Make

GEEKSOAP.net websitePersonally, I make all the things.

I love to use just about any craft medium to make things beautiful. Knit, crochet, soapmaking, photography, paint, & my sewing machine are just a few of my favorite things.

I am always and have always been making something. Back in high school I taught myself basic HTML and set up my first website using PICO via telnet. I’ve had a website since 1995-96, but it wasn’t until I started considering selling my creations online in 2006 that I began really focusing my efforts on web design and presence. I started using WordPress for my websites in 2007 and haven’t looked back! You could say I have a bit of an obsession with creating websites. I collect websites like some women collect shoes! I have a variety of websites for all of the different areas and interests in my life.

thepinktoque.com websiteI mentioned 2006 because that’s the year I moved to Canada with my husband, Lucas. I moved with my clothes, my computer, and my box of craft supplies. For the first ten months that I lived there, I was unable to work locally while I waited on immigration.  That gave me plenty of time to pursue several different crafty avenues and begin selling my things online. 2006 is when my mother-in-law taught me how to knit, I received a sewing machine so that I could sew bags and plush creations, and I was scrapbooking regularly. I branded myself as “The Pink Toque.”

In 2007 while at home during the day, I saw an infomercial for digital scrapbooking software called My Memories Suite by Polaroid. I was hooked; as a traditional scrapbooker, I disliked having to keep boxes upon boxes of supplies and glue and paper scraps. The idea of scrapbooking on my computer in software with digital components was perfect. I bought the software immediately and began transitioning to digital. The only problem? The software didn’t come with a manual, and because it (and the concept of digital scrapbooking) was so new, there were no resources online yet to help me, so I began making my own video tutorials! They were very popular because others were out there wanting to learn more about the software, too, and I was recognized officially by My Memories Suite for my contributions to the community. For the longest time, they had a link to my craft blog and my video tutorials on their website! Since then, the company has built a really useful community and have made excellent tutorials to accompany their product. I still get emails regularly from people who read about My Memories Suite on my craft blog or watch my video tutorials and want help or have questions.

crochet Cthulhu toque by Lesley Karpiuk - ThePinkToque.comThough I don’t really identify as a graphic designer, I did teach myself how to use Photoshop so that I could design some of my own digital scrapbooking components. My Memories Suite allows you to import any image file(s) for background papers and embellishments, so I made and released freebie sets weekly on my craft blog for others, and that content has hundreds of downloads. I then began to design my own web graphics to use on my websites. Today I use Photoshop and Lightroom with my photography.

In 2008 I taught myself to crochet using YouTube videos, and designed a crochet Cthulhu toque that began selling very well on Etsy. These days I don’t have the time to keep up with hat sales, so I turned my design into a pattern that I sell on my website store instead. Over the years I added a crochet Cthulhu scarf and bib to the collection! You can also find me and all of my patterns (more than just Cthulhu stuff!) on Ravelry.

In June 2009 for my best friend’s birthday, I tapped into my previous experience dabbling in soapmaking while in college, and designed some Batman soap for her. I put the tutorial of how I made it online, and it was picked up by MAKEzine.

D20 Soap on a Rope by GEEKSOAP.net N64 game cartridge soap by GEEKSOAP.netMy husband and I moved back to Indiana in July 2009, and after getting settled into our own place, I was back to making Cthulhu toques like crazy for the upcoming fall season. While making toques that fall, I started thinking about what else Cthulhu-themed that I could make to go with them. With my Batman soap as inspiration, I made a Cthulhu design using the same method. I began to sell these soaps on my Etsy along with Cthulhu toques and it was only a matter of time before other geeky designs began coming to me. I branded them as GEEKSOAP; a division of The Pink Toque initially. I had no idea how popular they would become! When I released my iconic and most popular D20 Soap on a Rope and then the Nintendo game cartridge soap designs in February/March 2010, my business exploded! GEEKSOAP went viral on the Internet and really needed to be its own company.

So while The Pink Toque was all of my fiber creations (crochet, knit, sewing), GEEKSOAP grew quickly, and I broke it off to its own separate company and website in February 2010. I’ve been making GEEKSOAP ever since!

karpiuk Millennium FalconI love to create, and with a teaching background, it’s no wonder I would often include craft tutorials to show how I made something. My craft blog started in 2006 to show what I was making, but quickly turned into tutorials for how I was making things. I’ve been featured three separate times on MAKEzine (formerly CRAFTzine) for my tutorials, and a tutorial for making salt dough hand print ornaments on our family blog from 2011 is still wildly popular on Pinterest, and I continue to get emails about it every season. Not to mention we made our son his own cardboard Millennium Falcon, whose pictures and tutorial went viral in 2012, even being shared on the official Star Wars website!

The rest is history. I have been running my small business of making GEEKSOAP since 2010. It has been very successful and well received by people all over the world! I continue to be blown away by my fans and customers, and the volume of orders seems to grow all the time, especially around the holidays. I love the entire process of GEEKSOAP: I personally hand carve and make the molds for almost all of my soap designs, and I feel like the soap I make is truly a work of art. I also do all of the graphic design for my company site, my business cards, and packaging. I have fun setting up photo shoots and photographing my products, too. I get to pour so much creativity into something I really love!

While these days I’m mostly making soap, I still pursue other crafty areas in my spare time. I’m also actively passing the DIY mentality and beauty of creativity on to our two children, encouraging them to get messy and make just like their mama.