Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

RIP Paul the Octopus

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Dear Paul,

So sad to hear you’ve passed. I had high hopes of you retiring in sunny Barcelona. I was a late believer, but you brought a small bit of tentacular joy to the football frenzy. Who’s crazy idea was it anyways to put these flags in your tank? Thanks for the free drinks and the good times. May the people of Spain shed a tear as they bite into their calamari sandwiches.

Love Lurgs.

In honour of Paul, I’ll give away a Paul pin or magnet to 3 lucky winners if you’ll leave a 4 line “Ode to Paul” in the comments. I’ll pick the top 3 on Nov. 6th. You’ll get the choice of Paul on green, El Pulpo Paul (Spanish edition), or Deutsche Paul (not shown, but will be similar to the one on the right except with black, red and yellow bands). Cheers to Paul!

Here’s the Paul the Octopus song by Parry Gripp:

** Thanks to Mack and Beka for honouring Paul! You will both receive all 3 octopi in your choice of format! **

Paper Bottle Opener

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Recently, there was a sad evening with some cold beers, but no opener, viable surface or tool in sight. If only I had known this valuable technique. Thanks to SC for enlightening us! Not just for cut and paste…Paper is powerful my friends! ~ Lurgs

Giveaway Winner!

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Sorry for the delay, we were busy stuffing our faces on a yummy thanksgiving feasts!


Tracy will be receiving the ice cream pins and necklace. Thanks to everyone for participating. Seems like a lot of you enjoy mint chocolate chip ice cream, but there’s a lot of good suggestions for us to hunt down now too.

Thanks again and hope you come back and check out My Little Sweat Shop for other fun stuff. For all you Canadians, have a safe & happy Thanksgiving weekend!

~ Lurgs and YY

This Little Piggy

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Inspired by various animal silhouettes in market signs, especially Boccalone’s sign at the Ferry Building in San Franciso, I decided to make a magnetic board for Soof’s house-warming gift. Knowing she loves bacon, I knew she’d appreciate swine gracing her new kitchen wall. I could cut the shape out of some wood, but as the weather is getting colder and I think our jig-saw is busted, I thought of a more convenient approach. Searching on Etsy, I found an abundance of pig-shaped cutting boards (who knew they’d be so popular!) and decided on one from Grace Goods. I really liked the shape of this one.

I smoothed on some putty to fill in nail holes and uneven parts on the surface and gave it a quick sand.

I picked up some Rustoleum Magnetic Latex Primer and a semi-gloss latex paint from Home Depot. **I also saw another brand of magnetic paint at Michael’s  Arts and Crafts, so if you have their weekly discount coupon, that’s a better deal.** (Click on the thumbnail if you want to see the details on the side of the box.)

The magnetic paint is grey and black emulsion. It kind of reminds me of Chinese sesame dessert. The more coats of paint, the stronger the magnetic attraction. I ended up applying about 7 coats of the magnetic paint.

You need to wait 30 min. between coats.

Unfortunately the base layer of magnetic paint is quite dark and it was difficult to paint over the grey. I really wanted a vibrant raspberry pig, but I was also afraid that too many layers of the pink paint would lessen the magnetism. I ended up with some grey streaks showing through, but it’s raspberry enough and I quite like the resulting texture of the surface.

Also, I read some reviews previously for the magnetic paint and it’s true, rare-earth magnets seem to work best on this surface! I got mine from Lee Valley.

So there it is, a little piggy ready to hold recipes, coupons, lists and notes while you sit at the table munching on bacon and contemplating your day. ~ Lurgs

TIFF Block Party, K’naan and The First Grader

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I went to check out the TIFF Light Box Block Party to get a peek into the new building. The streets were crowded with people enjoying the food stands, free concerts, and the numerous activities for the kids.

So far, I quite like the new building which seems very open and airy and I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of films and events it will offer. The first art exhibit will be of Tim Burton’s work opening this fall. Although it got some mixed reviews from a few friends that saw it at the MOMA, I think I’ll still go take a look for myself.

From the pit in the ground to these last few weeks as I’ve watched workers scrambling to get things together, I think it’s turned out quite nicely. Here’s Luma, the fine dining restaurant located on the 2nd floor.

I hadn’t read anything about the festivities before heading down, so I was pleasantly surprised to get there right in time for K’naan’s performance. A mom was excitedly snapping pictures of her young son and together they happily pumped their hands in the air to the music. There was also an older couple, the man supporting his wife as she stood on a bench to get a better look at this K’naan. It was great to see people of all ages out enjoying the day and getting into the music.

Here’s a clip for the Esguerra kids cause I know how they like the waving flag!

And the view from the Luma balcony was like a Where’s Waldo spread. The crowd singing the waving flag refrain was another sweet moment.

Then we headed over to the Winter Garden Theatre for the world premiere of The First Grader. It’s a truly touching film about and 84 yr. old man in Kenya who would like to go to school to learn to read. A full description and trailer can be found here. Seems like a simple story, but there’s so much more. Recovering from tragedy, it’s a story filled with grief, compassion, perseverance and courage.

It was gut-wrenching at times, but sprinkled with joy and makes you appreciate what a gift it is to have the opportunity to learn. Thanks all you teachers for your patience and faith. I really hope this film goes into wide release so more people can see it. ~ Lurgs

Director Justin Chadwick and leads Naomie Harris and Oliver Musila Litondo

A delicious day!

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

The Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing and I had the chance to check out Daydream Nation by first-time director Mike Goldbach. A teenage girl (Kat Dennings) moves to a small town and deals with being an outsider, starts a love triangle, and all while a serial killer is on the loose. It was beautifully shot and had a great cast and you can see a trailer here. Almost makes me want to buy a bike and ride leisurely through a small town.

We then headed to the Senator Cafe for brunch (ah, breakfast food is always great!). It’s Toronto’s oldest restaurant. It has lots of great breakfast choices and cozy booths to enjoy your meal in. Sorry, no pictures, cause we were too hungry and wolfed down our bacon and eggs, but definately worth checking out if you’re in the Dundas Square area.

The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing and window shopping, getting ideas for future projects. While wandering in Yorkville, we may have inadvertently started a rumour, as people had gathered around a cafe, speculating on which celebrity was inside. (It was definately not Joshua Jackson in that cafe).

After our wanderings, we stopped for a snack at Crêpes à GoGo! So delicious! So French! it’s like snacking in Paris!

There are both savoury and sweet crepes to choose from and they come piping hot, folded into mouth-watering packages and delivered into your awaiting hands. Here’s my Julia crepe — dark chocolate with raspberry jam!

And no visit is complete without a taste of the refreshing Limonana. This is their own unique blend of lemon, mint and cane juice. Not too sweet and perfect when you’re parched.

And finally, before we headed home, we caught a glimpse of Mr. James McAvoy here for the premiere of the Conspirator.  Eyes so blue! He and Robin Wright were very patient and kind, making their way down the long line of fans and posing for photos.

**I was so happy with my shots. I was swift! I was nimble! I floated through the crowd, getting in close as he kindly made his way to the far ends of the crowd. I learned everything I know from Denninja (celebrity photo master) who coached me through my Ewan encounter and leaped through the crowds like a gazelle.

Just a thought for any movie producers out there….”A Weekend in Narnia”. Mr. Tumnus deals with a visit from his crazy cousin Kieran? Polar opposites learn from each other’s strengths and overcome obstacles.  (ok, I haven’t seen Dinner for Schmucks, but doesn’t this pair scream comedic potential?) ~ Lurgs

Button Machines

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I’m often asked how I make my buttons and where do I get supplies. When I was looking to purchase my machine, I found 2 main American companies at the time: Tecre and Badge-a-minit. I knew I wanted a manual bench press type model (like the one pictured above) because I knew I’d be making quite a volume and even though a hand press is a lot cheaper (pictured below),  it would rely on hand strength and I read it was a bit harder to use.

Another difference between the machines was the pin types on the back of the buttons. Badge-a-minit’s pins are similar to the one on the left and Tecre’s is the one in the middle for their smaller sizes. In hindsight, I think I would have preferred the pin on the left because it seems easier to put on, but I’ve found both capable of coming undone and falling off. Ideally, it’d be great if the safety pin back on the right was available, but I’ve yet to find that from a supplier.

Another thing to consider is size. Round button machines can make buttons from 7/8″ to 6″ in diameter. Unfortunately, most machines can only make one size of button, so you really have to commit to a size before you buy your machine. Badge-a-minit has a combo machine that can make 3 different button sizes, but it costs a small fortune. I’m very happy with my 1″ machine, but I think I’d now go for a 1-1/4″ or 1-1/2″ machine so I’d have more surface area to work with and maybe get more detail in my work.

Also, these machines could make more than pins! You can order various parts to make magnets, earrings, tie tacks, coasters, mirrors, lanyards and key chains. So what you want to make will weigh in on the size of the machine you’d like too. Here’s a cute 3″ diameter pocket mirror I got from the Paper Place.

I finally went with a Tecre 1″ button machine because I found it cheaper on Ebay and it came with 1000 button parts to start me off. And thanks to Uncle J for lugging it over the border in his carry-on. Thankfully, I’ve now found a Canadian supplier in Toronto (less shipping costs! no duties!!). Check out Critical Buttons! They carry both Tecre and Badge-a-minit machines and supplies and they can also make buttons for you if you don’t want to do the manual labour.

My machine has served me well through thousands of pins and magnets now. And it’s so easy to use! I always like watching someone new try the machine for the first time and just stare in amazement when their little drawing or piece of paper gets wrapped in mylar and turned into a little button. They hold it in their palm and keep looking and poking at it. It’s done wedding favours, school events, entertained children, and started my own little business.  It’s been a great investment. ~ Lurgs


Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Some high-lights of the day…

Just when do you see a rat this size on the street? (hopefully not too often). Unfortunately, it was there to illustrate the plight of Hyatt hotel workers who are on strike across the street (news article here).  Still a sight to behold as it stood there squaring off with the hotel, snarling in fury. And just where does one find a 9m. tall inflatable rat?  Anyways, I was impressed by the surface detailing. Good luck hotel workers!

The day was further made complete with a Gandhi’s Chicken Tikka Masala roti thanks to a lunchtime pact that was made in the morning even before my first sip of coffee. Always call ahead! There’s usually a line-up and the rotis take some time to prepare. Foodhogger has a more in-depth review here.

Coincidentally, the Toronto Star also published this article today about the fat and caloric content of our beloved Gandhi’s, but that didn’t stop us. There’s something about biting into a delicious roti as the rain pours outside. Thanks again G for getting soaked and picking up our order!

Go go YY who’s busy studying for an exam which is why she’s been absent from the sweatshop. She’ll be back soon! Send some studious vibes her way.

~ Lurgs

St. Lawrence Market & BuskerFest 2010

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Always a good summer day out is Toronto’s annual BuskerFest. First we had to get some sustenance and there’s no better place than St. Lawrence Market. I split a veal and eggplant sandwich and then had a custard tart while checking out all the potential great meals in the market.

Then we headed out to the crowded street to check out all the great street performers from around the world. Over 4 days, BuskerFest showcases all sorts of performances from magicians, acrobats, puppet masters, clowns, making us laugh and alternately gasp at death defying stunts . I always like the aerial acrobatics and watching the artists dance across the sky.

The shows always draw big crowds so always wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to tip-toe to peer past tall people. One of the best inventions we ever saw were little periscope viewers used by a father and son, perfect for these events!



This American Life

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

In a world of 3D! Visual Effects!! In your face flying robot death ray explosions! Give your eyes a rest and your brain some nourishment. This American Life is a weekly radio show produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass. For a while, I was addicted to listening to these stories of everyday people and the situations they faced, sometimes heart-breaking, often humourous, but simply captivating. Each episode would center around a theme like “break-ups”, “fear of sleeping”, “my brilliant plan” and gather first-hand interviews with people, stories and pieces from writers, songs, poetry, theatrical performances, things to tickle your ears. These are perfect for long car rides, crafting times, when you’re cleaning — luckily I’m mainly engaged in visual tasks at work so my ears are free.

All their radio shows are archived on their website for free streaming online and their most recent episode is available for free download in the week that it’s broadcast. Here are a few of my favourites:

Music Lessons
Act V

I’ve learned so much from this little radio show and have been introduced to such great writers as David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, and Sarah Vowell (who isn’t just the voice of Voilet in the Incredibles!). It’s a goldmine people! so check it out! As my friend Tam declared after finishing an episode and removing her headphones with emotion, “I would marry This American Life!”.

~ Lurgs