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New Album and a Purse!?

Posted in Scrapbooking, Sewing , on May 15, 2008 ,

So in my last blog post I maybe seemed just a little obsessed (lol, understatement) with my new digital scrapbooking software, My Memories Suite by Polaroid. My obsession only grows stronger and more passionate the more I use it!

Last week I finished an 18 page scrapbook of our dogs, Oliver and Winston, and I uploaded the pages to scrapbook.com and to my Flickr account. Compared to the first album that I made with the software back when I got it at Christmas, it’s obvious that I’ve learned a lot by using it more. Once I got the hang of how to use all of the creative options the software has to offer, it only made my final result with my most recent album that much more professional looking. My first album, the Christmas one you can see on scrapbook.com, was mostly me just using the premade layouts that came with the software with very little added input or creativity from my end (mostly because I was just getting the hang of using it.) I am proud to say that I personally designed from scratch each and every page of the Oliver & Winston album. As in, I started with a completely blank page and built every detail of every page from the ground up. It of course took a little longer than my first drag and drop album, but it was SO incredibly rewarding! I LOVED the experience and I can’t wait to work on our wedding album now.

Speaking of the wedding album, I picked up two really awesome sets from ScrapGirls.com in preparation for next month’s celebrations. I plan to design the pages with a combination of The Vegas Collection and the Nuptials Collection to create a memorable album of our wedding weekend in Vegas. Look for it sometime at the end of next month after we get back and I’ve had time to go through all of the digital photography. Only 35 days to go!

And be excited because I finally pulled out the sewing machine over the weekend. It was collecting dust in the basement (we still have yet to set up a good crafting area for me down there) but I was in desperate need of a new, summery purse — thank goodness the beautiful weather lately inspired me — so I tried something new. The design is new for me and a first for pleating AND using plastic handles that I bought at Michaels instead of making my own from fabric. I was even brave enough to make a little matching zippered makeup bag with the pleat design and mini handle. I think it turned out alright. I’ll be sporting this one in Vegas next month and have plans to make a smaller pouch to carry around on the big day from the scraps of my wedding dress that is being hemmed in time for my next fitting appointment.

So that’s my latest crafty update! It will most likely be a bit too busy between now and June 20 for me to update much, but stay tuned for new albums after we get back! Enjoy the long weekend and hopefully fantastic weather! :)


My Memories Suite: Digital Scrapbooking Goodness

Posted in Scrapbooking , on May 6, 2008 ,

Per usual, I’ve been slacking. Well, sort of. My knitting and sewing projects have been put on the back burner, mostly due to the fact that Lucas and I’s wedding is coming up next month! Yes, I can officially say that our wedding is next month. With that being said aloud, I feel like there are hundreds of things to do in a short amount of time even though I know the major things are taken care of. We officially purchased our wedding bands last night, the last BIG thing on the to do list. Favours have been ordered, my dress fitting is coming up in less than a week, we’ve ordered the personalized matching shirts we plan to wear after the wedding, and I’ve even found time to work on something secret and crafty for Lucas as a wedding gift. Unfortunately I cannot disclose that yet, but you can be sure it’ll be posted and blogged about soon enough next month. Look out Vegas, here we come!

So what have I been doing crafty in the meantime? I’ve stumbled upon digital scrapbooking! Not just recently, but it was only recently I’ve had time to put into giving it a go. Back around Christmas I ordered some really awesome software that got me all excited about the prospects of digital scrapbooking: My Memories Suite by Polaroid. I’ve got several scrapbooks in the basement collecting dust because they’re unfinished. Mostly due to lack of nifty embellishments that you’ve gotta shell out loads of cash for, not to mention several trips to the store to buy. I keep meaning to get back to them, but instead I keep photos and items like movie ticket stubs in a box for whenever I finally do get around to working on them again. Those boxes are collecting dust, too. Back just before Christmas when I was home one day I caught one of those infomercials. Now I know what you’re thinking… BUT this one turned out to be a gem! I watched an hour long program about My Memories Suite and it got me really excited. The idea that I can scrapbook without messy glue and 348993639749574908 little things to have to keep organized (not to mention buy in the first place and then store somehow) on a computer seemed like a really fab idea, especially with as computer geeky as I am. And it is fab! I bought the software and used it to make an album of Lucas and I’s holiday trip to Indiana to visit my family at Christmas. The program made it really easy and it’s soooooo user friendly!

With the wedding coming up next month, I decided I’d try to make our own guest book, and of course I will be making a digital scrapbook album of the wedding itself. I started looking into digital scrapbooking more on the web and have found lots of great, creative resource sites out there. The best part about My Memories Suite (to me) is the fact that the software uses common image file types such as .jpg or .png, which means I am free to add all kinds of new images myself to the software’s directories. Most of the other digital scrapbooking software I tested in comparison to My Memories Suite uses unique file types of their own, so that means you are limited and cannot “think outside the box” and add your own new stuff to use without having to pay the company for new products. This excites me because I’ll be able to use our scanner and scan in images of movie ticket stubs and other items I’d normally glue into a regular scrapbook and add them digitally the same way, just with less mess.

Another thing I like that I haven’t explored yet with the software is that you can export your digital pages in a huge variety of formats. Not only can you export them as a normal image file like .jpg (which I have done in order to add them to my scrapbook.com gallery) for use on websites, etc., but you can also make DVDs out of your albums and other interactive stuff such as iPod videos. The software lets you add video and sound clips to all of your album pages, making them truly interactive. Then you can export them to DVD and watch each page, including all of the video and sound clips, on your television or iPod. I can’t wait to do an album on the dogs and send a DVD off to my parents, for example. You can ALSO export entire albums or selected pages to the My Memories Suite website and order a photobook from them. The software will export your pages to the Polaroid server and then you can pick and choose how you want them printed and bound into a hardcover or soft cover album that Polaroid will then physically ship to you. Alternatively, there are ways to export the pages in high resolution so that you can take them to a professional printer locally and have the same thing done if you wish. Check out what I have up so far at scrapbook.com: our Christmas 2007 album! It was my first time using My Memories Suite but it turned out great! The more I use it, the more creative I am and the better and better my pages turn out :)

It doesn’t really matter what your computer knowledge or creativity limits are, you’ll be able to use this software. It’s very user-friendly and simple, and for those who aren’t sure where to begin, it comes with loads of pre-created templates for various occasions. You can also download more layouts and completed templates from their website for a small fee. But then the beauty, as I mentioned earlier, is that if you’re creative enough you can easily add more images and items to the software yourself since it’s all done with .jpg and .png formatted images. For example, I found some awesome digital scrapbooking blogs and websites that offer free templates and kits — a kit usually including various papers, embellishments, and word art or alphabets — for download. There’s lots of people out there making really awesome digital scrapbooking resources and making them available free or super cheap. With My Memories Suite, you can easily download freebies and add them to the software’s directories and use them with the program just like any of the pre-loaded content. This makes the potential of My Memories Suite limitless to me because I’ll always be able to add more. And I’m just starting to look into how I can make my own digital page kits and getting the hang of designing my own templates. It’s so fun!

I mentioned I found some great resources and freebies, and so I’d like to share my favourites so far. First of all, scrapbook.com is a great resource. Their forums are full of helpful people, and then you can show off your scrapbooks there, too. And it’s for all forms of scrapbooks, not just digital ones, though there is a handy digital scrappers section. I’ve purchased from ScrapGirls (I got a Vegas themed digital kit to use next month for the wedding — great prices and selection, so I recommend them!) and from My Scrap Shop, too. Lots of fun stuff and good prices, plus you can immediately download your purchase :)

For freebie downloads, you HAVE to check out DigiFree, which has moved to CraftCrave. DigiFree is a digital scrapbooking search engine, and each day it automatically searches for you over 3,000 digital scrapbooking blogs that give away freebies to find the newest freebies and then posts them all on the DigiFree blog.  So it’s your one-stop-shop for ALL of the latest digital scrapping freebies within 24 hours of them being released.  There’s TONS of freebies every day — make it part of your daily routine!  Download free kits and designing resources, too :)  DigiFree is the greatest thing to happen to digital scrapbooking freebies.  Ever.

Whew! Well that’s it for now, sorry if my rambling post sounded a bit like an infomercial. I swear that Polaroid did not pay me to write good things about their software — it really is awesome and I love it! I’m super excited about upcoming album ideas I have. I’m totally done with the old way of scrapbooking. It’s too messy and expensive in comparison!

Updated September 29, 2008: I’ve received several emails from people asking more specifics about the features of My Memories Suite and/or how to use it or do some special little tricks within the software.  I’ve been inspired to create some video tutorials on using the software and going over the features, with 4 tutorial segments planned already.  I should be getting to those soon, so keep checking my blog for the tutorials in the near future.  Thanks for reading my review!  I hope it has been helpful for you :)

Updated January 28, 2009: I am now part of the affiliate program and can offer readers of my craft blog who enjoyed this review a $10 discount on the My Memories Suite software plus $10 to use on anything in the MMS online store! (That’s like $20 free!) To get the discount, click the banner link in the upper right corner/sidebar of my blog (Where it says “Get My Memories Suite”) or the link below, and use the code STMMMS21122 as the coupon/promo code when you checkout. Enjoy! :D
My Memories Suite V2 SAVE $10 off Regular Pricing + get $10 towards site downloads, ORDER NOW!


Lindsay's Unique Duck

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on April 14, 2008 ,

Yay! It’s a glorious Monday and yet another person has found my knitted duck pattern useful! Check out this beauty by Lindsay — aren’t the non-traditional colours fun? Lindsay’s duck is way adorable. I really love seeing people try out my patterns. The photos are copyright to and property of Lindsay, who emailed them to me and gave me permission to post and use them here. Thank you so much for sharing these, Lindsay!

I love featuring other knitters and getting emails from people who have tried out my amateur patterns. It really makes my day to see someone else make a duck or a Huug! Especially when they add their own artistic flair. If you’ve tried out one of my designs, please let me know and I’d love to feature you, too. :)

Quack! Quack! Have a wonderful week!


Max's Huug the Hug Monster©, by Phyllis

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on March 26, 2008 ,

It’s so exciting when people find and try out my amateurish patterns. It’s even more exciting when they share their creations with me, and I get to see someone else’s take on the idea. Today was one such exciting day, and I’m very pleased to feature Phyllis Ray’s version of Huug the Hug Monster©, a free pattern I invented and posted a few weeks back. He is very unique, no? :)

Phyllis sent me an email today, complete with pictures, to share her own version of Huug that she made for her grandson, Max Marcussen! Isn’t he adorable?! (Both Max and Huug!) Phyllis and her grandson live in Connecticut, and the three-eyed hug monster was a big hit with Max. Phyllis says that she has four grandchildren, so there will most likely be more Huugs in her future! That sure is a lot of hugs! :)

The images in this blog post belong to/are copyright to Phyllis Ray, who kindly granted me permission to use the photos that she sent me for this blog feature. Thanks so much for sharing your work, Phyllis! I loved seeing another Huug made, and am even happier to see the smile on Max’s face :) Take care!


Happy Easter!

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing , on March 21, 2008 ,

Just in time for Easter, I whipped up a new little design: meet my tiny knitted “gribbly bunny!” This little guy is made from satin-y acrylic yarn, which makes it really smooth and easy to work with. The pattern is one I developed myself, and I have plans to make various creatures based on the same design in the future. The series will be called “gribblies”

from urbandictionary.com:
Gribbly/Gribblies:
“In gaming, an enemy/monster that is small and/or insignificant, and usually serves no purpose other than to irritate the gamer/opponent.”

and

“In tabletop gaming, a small annoying monster that does little more than irritate.”

So these are just tiny little insignificant creatures hiding in nooks and crannies that will do little more than just irritate you if they cross your path. They like to pester and annoy whomever they come in contact with, and I like to believe that gribblies are to blame for all of those little irritating setbacks in your typical day. Having a bad day? Blame it on the gribblies! Stay tuned for more in the series down the road when I get time to create all of the ideas in my head for other little gribblies :) There just aren’t enough hours in the day!


heyknithappens' Edgar

Posted in Featured, Knit & Crochet , on March 8, 2008 ,

Happy Saturday everyone! I just wanted to feature the work of a fantastic newer knitter like myself named heyknithappens on Ravelry, who made their very own knitted duck plush from my pattern that I posted a few months back! I love seeing someone else use a pattern I invented, especially when I’m such an amateur at it! You can check out heyknithappens on her blog here: Hey, Knit Happens!

Even more exciting is to find out that she is from my hometown area :) Even though I’m living on what seems like the other side of the world from there now, it’s always a nice surprise to meet others who share the same interests and familiarities of “home.” Small world, huh? Just in case you can’t check heyknithappens out on Ravelry, you can see Edgar, her version of the knitted duck plush, along with all of the other awesome stuff she has knitted on flickr for your convenience. You should definitely check her out… just look at the cute things she has knitted!

The images in this blog post belong to/are copyright to heyknithappens and come from her flickr photo stream :) The first photo is [1] and the second is [2]. Enjoy, and thanks for sharing your work, heyknithappens!


Huug the Hug Monster©

Posted in Knit & Crochet, Sewing, Tutorials , on March 2, 2008 ,

On my way to work the other morning I got an idea in my head for a new knitted plushie pattern I wanted to create. I wanted to name him Huug, and he would be the Hug Monster… so Huug the Hug Monster©! I made a few sketches and started guesstimating stitch counts and then went home and began testing. My final result turned out pretty much how I wanted it; the face is something I want to work more on. The original idea was that Huug has two small beady little eyes and two fairly big buck front teeth sticking out. I’m not so good with embroidery on knitting, so I hope that my future versions of Huug’s face turn out a little better with some tweaking. Anyway, he was originally released here as a fairly popular free pattern, however due to a retail venture I’ve decided to remove it. Sorry :( Huug the character and his knit/crochet pattern was officially and legally copyrighted recently for said venture. I will share more Huugs I make in the future and more backstory about this wonderful creature in the future instead.

Huug the Hug Monster© can / will come in many different colours — I just used orange because this Huug is for my fiance, Lucas. I envision Huugs of every colour of the rainbow and even made from fuzzy and furry yarns to make hairier cousins.


A New Member of the Family

Posted in Miscellaneous , on February 26, 2008 ,

As if we weren’t already busy enough with moving into a brand new house a few weeks back and preparing for our upcoming June wedding in Las Vegas, Lucas and I decided to throw more fun into the mix of life by getting Oliver a little brother. As most of you know, Oliver is our handsome 5 year old border collie/brittany spaniel, which means the newest member of the family is a new puppy.

Lucas and I have wanted a new puppy for a long time. We’d always put it off and said we’d wait until we had a house with lots of room and a backyard. Well now that we have a house with lots of room and a backyard, we started thinking again about adding to our family. We weren’t sure exactly what we wanted, but we knew that we wanted a female (ha!) and that we wanted a small dog. To get some ideas, we visited a pet store in the area to browse. We really liked the look of some miniature schnauzer puppies we saw, and we were also considering miniature dachshunds now that my entire family seems to have one. We started browsing the classified ads and shelters and came across a family on the north side of town who had a litter of miniature schnauzers they were selling. We decided to meet the puppies and see how we felt. I should’ve known that once we got within range of puppies, we’d not be going home empty handed. We’re such suckers.

From the very beginning when we first entertained the idea of getting a new puppy, we’d planned on getting a female. And then we met the little boy of the litter. Not only was he adorable, he was all white! He looked very different from his furry traditional salt ‘n’ pepper coloured sisters. The litter came rushing out to meet us, and we couldn’t take our eyes off of the little male. He melted our hearts and we realized we were going home with a little brother for Oliver instead of a sister like we’d planned. Not everything happens as planned; Oliver was actually chosen under the same circumstances when I picked him out. I went in to the shelter with the intention of picking a female and instead came home with Oliver — mostly for the same reasons we chose the white male schnauzer — his colouring made him unique and just that much cuter. He absolutely stole our hearts.

We brought our new puppy home and introduced him to Oliver, who wasn’t sure what to think at first. It took us a day to finally decide on a name, and we picked Winston. It just seems to fit! As a schnauzer he has a little beard, and our little guy’s beard is white so we decided that only an old man kind of name would work. Oliver wasn’t aggressive towards Winston, but he did try to avoid him for a few days. Thankfully Winston is incredibly laid back and calm, which complements Oliver very nicely. We’ve had Winston for a week now, and Oliver has finally warmed up to his new playmate. Oliver even plays tug-of-war with Winston! And typical of siblings, the younger one follows the older one around and wants to do everything that the older one does. Winston wants to be just like Oliver. (For all of our sakes, we sure hope that Oliver stays unique, lol.) And at first, Oliver didn’t seem to be too keen on having a little shadow, but we’ve noticed over the last day or two that when Oliver realizes that Winston isn’t following him around anymore, he misses him and goes to find out where he is. Oliver is incredibly social with people, but isn’t very social with other dogs so it took him a few days to figure out HOW to play with Winston. Now that they are getting along, we can focus more on helping Oliver to lower his voice when he plays. Oliver is so much bigger and louder than Winston, but he’s definitely improving and figuring out how to use his “indoor voice” when he plays with his little brother. They’re really cute together when they get going!

This blog entry wouldn’t be complete without pictures, and of course, we’ve taken loads of them. With our good digital camera gone, I’ve had to resort to the old icky one. It takes even ickier video clips, but I’ve put together some low res/low quality footage of Oliver and Winston playing together, too. You can see all of the pictures we’ve taken so far of our new family member HERE and check out the videos HERE and HERE. I’ve got a newer video that’s a little better quality (Lucas’ cell phone takes better video than a 6 year old digital camera), but I still need to convert the format and put it all together, so you may want to check out my videos to see when it’s up. The photo page is updated as often as I can tear myself away from my boys to upload, and is constantly changing, so be sure to check back to see more. Wish us luck on housebreaking! ;)


Where Have I Been?

Posted in Miscellaneous , on February 5, 2008 ,

Holy lapse in posting, Batman! I’ve neglected my poor blog for nearly two months now, but that’s because I have nothing newly made to share! With our trip to Indiana for Christmas and our big move later in January, I’ve just not had time. While I’m sure you were all waiting eagerly on the edge of your seat this whole time, dying to know what crafty goodness I’d been cooking up, sadly I’m here to report that my crafting supplies are still in boxes, waiting to be sorted and put away in the new basement. So what’s been going on all this time?

Well, now that I’ve mentioned it… you can guess that a lot of what’s kept me from updating is that Lucas and I moved into a brand new house a little over a week ago. It was not a scheduled event initially, but the increase in break-ins (including our own townhouse) in our old area prompted us to seek out greener pastures. We lucked out and found a gorgeous new house that was just recently built in a newly developed neighbourhood. The house was finished being built a week before Christmas, and thanks to the help of Michelle, Jeff, and Jeremy, we successfully moved in last Saturday. It took two full UHAUL trips and a lot of blood, sweat and tears… but we’re finally mostly settled in. The house is so new that it doesn’t even have grass yet; the builders plan to lay the sod for our yard in the spring. It has hardwood floors throughout the main floor, carpet upstairs, and together the two floors are just over 1400 square feet. That doesn’t include the additional 700 square feet that make up our unfinished basement! We have lots of glorious space — almost more than we know what to do with — and it’s a dream come true. I think Oliver loves the abundance of the big spacious windows the most; his favourite new place to be is either in the front office or lounging lazily on the middle landing of the carpeted staircase so he has the perfect view out the window over the foyer. And it was like the builders had our little family in mind when they put in the tall, skinny window alongside the front door — it’s the perfect width and height for Oliver to greet visitors, framing him perfectly.

So as you can imagine, shortly after getting back home from our Christmas trip to the States we had a lot of work ahead of us as we packed up the old place and made arrangements and worked out the details of the move. Once we got into the new place we had a lot of unpacking to do, and the basement craft area is unfortunately on the back burner until we can get everything else in place and get the basement wired properly for electricity outside of the laundry and freezer hookups. Eventually I will have an amazing craft room to work my magic in, but until there are places to put it all away in an organized fashion, my fabric and yarn stashes will have to wait patiently in their boxes. So don’t be surprised if it’s a little longer between updates for awhile. :(

Now that the move is behind us and we’re settling in, it’s time to focus forward. That includes the Serj Tankian concert coming up in next month — our tickets were Valentine’s Day presents to each other this year. I can’t wait! Serj is one of the lead singers of System of a Down, my favourite band. Lucas treated me to a System of a Down concert last July, and I’m really looking forward to seeing my favourite member of the group perform his new (and absolutely brilliant) solo album live. If you haven’t heard Serj’s solo album, I highly recommend picking it up. His voice is music to my ears! The smaller venue concert at Mac Hall should be fantastic!

It’s also time to focus back on the plans for our upcoming wedding, which have kind of been at a stand-still due to the move. By Christmas we had picked out the chapel in Vegas and fully paid for the package that we wanted, but we now need to make our flight and hotel reservations in the near future. We’re hoping February will bring a great Westjet seat sale, so cross your fingers! Any future details will be put up on our Wedding Website as they are planned.

Hope you had a Happy New Year, and best of luck for a fabulous February!


Christmas Craftin' Complete!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on December 18, 2007 ,

With only a few days to spare before we head back to Indiana for Christmas, I have completed all of my Christmas gift knit projects. YAY me! Now that I don’t have any time sensitive projects with a due date, I can focus finally on attempting that neck warmer for Lucas. As you can see, Oliver decided to help me knit this one for “daddy.” :) We have the most handsome dog on the planet, by the way.

So what Christmas gifts have I finished (since the epic blanket) that I haven’t shown you yet? Here’s the list of recently completed works in progress… which means I can officially take them off of the WIP list. I can’t wait to give these to their recipients on Christmas day!

Tiny Toque Christmas Ornaments. These were so fun to make and turned out so cute. First of all, I love the word “toque” and since it’s more a Canadian word (and not one that my family in Indiana is familiar with at all), I decided to make a bunch of these little toques in Christmas colours, which I then turned into tree ornaments. The tags hanging from them will teach my family members this new fangled word and increase their knowledge about Canada ;)

Reindeer Dishcloths. I made one of these each to give to my two grandmothers. The photo doesn’t do these justice — the reindeer is very subtle, but definitely there! (And unlike the pattern says, they really are reindeer and NOT moose!) I packaged up one cloth with a cute decorative Christmas soap (a snowman soap or a Christmas tree soap) in a tiny little holiday basket. They will make sweet little gifts.

Ducky Washcloth. This one I made for my best friend, Somer. It’s a similar idea to the reindeer dishcloths, but this one is made instead from a super soft satin acrylic yarn for the face instead of a 100% cotton blend. It’s got a rubber duck that is fairly easy to see and less subtle than the reindeer cloths. I plan to package this up with some rubber duck soap that I got for Somer at the Calgary Festival of Crafts a few weekends ago and the knitted duck plush I designed just for her. (below.) Pattern for this washcloth was found here.

My Knitted Duck Plush. I am really proud of this one, probably because it’s my own pattern, and technically the first knitting pattern I’ve ever made and shared with anyone. You can read all about that process here and get the free pattern for yourself :) It’s also been published on Ravelry here. I knitted it to go along with the other ducky items for Somer. I think she’ll like him a lot… I know I like to hug him! :)

Baby Santa Toque. Last on my list was a baby-sized Santa toque to give to my cousin’s new baby that I’ll finally get to meet on Christmas Eve for the first time. This was knitted from a pattern in a great book I borrowed from the local library called Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight. All I did to achieve the Santa look was to start out with white yarn and switch to red for the body instead of knitting all in the same yarn. And then I added a festive white pom-pom for the finishing Christmas-y touch. I can’t wait to see this one on.

So that’s about it! While it’s very satisfying and relieving to have completed my Christmas crafting in time, I’m also feeling a little empty! There are lots of things queued up for me on Ravelry to try out, though, and I’ve got this neck warmer project on the go, so I’ll do my best to keep busy! Perhaps I’ll use my Christmas vacation time to learn crochet… ? Move over, there’s something new for my plate!

I think I’m going to need a bigger plate.