This is Just About Soup (Including Recipe)

The seasons are changing and we are entering my favorite time of year when it comes to my wardrobe. I love fall because I can wear the same outfit the entire day without sweating. Also it typically rains less than the spring, so I’m all for it.

If you follow Chipkey Creations on Instagram you might know about this already but I wanted to share it again. Last week, I posted a poll on my story asking if you ever made a soup before. I know it kind of sounds like a weird drug thing, but I was being completely serious.

I was talking to a co-worker at my day job (I would probably get carpal tunnel if I did Chipkey full time) and told him I can’t wait to go home and make soup for dinner. He told me that he has never made a soup before. This surprised me, and I texted a close friend of mine, telling her I thought it was weird that an adult never made soup before. This is when it was revealed to me that my friend, my ex-roommate of two and half years, has also never made soup before.  

Guys. I was shook! At that point I did what any reasonable person would do and made an Instagram poll asking about soup.

 
Asking About Soup
 

The first hour of the poll being up the ‘No’s’ were taking a huge lead. At the end of the poll it was about 75% Yes to making soup and 25% No. I was talking to some other not-soup-making friends and they think that my number of yes’s are that high compared to the average twenty something because I have more friends that are not millennials, or are more creative and would be naturally inclined to cook.

 
IMG_20181008_140944_346.jpg
 

I don’t think I agree. I’m still very surprised, but really thought more people cooked. Especially soups since they can be made really easily. They are almost vegetable pasta that you don’t need to drain.

My parents both worked in the food service industry and were cooks in some fancy restaurants when they were young. So they do think that good food is important and definitely raised me with that type of mentality. I was helping with cooking meals from a point when I was tall enough to reach the counter and coordinated enough to not stab myself (or others) with a knife.

I really like making soups, especially in the fall and now that I live alone. Soup is so fitting for the season and is a meal that you have to make more than one serving of. I freeze the extra and I have lazy meals ready for when I need them.

I had a bunch of people reach out to me on Instagram during the poll and I loved hearing about people talking about soup. A few people were talking about helping their mom as a kid and some of their favorite types. It was amazing to hear.

 
Buttetnu Squach Soup
 

I wanted to share a quick recipe that I like to make this time of year: Butternut Squash Soup. I didn’t take any photos of my making and I apologize but I also know that people only read the recipe part of a food blog so I should just get to that point.

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut Squash (if you are short of time, you can buy precut butternut), cut in 1” cubes

  • 1 Medium (or 2 Small) Yellow Onions, diced

  • 1 Medium Size Potato, cut in 1” cubes

  • 2-3 Medium Size Carrots, roughly chopped

  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 Apple (Honeycrisp or Gala), roughly chopped

  • ¼ Tsp of Cinnamon

  • ¼ Tsp of Salt

  • ¼ tsp of Pepper (if you have white pepper use that since it makes presentation nicer)

  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil

  • 4 cups of vegetable broth ( 1 Box worth)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, until it starts to become translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes.

  2. Add Butternut Squash, potato, carrots, and apple to the pot and stir continuously for a minute or two, until it begins to smell fragrant.

  3. Add the vegetable broth, ensure the veggies are covered in liquid. You can add 1 cup - 1.5 cups of water if you prefer your soup to be more viscous.

  4. Add the cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix and bring to a boil.

  5. Once your mixture is boiling, reduce your temperature to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally.

  6. Using a fork stab a couple of pieces of potatoes or butternut squash. If it is easy to go through and it doesn’t feel crispy your veggies are cooked.

  7. Turn off and remove from heat. If you have a blender stick (immersion blender) use it. On a low level blend the mixture to be smooth. Be careful not to create too much splash or you might burn yourself. If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle the soup into a blender and make sure you are putting some of the liquid into it and not just veggies. You might need to do this in batches, but I recommended mixing the batches back together after you’re done since some batches will be runnier than others and it will allow everything to be more consistent tasting.

  8. Serve! If you have sour cream or cooking cream you can add a small amount as a garnish, and it will give the soup a creamier taste.

 
Butternut squash soup top view
 

Do you make soup? Or it's not your jam. I would love to hear from you. Also, do you have any fun plans for this fall?

Cheers,

Zoe


Review: Tim Hortons Pumpkin Spice Iced Capp

Intro:

I didn’t expect the summer to past this quickly. I had every intention of writing more often but summer is construction season, which means I was pretty busy in my day job. Also I kinda got in a small funk where I found it hard to be creative. I’m doing a lot better. I wrote a bunch of articles for the blog I run with my friend Olivia (www.thisisnotagreatidea.wordpress.com), as well as making new products and getting ready for Chipkey’s busy season.

I decided I would share an article that I wrote on that blog over here, since it’s a fun, seasonally appropriate post. This article is tangentially related to a series I have: “The Quest for the Best Latte”. Where you guested it, I try lattes and write reviews about them. In the fall, I get temperately become obsessed with Pumpkin Spice. So this article really does reflect that…

Story Time:  

I was standing in line at the Tim Hortons near my work with some coworkers as part of a team meeting. I saw that Timmies has a Pumpkin Spice Iced Capp and I instantly decided that was what I needed to order. My coworker that was standing beside me at the time and he said “Please tell me you aren’t actually going to order that”. Well, he is not the boss of me (that guy already ordered and got a table) so I ordered it!

If you aren’t Canadian, Tim Horton’s is an extremely popular coffee/fast food chain up here. They are technically are international, but mostly in places where there is lot of Canadians. They don’t have large selections of seasonal drinks, typically one or two a season. I believe they hopped on the Pumpkin Spice latte train last year, since that’s went they started offering specialty coffee and not just dripped coffee.

The Actually Review:

It looked pretty similar to the premium Iced Capps, with the whip and drizzle of syrup. I never order those since Tim’s whip is really gross. It’s not like a whip cream, it’s more like a frosting.

In comparison to most Iced Capps I’ve tried, the whip is actually good with the rest of the drink. The whip tasted like pumpkin spice because of the drizzle on it. 

I enjoyed this drink way more than I was expecting.

The pumpkin to spice to ice cap ratio was great. It wasn’t overloaded on sugar and you could taste all the flavours the way they were supposed too. It didn't taste too spicy, like you would have to sneeze if you drank it too quickly. 

I mixed in my whip and drizzle, it helped the flavour and gave it a thicker consistency.

It was pretty much like drinking a pumpkin pie.  I really enjoyed it and would consider ordering it again.

Thumbs up from me. 👍👍👍


-Zoe

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cap

Just a List of Songs That Make Me Think of Summer

It’s OFFICIALLY SUMMER! Yay!! 🎉 🎉 🎉  

This is a list of songs that give me real summer vibes. I mostly listen to indie music and the biggest complaint people have about my playlists are that they’ve never heard of any of the artists. This playlist I’ve compiled contains mostly contemporary songs, so you won’t see  ‘Summer of 69’ on here, although it’s a good song. You’ve been warned.

 
summer Songs
 

Believer by Paper Lions

I love this band; they are tied for Two Hours Traffic (seen further down this list) for my favorite band. They were the best concert I’ve ever been to - and I’ve seen Kayne! They are a four piece band that is based out of Prince Edward Island. This song is the first single of their most recent album and this tune is fun and great for driving around.

Lush Life by Zara Larsson

This song was my summer anthem for the Summer of 2016. My friends and I would play it on loop and I still listen to it all the time when I need a pick-me-up. Zara Larsson is a Swedish singer/songwriter, I think she was 17 when the song was released, which only makes me a little jelly that a person so young can sound so cool and look so awesome in a sequin jacket.  

Move by Saint Motel

This band is from L.A. and I stumbled on to one of their songs on Youtube a few summers and I was hooked. Their songs are really upbeat and cool feeling. It’s great to listen to while wearing your sunglasses while sitting beside a pool.

Electric Feels by MGMT

Is this a throwback song if it came out in 2007? I believe this song will be one of the ones that define our generation. It’s great to dance too and I don’t think I’ve ever skipped it when it’s been on a playlist. MGMT’s music is still being used in stuff like the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming last year. I love this song and the beat just fits with summer vibes. 

Steal My Sunshine by Len

Can’t have a summer playlist without songs that are making direct references to the sun! This song is really chill and yet, you can’t not smile when your listen to it.

Never Thought That This Would Happen by Arkells

This song just reminds me of summer nights and making good/bad decisions. I’m not sure how well they are known internationally, but they are like the pinnacle of everything Hamilton, ON. I’ve seen them in concert a few times during summer festivals and they always seem like they love what they are doing.  

Work from Home by Fifth Harmony (RIP)

I sorta dislike pop music, more because radio stations play the same 5 pop songs on loop and I lose patience with it. It is not the case with this song though! This also was my summer anthem in 2016. I had a summer job that involved driving to a lot of construction sites. I thought the music video for this song was hilarious and insanely accurate to what it’s like on a house development construction site. (Also they are breaking so many OSHA laws, I just want to throw that out there if you wanted to recreate this video.)  I love this song and will try to sing along as all 5 girls at once.

Summer Begs by Sarah Jeffe

Let’s slow things down with this ballad about a rocky relationship and seeing if it’s worth continuing. It’s the perfect song to listen to when your driving around twilight or in the middle of the night when you’re going home after hanging out with a friend or lover.

Tunnel Vision by Tokyo Police Club

This song was a free download I got at a Starbucks a couple summers back. I really like Tokyo Police Club and this song is much more upbeat than a lot of their previous stuff and I am pretty cool with it.

Daylight by Matt and Kim

This song is pretty cheerful and it’s really hard to listen without having a smile on your face. This song was also in the closing scene of the first episode of the TV show, Community. It just has those summer vibes.

Sun by Two Door Cinema Club

There isn’t any special reason this song is on the list apart from it has the word sun in it and I really enjoy it. Two Door Cinema Club is an irish indie rock band, and they probably gained a lot of popularity since they look like Harry, Ron and Neville started a fun indie pop band. Also because the songs all are hella good.

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey

I have mixed feelings about Lana Del Rey; she feels like someone I’m supposed to dislike, but I totally don’t. Her albums were in my regular study rotation and I’ve probably listen to them a hundred times. This song has to be in any summer playlist because it’s important to slow it down from time to time. Also, I referenced this song in a snapchat I sent to my friend that edits these posts and I want to prove to her that it is a song and not a cry for help.

**Editor here: I remember this snap and now I feel better.**

Homemade Dynamite by Lorde

I really like Lorde, I saw her in concert a few years back and she sounds pretty much the same as she does on the album and she dances like nobody is watching which is something I can get behind. I think this song has a good beat and thought it fit nicely here.

Tokyo Summer by Mounties

This song is so incredibly chill. It’s like a song you listen to when you want to have a cat nap in the sun or you’re kind of hungover, but still want to listen to music. Also the music video is subtle and hits you in the feels. 

You! Me! Dancing! by Los Campesinos!

This song starts rather slow, but the amount of exclamations in the name should tell you that this song is for dancing. It’s a super fun song. I googled the band to see if I can include a fun fact or something and this is the description under the offical website on Google: “Official website of your ex-girlfriend's favourite band.”

Crave You by Flight Facilities

This song isn't about summer but I like blasting it when I’m stuck in traffic wearing my big sunglasses and dancing in my car since the car in front of me isn’t moving.

Stuck for the Summer by Two Hours Traffic

Two Hours Traffic is my favorite band, they were a small group from PEI and this song was the first thing that I heard from them. It definitely hooked me in. This song has also been my summer anthem for almost a decade. I have multiple Facebook albums using lyrics from this song as the title. My summer anthems have a bit more variety nowadays, but I still love this song and think that it’s an important track on a summer playlist.

 

Well, that’s pretty much it. I know there’s a lot of songs missing that are summer appropriate. This is just a small sample of the songs I plan to jam out to this summer. Do you have any summer must-listens? I would love to know about them.  

Unpacking the Etsy Fee Change 2018

If you follow a large amount of small maker businesses on Instagram or other social media platform you may have noticed a few posts about Etsy announcing a change to their fee structure in July.  I just want to explain what is going on. So if you’re a buyer you understand the backend a bit better and some of my opinions on the announcement. At the time of writing this the fee change hasn’t come into effect yet and there is information that is still coming out, so my opinions might change as more info comes to light.

This is not the fun side of owning a small business where you make cool stuff, this is the boring logistics side but I want to talk about it regardless.

 Part of the Announcements Sellers Received this Morning (Click through link)

Part of the Announcements Sellers Received this Morning (Click through link)

How It Currently Works:

Etsy is free to join and start a shop. This makes it great for people that are just starting their business. Most of the time you can use links from referrals and affiliates to get your first 40-50 listings free . When I just started my Etsy shop in 2012 I do not believe that was a thing, or it was a smaller number but I could be wrong. (Shameless Plug to my Referral Code , although you might not want to start a shop at the moment). It's the world's biggest hand made market place that makes it a very attractive option for makers. 

Time to talk about the money you pay Etsy to use the website. Listing an item costs you money, $0.20 US per item. This does not cut into profits if you are listing stuff that’s higher than a few dollars. The only spot I see this being a really high fee is with digital downloads that are commonly sold for around $5. 

makers gonna make

When the item is sold, Etsy takes a transaction fee of 3.5%. It's pretty similar to a credit card transaction fee, so that part is okay.

The shipping portion being added to your account is 100% of what you charged the customer.  Etsy recommends that you use their calculator to produce shipping labels, and it calculates the rate for you when you add the listing. Until relatively recently the rate calculator was USPS only. So I was sitting in Toronto not able to use that feature.

 What it looks like when you are adding a listing 

What it looks like when you are adding a listing 

You could buy Canada Post labels through Etsy after a purchase was made and save yourself a trip to the post office. I personally don’t use that feature often since I don’t want a package to come back to me if I sucked at measuring. My old roommate has a shop and that was the only way he ships items.

Anyways, some people, but very few, gamed the system by charging low item fees but really high shipping fees as a way to sidestep Etsy taking a large transaction fee, but I’ve very rarely seen this happen. For the most part, it was shops that technically are breaking Etsy’s seller’s code (not selling what I would consider Handmade, Vintage or Supplies) pulling this kind of game.

For the most part everyone was pretty honest with their pricing, since it makes the platform as a whole look better if everyone is being honest with their prices.

Crochet Cacti

The Announced Changes:

So this brings me to today's email to sellers. Fees are jumping from 3.5% up to 5% a transaction... and this now includes the shipping portion being paid by customers. It doesn’t seem high; 5% is still lower than most online marketplaces but it is a 40% jump from the previous fee. This is ruffling many people’s feathers, including mine. The jump was bigger than people expected after 13 years of no fee changes. 

ETSY FEE CHANGE 2018

They are introducing a paid subscription service that would be $20 a month, this isn't mandatory but at this time the advantage of the service seems a little vague. For about the same price you can get a Shopify or a Squarespace, and their fees when you make a sale are lower (Shopify $0.3 + 2.9%, (or lower depending on the plan) a sale, Squarespace 3% or 2% if you can website, zero if it’s a full online store but the monthly fees are higher).

 (Click through to Package Announcement)

(Click through to Package Announcement)

With Etsy Plus or Etsy Premium you are still charged the normal fees ($0.2 + 5%). If you are big enough to be able to afford the subscription, you really don't need an Etsy and are probably better off on a different platform because of  the new higher fees. They are saying the subscription allows for more customization and restock announcements to customers.  

download.jpg

In my opinion, it is not worth $20. There are also credits every month for posting listening or promoting, which are valued at $8 US. I  wish they expanded this area of the announcement since I’m curious what type of customization Etsy could offer that couldn’t be done on a website.

My Opinion and the Word on the Web: 

I've been looking on Reddit and the Etsy forms all day and I actually cannot find a quantifiable advantage to this new system. Etsy is saying that they are charging more fees because they are introducing new ways to bring customers to the site, but do not explain how, apart from more investment in advertising, which if it was done correctly would pay for itself.

caactus in a blue pot

Etsy is evaluated at about 7.6 BILLION dollars according to my quick Google search... (Which might be wrong but the idea still stands) They are not struggling for money and were growing consistently before this announcement. They most likely already have the capital to do anything they are planning on launching.

The annoying thing is that this announcement has increased their stock value... It shouldn't!

This is a BAD idea, it alienates the sellers and I don't like it! Is that not reason enough? Their stock is probably going to tank in the new year, as I can't imagine longtime Etsy users wanting to stick around after this announcement, unless there is more follow-up that makes this change make sense.

Many people online are saying this was the same pattern that began the downfall of Ebay. I do not know enough about the history of Ebay’s policy changes to have any real comment on this but I saw this comment often enough, that I thought I should mention it.

I don't mind fee increases if they are gradual and there's a good reason. It’s very similar to taxes. I don’t love paying taxes, but that money is going into supporting the infrastructure around me. I guess because taxes are for public services I feel better about it, instead of a private corporation.

Mail Day

I was looking everywhere to see something that justified the huge jump and the closest thing I found was they will start offering live call and chat tech support for buyers and sellers. They currently only have e-mail support. More support would be pretty nice, but it’s still not really all that impressive.

I did some looking around and their fees are lower than their direct comparison, which would be Amazon Handmade whose transaction fee is 12%. You do have to apply to be part of Amazon Handmade and I can understand it not being a good fit if you are just starting a small handmade business.

As a mentioned before the increase is really high and sudden and it’s shocking the sellers that now need to reevaluate their prices to make sure they are making a profit. Especially people selling heavy items or ship international since the shipping they charge is going to be really affected.

Overall it seems like a major money grab and a lot of people in the forums have really interesting and valid questions about the changes and they are not getting answers (or not yet) and it's bumming me out.

I like Etsy and I want it to still be a place that allows new and old handcrafters a place on the internet to sell their work but I’m not sure if this is the right way to go about it. There are things I would have preferred they did instead of introducing a subscription service; like when you search a shop’s name in the search bar, it should actually show a result, instead of making me actively click on search 'find shop names containing'.

 If you don't click that drop down... Good luck ever finding that shop

If you don't click that drop down... Good luck ever finding that shop

This actually affects me really often, I’ll type in a shop name or something I found on Instagram or just want to look up and there will be no search results. Then I groan, go back in the search bar and specify I want 'shop'… It’s a quirk I wished they'd fix. I know a lot of people have issues with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how it changes pretty often and I’m sure people would prefer that be fixed instead of this announcement.

avocado in a bowl

They also think that this is a conspiracy to force sellers into offering free shipping. I do not think that was the intention of this change. Although I don’t really enjoy that the transaction fee will now include the shipping cost from the buyer, it does make sense for it to be part of it. So it will be 5% of all the money coming from the buyer going to Etsy as the transaction fee. I think it is more consistent to do it that way.

This morning when I opened the email I was actually really upset, and I know many makers were as well. I’ve since cooled down. I’m curious as to what the next round of announcements will be like. As a buyer, nothing will really be changing except I believe people will be increasing their prices slightly.

I feel like it's time to just focus on my Shopify and work on my marketing on social media. It is possible to be a successful handmade business without Etsy; many people have proven it can be done.

I really want to know your opinion on this, especially if you're an Etsy buyer, since all these changes were made in the name of improving the experience with you. I know that most buyers don’t give a 💩 about the backend of a business and I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. I promise my next post will be more light-hearted and shorter.

Trinity Bellwoods Adventures

 
trinity bellwoods adventure 2018
 

A few weeks back, I went to Trinity Bellwoods, (a neighborhood in Toronto). I’ve been a few times; like when I was a vendor at the Trinity Bellwoods Flea last summer. But I wanted to share a post about it, because it was an adventure and I was feeling inspired to write. 

The this is not a great idea crew

I had made an online order at Crywolf Clothing. I was too lazy to actually go to the store the day I made the order and just buy it in person, but not lazy enough to pay the shipping so I opted to pick it up later in the week. I didn’t want it to be a boring trip, one where I just went to one store, picked something up and went home. I wanted to make it an adventure! So I invited my friend Olivia, (we run a blog together which you should totally check out: This is Not a Great Idea), who works near by, to join me. Because cool kids go on adventures on a weeknight. 

We got my order: a baseball tee and three patches. Then we went to hang out in Trinity Bellwoods Park since it was a gorgeous day. I’m not sure what it’s like in other places in the world, but as soon as it gets semi nice and sunny in Canada we are hardcore about spending time outside for the first three weeks of good weather before returning to being indoor hermits, because it is too hot.

crywolf patches

It’s shocking how often I see people wearing shorts and a t-shirt when it’s only 15 degrees Celsius (59 F). Anyway, the park was packed. So many people sitting on the grass, reading books and drinking things that were totally not beer and wine. There were also a lot people on their bikes trying not to run over the skateboarders.

Olivia and I were able to snag a bench and people-watched for a bit. The park is famous for its white squirrel, but we didn’t see a single one unfortunately.

 

CN tower.jpg

The park also has a very pretty view of the CN Tower (currently the 9th tallest tower in the world). It’s my favorite structure in the world. As a structural engineer, I cry when I think of how hard it would have been to design and coordinate construction. The concrete for the tower was poured 24/7 for like three weeks in February. It’s amazing that this structure has built. Anyways…

It was getting close to dinner time, so we decided to venture and find some food. This was surprisingly harder to do than we anticipated.

olivia  and cat.jpg

We went East on Dundas, thinking we were in the hipster capital of Toronto there will be a bunch of restaurants to choose from. Pro-tip if you’re in the area: go West; there are more options in that direction. After walking past three arcades, we chose a place that looked like a pub and they had a patio. Perfect. We walk all the way to the back, out onto the patio, which was adorable. Before we even settled at a table, we met the neighborhood cat! He (we assumed) was so cute and came and visited us as we were chilling! He is a bro.

We eventually figured out this place didn’t have a kitchen nor did they have dinner options. It was more of a watering whole than a pub. We were getting hangry at this point so we needed some nourishment.

We end up at a modern Italian place. The food tasted really good. I didn’t take any pictures since the staff gave me disapproving shame looks every time I touched my phone. Even when I was using it to googled what certain ingredients were since they were a little too pretentious to explain what certain things where.  I would probably would not eat there again because of the customer service despite the food actually being amazing. 

 Just a scary hole in the wall

Just a scary hole in the wall

Overall, we had a blast just exploring that area of the city and trying to look like we were Instagram models.

(There was actually so many beautiful people doing photo shoots as we were walking around. It was hard trying to to avoid being in the background of the pictures.)

But that's pretty much all I wanted to share. Mostly, I thought the cat was so cute I needed an excuse to write a blog post just to include it. 

 

 

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air and I’ve started some spring cleaning now that the snow is finally gone. Last weekend I cleaned the garage and finally moved out a bunch of stuff that was ready for its next home, either inside the house, donated or garbage. I’ve also done some spring cleaning on the website.

The portfolio section has been changed a bit and is now organized by year. There are a few projects that I need to add to that section so that it is up to date.

I’ve been doing it in sections to not get overwhelmed or bored, there is no in between. So it's worth coming back and checking from time to time.

The next major difference you will notice is the shop section. I’m now hosting my products on Shopify. They are better suited for my shipping needs, as a Canadian maker there are not a lot of places that integrate well for Canada Post. Also I have a bunch of friends that work at the head office and they talked me into getting one. It won’t affect you much but you can now checkout with Paypal.

Chipkey Creations Shop Screen Shot

My integration with Paypal was way harder to do than expected. I found a bug in the system and kept getting error pages. I  called them 6 times, was hung up on once while trying to work through the technical issues with my account. It’s a long story and I won't bore you with the details. My advice: if you don’t have to call Paypal, don’t.

I have the "on hold" music stuck in my head. It haunts my dreams...

My account is fixed which makes purchasing that much easier. I've purchase many items while sitting in bed or on the bus because I could use Paypal, so I'm all for it as a service even if they did hang up on me.


 
Wall Hanging
 

While I was cleaning I found this wall hanging I started 2 summers back. It was actually 98% done. I just needed to fix the dowel and add the yarn to hang it. At the time I didn’t have a saw so I could not cut the dowel to the size I needed. Then I moved and it got lost in the shuffle. But it’s done now! I might make a tutorial on how to make one if I can figure out how I did it before.

 
Wall Hanging purple and White
 

I’m moving soon, I’m excited to get into my new space. I’m trying to figure out the best way to store my yarn. I see so many pretty storage solutions on Pinterest or at my friends' houses and I want something similar. I should consider the rest of the decor but my mind keeps straying to yarn.

I finished this project just in time to move it again. I really want to hang it up and not have it sitting in a box for another year and a half.

I'm also focused on getting ready for my first outdoor show of the year. It’s the Pickering Artfest. I did it last year and it was a blast. I’m very happy to be participating again. More info in the Events Tab of the site.

So, my Spring cleaning is leading to a new place to live and a fresh season of shows and fairs. I'm looking forward to all of it. Have you been doing any Spring Cleaning and found something interesting? I would love to hear about it. 

 

March Meet the Maker

Hey all,

It’s the last day of the month, but I wanted to write something for March Meet the Marker. It’s actually an Instagram photo challenge where you post a photo every day about you and your maker business based on the daily prompt. I did a good majority of it last year, but I’m rather bad at month-long challenges. The amount of times I started a Yoga with Adrienne 30 Day Yoga Challenges is a little embarrassing, (the record is 8 days).

Nevertheless, I wanted to take this alliteration as a good opportunity to re-introduce myself. I feel like I don’t really share much about me as a person on here. Which has a lot to do with privacy but also out of a fear of opening up. So here’s we go, we are on a blind date and it’s time to get to know each other.

Hi, my name is Zoe. I’m the head creator and maker for Chipkey Creations. I’ve been knitting since I was 6ish and crocheting since I was around 8. So I’ve been working with yarn for over 15 years, which will give you a ballpark on my age. 

 
 Me and my dog Muppet

Me and my dog Muppet

 

I started on Etsy in 2012, but I wasn’t completely sure what I was going to do on there. I really got serious about Chipkey Creations in late 2016 and expanded it in 2017 so I had this pretty website as my own corner of the internet.

Chipkeycreation etsy Shop

I make a lot of the product you see on the site. If I didn’t make it, my mom did as she is my production assistant. She helps make cacti and spins the yarn on a old-school spinning wheel for many of the items. She actually taught me how to knit and crochet way back in the day. She’s a wellness strategist and you should check her out at her website here

 
cacti on cacti on cacti
 

Although I was always really into yarn, fabric and textile design, I actually went to school for Civil Engineering. I really like designing things people will use. What do people use more than their buildings? We spend around 90% indoors so I want to make sure that experience is a pleasant one, also so that the roof doesn’t fall down on you. I find that part really important, which is why I’m in engineering and not an architecture.

 
 

After I graduated, I worked at a multinational arts and crafts store as a floor associate. It was a pretty good job for a customer service job and I got to touch a lot of yarn. I did that for part-time and it gave me a chance to lay the groundwork for Chipkeycreations.com and preparing for craft fairs I participated in over the summer and during the holiday season. 

 

My mom and my booth at Uxbridge Art in the Park last summer 

 

In October, I started my full time job as a Junior Building Science engineer. Which is a fancy way of saying I design walls to make sure the stuff that is suppose to stay outside stays there and the indoor stuff stays indoors. It’s a cool job, but it does mean that it’s harder to take cacti pictures in natural light since that’s typically the time of day when I’m at the office.

 
 Throwing signs while on site

Throwing signs while on site

 

Oh, fun fact: March is National Engineering Month in Canada in addition to March Meet the Maker. Here’s a link for more info (https://exploreengineering.ca/). I really like it as a profession and would suggest any person that enjoys math and science to consider it as a career path.

 My Insta feed at the time of writing this. 

My Insta feed at the time of writing this. 

Anyways, if you’ve noticed that I don’t post Instagram photos everyday that is probably why. I’m still making, especially during my commutes since I’m on the train. I’m also working on new products that I'm not ready to share yet. But lighting and editing are my enemies! Also, my computer was being repairs a bunch of times, which didn't help either. 

When I’m not crocheting cacti, I am typically doing a lot of other yarn related hobbies. Like knitting. I currently have a bunch of yarn that I’m trying to move out. So I’m stash busting (using up the yarn I’m hoarding) by making hats and mittens to donate to charities that work with Toronto’s homeless committees. I’m working through the year to donate a big pile just as Fall hits this year. 

I also co-run a blog with my friend Olivia called This is Not a Great Idea (https://thisisnotagreatidea.wordpress.com/). We write about pretty much anything. My current series is going to coffee shops and trying to find the best latte. But in general we talk about music, books and stuff that interests us.

 
 The banner for the blog I co-run (Click through link)

The banner for the blog I co-run (Click through link)

 

Shameless plug, but you should totally check it out. It’s a really fun passion project for us.

In general, I’m a young Canadian chick that loves making stuff with yarn, hanging out with my pets (two cats named Fatima and Sneakers as well as a dog named Muppet), and other humans from time to time (but not really). I probably spend way too much time on Reddit (to the point that I actually said Reddit instead of Revit, a modelling software, during an interview), and YouTube looking at cats sitting in boxes.

 
but first let me take a selfie
 

I want to be better at writing in the blog portion of this website, but another reason I went into engineering was because I was told I wouldn’t have to write (ps: that is a lie). This type of stuff is way harder for me than making the cacti, but I want to be more open about what I’m up to and I think this is a good point to work from. I’m working on being better at added stuff on the shop, as well as doing the in-person fairs. Which are so fun, and it’s really cool way to talk to people in real life and see them interact with the stuff that I put so much time into. I find they can be really draining so I want to look at being better at haddling multi day fairs as part of my life.

 
trinity bellwoods flea booth
 

I also want to submit to get a ball of yarn to become an emoji. But that is not high priority goal.

That pretty much sums up the stuff you should know about me. But I want to know more about you! Where are you from?  What’s your most visited website? If you were a drink, what would it be? Let me know in the comments!
 

P.S. For me it’s Toronto, Canada. Google, followed by my email. Coca Cola or Green Tea.

Landmade 2018 + Haul

 
chipkey creation landmade haul
 

This past Sunday, (Feb 4th) my mum and I took a trip into Toronto to checkout Landmade. It is the second year it's running and its like a farmers market for sheep and alpaca farmers. They come from around southern Ontario to Toronto and get to talk about their animals with people that will appreciate the yarns, fibers and products that they sell.

Landmande 2018

It's run by the Upper Canada Fibreshead a non profit whose goal is to develop sustainable production of fiber and of its derivatives, like roving, yarn, cloth and clothes within a 250 km range from Toronto.

I went last year with my mum since we are both spinners, she more than me, and got some stuff, like the fiber that goes into my cactus. I used the extra that didn't make it into yarn my mom had spun from the fleece of a sheep named Zoe.

This year I was shopping for my Fibershare partner, which is a fiber and yarn based international swap. So I was planning on only getting stuff for her but couldn't resist and got things for me too.

So this is my haul!

 
Landmade Haul 2018
 

 

3-Ply Yarn by All Sorts Acre Farm

all sorts acre farm yarn

This yarn is a three ply combination of Finn, Gotland and Blue Face Leicester sheep fiber. It's  overdyed (this means dyed over a fleece that has tone already) with Indigo by the farmer. That's how there's such a pretty combination of green with flecks of blue and yellow. The colors are lovely and the yarn is so soft and bouncy. 

All Sorts Acres Yarn - Landmade 2018

 

Roving Braid by Linc Farm

Linc Farm Roving from Landmade 2018

This is my second purchase. I found the contrasts between the two yarns amazing and I couldn't help myself. Rambouillet is a lovely fiber to spin and I'm excited to spin it up. From a distance it looks like it was black but it's actually a very pretty dark chocolate brown. 

Linc Farm Roving, Landmade 2018

 

Merino / Blue Face Leicester Fiber by Rampart Farm

Rampart Farm Fiber

This is a huge fiber batt! I found the color so pretty and it felt so nice. The farmer has a sample of how the fiber spins and knits up and it looks amazing. I am really excited to play with this. Merino and BFL are lovely to spin and they are a good beginner fiber. 

close up of the fiber

That's a wrap. I wasn't planning on getting anything for myself but there were so many pretty and soft things. I'm also supporting local farmers so it's not the worst way to spend my cash. I am really happy with what I got and I'm looking forward to working them. Let me know if you're interested in updates on future projects I'll make with these purchases. 

Year in Review 2017

 
year in review 2017
 

This year was been a really interesting one. I made this website! I did a bunch of fairs and met some amazing people.

I started to write an article about this past year and kinda gave up. Instead, here's a gallery of my year! You can click on the photo and it will pop up with a little description. 

This year was amazing, I did 7 shows and had 4 custom orders. I made so, so many cacti this year. I've only lost 2 crochet hooks in the process and actually found one earlier this week, the other one is still somewhere in house. Maybe in a purse. I'll have to check later.

I am optimistic about 2018. I want to continue making cacti but I also want to try other stuff. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear from you.

I want to keep vending in fairs and markets. I really enjoy the human connection with people. I also want to be better at updating on here. I've said that literally every year, on every writing platform I've ever had but maybe 2018 is the year I will follow through. I guess there is only one way to find out. 

See you all in 2018!! 

Zoe 

Free Pattern - White and Pink Hat

 
Free Pattern white and pink hat.png
 

It's fall here and the temperature is starting to drop like a sick rap album. That isn't the worst thing ever, because it's tuque season! This beanie pattern is a great hat for oneself or a a gift this holiday season.

I made this hat last winter as a way to break up the grey, sad landscape that is winter. I've reworked the pattern and wanted to share it. A large majority of the patterns I make for myself are free patterns so I wanted to pay it forward. This hat does not have to be done with white and crazy pink yarn like I did. Any two worst weight yarns will work. It's a good pattern for beginners to intermidiates that want to challenge themselves. 

 

 
pink and white hall side view
 
 
 
Hat Pattern white and pink side
back view white and pink
 

SUPPLIES AND MATERIALS

  • Main Colour (MC): 1 skein of Caron Simply Soft in the colour White (or any Medium Weight yarn of your choice)
  • Contrasting Colour (CC): 1 skein of Caron Simply Soft in the colour Neon Pink (or any Medium Weight yarn of your choice)
  • US 8 (5 mm) circular needles
  • US 8 (5 mm) double pointed needles
  • A Stitch marker
  • Plastic needles to sew in the ends

GAUGE AND MEASUREMENTS

19 stitches by 25 rows for a 4” by 4” (10.15cm by 10.15 cm) square in a stockinette stitch

Measurements of the Hat:

Diameter of hat 22.5" (57.15 cm) and 9" (22.85 cm) in height excluding the rim of the hat

 
white and pink dog .jpg
 

ABBREVIATIONS

K - Knit
P - Purl
K2tog- Knit Two Together
K1 uls - Knit One Under Loose Strand (see
notes)
CC - Contrasting Colour
MC - Main Colour

Notes

In this pattern, you will be carrying the contrasting yarn on the right side of your work. Make sure to keep the yarn fairly loose as you do this.
To make a K1 usl, take your needle and go under the loose CC yarn. Knit your next MC stitch with the CC yarn, in a similar fashion of a k2tog.

K1 USL

Pattern

Cast On:

In Main Colour (MC) cast on 96 stitches onto the circular needles.

Edge Ribbing:

Place Stitch Marker, while making sure not to twist the row, *K2, P2* repeat to end of round.
Continue until the ribbing is 2 inches long.

Body of Hat:

Round 1: *K1 in Contrasting Colour (CC), K5 in MC * repeat to end of round.

Round 2: *K1 in CC carry in the yarn on right side of work, K5 in MC* repeat to end of round. At the end of this row make sure that the CC yarn is on the wrong side of the work before starting the next row.

 
white and pink hat
 

Round 3-4: Knit 2 rows in MC. You don't need to carry the CC yarn in your work during these rows.

Round 5: K3 in MC, K1 uls in CC, *K5, K1 uls* until last 2 stitches, K2 in MC.

Round 6: K3 in MC , *K1 in CC, carry CC on right side of work, K5 in MC* Until last 3 stitches, in CC knit 1, MC K2 (keep CC on right side).

Round 7: K3 in MC, move CC to wrong side of work (without making a stitch), K in MC to end of round.

Round 8: Knit in MC all around

Round 9: *K1 uls in CC, K5 in MC * repeat to end of round.

Round 10: *K1 in CC carry in the yarn on right side of work, K5 in MC* repeat to end of round. Move CC to wrong side of work before continuing.


Repeat rounds 3-10 until you have the length you want. If you want a short hat, repeat the pattern for 6-7" (15-18 cm) and if you want more of a slouchy look continue until the hats length is about 8-9" (20- 23 cm).

 
stitch up close
 

Decreases:

(Change to double point needles when there are too few stitches to do on the circular needles)

On the next repeat at the row 7, do the following:

Round 1: In MC K1, K2tog, place CC yarn on wrong side of work ,*K4, K2tog* until last 3 stitches, K3. (80)

Round 2: In MC, K4, K2tog *K3, K2tog* until last 4 stitches, K2, K2tog (64)

Round 3: *K1 uls in CC, K3 in MC* repeat to end of round. Carry the CC on wrong side of work

Round 4: *K1 in CC, K3 in MC, K1 in CC* repeat to end of round. Carry yarn on right side of work

Round 5: K1 in MC,*K2tog, K2* repeat to end of round. (48)

Round 6: K1 in MC, *K2tog, K1* repeat to end of round. (32)

Round 7: K1 in MC, *K1 uls in CC, K1 in MC* to last stich, CC K1 uls (32)

Round 8: *K1 in MC, K1 in CC* repeat to end of round. You can cut the MC and weave in the tail.

Round 9: K2tog in CC all around (16)

Round 10: K2tog in CC all around (8)

Cut leaving a long tail, weave the tail though the stitches and pull tight.

Wash in warm water and lay it flat to dry in desired shape to block it.

If you want, make a pom pom and add it to your work.

 
white and pink hat flat
 

That's the hat! If you have any questions, write a comment or shoot me an e-mail zoe@chipkeycreations.com.

If you end up making this pattern, I would love to know. Tag me on the social medias @chipkeycreations.