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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Knitting Season

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on August 31, 2012 ,

While it certainly doesn’t FEEL like knitting season yet, the fall months are just around the corner and I’ve already begun the season’s first knits… despite the weather being in the 90s as recently as last weekend. Instead of easing back into the groove with something simple, I decided to kick off knitting season with an ambitious project… a sweater for the geekling. Because… you know. Why not?

This was an ambitious project for a few reasons. One being that even though I’ve been knitting for 6 years, I am intimidated by sweaters because I think of them as being a more complex project for the pros… and a pro I am most certainly not. I mean… sweaters have sleeves and a yoke, for crying out loud! It’s not a simple square or a hat in the round. THERE ARE SLEEVES! AND MULTIPLE PARTS! AND POTENTIALLY SEAMING! (Yuck.) And I’ve never been good at projects that require picking up stitches, which is usually a requirement of something made up of so many parts, or with seams.

Two being that I am one of those knitters that generally prefers smaller projects. I love knitting hats. LOVE! Hats (toques) are my favorite thing to knit. They’re small enough projects that I can finish one in a short period of time, (Which equals nearly instant gratification) BUT they have the potential for being a little more complex depending on the pattern, to keep knitting one interesting and fun. People think that cables are SO COMPLICATED (trust me, I was one of those people for the longest time.) so I love that hats allow me just the right amount of instant gratification and complexity to keep me engaged long enough to actually finish the project. You mean I can knit something that looks complicated and beautiful in a couple of hours or days? YES PLEASE. This is also a reason why I like crochet… and though I can crochet faster than I can knit, I really prefer the *look* of knit stitches for this kind of thing.

But back to the sweater. There are sweater patterns out there that don’t require picking up ANY stitches and very little seaming, thank goodness, and the one I chose for Liam’s sweater is such a pattern. It’s called the Almost Seamless Pullover Sweater, a free pattern by Helen Rose at Craft Foxes and you can find it on Ravelry here. (See my project on Ravelry here!) I did, however, find errata that is not reported on the originating website so if you give it a try, be sure to change the number of stitches you begin knitting in row 1 of step 4 when you begin the shoulders and collar so that you go all the way around the sweater before turning your work instead of just halfway. (Don’t ask how I figured that out. Just know that spending 2 hours precariously ripping back rows when I felt like something was off was not something I ever want to do again.)

The sweater itself was fairly plain and simple, with the exception of a little garter and seed stitching at the collar, which was a nice touch to give the sweater some texture. I appreciated instructions that said, “Knit until the pieces measures 8.5″ from the cast on edge,” because I could literally zone out and just keep knitting the same knit stitch around and around for what felt like forever. It’s incredibly therapeutic and yet again I found myself asking why I always take a summer break from knitting when it’s so relaxing. (I’m sure the 100 degree plus weather had something to do with it.) But at the same time I know myself, and I realize that if I had been knitting an *adult* size sweater, that much plain knit stitch in the round would’ve gotten SO. BORING. And I probably would’ve given up on the project in favor of something smaller with a quicker gratification turn-over rate. But I’ve found that infant and toddler sweaters are like hats… that perfect balance of complexity to keep it interesting and project size to still finish it. I actually completed this sweater before the kid grew too big for it! And wow, I ACTUALLY KNIT A SWEATER. Which to be able to say *seems* like a big accomplishment and makes me feel really awesome. Nevermind that Liam will only be able to wear it this one season.

Also around the corner *should* be hockey season, which may be another reason that the itch to knit has returned before the cooler temperatures. I learned how to knit during my first few months in Canada, just in time to start knitting things for my first winter and my first hockey season there. I have fond, nostalgic memories of snuggling on the (orange) couch, knitting while we watched (and I learned about) hockey. I’m quite certain that I will cry if there’s a lockout and we don’t end up having a hockey season this year. I guess I’ll have to get all of my knitting done during Sunday/Monday Night Football instead.

Next on my knitting to do list will be a hat for myself to match some fabulous red and white Team Canada mittens I picked up this summer, (Yes, I know it sounds funny that I bought mitts in the summer) and then I’m thinking it will be time to knit a few hats for family members, followed by a few baby hats for my friends that are expecting in the spring. Bring on knitting season!

Oh and on the GEEKSOAP front… be sure to watch for two new soaps coming soon… a Darth Vader themed bar and a trilogy Hunger Games guest soap set! Keep your eye on geeksoap.net for those goodies to show up in the near future.


New Cthulhu Crochet Patterns Available! Scarf, Bib, Purse

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on June 25, 2012 ,

Finally!

People have been asking me about this forever. And ever. AND EVER. There have been a few changes over at The Pink Toque Shop; you’ll notice that some of my creations (Scarfthulhu, Bibthulhu) are now available as PDF patterns (!) instead. I finally put down my Cthulhu scarf and bib patterns on paper and made them available to you right along with my popular Cthulhu Toque pattern.

As for a Cthulhu purse… many MANY of you have emailed me upon seeing Bibthulhu and asking for me to make it into a purse. Really and truly, I don’t think I should charge a separate pattern cost or MAKE a separate pattern to turn the bib into a purse… it could easily be done with just a few modifications to the bib pattern, which I have included in the Bibthulhu PDF, so if you purchase that, it’ll be like getting 2 patterns in one! Hooray!

What are you waiting for? Head on over and snag the new patterns:
The Cthulhu Toque Pattern | Scarfthulhu Cthulhu Scarf Pattern | Bibthulhu Cthulhu Bib & Purse Pattern 

I’m currently in the middle of getting all of these new patterns up on my designer page over on Ravelry, so if you’d prefer to purchase there, you can find me here: Ravelry: Patterns by The Pink Toque Craft Blog

Don’t forget you can always email me anytime with questions along the way if you have trouble with any of my patterns. I have tested them and feel confident that they are error free, but after staring at my own patterns for a week, I may have missed something. Perhaps the wording or instructions are confusing – please email me right away and let me know so I can help, fix the problem, and/or make the wording more clear for other crocheters. :)

I hope you enjoy all of the new patterns available! I’ve got a few more up my sleeve, I just need to find time to write them down.  Whew!


FREE GEEKSOAP at Lexington Comic and Toy Convention this Weekend, Courtesy of Kentucky Geek Girl!

Posted in Shows , on March 23, 2012 ,

If you’re headed to the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention this weekend, don’t forget that GEEKSOAP and Kentucky Geek Girl have partnered up to bring you some FREE SOAP! All you have to do to snag some GEEKSOAP freebies is to pop by the KGG booth (#109) while you’re there and give ’em the secret password: BUBBLES. Easy, right?!

Lexington Comic & Toy Convention
Saturday, March 24, 2012
10 am – 5 pm
Lexington Center
Admission $9.20 online/ $10 at the door

For all of the sweet geeky details including a map of the convention & booth space, keep your eyes peeled at Kentucky Geek Girl, where Natasha will make sure all of your LexCon bases are covered. Better yet, follow her on Twitter to stay in the know all day Saturday, too! Have fun and enjoy. :)

Psssst remember… BUBBLES!


Contest: Win a Complete Set of Game of Thrones GEEKSOAP!

Posted in Contests , on March 19, 2012 ,

Woohoo! Can you believe that Season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones is less than two weeks away?! When Season 1 ended, it seemed like spring 2012 was FOREVER away. I devoured all of the books and it STILL felt like there was an eternity to wait. FINALLY… the wait is ALMOST over. I can hardly stand it!

To make your wait easier, I’ve decided to introduce the newest house soap in the Game of Foams GEEKSOAP series: House Targaryen!  I hand-carved and molded the Targaryen design myself, and am so proud to finally share and release my newest creation. But before the official release of the soap AND Season 2 on April 1, I wanted to personally give away a complete set of the house soaps to make the start of Season 2 that much better. As if you weren’t already excited enough already!

But before I start yammering on about the contest rules and yadda yadda, tell me about the soap?! You’ll receive one each of the three house designs:

Stark - 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.

Lannister – 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.

Targaryen (NEW! Not even available for purchase yet in the store!) – 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.

Ok enough already! How do I enter?

The rules are simple; check out the Rafflecopter entry form below to get started. The contest will run from 12:01 am March 19 – 12:01 am March 24. (So Monday – Friday.) One lucky winner will be randomly selected from all entries received, so the more you enter, the better your chances of winning! The winner’s soap will ship out ASAP in an effort to arrive before April 1 so that you have your set in time for the official start of Season 2. Note that you must use the Rafflecopter form below to ensure each of your entries are tracked!

Each method of entry – blog post comments, tweets, “likes” on Facebook, pins on Pinterest, etc. – are worth one entry each. And most methods of entry you can do once per day to give you even more chances to win this awesome set of three hand-carved Game of Thrones soaps! Each house has their own unique scent to carry you away to Westeros and across the Narrow Sea. Got questions? Email me! GOOD LUCK!! <3

Enter Here!

(more…)


GEEKSOAP Spring Cleaning and NEW STUFF!

Posted in Soapmaking , on February 26, 2012 ,
swtor soap by geeksoap

swtor soap by geeksoap

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to initiate spring cleaning at GEEKSOAP.net. I’m focusing all of my energy on the most popular designs and making them even better than ever, including better ingredients, better packaging, and tons of NEW stuff!

Firstly, as some of you have noticed, I’m phasing out most of the super clear designs to make way for their re-designs. The most popular of my clear series with inserts will be re-made over the next year; my goal is to re-release one a month starting with the heart emoticon, Zelda Triforce, and Cthulhu. They will be even better than before, now featuring only 100% natural ingredients AND hand-carved raised designs. As always, my soaps will continue to be vegan friendly, always plant-based and never derived from or tested on animals.

NEW SOAP!

  • A NEW hand-carved Star Wars: The Old Republic design (releasing end of Feb 2012)
  • As promised: Batman soap re-design, BATSCRUB and “baby” Batscrub Guest Soap
  • A NEW hand-carved top secret addition to one of my most popular series. Hint: April is coming…
  • Re-designs coming soon for my most popular clear soaps
  • NEW darker (less pastel!) color options for my famous D20 Soap on a Rope!
  • NEW packaging and promotional goodies

That’s not all, but that’s the bulk of what I’m currently working on. New soaps, makeovers for old favorites, and so much more. The store site will also be getting a makeover in the near-ish future. With the new soaps come new promotions and giveaways galore, too! I’ve got some contest ideas up my sleeve and will be featured on a few podcasts in the coming months, who will be the exclusive FIRSTS to have my new designs to give away, so find out how and when by following me on Twitter or Facebook, if you’re not already. Contests and giveaways will always be announced there first!

Are you on Pinterest? I started using Pinterest last year to keep track of ideas for my new geekling (who is 8 months old now, OMG WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!), and it seems like lately it has become THE in thing to do. Everyone I know is on Pinterest now, which is totally exciting! Check out my boards, and watch for more social media connection love on the blog and in the store soon as part of the re-design.

Oh! And GEEKSOAP is partnering up with Kentucky Geek Girl and will be at the Lexington Comic & Toy Con on March 24. Look for more information to come soon at KentuckyGeekGirl.com and the KYGeekGirl’s Facebook page. Get some freebies from Natasha and get a code for getting your hands on more goodies just in time for the release of some new stuff!

Whew! I hope you’re as excited as I am about GEEKSOAP’s spring cleaning! Lots of sudsy fun ahead :)


Tutorial: DIY Comic Book Coasters

Posted in Tutorials , on December 1, 2011 ,

 

Hey all! It’s been awhile since I’ve put together a fun DIY tutorial over here, so I thought now was as good a time as any, especially with the holidays right around the corner. DIY gifts for everyone on your list this year? SCORE.

I’ve heard of making coasters from tiles, and I wanted to combine that idea with making something perfect for my BFF who loves Batman. What cooler coasters to have than Batman comic book coasters, amirite? I decided to share how I made my coasters just in case you’re looking for a great last minute Christmas gift for the comic book geek in your life… or anyone in your life, really, since you can make coasters in any theme. Ready? Here we go!

Comic Book Coasters

Materials

  • four 4″ x 4″ tiles, found at your local hardware store **
  • Mod Podge
  • Clear spray acrylic sealer (I grabbed Mod  Podge brand)
  • Comic books you don’t mind cutting up,  or images at least 3.5″ x 3.5″ ***
  • scissors
  • craft glue – like my fave, good old Aleene’s Tacky Glue (but Elmers would do!)
  • a paintbrush
  • felt

You may also want to lay some newspaper out to protect your counter or floor surfaces. I also recommend working in a well ventilated area during the spray acrylic part!

** For the tiles, I highly recommend ones that have blunt or sanded edges. Sure, there are tiles that are like $0.15, making this an even cheaper project, but trust me when I say that splurging an additional $0.15 per tile to buy $0.30 tiles that have finished edges is much nicer than giving your friends or family a set of coasters with rough, sharp edges. Hello, safety hazard! (Especially if they have children.) This is already a project that costs less than a fancy cup of coffee per person to make, so let’s not skimp on safety. You don’t want them to cut themselves on your gift, right?

*** I actually didn’t use comic books for this project, I looked for pictures scanned from comic book pages up on Google Images and printed them on my color laser printer. If you have comic books lying around that you don’t mind cutting up, go for it! But feel free to use images from other sources, too. And if your friend or family member isn’t into comics, the beauty of this project is that you can use any image. For example, I made a second set of coasters for another friend of mine who is an art teacher, and used images of famous paintings instead. Have you had enough of my babbling yet? Let’s get to the directions already!

Directions
1. Print or acquire the four images you plan to use on your coasters and trim them down to approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″ to fit on your 4″ x 4″ tiles. I picked four images of Batman comic books and comic book pages from Google Images and saved them to my computer. Then I selected them all and right clicked to print them and used the following print layout to get all four pictures on the same piece of paper. Conveniently, this method printed the images at just about 3.5″ wide, so I had very little trimming to do.

2. Cover the backside of your images in craft glue – I like to draw a glue line around the outer edge and then zig zag through the middle, too, so that the image doesn’t warp when you mod podge – and glue your images down well on each of your tiles.

3. (Now’s when you’ll want the well ventilated area and newspaper to cover your work surface.) Using the clear spray acrylic, give each tile a quick spray coat and let dry for 15 minutes. I found after a couple of attempts that the clear acrylic coat I sprayed before I began layering on the mod podge really helped to keep my images nice and smooth and sealed for mod podging. (Can mod podging be a verb? If not, it is now!) For me this step was critical because I printed my images, and just using straight mod podge on them made the colors smudge. I like the word smudge.

4. Using your paintbrush, paint on a thin layer of Mod Podge. Try to coat the tile as evenly as possible. Let dry. Repeat until you’ve painted on three layers of Mod Podge, letting each layer dry thoroughly (until you can no longer see the white of the mod podge) in between layers. Grab a sandwich or clean your bathroom while you wait. Just not at the same time.

5. Spray one final quick coat of the clear acrylic sealer and let dry. (Hey look! You can see that I was making a second set of coasters at the same time! Ooooooooh… ahhhhhhh)

6. Cut four felt squares approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″ (like your images!) each, and use your craft glue and the same gluing method you used with your images to affix one felt square on the backside of each tile. My tiles had a grid on the backside which made it easy for me to evenly apply glue and then press the felt square down. Don’t press TOO hard on the felt or the glue will bleed through; press gently along all of the glued areas and lay the coaster flat to dry on its felt.

And voila! You have beautiful comic book coasters! Not into comic books? You could use scrapbook paper and make coasters to fit the decor of your living room, you could collage pages from a magazine or other book, or even use photographs on your coaster set. No matter what theme or images you use, you’ll end up with the perfect custom gift just in time for the holidays. :)

Here’s the coaster set of famous paintings I made for my other BFF. Pretty awesome, huh? Happy crafting, and happy holidays! And if you don’t have time to create some coasters, perhaps some of my EPIC geeky soap over at GEEKSOAP.net is more up your alley? Be the friend that gives the most geektastic gifts this year, whether you make it for them or you have me make it! Best wishes <3

xoxo, 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!


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! :)

love,
Lesley


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