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My Craft A.D.D. is Taking Over!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 7, 2009 ,

Does anyone else have craft A.D.D.? You think you’re absorbed in a project, but there hiding in the back of your mind is another project… one that keeps whispering your name.  Then when you’re supposed to be focusing and working on your current project, you can’t stop your mind from floating back to the possibility of this other project, how it will look when it’s finished, what supplies you need…  it’s been like this for me all week.

I know that I learned things backwards; I learned to knit first, then learned crochet and have been pretty much doing crochet-only projects since. But I’ve recently been wanting to get back into knitting projects, and of course I’ve already got an idea or two in mind. Once I learned crochet I found working things in the round to be so much easier than fiddling with DPNs, but recently thanks to some support and information on the Ravelry forums, I am feeling confident enough to try the Magic Loop method… and maybe even to drag those DPNs out of hiding. The problem is now that I feel confident that I can achieve this, all I want to do is get started. I won’t let myself begin yet another project, though, until I finish what I have “on the hooks” as I’m worried my current crochet project will just never get finished. *ahem* like that crochet sweater I started months ago. The poor side-to-side cowl neck sweater is still sitting on the back burner because I’ve let myself start something else. I am determined to finish it, though!  Even if it means I won’t be wearing it until next winter. ;) I know that there are many people out there who have lots of WIPs at once, and so I know it’s not a bad thing, but I worry that if I give my craft A.D.D. an inch, it’ll take a mile. I guess I just hate the idea of too many unfinished projects lying around. I must stay strong!

And that brings me to the elusive “something else” that I am working on currently: a crochet hobo bag. And not just any hobo bag — a felted one of my own design. It was time for a new purse and this will be my first felted project! I didn’t really want it to be of my own design, especially with it being my first time felting, but I can’t seem to find just what I’m looking for already. I know that to felt the bag it needs to be around 25% bigger than I want the finished result to be (give or take a little) and because I couldn’t find a (free) pattern for a felted hobo style bag that I’m dreaming of, I’ve decided just to wing it. I’m getting a little nervous, though, as the sides take shape — it seems really big. Maybe too big? I just hope it felts up as planned and ends up being about the right size in the end. I won’t know until I try, right? And what better way to learn than to just jump right in. Wish me luck!

An Original Cthulhu Toque, and Now Selling

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on March 24, 2009 ,

As if I didn’t have a crafty enough weekend, I started working on a new design: a crochet Cthulhu toque!

I’m suddenly obsessed with this cute tentacled creature and envisioned a toque (hat!) of one. I did some searching but didn’t find anything like it out there. I found some sewn fleece Cthulhu hats, some knitted ones that have a tentacled Cthulhu shape repeated as a band across the hat, and even a full facemask that transforms the wearer into Cthulhu with a tentacle beard, but nothing quite like this. So I decided to make my own!

The Cthulhu toque design took quite a lot of pulling out stitches and reworking rows until I got it just the way I wanted, but I’m really happy with the turnout. Special thank you to my wonderful husband for his feedback along the way.  It’s my first toque design period!  This and toques like it are now for sale at The Pink Toque Shop!

Speaking of which, in 2009 I decided to switch my shop to a host other than Etsy and all Cthulhu purchases can be done at The Pink Toque Shop instead. The shop should be fully stocked unless I have too many orders going at once, so be patient if things are sold out; I’ll add more as my schedule frees up.

I sure am enjoying having a little bit of extra time this spring break for crafting! :) Happy sales <3 (I hope)

Crafty Crochet Weekend

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on March 22, 2009 ,

It was a busy weekend, and yet somehow I managed to sneak in three whole crochet projects. Crazy, I know. It’s the official start of spring break for me, and my mom and grandma are coming to visit later in the week. Between getting organized, cleaning and getting some things around the house done we’ve been meaning to complete, I am amazed that I was able to get so many extracurricular crafting done this weekend, too. Woohoo!

First on the list is a crochet sackboy from Little Big Planet. I stumbled upon this pattern and felt up to the challenge. I have a friend who loves the game and so I decided to whip one up to send his way. It’s off to the Netherlands tomorrow! He turned out okay — I added the little yellow ribbon for flair — but I felt the zipper part was a bit messy. It was my first go at jointing limbs on a crochet stuffie, too. All in all I think he turned out pretty cute and I’m sure he’ll be well received when he arrives.

Second this weekend was another gift for a friend; this time a colleague of mine at work. I crocheted a 12 ft tall purple bird. Well, not exactly 12 whole feet tall (try 17 inches), but there’s a bit of an inside joke with this bird. Each morning on the bus run for our school, this other teacher friend of mine puts on kids music for the kiddos. The kids really love this one tape (yes, tape) of songs and refuse to listen to anything else. Let’s just say that after three months, the tape is starting to get a bit annoying. But the songs are cute and it makes the students happy, so who cares, right? My teacher friend shared with me that she really hates this one song on the tape, and it’s a song about a “12ft tall purple bird.” I of course told the students that she looooooooves the song and that it’s her favorite, and so now whenever the song comes on the kids will say, “Oh, isn’t this your favorite song?” to her, and she has to just agree with them. It’s good for a laugh, even though I get the evil eye, haha. So I imagined what the “12ft tall purple bird” from the song would look like, and voila.  I cannot wait to gift this to her after spring break.

The last thing I made this weekend was a little tiny Cthulhu! Oh my gosh, isn’t he cute?! I could just eat him up. I made him for Lucas, who found the pattern online awhile back. I of course then found it in the Ravelry database and queued it up. Today I was browsing my queue to find something to make and was reminded of this little guy. He was a quick crochet, and I just loved the way he turned out. I opted for no arms because I’m weird like that, but he does have wings and those oh-so-cute tentacles. If he had a nose, I’d want to rub noses with him. He now sits on top of a stack of blank CDs and DVDs on Lucas’ desk. I think I need to make a pink one for my own desk. TOO cute! It makes me want to make more… and more… and more…

My side-by-side cowl neck sweater is still sitting where it was 2 posts ago. It’s such a time consuming project that I’ve found I really have to be in the mood to do something incredibly repetitious for long periods of time to get anywhere with it. I’ll have plenty of time for that whenever we make the move back home to the states. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here on my craft blog yet, but Lucas and I made an announcement over on our personal blog that we’ve decided to move back to Indiana to be near family. Mostly because we’re ready to start a family of our own, and we don’t want to be so far away from them when we do. You can read all about it over on our blog. We go in tomorrow morning to start paperwork, and are crossing our fingers we can be ready to move by the end of the summer. That means 4 days in a UHAUL with my boys and lots of crochet projects to keep me busy ;) Here’s hoping! Take care and have a wonderful week :)

Easter & Another Feature!

Posted in Freebies, Scrapbooking, Sewing , on March 15, 2009 ,

Yes I know St. Patrick’s Day comes first, but today I was in the mood to create a bunny, and so I drew up the image I had in my head and made a quickie pattern. It was kinda nice dragging the sewing machine out of the basement and rooting through a large box of my fabric to find just the right stuff. This bunny is made from fuzzy felt and regular craft felt. I used the machine to assemble the body and ears, and then hand sewed the facial features on. Nothing majorly special, but I did love how the face turned out :)

So that’s my crafty donation for the weekend. And what a busy weekend it was! I spent most of my weekend in a two 8-hour day first aid course for work. I am thankful that my instructors had a great sense of humor because it actually helped make the day not seem to drag on. But I did feel like my weekend flew by way too fast, with very little extra time to craft. This next week will be the same… a short four day week at work for kids, but five days of home visits to families of my students for me. The best part is that after I get through next week, it’ll officially be spring break and I’ll be done with home visits. Plus my mom and grandma will be here to visit, yay! So I’m hangin’ in there and am looking forward to more relaxing times ahead soon.



Oh, and it’s definitely worth mentioning that I was recently featured in the March 2009 edition of the My Memories Suite email newsletter! A layout I designed with the software (using elements I designed myself as well) was chosen as the March winner of a $20 gift certificate for products in the My Memories Suite store. The text from the newsletter reads, “This month’s gallery winner is Lesley Karpuik.  Lesley is an amazing scrapbooker and a dedicated blogger!  You can visit her blog at http://craftblog.pinktoque.com. Lesley wins a $20 certificate to the Design Shop.  To enter, post your layouts under “Fan Photos” on our Facebook page.”

How awesome is that? And wow did such nice comments make me blush. And which design did I use? My “Autumn Romance” quick page that I created and gave away for free here on my site back in November. Did you miss this freebie? Well go and grab it HERE so you’re not missing out! :) Don’t forget if you’re on Facebook to join the My Memories Suite fan group and enter to win!

Hope everyone had a great weekend <3

Houston, We Have an Armhole.

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on March 8, 2009 ,

While this news may not seem incredibly exciting to most, for me… it’s huge. It feels like I started my first crochet sweater months ago now, and today I finally had a little spare time to not only work some more rows on that, but I also finished another Huug the Hug Monster(c) that had been sitting half finished for the past three weeks, too. But OMG, my first armhole of my first sweater. Someone call the media.

The sweater I’ve been working on is from Lion Brand’s site, called the Side-to-Side Cowl Neck Sweater. It’s basically done as one big giant piece — go 18 inches, skip 25 sts (first armhole), then go another 18 inches and leave another 25 sts skipped (second armhole) with only one seam up the side for the body. Then the two sleeves are done separately and attached where the skipped sts are. It seems like one very tall rectangle, but the bulk of that will turn into the cowl part of the neck, once I finish the backside. At least that’s the plan.  This is the medium size, but I swear it feels huge — then again, that might be because the neck is not defined yet. Did I mention this is my first sweater? lol. I sure hope to finish it before winter is over. Though with the nasty cold and snow we just keep getting, I’m starting to think winter will never be over in Calgary. I’m also starting to realize that I’m more of a small-project-instant-gratification crafter vs. big-project crafter, hehe. However, once this sweater is done, the amount of gratification and pride will far outweigh the length of time it took me to make. I don’t spend nearly as much time working on it as I should.

And here is my latest Huug — in pink! Isn’t it cute? I am thinking of putting the previous blue one I made and this new pink one up for sale in my ArtFire studio. What do you think?

Lately I’ve had an itch to knit something. I’ve been crocheting so many things over the past several months that I can’t remember the last time I picked up knitting needles other than to move them aside as I rummage around in my case to find the right sized crochet hook I need. The problem is, I still have a fear of working with DPNs… so after getting used to and enjoying the fact that I am able to use a crochet hook to go round and round and make tiny little things without having to switch to DPNs, I can’t seem to figure out what to knit.  Any suggestions? I was thinking about the Calorimetry band or perhaps the Isabeau purse.  Of course, this is AFTER I finish the crochet sweater ;) So we could be talking about next winter at this rate, lol.

Have a great afternoon :)

Fabulous Resources & I Was Featured!

Posted in Miscellaneous , on March 1, 2009 ,

Tweet! Tweet!

I wanted to share some really neat resources I’ve been lucky enough to be made aware of recently. First of all, I’m twittering!  Yes that’s right, I have become hip and have started leaving little tweets about things going on in life, both crafty and otherwise!  It’s oddly satisfying. If you want to follow me on twitter (or want me to follow you on twitter!) check me out at http://www.twitter.com/pinktoque :) There are SO many crafty people already out there sharing their tweets, and I really like trying to keep up — I see so many neat crafts and cool things that way… it’s very inspiring!

This week I learned about a great online printing service called Viovio.com. Viovio.com was shared with me by one of my blog readers, Sarah, who says, “I’ve really had a great experience with them.  One of the first books I ordered had a wrinkle in it and they replaced it free of charge since it was their mistake.  Also, they print 12×12 pages (loose) for $.75…The cheapest I have found.” Wait, did she say $.75 per full-colour 12″x12″ sheet? That’s insane! So I went over and checked it out, signed up, etc. The latest from Sarah is, “I should be getting my fourth order from viovio this weekend.  I’ve order a 12×12, 10×10, 8.5×8.5 and recently ordered loose 12×12.  LOL  I’ve seen a good variety.  I like the paper used for the 10×10 and bigger best, but the 8.5*8.5 is cheap and makes a good gift book.” Can’t beat prices and customer service like that! Say hello to my new favourite online printing service!

The last site I want to share is ArtFire.com — it’s like Etsy, but free! No listing fees and no fees when you sell things. Of course there is a free user and premium user choice when you sign up, and the premium user naturally gets more options when setting up their online studio (how many pictures you can put up, how many items can be for sale at one time), but… for someone like me that just wants to sell a little here and there when I have it, it’s great and… free. This has inspired me to try and get some things up soon when I have a chance. I’ll let you know when I’m all set up and actually have something available to sell!

Oh and WOW I just have to share… I was honoured to realize that my custom handpainted Mahjong set that I made for Lucas for Valentine’s day (see previous entry) was chosen as one of the Feb 19 featured projects on craftster! This makes me blush! I’m so glad people have enjoyed it :) Check me out on the front page!

And there you have it this weekend! I feel bad that I have a pretty pink Huug the Hug Monster © that is just sitting there waiting to be finished (along with that sweater I’d started working on a month ago) but work has been busy and I feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day on the weekend to get everything done! More crafty stuff coming soon, I promise :) Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Celebrate Valentine's Day With Crafts!

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on February 14, 2009 ,

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Lucas and I went out to breakfast at the Pfanntastic Pannekoek Haus, a dutch pancake house here in town that we love, despite the nasty cold I have. We spent the day lounging and I even completed a last minute craft for him. (See below.) … this evening I baked him my “famous” lasagna and we watched the hockey game. Go Flames, go!

So… now that I’ve given my Valentine’s Day present to Lucas, I can reveal all of my crafty goodness here to you!  First on the list is the big one… a completely handpainted, custom Mahjong game/tile set!

A little backstory: a few months back, some friends of ours, Caley and Kali, (the Ckalieys) had us over for dinner and game night. They had recently been taught how to play Mahjong, and they were eager to share it with us. It was somewhat of a learning process for all of us because they were a bit rusty and hadn’t had much practice, and it was fun! They had bought a Mahjong set and taught us to play that night. We enjoyed Mahjong a lot and look forward to playing more with them. Lucas has even been playing Mahjong online lately. That’s when the idea for this present hit me.

It took a lot of searching … I was unable to find blank actual Mahjong-type tiles or anything quite the same. However, I did find that there were people out there selling blank domino tiles with holes drilled into them lengthwise to be used as “beads” for designing jewellery and such. So I bought a large lot set of 350 of these blank wooden domino beads from a seller on eBay.

Once they arrived, I sorted through and picked out 145 tiles. The version of Mahjong we play is a 144 tile set with 1 extra tile to be used as the Prevailing Wind Marker. Then I set to work handpainting all 145 tiles myself, with Wikipedia’s page on Mahjong with little images of the tiles as my guide. I know my characters aren’t perfect, but I am really proud of the turnout. Once the faces of the dominoes were dry, I turned each tile over and then painted the backside of each orange… Lucas’s favourite colour. If this was to be Lucas’ custom handmade Mahjong set, I wanted it to be tailored to his likes.

Anyway, once I was done with the painting part, then I had to spend a few days using spray sealant/clear coat to give each tile a bit of extra durability and shine. The fronts and the backs, of course. Then we found this great paper-mache box at Michaels craft store (Lucas didn’t know what it was for) and I painted it black on the outside and brown on the inside to be used as the storage container for all 145 completed tiles.

I still need to print off the custom instructions I put together based on Wikipedia’s info, but the gift was very well liked, and I can’t wait to use it the next time we play Mahjong.

There are a TON of photos — I took lots along the way as I worked on this. To see them all, check out the photobucket album here… there you’ll be able to see close up photos of the different suit sets and all of the tiles, as well as “in-progress” photos. I posted this one to Craftster and my deviantART account as well.

Today while trying to get some rest and get over this cold, I worked on a little crochet Valentine’s project… a penguin stuffie. I chose to make him as Tux the (Valentine’s) Linux Penguin in honour of Lucas and I both completely making the switch to Ubuntu (Linux) on all of our machines… even mine! Here is a picture of my Tux sitting with my Ubuntu netbook.  It’s hard to tell due to the flash, but Tux is holding a little light pink heart in his left wing there. This gift was well received, and he was a quick and cute project. :)

So that’s it for now! Check back with me later in the week, as I have some Huugs to finish up and share :) It’s Family Day on Monday, so that means a long weekend for us — yay! It’s a good thing, too, as I think I’ll need the extra day to get over what’s ailing me. :( Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Thanks for stopping by.

Papier-Mache Part 2: Dinosaur Eggs!

Posted in Miscellaneous , on February 5, 2009 ,

The papier-mache dinosaur egg project was a huge success!  Lucas and I spent last weekend papier-mache’ing the little balloons with dinosaurs inside. We let them dry for a day or two and then popped the balloons and removed them completely from the egg, leaving the plastic dino inside.  We secured the hole used to pop the balloons during the second round of papier-mache.  Once the eggs were complete and solid, I laid out a lot of newspaper in our basement and spray painted the eggs an off-white colour. WOW, were the fumes bad! I had both windows open down there for good air ventilation because it was too cold to spray paint outside. That of course meant the basement was freezing, but it was worth it!

The kids got to paint their eggs on Tuesday.  I explained how to carefully handle their precious egg, and that there was a dinosaur inside waiting to hatch!  We talked about what they thought dinosaur eggs looked like and I told them to use their imagination and paint them however they think they would’ve looked since no one knows for sure.  This went over well and the kids had lots of colours to choose from as they painted.  Most eggs turned out to be brown since the kids also enjoy mixing colours together, haha, but it was an amazing project. Tomorrow we are hatching our eggs, and the kids will get to keep the dinosaur that’s inside.  We had so much fun guessing what would be in our eggs, too.  The kids painted pictures of dinosaurs at the easel to show me what they thought (hoped) was inside their egg.  Let me tell you, the Tyrannosaurus Rex is really popular.

So I recently switched operating systems, inspired by the early Valentine’s Day present that Lucas gave me over the weekend… a netbook!  Basically a netbook is just a super tiny laptop.  Weighing in at only 2 pounds, my new netbook is incredibly easy to tote around, and I have the ability to surf the net, check email and do word processing anywhere.  It is running a Linux distribution called Ubuntu instead of Windows, and I love it. Lucas has been running Ubuntu on his laptop for over a year now, and I was excited to make the switch.  I also decided to go with Ubuntu for my desktop computer operating system as well. Bye bye, Windows! ;)

I’m still working on my first crochet sweater (it’s coming along slowly!) and am making more Huugs.  I’m planning on making a mini keychain sized Huug this weekend.  Plus… I am nearly dying of excitement about the Valentine’s Day project I’m working on for Lucas.  This handmade gift is taking me awhile to complete, but the results are going to be worth it for sure.  I can’t wait to share it here after Valentine’s Day!  Happy crafting :)

Papier-Mache (Part 1) and a Crochet Huug©

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Tutorials , on January 25, 2009 ,

This weekend I found a little time to get some crafting done. Mostly because one of my projects I started is also kinda school/work related, so anytime you can combine your hobbies with work it’s a good thing.

My students are going to have dinosaur week the week after next, and I’m prepping ahead of time to have some really cool things available to them.  I decided to start out this papier-mache dinosaur egg project over the weekend because it would need around a week’s worth of time for preparation to ensure they were ready for the kids.

So how do you make dinosaur eggs?  Well, I bought a package of 24 transparent balloons (any balloon colour would work) and two 12-piece packages of tiny little plastic dinosaurs.  Both of these things I found at Dollarama by our house, so it was an even better score!  To make dinosaur eggs, you first put one dino inside each balloon and then blow the balloons up to around “dinosaur egg size” (whatever that is!) and voila! You have a plastic dino inside of a balloon.  Why do I want a dino in a balloon?  Well, the balloon is a vehicle for papier-mache really.  Later this week I’ll get to the messy part 2 and papier-mache over these balloons to create a nice firm egg, leaving a little opening around where the tie off for the balloon is for later.  Once the papier-mache dries I can pop the balloon and discard it from within the egg, then add a little layer or two of papier-mache over the opening to seal up the egg for good. I suppose if you would rather add the dino then, as opposed to earlier you could, as long as you leave a large enough opening to fit the dinosaurs.  I plan to take the hardened eggs into the classroom and distribute them to my students.  After explaining that I found some dino eggs we can speculate what dinosaur eggs looked like and they can have fun painting the eggs however they want :)  The next day when the paint has dried they can “hatch” their eggs and receive the little dino inside as a keepsake of the project.  I’ll post about part 2 later this week :)

Now normally I would prefer the students make the papier-mache and do everything themselves, but our school has a policy about using balloons with the younger kids and I’d rather not risk it. Not to mention kiddos trying to fit dinos into balloons could be a bit of a challenge.  Instead I really like the idea of sparking their imagination when I come in with a bunch of dinosaur eggs I “found” and letting them run wild when they get to paint them.  I also like the element of surprise that comes with them having no idea what dinosaur is inside or what they’ll get when their egg hatches.  All while they are painting their egg they will be able to hear their dinosaur rattling around inside but they won’t know for sure what it looks like or what kind it is until hatching day.  I’m hoping this will be a memorable project for them — and hey, they’ll love being able to take something home with them as a result of the lesson.

As for crochet this weekend, I finished my crochet version of Huug the Hug Monster© — a character I dreamed up one day on the way to work.  I originally created Huug a year ago and knitted the prototype Huug, but this weekend I decided to make Huug in crochet form. I think the newest one turned out pretty well!  He is part of my recent retail plans, as I hope to be able to sell him in a boutique-y shop or two locally. I officially copyrighted the character and his knit/crochet patterns this weekend as well, dating back to last year, for the sole purpose of having that all registered officially on paper and all.  Wish me (and Huug) luck!

Get 25% off My Memories Suite just for reading!

Posted in Scrapbooking , on January 22, 2009 ,

Buy Now at 25% Off! That’s right my friends, I’m now a part of the My Memories Suite affiliate program.  You can save 25% off of the My Memories Suite software by clicking from the pink toque craft blog, just by being a reader! :)

I was very honoured today to be asked to join the affiliate program.  StoryRock and Polaroid are wonderful to work with and are even more wonderful by allowing me to offer a 25% discount on the My Memories Suite software to my readers.  Talk about passing on the savings!

So if you’ve been holding off on purchasing My Memories Suite or have been wanting to get it for a family member or friend, NOW IS THE TIME! :) Not only will you save a bundle, but once you receive the software you’ve got all of my tutorials here to help you out so that you can dive right in from day one… and of course I’m always available to help with your questions via email here on the pink toque craft blog.  You’ve got all the support you need to start making the digital transition.  I promise it won’t hurt ;)

Thanks to all of my readers out there for being you — I do love the comments and emails that I receive from you.  I know it’s been awhile with the holidays and my new teaching job since I’ve made/given away any new freebies, but I think I’ve got an idea or two in mind that I hope to get to soon in celebration.  Plus I’ve been working on a new Huug© and am looking into a retail venture.  Life can be a pretty big adventure, huh?  Wishing you all the best, see you back here soon!

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