire to capture the essence of the wintry north.


Hear me roar and always pay your debts to cleanliness.

Sigil: Golden lion on crimson
Scent: Pride. A sweet, earthy blend of patchouli, plumeria, and orange; rich and manipulative.

Fire and blood cleanses all.

Sigil: Scarlet dragon on pitch black
Scent: Dragon’s blood. A fiery blend of amber, myrrh, sandalwood, and a hint of patchouli. Powerful enough to wake the dragon.

Ours is the clean.

Sigil: Black crowned stag on goldenrod
Scent: Forest fury. An earthy blend of pine and campfire; strong enough to rule a kingdom.

Not a licensed or endorsed product. Fan interpretation completely hand-carved with love based on George R. R. Martin’s series, A Song of Ice and Fire. All bars are roughly 5.5 oz of 100% all natural and vegan friendly soap.

Watch season 1 & 2 of Game of Thrones at HBO GO.

This is just one design of many in my GEEKSOAP line. Check out the Soap category for more. My fun soaps are available for purchase at http://www.geeksoap.net




















Our Son has Arrived!

Posted in Miscellaneous , on July 13, 2011 ,

As we close in on his 2 week birthday, I figured I should quickly update my craft blog to let anyone left who doesn’t already know… our son was born on June 30, 2011. Welcome, Liam Richard! You can read more about his arrival on our family blog here, which includes plenty of adorable photos.

I’ve updated the maternity leave info pages of the GEEKSOAP and Pink Toque Shop sites to include this info, too, to keep all of my customers and fans in the loop. Thanks for all of your well wishes as we get settled into life with a newborn! :)


Mat Leave soon, plus LOADS of Digi Scrapping

Posted in Scrapbooking , on June 15, 2011 ,

My “mat leave” from my stores, GEEKSOAP and The Pink Toque, begins soon! This is the last week to place orders from either shop – my leave begins on Monday, June 20 and will run until August 1, 2011 as my husband and I welcome our first child into the world. Need more info? Check out my previous post: Baby (Almost) On Board: What This Means for Business!



That being said, I have a few excellent recommendations from the GEEKSOAP shop this week, especially timed well with the Stanley Cup playoff finals (Game 7 is tonight!!) – my Hockey Geek regulation puck soap is on sale! You may also want to pick up some powdery fresh Dinosaurs on Parade soap while you’re browsing my On Sale products. Because not much is cooler than hockey and dinosaurs. Really.

Last Thursday I was given a medical recommendation to stop work a week early, so I went on maternity leave from my job a little earlier than planned. This week I’ve been trying to relax and keep my feet up, but it’s hard because I don’t just sit around doing nothing very well. I decided a good project would be to get a jump start on my digital scrapbooking; it’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and designed pages, but with the geekling nearly here I wanted to whip up some fresh QPs for my son’s baby book. It didn’t stop there, though. I also created some brag book pages so that my mom will have something she can take to show off at work right away, and then I made some birth announcements, which are now just waiting for my newborn’s little face and the typical birth details like date, time, weight, and length to get dropped in so that all I have to do is send them off to get printed.

In addition to designing a typical baby book, grandma brag book, and birth announcements for my son, I had this brilliant idea to also create a “Baby’s First Year” book, which consists of a single page for each of Liam’s first 12 months of life with space for a picture and journaling. I imagine it being a way to document each month via pictures and tidbits of text, since he will grow tremendously that first year. When my nephew was born, I was amazed at how different he looked (and how his personality developed) every time I saw him; they grow and change so much so very quickly as they’re turning into their own little person during the first year. I want to be sure to capture that somehow with my son, and while a baby book is going to focus on his birth and traditional baby stuff, I see the Baby’s First Year book being a consistent documentation of all of the exciting changes we’re going to experience over the first year… from looks to personality to those all important “firsts.”

As a lot of you know, I am a huge fan of the best digital scrapbooking software in all the world, My Memories Suite. I’ve been using it since Christmas 2007, and it has only gotten better and better over the years. It’s my go-to when it’s time to put together a digital scrapbook masterpiece and print high quality, gorgeous photo books to give to family and friends. I admit, though, that like other designers I create my quick pages (QPs) in software like Photoshop, and then save the PNG file for use as an embellishment QP in My Memories Suite. So this week I’ve spent a lot of time in Photoshop and My Memories Suite getting everything ready to go for my various baby books and announcements. I picked up a great kit called Expecting: A Boy by Sunshine Studio Scraps (Inspired Designs by Crystal Sweeney) and you’ll find it used heavily throughout most of my latest design frenzy.

Want a sneak peek? Sure you do! Here are thumbnails of all of the pages I made for the baby book:

Preview: Baby Book

And here are thumbnails of all of the pages for the Baby’s First Year book. You’ll notice that there are three different layouts I used in rotating order repetitively, just changing the textured papers and embellishment used in the design to progress month-appropriately. I wanted this book to be very consistent and not take away from the photos or the journaling so I stuck to a “theme” for continuity and made all of the pages follow a predictable and similar layout but with a slight change in design to represent each month. Some of the thumbnails below show how the page is laid out in MMS, and you’ll see that I have individual wordart headers for “1 month” through “12 months” that I will put at the top of each page, once we know for sure if Liam is born in June or July. You can also see in the MMS pictures where the journaling blocks will go on each page.

Preview: Baby’s First Year

I also designed three announcements – one is a postcard-sized birth announcement to be printed and mailed out to family and friends after Liam arrives, and the other two are full 12″ x 12″ 300 dpi pages that will go into the baby book and the Baby’s First Year book respectively.

Preview: Birth Announcements

You can be sure that these pages will be a whole lot better once there are adorable geekling photos to fill the blank, framed spaces, but I am really happy that everything is scrapped and ready ahead of the birth for me to just drop in those photos once we take them. I may throw together the full-size/resolution templates for a more generic version of the Baby’s First Year book as a download if anyone is interested in using it for themselves.

Whew! And now… the wait for the geekling’s debut begins… happy scrapping!

Related Links:
Read my review (from 2006) of My Memories Suite here
View all of my digital scrapbook albums here, all made in My Memories Suite
Check out all of my My Memories Suite tutorials here (featured on the official MMS site as well)
Snag some of my digital scrapbooking freebies I’ve made over the years here

Want to Purchase My Memories Suite for yourself at a discount?
With this link you can save $10 off of the My Memories Suite VERSION 2 software PLUS get $10 in free downloads in the MMS store by being a Pink Toque Craft Blog reader! (That’s like $20 free!) Use code STMMMS21122 as your coupon/promo code at the link!

Crochet Amigurumi Geekling Newborn

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on June 2, 2011 ,

As a lot of you know, I used to live in Canada. My husband is Canadian, and after growing up in central Indiana for 26 years, I moved and lived in Calgary, AB for 3 years. In 2009, Lucas and I moved back to Indiana to be close to family; at the time, my brother and sister-in-law were expecting their first child, and we knew we were also ready to start our own family. Indiana had the benefit of being close to my whole family for support, and meant that our children would be able to grow up close to my brother’s child(ren), too. Just like I always imagined.

Leaving Canada wasn’t easy, though. I loved being so close to the Canadian Rockies and we had many dear friends that would be difficult to leave behind. Even though we (and our friends) knew moving back to Indiana was what we needed to do and the best thing for our family, it didn’t make saying goodbye any easier.

The friend I miss the most is my BFF, Michelle. I met Michelle at my first job after receiving my Permanent Residency in Canada, and we just clicked. She’s the coolest person I know! When Lucas and I made the decision to move, breaking the news to Michelle was the hardest.

We moved back to Indiana on August 1, 2009. For Christmas that first year, I made Michelle a set of crocheted Lucas and Lesley dolls, plush versions of ourselves. The sentimental idea was that she now had Lucas and I with her always, even though we were 2,000 miles away. I had so much fun designing the dolls; they turned out even better than I imagined and were so squee-inducing I had a hard time gifting them away! (Especially the Lucas doll. His little glasses were so adorable.)

Fast forward nearly 2 years to the present, and Lucas and I are less than a month away from the birth of our first child. I know that pregnancy hormones are making it worse, but I get weepy when I think about how Aunt Michelle hasn’t been able to be a part of all of this; though we keep in touch, it’s not the same as having her here with us as we go through this life changing event. (She’s going to be an awesome aunt, by the way. I know because she was Aunt Michelle to our dogs first! Ha) :)

I’ve been planning a little gift for Michelle to celebrate the birth of our son; this amigurumi baby doll. While it would seem like a strange gift without the backstory, the crochet newborn is meant to represent our geekling and will help her to complete “the set” of the Karpiuk family dolls. I can’t wait to give it to her! Once again, this little doll turned out better than I expected and was squee-inducing as I put on the finishing touches. It’s so tiny, too! Hopefully it will help tide Aunt Michelle over as a “replacement” until she can meet our geekling in person later this year when she comes to visit. And eventually as our son grows, I’ll have to make a toddler or child version of his doll to replace the baby version so that Michelle’s set stays up-to-date.

So while it seems like a simple crochet baby doll, it has a lot of sentimental value behind it that will hopefully make our friend Michelle’s day since she can’t be here in person when our son is born. Though I know she’d prefer to be here, I also know she’s going to love the meaningful gift. :)

We love and miss you, Michelle!

Check out the full post about the Lucas and Lesley dolls for more photos and info.

See the Lucas and Lesley dolls on Ravelry

See the geekling newborn doll on Ravelry

Baby (Almost) On Board! What this Means for Business

Posted in Miscellaneous, Shows , on May 28, 2011 ,

As most of you know, my husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of June. The official due date of our little geekling is June 29, but you know how babies are… unpredictable! He could be early, he could be late, but no doubt about it… he IS coming. What does that mean for my two small businesses, GEEKSOAP and The Pink Toque Shop?

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not going anywhere! GEEKSOAP and The Pink Toque Shop are not going to disappear, however, I’m sure you understand that some temporary time off will be required to handle the priority that is a brand new baby. As first time parents-to-be, Lucas and I would LOVE to think that we’ve got this under control and we’re fully prepared for what bringing a baby into this world is going to mean for life, the universe and everything, but let’s be honest… we’re 42 shades of clueless.

To be safe, I’m blocking *at least* a month off and plan to have both the GEEKSOAP store and The Pink Toque Shop “closed” – as in, everything being set as “sold out” with a note referencing this blog post for details – for that period of time. I will not be accepting new orders or filling orders from either shop during that period as we become new parents and try to figure out what on earth we’re doing. Email communication may also be sporadic and I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to reply as quickly as normal during this time; I’m sure you understand. :)

As for *when* the month will start and end, that’s as predictable as baby’s due date. If all goes according to plan, I’m going to temporarily “close” both shops a week before our due date with the stipulation that IF the geekling comes earlier than that, the shops will close earlier than that, naturally. I figure a week will give me time to get out any last minute orders that come through before baby arrives.

I’d also like to think that a month is enough time for me to feel like I can handle sneaking in an order or two here and there while the geekling naps, but that assumes A LOT of things… like that I’ll even be able to function. If I don’t feel quite ready or able to handle orders after just a month off, I may need to expand that time off a bit, too. I figure if I get at least 6 weeks off from my job for maternity leave, then taking up to 6 weeks off from my small business jobs shouldn’t be unreasonable if it’s needed.

What about conventions?! What about Gen Con and Dragon Con?
No, I will not be making an appearance at either of these two conventions this year like last year. While that’s sad, I am so happy about our growing family, and there’s always next year for conventions. (Besides, imagine the cosplay possibilities for a one year old next year helping mama out behind the table! SQUEE!) That being said, just because I personally won’t be at Gen Con or Dragon Con this year doesn’t mean my products won’t be there in some way, shape or form. I am currently working hard behind the scenes to complete a few large convention projects that I’ve been commissioned for that will take my place, so you can still come into contact with GEEKSOAP during your geeky convention gallivanting this summer. When the stores come back up after my maternity leave you can be sure there will be some special promotions, too. And because Gen Con is right here in Indianapolis, there’s also the chance I’ll go for a bit on one of the days as a regular convention-goer. If you’re going to be in town for Gen Con let me know and we can hook up! Be sure to be on the lookout for Deodorant Dame at Gen Con – she’ll be loaded with GEEKSOAP goodies at various official Gen Con events, too!

The whole point of sharing this now as opposed to after the geekling is born is so that you’re sensitive to the situation well in advance and I give YOU, my customers, as much notice as possible so I don’t just appear to drop off the face of the planet one day without warning. That wouldn’t be fair to you; I believe communication and transparency is key! I cannot control when the geekling decides to make his debut, so if he comes really early I will have to make changes to accommodate that. I hope to be able to get all orders out before that day, but please understand that babies have a mind of their own and I will be doing my very best for you under the circumstances, whatever they turn out to be.

Really, I’m just trying to be as prepared as possible. This is our first child and we have no idea what we’re in for. If the situation changes, I will be sure to keep you all in the loop as quick as humanly possible, within reason. Remember that my customers and my shops are important to me, too! But I’m sure you understand that baby and our little geeky family takes priority and I’ll be back to making geektastic soap and crochet Cthulhu creations for you all as soon as I truly feel I can handle it. It could be sooner or it could be later than my projected timeline, and either way, you’ll be in the know as soon as I know.

Thanks for being so understanding and patient with me during this unpredictable (and exciting) time! I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of the shops and when I can handle taking orders again. If you’d prefer to get an email notice from me the day that the shops are back online, just enter your email below. I promise your email will not be shared, sold, or used for any purpose other than to send a single shout out to let you know when my products are back. :)


Love of love (truly, from the bottom of my heart),

RAWR! Dinosaurs on Parade in Soap

Posted in Soap , on May 24, 2011 ,


Let’s face it, dinosaurs are cool. And it just so happens that the theme of our nursery décor is all about dinosaurs, which prompted our hugely successful (thanks to inspiration from @KatieDoyle and promotion by Think Geek!) Operation Geekling Dinosaur Project**. As you can imagine, we’re a little dino-crazy around our house right now between the growing geektastic dino nursery, this past weekend’s dinosaur themed baby shower, and preparing for the arrival of our little bundle of joy next month.

I crafted up these DINO-mite soaps as baby shower favors for friends and family. Each one is made from all natural ingredients and have a light powdery scent, reminiscent of cuddles and freshly washed onesies. As always, they’re also vegan friendly!

Ask and you shall receive; I had a lot of people request I make these available to the masses for purchase, and now these ridiculously adorable soaps are up in the GEEKSOAP shop just for you. Now you can rub dinosaurs all over your body, too!

Remember: RAWR means “I love you” in dinosaur :)

**What’s Operation Geekling Dinosaur Project? Read our Call for Submissions back in March, a recent update post, and check out the official Flickr gallery for lots of awesome dinosaur goodness.

Consolidated Collection of my Cthulhu Crafts

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on May 9, 2011 ,

I just realized this morning that over the past two years, I have designed a grand total of eight different Cthulhu creations. EIGHT! Most can be seen over in The Pink Toque Shop, but I thought it might be nice to feature all of the tentacled goodness together in one place to show just how much tentacles have taken over my brain and my crafting time. So here you have it, a special post featuring a consolidated collection of my Cthulhu crafts. Try saying THAT five times fast…

My Cthulhu Toque

The Cthulhu Toque
First up is my crochet Cthulhu Toque, which began to take shape in my mind in late 2008, but was not fully ready and released until spring of 2009. One of my favorite things to knit or crochet is hats, and after being inspired by a  Cthulhu amigurumi, I decided to test my pattern-making ability and design a toque with tentacles. After a couple attempts and sizing tests on my husband, I finally felt like I had come up with a design I was happy with, and my Cthulhu Toque was born. Back at the time, there were no crochet Cthulhu toques like it. There were fleece toques with tentacles or knitted beanies with a fair-isle Cthulhu pattern around the band or full-on crocheted Cthulhu face masks that covered the entire head and transformed the wearer into Cthulhu, but nothing quite like mine, with Cthulhu on top. It’s still my best seller, even seven new Cthulhu designs later! It’s made from soft, washable acrylic and features button eyes.

The Baby Cthulhu Toque
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I got a lot of requests for a baby and/or child version of the Cthulhu toque over the years. I finally put one together and released a Baby Cthulhu Toque, too. The model for my first trial run of the baby design was timed well with the birth of my nephew, who tried hard to fight the brain suckage. There’s not many things cuter than a baby wearing an evil toque. The baby version is also made from the same soft, washable acrylic, but I omit buttons for eyes and instead stitch on felt eyes for safety reasons.

Back before I learned to knit and crochet, I made a lot of plush creations. I spent nearly a year when I first moved to Canada waiting on immigration to give me a permanent resident card so that I was legal to work. During that year, I instead learned how to sew and bought a sewing machine to keep from going crazy. I made a lot of purses and plushies, including several sock monkeys. After my Cthulhu Toque took off, I sat down one day and drew up how I would make a Cthulhu “sock monkey” using some fuzzy chenille socks I had. The Sock-Thulhus that resulted were so adorable and popular, but I found it hard to find enough of the socks to keep up. I quickly sold the first set of Sock-Thulhus I made, and have yet to find a good way to keep a steady supply of “just the right socks” to continuously make more. Instead, I think I see me writing up the sewing pattern and instructions someday and offering that instead, much like I offer the Cthulhu Toque pattern for crocheters. That way those who use the pattern can make a Sock-Thulhu from whatever socks they want. One day I’ll get that pattern put together!

Cthulhu Soap
While most of my Cthulhu creations are crochet, I also have a geeky soap business called GEEKSOAP, and of course Cthulhu found his way into my soapmaking. While I had made a few bars of Batman soap which were technically the first bars of GEEKSOAP ever made, Cthulhu was what inspired GEEKSOAP to grow into a small business featuring a wide variety of geeky themed designs, and was the first set of soap I offered for sale under the GEEKSOAP name. In late 2009 on Etsy I released the first Cthulhu soap before I moved GEEKSOAP to its own storefront. When GEEKSOAP.net opened up separate from Etsy in early 2010, it came with a newly re-designed (and better) version of the Cthulhu soap.

Baththulhu Cthulhu Bath Mitt
Soap inspired my next Cthulhu-theme design, which is also sold over on GEEKSOAP.net – my Baththulhu Cthulhu Bath Mitt! I am so in love with the expression of this super soft, 100% cotton bath mitt creation. It pairs well with the soap, don’t you think? I wrote up the pattern and released the one and only Cthulhu bath mitt in mid 2010 and it has gone over really, really well! I currently make a right or left handed version in both one-size-fits-most and an extra long one. The tentacles are great for working up a good lather and acting as a loofah-like scrubbing surface.

Scarfthulhu Cthulhu Scarf
Next on the list is a scarf design! Towards the end of 2010 came the Scarfthulhu Cthulhu Scarf. I like how the faces at either end remind me of my Cthulhu toque; together the scarf and toque make a great matching set! The scarf runs approximately 63 inches long; that’s over 5 feet of pure awesome to wrap around your neck on a cold, winter’s day. Just like the toque, the scarf is made of a soft, washable acrylic. Like the little Cthulhu plush model in the photo? He was made by Ruth, and you know you want one!

Puppethulhu Cthulhu Puppet
In early 2011, a crafty friend of mine was expecting her first child and asked me if I would modify my bath mitt pattern to create a custom Cthulhu puppet for her to play with her baby. With a little work, I then released Puppethulhu, a crochet Cthulhu puppet. Similar to the bath mitt, and also made from soft cotton and featuring the bath mitt’s expression, the puppet features two “arms” instead of just the one thumb opening of a mitt so that the wearer can manipulate both arms like a puppet. She loved this so much and it went over so well when I shared it with the masses that I also made it available in my shop for others.

Cthulhu Bib
And speaking of babies, I am expecting MY first child in June 2011, and so I decided to whip up a crochet Cthulhu bib for my geekling this past weekend. While not the first Cthulhu bib in existence or anything, I wanted my bib to have the same look to it that would match the style of all of my previous crochet Cthulhu designs. I really love how it turned out! It took four (horrible) attempts to get the bib shape just how I pictured it with the telltale tentacles and wide-set eyes that I like to do. Every baby needs at least ONE evil bib, right? And those tentacles would be happy to catch any dropped food for you, too. The bib is also made from soft 100% cotton for easy washing, but I haven’t decided yet if I plan to sell the bibs individually over in the shop or if I should write up the pattern and offer that instead.

And there you have it! All eight of my crochet Cthulhu creations in one place, not including the two other ideas-in-progress I have been mulling over that I may or may not ever get around to finishing, especially now that there’s a geekling on the way! (And expect that the shop will be closed for awhile once June rolls around and the baby is born. More information on that a little closer to my due date…)

All of my Cthulhu goodies can be found at The Pink Toque Shop, with the exception of the Cthulhu Soap and Baththulhu Cthulhu Bath Mitt, which are over at my other shop, GEEKSOAP.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my collection of tentacled goodness! If you’re looking for even more Cthulhu cuteness, as I mentioned, you just have to go check out my friend Ruth’s plush Cthulhus over at CthulhuChick. She makes Cthulhu plushies with a lot of love, and as a personal owner of no less than three of Ruth’s Cthulhus that I keep in various places in my home, (including a baby one for my geekling in the nursery!) I can testify for their evil yet adorable awesomeness. You really do need one.

Need to contact me? Drop me a line! You can also fan The Pink Toque on Facebook or follow me on Twitter as @geeksoap or @ThePinkToque. Take care! :)

Update: Operation Geekling Dinosaur Project

Posted in Projects , on April 30, 2011 ,

It’s been over a month since our call for submissions went out about dinosaur art for our geekling’s nursery wall, and in that time, we’ve received so many amazingly fantastic pieces of dino artwork from all over the world! I thought I’d take a moment to show you how it’s going and update you on the project’s progress.

Last weekend we went out and bought the first round of frames for the artwork we’d received so far and began hanging it on the wall. Call me crazy, but we have around 8 weeks left and suddenly it seems SO CLOSE, and somehow, hanging dinosaur art on the nursery walls helped me to feel like we were being productive towards getting “ready” for baby.

I posted the updated photos online to a special Flickr gallery we’ve created for the project when I finished, and shared the project’s progress on Twitter. @ThinkGeek, who gave us a shout out on Twitter the first time the call for submissions went out, posted about our project for us again on Twitter this past week, (thank you!) and suddenly a whole slew of new submissions came rolling in fast. So fast, we had to run out to get more frames just to keep up! Here is a quick look at the gallery; the photos go in order from the first inspirational piece by Katie Doyle that gave us the idea in the first place, to where we are today. The order tells a story of the things we’ve been sent and the stages of hanging to show the wall’s growth over time so you can see the project’s progress. As of today, we’re currently on “Stage 2″ of hanging art.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626280396088″]

Are you feeling the warm and fuzzies like we are? I am so in love with the way the dino wall is turning out it gets me all teary-eyed. I can’t help but gaze at it when I’m in the room and reflect on just how many different people are involved and the level of kindness involved to make the wall a success.  It’s somewhat of a “mural”, but every piece is by a different person and no two pieces are the same, so the wall seems to have this personality all its own. It’s exactly what I pictured in my head when the idea came to me, which gets me all sappy; even more so as your stereotypical emotional pregnant woman. Truly, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We now have not a single piece of art by one person, but a large collection created by many that comes together as one cohesive and stunning piece of artwork that means so much to us.THANK YOU! Whether you mailed us something or emailed us a digital piece to print, every single submission has filled us with joy. Every piece has added its own personality to the wall, and we can’t wait to explain the making of the dino wall to our geekling as he grows up surrounded by its awesome.

I’ve been asked a few times about a “deadline” on this project. Baby Liam is due June 29, but truthfully there’s no real deadline; we’re always up for adding more to the nursery’s dino wall. (Find out how you can contribute, here!) As I mentioned in the original call for submissions post, I even picture myself one day sitting on the floor with Liam and a box of crayons or finger paints making dinosaurs to add to the wall ourselves. The best part is that the core of the project started with all of you, and will continue to build out from there over the years. We are so appreciative of everyone’s generosity; thank you for taking the time to add to our project! We’ll continue to update the official gallery as new rounds of artwork are submitted and added. Credit to the appropriate people, whether by name, Twitter handle, or link to their websites or Deviant Art sites will be in the description for each photo in the gallery, so please be sure to go and check them out! Digital art posted to our gallery with credited link to the artist’s site were posted there with permission. Those of you that submitted something to us via snail mail should have received (or will be soon receiving) a thank you card that I made, and a little sketch in thanks to reciprocate the love. If you’ve sent us something digitally, I will be emailing you back a digital version with a note in thanks as well. I really can’t thank you all enough, though!

Want to contribute? Check out the details here!

The Official Operation Geekling Dinosaur Project Gallery

In other somewhat-related news, Lucas and I are doing the March for Babies next weekend with my 8 month baby belly on May 7, 2011. It seems fitting that we’re doing a walk to raise money for babies with my baby belly on Mother’s Day weekend, no? It’s a 2 mile walk and I’m really looking forward to it; helping to raise healthy babies and support premature babies who need the right start hits close to home, and is such an important cause. Read all about our progress here! (And hey, if you’re in the area and want to join Team Karpiuk on May 7, please let us know!) Thanks for your support :)

Lots of love,
Lucas, Lesley, and Liam (the geekling) – aka @thekarpiuks on Twitter (or as some of you know me, @geeksoap or@thepinktoque)


Geekling Knits & Crochets: A Summary So Far

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 27, 2011 ,

The first week of March I began the first of many geekling knit and crochet projects that I had slated to make for our little boy due in June. Here it is the end of April and with just 9 weeks left before it’s go time, I thought I’d share all of the things I’ve made so far and what I have left to work on. Something exciting to note is that Ravelry, the hugely popular knit & crochet community, has made it possible for users to share their project pages by allowing us to make our projects public. The links below for each project I’ve made will take you to my Ravelry project page for it, where you can get all of the details… including the pattern name I used, who wrote the pattern, what yarn and needles/hook I used, and more pictures and a more detailed description of the project. So cool! If you have any questions about any of the projects or patterns, do let me know. Here we go!

For my first project, I started with the diaper covers that I mentioned in my previous post. Considering how warm Indiana summers are, I thought these cute covers would be better than pants over a diaper. They were super, super easy to make, too! You could easily get 2, maybe even 3 out of one skein of Lily Sugar ‘n’ Creme. Then you can get cute or fancy with your button choices to really dress it up.

Next up was the dinosaur toque. Our “theme” for the nursery is dinosaurs, so I whipped up a cute crocheted dinosaur hat for our newborn. Yes, it is being modeled by a pink plush Murloc in this photo. Try not to squee too loudly. I used a slightly lighter yarn for this toque than the pattern called for and have since picked up some worsted weight yarn instead.  I am a little worried the hat will be too small because of the lighter yarn, so I may go back and re-make this toque using worsted weight just to be on the safe side. We have been generously given a photography session with Rachel Vanoven as a baby shower gift from our dear friend Laura, and I’d love to have the dino hat in at least one of the photos. Better make sure it fits, eh!

I then had fun making a couple dinosaur bibs – one each of a stegosaurus and a bronto/apatosaurus/brachiosaurus looking dino. While I’m not crazy about the whole tying part (in hindsight, I should’ve modified the pattern to snap in the back or velcro instead), I have come to the realization that these won’t be used all the time and are more about cute than being super easy to use. I’ll use them for sure, (being 100% cotton means they’ll be easy to clean at least!) but I have a feeling that more practical bibs will get used more often.

After the bibs, I spent a week or two cranking out a half dozen dinosaur burp cloths. These will be so handy! They, too, are made from 100% cotton to make them durable and easy to wash. All six of the cloths are of the Brachiosaurus variety. I can see having these stuffed in a diaper bag and using them for everyday baby messes around the house or on the go. These were really easy to make, and after the first few, I really got in a groove with them and could crank one out in an evening. If I find time, I may go back to making a few more of these before the geekling arrives; you can never have too many cloths with a baby around.

The most recent project isn’t dinosaur themed, but is a staple for any new baby: a baby blanket. I went with a familiar pattern that I used for my nephew’s baby blanket two years ago, but this time I alternated colors reminiscent of the ocean and called it the Ocean Fade Baby Blanket. The feather and fan openwork pattern naturally made these beautiful ripples in the design that looked great in these colors, just like the ocean. Fitting, since I started the project on our roadtrip to Savannah, GA where we spent some time on the river and then on the ocean at Tybee Island. We try to take one trip a year over our anniversary (June 20) where we end up in a bed and breakfast on the ocean, and this year because the geekling is due 9 days after our anniversary, we decided to make that trip a bit early and stayed in an oceanside bed and breakfast on Tybee over spring break instead. The other pictures of the blanket and me working on the blanket over on my Ravelry project page comes from our trip. At the time of this writing, I am about 95% finished with the blanket; I blocked it last night (this was the second blocking, actually… it was so long and I didn’t have a long enough place to block that I had to do it in two parts!) and I hope to find time to weave in all of the ends securely this week.

So what’s next on my agenda? Well, I’ve decided that I need a “newborn hospital cap” because even babies born in the summer will wear one for a little bit. I’d like the cap he wears to be made by mama instead of provided by the hospital. I’ll be using the pattern located here by Annika Barranti at Through the Looking Glass. I’m also considering (time permitting) another blanket; this one a Sweet Swaddling Blanket by Dawn’s Dream Designs. We’ll see if I have time! I’m also considering this dinosaur amigurumi plush by Lan-Anh Bui & Josephine Wan. Isn’t it cute? Oh if I only had more hours in the day…