Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Haunting

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!

Evil-Bob and I wish you a spine-tingling night!

Be safe and remember...

Halloween pumpkin 2012
... Halloween candy goes on sale tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Want to help break a Guinness World Record?

There's no such thing as too much awesomeness. More specifically we could all use some random acts of kindness!

Now you can combine random acts of kindness with taking part in breaking a Guinness World Record

"How can I do that?", I hear you ask!

Here, let my sister explain:
I'm Katri's sister, Sanna. I'm taking part in an international event called GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen), and we are trying to get 100,000 people to pledge to commit a Random Act of Kindness before the end of 2012. If that gets done, it will be breaking the Guinness World Record! 
It's free and easy and doesn't commit you to anything! Also, if you join this, you will be part of breaking the world record and also will be giving a helping hand to me and my group in our fight to be the winning team of  GISHWHES his year! To help the team, CLICK HERE to pledge and add my e-mail address, sk.luotonen [at] , in the referral field. (Please change the [at] to @) 
Thank you so much from me and behalf of my team to everyone who are willing to participate and being part of this awesome world record!

So, to participate

Click HERE
enter your details
enter the e-mail sk.luotonen [at] in the "Email Address of the person who referred you:" field


On a more personal note, why not sign up and actually make sure to do at least one random act of kindness. It doesn't have to be anything big, maybe compliment a stranger on their nice shoes or send a card to your grandma!

I pledged already! Will you?

The costume

Being the elementary school kid at heart that I am, I love dressing up for Halloween. I've never been one for the "sexy" costumes, although I guess I can see the appeal... One day a year you can wear whatever crazy things you can think of. I do that too, but in a completely opposite from the idea of looking... well, attractive.

I want to make my costume recognizable, that's the main priority. I would love to do something witty, but I can rarely come up with anything good. I find most of the costumes for women are more revealing than I'm comfortable with. Besides, who would want to wear a ready made costume when this is a prime occasion for large scale crafting? I'm all for wearing whatever it is that you want, go as crazy as you feel like, I personally just prefer to err on the side of more covered and lean towards pop culture references and movie quotes.

Random side comment: I have thousands of photos I've taken. Key word being "I". Turns out there's very few of me. The only ones I have of me are usually with a number of other people, so not something I am comfortable publishing... I wanted to show you some photos of all my costumes, but this is becoming a little difficult. I'll do what I can.

*after a lot of rummaging through the photos files* I can't really find many photos... Looks like I'm missing photos from entire Halloweens. I found two photos of pumpkins and now this. Quite peculiar.

Well, this post didn't quite turn out the way I hoped, but the good news is that I found a photo of the costume I was the happiest with.

Halloween costumes

I dressed up as Billy, the puppet from the movie series Saw. This was by far my best costume to date. Seriously, it was so good people actually stopped me on the street to take photos with me. I was really proud of this one.

Chris dressed up as Kato, which was also such a great costume. He generally has really great costumes, I have a harder time coming up with something good. But, I guess the next best thing to coming up with a great costume for yourself is to have a husband who has great ideas for his costumes. That means I get to do all the crafting for his outfits. I'm especially proud of this Kato jacket that started out as a long sleeved t-shirt. In the end it had a pretty impressive and complicated looking front completed with buttons. It even had a high collar (cardboard covered in fabric).

I did come up with a really good idea for this year. However, for the first time since I've been living in Montreal, we didn't host a Halloween party. So, I won't tell you of the idea and hopefully get to use it next year. (How much do you want to bet I'll forget it? When I start talking about not having ideas next year, just point me back to this post, ok?)

So, did you dress up? What did you wear?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Mailings

It was again a great week for mail. This is definitely a proof of the old saying about mail, "send a letter to receive a letter". I'm still working on my side of the bargain. I have been busy with the shop and haven't still fully caught up with the outgoing. There are a lot of things I've been working on that I'm just dying to tell you guys about, but I've made a decision to wait until after Halloween to start talking about Christmas... I think that's fair, no?

Anyhow, onwards to mail...


Mail Love - Outgoing

Let's start with the little packages going to Caddi and Bree. They won small surprise packages from the giveaway I organized a little while ago. I'm hoping they'll have them soon, but figured I could show the front of the envelopes without ruining the surprise inside... I wanted to make sure that as fellow snailmailers they'll get a good selection of Canadian stamps. So, naturally I went overboard again instead of using the two I could've gotten away with... Obviously 6 is better than 2 (at least when it comes to stamps), right?

Mail Love - Outgoing
I also sent more Halloween mail, you've seen them already. I figured I'll share these still, since I love the stamps so much. One of these is going to my Lovely letters partner Autumn. I used the same idea of the bat to send the second task to her.

I also sent quite a bunch of orders out, but you've seen the format for those already. I'll come up with something new soon, I hope, and will share them again.

It was such a good week again! I got two pieces of mail from two people. (I mean from two people, two each. So, four altogether)

Mail Love - IncomingMail Love - Incoming
First to pieces came from Susanne. You know they'll be good. I got some candy, a lovely letter and a Halloween card. She made a comment earlier on twitter (you can follow me @HipsterCurious if you want, I'm fairly active over there too) about how similar our Halloween mail is. Obviously great minds work alike!

Take a look at that pumpkin stamp too! How awesome is that? Apparently Halloween is bigger in Finland than I knew. It has to be if there's a stamp for it. I mean, a stamp makes it official, right?

Mail Love - Incoming
The second set came from Jess. She's the first person who's penpal ad I've answered. I found her on Julie's Penpal of the week and after engaging in some very random discussion about carrots, I realized I at least owe her a letter. She just replied and I got, not just a letter but, a postcard too. And they came on the same day.

I wonder what happened to the address label though... See? It's missing parts of it. Maybe it was attacked by a ferocious possum.

Yeah... That must be it.

So, did you get anything good in the mail last week?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

He's evil!

He eats trick-or-treaters and hunts dark alleyways

He is...

Halloween pumpkin 2012


Pumpkin carving

Last night, as was planned, we finally got working on the pumpkin.


I'm glad we found a huge one. The bigger the pumpkin, the more space you have for the face (obviously) or whatever it is you're making. This guy's so big I can just barely get my arms around him.

Pumpkin carving

This is the first year we had "real" pumpkin carving tools. So far it's been a regular knife and a couple of spoons to scoop out pumpkin brains (if you've never craved a pumpkin, they are filled with this stringy, goopy substance and seeds. Emptying one out is a messy job). I have to say that these things were a gazillion times better than what we've used in the past!

(If you remember, I found this kit at a charity shop a little while ago for $2. Money well spent)

Pumpkin carving

I take my pumpkin carving seriously. This took me a long while and a few glasses of wine. I was naturally listening to the soundtrack of "Nightmare before Christmas", which is the best Halloween movie ever.

Pumpkin carving

Chris and I split the work, I carved the mouth of the pumpkin and he carved the eyes. We took turns with the miniature saw-thingy that came with the set. The tools do not look impressive at all, but work like a charm. Even the messy scooping of the pumpkin was super fast!

I will introduce you to him later...

He's pretty scary...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Jack is back!

Today we're going to go buy some pumpkins that will become the next ones in a long line of carved out awesomeness!

Halloween pumpkins [in reality, I could only find photos of our pumpkins from two halloweens, so the line is a tad short. In fact what is the definition of 'line'? (Yes, I checked. And Yes, I started writing this long explanation how these might still be a line per definition assuming they are in fact, organized at...)


...never mind]

So, let's start over!

I only found photos from our pumpkins from two halloweens. There's the ones from last year and then from 2007.

Halloween pumpkins

The two from 2007 were pretty classic. Mine is (obviously) the Jack Skellington look-a-like and Chris took a traditional Jack O'lantern and made it a little extra evil.

Halloween pumpkins

Last year we got a little more ambitious. The guy with the vampire-ish smile is actually quite small as you can see in the first photo. The cannibal pumpkin was pretty massive. I am a tad annoyed that I only have a few photos from this angle. I snapped the photos just before people were showing up, so I forgot to take more. I have to say these were my favourites.

We'll see what happens this year. I'll let you know!

What's the awesomest pumpkin you've carved or seen?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday inspiration

- This is Halloween -

Sometimes the inspiration is just overwhelming. There are so many amazing things I'd love to show you guys. I think I'll share a few other things soon, but there are some priorities here... We're so close to Halloween, so there's one thing to talk about first; Pumpkins!

To give you a short background on the topic; when I was growing up, Halloween wasn't really celebrated in Finland. From what I understand it's becoming bigger every year, but not when I was a kid. This also means no pumpkin carving (no trick or treating either).

So, needless to say, when I moved to Montreal, I've insisted on carving a pumpkin every year. It's getting around that time, we'll hopefully get a pumpkin tomorrow. I'll keep you up to date on that one...

I already have a few ideas what I might want to do, but haven't quite made up my mind yet. I have photos of some of the ones we've carved before, so I'll share those soon too. (I now realize that I should've probably shown mine first and then these amazing ones...)

I do have a number of other things to share relating to Halloween, so be prepared!

Are you carving a pumpkin this year? If so, what are you going to make?

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Ok, so I realize the fact that I only found out about this a few days ago might significantly lower my nerd-cred, but, honestly, I squee'd too hard to not share

*squee for Clyde*

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Holy card, Batman - Halloween Bat card DIY

This year I wanted to try out something different for Halloween. I wanted to send a few cards out, but at first really couldn't come up with anything interesting. Halloween cards don't have the same tradition (or volume) as Christmas cards, so I had to try to think of something. I wanted it to be fairly simple in construction as I was in the middle of making prototypes for the holidays, so I didn't have a ton of extra time. I also wanted it to be easy to send, so nothing too big or too delicate... I started thinking about Halloween characters, like witches, skulls, spiders and their webs... Then, I got it!

What better than a bat? It's the perfect shape too, since I can cover the message as I would in a more traditional card and it's a definitely an easily recognizable shape. Coming up with a template was fairly straightforward. If you want to try this out, I recommend thinking about the dimensions of the card in advance depending on your piece of paper.

I was going to use standard scrapbooking paper, which is 12x12 inches. And, I am all about optimizing the paper use, so it just made sense that the cards would be 6 inches high. This also made it easy to figure out the dimensions for the wings and body, 4 inches each. In reality, the wings should be a smidgen smaller than the body, because otherwise you'll have a hard time folding them over each other. You can do this by either making the body a tad wider than the wings or just cutting the wings shorter in the next step.

Once you have the paper measured and cut, you can sketch out the the basic shape of the bat. I used the entire height of the paper for the body. It's basically a wide oval shape with ears at the top and since I felt like making a cute(ish?) bat, teeny tiny round shapes as feet at the bottom. The feet aren't necessary at all, just round out the bottom and you'll make this even easier.

Halloween Bat Card
Once the body is sketched out, then it's time for the wings. They are a fairly simple shape, so that should be easy, but there's a few things to keep in mind. The idea of the wings is to cover the message inside and allow the recipient to open the card. This means that you should try to make the wings as large as possible. I also think it looks nicer if the wings are a bit shorter than the body of the bat, that way you can see the shape immediately. And finally, if you keep the wing shape round and chubby, it'll also be much easier to cut out.

I don't think the wings necessarily need to be identical, but it you want them to be, the easiest way to do so, is to fold the template in half once you have one wing done and then tracing that shape onto the other wing.

Halloween Bat Card Once the template is done, trace the bat onto the paper and cut out. Like mentioned, I was planning on using scrapbooking paper, but happened to bump into some poster paper (poster board? whatever it's called. Those big pieces of paper) before finding black scrapbooking paper, so I ended up going with that.

Halloween Bat CardAfter cutting and folding the cards (I recommend folding the wings before you start writing the cards, it's much easier to get the text in the center of the card that way) pick up a pen and and start writing. I used a white gel pen.

I made the envelopes out of tracing paper, you can see more about them, including how to make them, HERE

So, what's the verdict? Would you try these out?

P.S. I used this same format for my Lovely Letters task 2, since someone already asked about that. I can show more, but I want to make sure my partner gets it first!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Mailings

The week before last I didn't get a chance to send out too many pieces of snail mail. There was constantly something else to do. This week I made up for it and still aren't done. I still have more to write and send, so please be patient, if you're expecting something from me. I'll get to it soon!

This week I sent so many things I don't see a point posting every single one of them. Here's a look into my last week through mail...


Mail Love - outgoing
Halloween mail.

I sent out quite a few of these guys over the last week. This is one set of them just waiting to be dropped in the mail. They were all variations of these, black sturdy ones for overseas and more delicate, translucent for Canada.

Mail Love - outgoingMail Love - outgoing
Other, non-Halloween mail, such as outgoing orders went out in colourful envelopes with washi tape stripes and vintage paper stickers, made by yours truly.


Mail Love - incomingMail Love - incoming
This week I got two letters from Susanne.  Once again, really awesome envelopes and pretty handwriting! Thank you, I really enjoyed the letters, like I always do!

Mail Love - incoming
I also got a letter from Laura, She's a funny one, she is...

I did also get my first Lovely letters response, you can see it HERE

Now, I have to run off again... I do have more stuff for you though. It'll just have to wait to another day.

How has your week started?

Oh! Just noticed!

Julie from Penpal of the week is having a stationery giveaway! Have you seen her stationery?? You should check it out and go sign up for the giveaway HERE

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Super Easy Halloween Garland DIY

Halloween garland Just the other day I wanted to add a few little Halloweenie (teehee, weenie) touches to our place without going overboard. I also felt like trying out something new and I came up with a super simple and easy to make halloween garland

Halloween garland DIY

All you need is alphabet stickers, coloured paper, string and scissors (or a craft knife).
(If you don't have the stickers, you could also print and cut some alphabet and use glue to stick them to the paper)

Halloween garland DIY
All I did was to stick the letters to the coloured paper with the string wedged between the two layers.

Halloween garland DIY
I worked on one word at a time. Once you've stuck all the letters, then cut them off the paper leaving a little part of the backing visible. The only tricky part here is to NOT cut the string, but let it go through each letter in tact.

That's all! Then hang the garland up or mail it to a friend!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lovely letters - task 2

I totally forgot to mention the second task for the lovely letters project! Sorry about that guys. I guess it's safe to assume everyone who's taking part in the project is already working on their second task, but I wanted to share it here anyway, especially if anyone who's not taking part is interested.

Lovely letters task 1 - incomingfrom Autumn
My partner Autumn sent me this gorgeous letter on which she had painted in... Just look at those flowers! How pretty are they? I was going to show you the envelope on my regular mail post but couldn't resist showing you this already... I told you guys my partner rocks!

Also, you might want to go check out her blog, The Busy Bee. It's really great!

Lovely letters task 1 - outgoing The first task was to send a letter to your assigned parter, introducing yourself and sending a photo. I sent my partner a little booklet including a few tiny photos of myself and of things I like.

Are you working on the second task already? How was your first letter?

P.S. I'm working on putting together a little Halloween craft tutorial for you! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Inspiration

I can't stop thinking about all sorts of creepy, dark decorations for Halloween.

I absolutely love this. I think it's the black pumpkins and the green skull on display... (also, the cheese. You can win me over with cheese)

Source: via Cyndi on Pinterest

There's just something about these carefully arranged displays that appeal to me. I don't see how this would necessarily work in real life, (well, in my life with cats) but I love seeing them.

Then there's also this idea of having candy or treats out on display.  Love the concept, would not work in my house. Why? Because the candy would not last. (This time I'm not even going to try to blame the cats, it's all me)

Are you going to decorate for Halloween? How are you doing it?


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sheer and spooky

I've been experimenting with new versions of things I've made before.

Tweaking. Re-measuring. Re-working.

I've worked on new products and some new postal goodness. The products will have to wait a little longer, but I mailed out new versions of the transparent envelope. If you're new to this blog, you can see the old ones HERE (you should try them out too, they are so much fun!)

Sheer envelope for Halloween
[Dig my grunge nail polish? That's right, it's grunge, not lazy or sloppy]

This time I made sheer envelopes using tracing paper. I really liked the foggy feel of it. You can see the outline of what's inside. The paper I used was Canson tracing paper. It looks pretty fancy and I love the feel of it. It was perfect for this project. And the best part? I bought mine from the charity shop. At $2 for the pad of large tracing paper, it was a pretty decent deal.

Now, if you want to try this out and don't want to spend a fortune (ok, in all honesty I don't know how expensive it is. It looks pricey though) I've figured out a cheaper alternative. Enter: Parchment paper! Yeah, the kind you use for baking (leivinpaperi in Finnish).

I also tried wax paper, that wasn't all that succesful.  Too... waxy. I wouldn't recommend.

Anyhow, I think these make quite the impact. Perfect for some Halloweenie mail. The only thing is that  they are delicate, so I wouldn't pack more than one thing in this envelope. I generally send all sorts of random things stuffed in the envelope, so I can't use this for so-called regular mail. Send anything else than a card or a medium length letter and I would use a sturdier envelope.

What's the verdict? Do you like it?

What would you use these for?

(Ooooh... I just got a cool idea how to use these for the holidays.... See! Writing a blog helps with creativity XD)

Searching for Mariam!

Mariam from the Netherlands, where are you? You won the giveaway!

I really hope you contact me, either leave a comment here with an e-mail address or send me a message directly to [at]

I will pick a new winner if I don't hear from you, but I would like to give this prize to you. You won it, fair and square!

Caddi and Bree,
Thanks for sending me your info! I've already packed your prizes, I'll let you know once they are mailed!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Switching things up

I know this might not sound like a big thing, but I am experimenting with breaking some routines. It's so easy to fall into a repetitive schedule for each day. I realized just recently that I always do things in the same order and the same way, day after day. I wake up and check my e-mails and orders. I make coffee and start writing my blog post for the day. Then I figure out my work for the day and usually get started depending on what it is. I work until lunch and then eat. Afternoon is either continued with work or combined with errands. That's a very typical day.

So, I figured I'll change it a little. Just the order of things. And maybe I'll try some new stuff out too...

Apples[Unrelated photo is unrelated - taken at Jean-Talon market in Montreal]

Just the fact that I started my day with yoga, made a difference. I switched things around. Doing things in a different order.

It's a work in progress, but I feel this is the way to go  and increase my productivity.

Do you have any tips or tricks in making the most of your day?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A little bit of mail

Last week was a bit slow when it came to mail. I have to admit though, I wasn't keeping up with my share of the mail in circulation. I only sent out one piece of mail. I haven't sent this little mail in a long while. It just so happened too that the orders from my shop went out the week before or are custom orders, so they are not finished yet.

I do owe quite a bit of mail though. I am working on several pieces at one go, so hopefully there will be a whole lot more to show next week. I'm also experimenting with some fun mail related projects that I'll definitely share with you guys assuming things work out (which I have to admit is not always the case).


mail love - outgoing Like I said, only one piece of mail this week. It's not even a spectacularly cleverly decorated either. I mean, you can't go wrong with washi tape, but I do need to step it up a notch. Hopefully the few things on my work desk will remedy that situation.


mail love - incoming
An airmail-ish envelope from Susanne. It contained a really cute vintage-y tram card from Helsinki. Thank you Susanne!

So, how was you mail week?

Monday, October 15, 2012

And the winner is...

Yay! It's time to reveal the winner of this blog-birthday giveaway! I know this is what you've all been waiting for...


[As the title says] And the winner is:

Yay for Mariam from the Netherlands [comment sent on October 12 1:44am]! Mariam, could you please send me an e-mail to brinner [dot] shop [at] hotmail [dot] ca

And because you guys are super awesome and left so many nice comments and everything, I decided to send out two more smaller prizes!

The two surprises are going to:

Yay for Caddi and Bree!! Check your inboxes shortly!

A huge thank you to all of you taking part! This was a lot of fun. I noticed a whole lot of you guys also write blogs, so I'm very excited to visit yours.

I can guarantee that I won't wait this long for the next giveaway.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reminder: Last day to sign up for the giveaway!

The polls close at midnight EST tonight. So there's still about 10 hours to sign up for the giveaway! Sign up HERE if you haven't done so yet!

Giveaway prizes

Only one entry per person! I will pick the winner randomly tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Today's scatterbrained post below!

[today's theme: exclamation marks apparently]