30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 3 – Favourite Food

Most people associate soup with cold winter days. But I believe there’s never a wrong time for a nice bowl of soup. Thick soups make for filling meals, and noodle soups are great light snacks. Out of potato chips? Just shake up a bag of raw Mr. Noodles and the soup stock! But don’t tell mother Raichu I said that.

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Also viewed at: http://pikainabag.deviantart.com/art/30-Day-Art-Challenge-Day-3-Favourite-Food-622123028

As you can probably tell, this particular drawing was inspired off the ramen Sosuke’s mum made in the movie, Ponyo (on the Cliff by the Sea). The trick is to close your eyes and wait three minutes. It doesn’t work if you peek!

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The truth is, I still haven’t seen Ponyo. After delving deeper into the wonderful world of interactive entertainment known as “vidya gaims,” it has become harder to sit idle and watch movies, in which the characters follow a straight path, upon which you have no influence. Even if the video game is linear, you have the feeling of knowing the story cannot progress until you do something to help them along.

The most fascinating part of Miyazaki’s films were the little details that make things feel so much more three dimentional. From Chihiro tapping her shoes in Spirited Away, to Pazu licking his lips before playing his trumpet in Castle in the Sky, these little details stay true to real life, and make the movies feel like both fantasy and reality rolled into one. In Ponyo, it’s the inclusion of this very simple trick you can do for kids. And for yourself, on those days when you also want tea.

You might recall a previous post, in which we tried the 3-minute ramen recipe. If you want a more vegetarian-friendly recipe, skip the ham and eggs, and add a spoonful of organic peanut butter. It tastes like pad Thai. Don’t forget the 4068!* (You know you’ve been working at the grocery store too long when…)

And thus concludes another brief post about the drawing challenge. We’re nearly at the next plushie post! What could it be?! Here’s a hint:

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Going back to where it all began…

How do you like your instant noodles? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

*That’s the PLU for green onions, by the way.

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 2 – Favourite Animal

Truth be told, I like all kinds of animals. But being a dog person in particular, this funny little guy came to mind:

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Daschunds combine two of my favourite things: doggies, and food. Ta-da! Sausage dog! As you can see, I had improved somewhat in my colouring techniques. One of the best tips is to not be afraid to press harder when colouring. Also, try using the very tip of the pencil, rather than laying it on its side.

I went back and touched up this doggy, after realizing the shading on its back leg was actually not too bad. You know, I never liked when people took pictures of their drawings, because they would hold the drawing (creating an obvious dent in the page) or turn on flash. (Seriously bro, what is your life about?) But after seeing what scanning does to pencil drawings, taking pictures may not be a bad idea. Now, if I could just get the lighting right…

And now, some sausage dog stories. Because everyone likes dogs, right?

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Percy the Dog

I once went with M to his friend’s birthday party, and the friend had two doggies: a white dog (Maltese, I think?) called Sophie, and a sausage called Percy. When I tried to pet Sophie, Percy came, shoved her out of the way, and put his snout in my hand. Later, when I was sitting on the porch step, he squeezed himself under my legs, and he felt like a squishy pillow. When M came outside, Percy ran away, and I was upset with M for scaring him away. M was forgiven after he gave me a drink.😛 Percy was also staring at me while we were eating dinner. I think he was confused as to why I was eating a sausage. His eyes looked like he was saying, “but… I thought you loved me!”

You might also remember Edgar, a long-haired daschund from doggy days a couple years back. I sang him a song called, “I’m so Edgar” by Doggy Azalea. It went as follows:

I’m so Edgar,
you already know,
I’m in the Edgar,
from Edgar to Edgar land. (8)

He had a bit of small dog syndrome: when Abby the big rottweiler came, he started barking at her. XP; Here is a video of me feeding him doggy snacks. (Warning: Vertical video incoming)

Finally, Top Hat drew this for me, for my birthday. Now, I just need to find the right frame. (Click for original link)

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Doggies are great, aren’t they? I often wish I had one for companionship, but too many factors stop me from getting one. Oh well… hopefully one day I can post about doggy DIYs. Other girls my age are all, “OMG LOOK AT MAH NEW BABEH” while posting pictures of their, well, human babies. I’ll be that one lady who’s 30, wears dresses from Hot Topic, and when I say “new baby,” I’ll mean furry baby, as seen above.

And that wraps up this week’s post. Tune in next time when — gasp! — a new ami will appear!

What is your favourite kind of dog? Or do you prefer cats? Have you attempted the 30 day drawing challenge, as well? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Getting Back in the Habit: Drawing Challenge Day 1

For the Shoonie and Top Hat who still read this blog, you will know that I turned 25 at the end of May this year. Which means this blog has been active for two years.

Make that a year and 9 months. Yuck! I don’t like being an adult; all you do is go to work, and even on your days off, you struggle to wrangle your friends together for some relief.

I’m not going to make any more excuses as to why there haven’t been any new posts. So instead I will find excuses to make more posts. Let’s go back to the creative roots where it all began: with drawing.

I used to draw all the time… and then I got a laptop. Sigh. Top Hat suggested I try an art challenge to get back in the swing of things. You’ve likely seen 30 day fitness challenges floating around the internet: the end result is to have toned muscles, reduced body fat, and a general improved state of well being by the end of day 30. But why should big butts and toned abs have all the fun? There are all kinds of challenges, from reading and writing, to daily puzzles, and of course exercising. If you miss one day, don’t worry. Just pick up from where you left off, and continue.

I picked this drawing challenge because it had the cutest mascot in the corner. If you’d like to try out the challenge for yourself, here is a link to where I found it.

One way to get things done is to break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. This drawing challenge is nice, because it encourages you to simply draw one thing per day. And it doesn’t have to be good… but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be good, na’am saying?

For the next few blogs, I’d like to talk about these 30 day challenge drawings. I chose the things for a reason, and hope you will enjoy reading about them.

 

Entry #1 – Yourself

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deviantArt: http://pikainabag.deviantart.com/art/30-Day-Art-Challenge-Day-1-Yourself-621115925

So what to say about this self-portrait? How about, “this is the first thing I’ve drawn in ages.” You might recall the derpy little avatar I’ve drawn in other posts, but this time I drew it using pencils and ink, not the tablet. This is due to the fact that my tablet (which still works beautifully, despite being over 6 years old) cannot be installed on my new laptop. And so, I took out the huge box of coloured pencils I bought from Staples (so you know these things are even older than the tablet) and coloured the drawing myself. Sadly, I might not be able to get Photoshop and my tablet installed on this laptop. As one classmate said, “CDs?! What is this, 2010?”

Sigh. It’s a bit disappointing to see my drawing skills haven’t really improved since high school. Then again, that was the last time I truly sat down and drew for fun. I also cropped the feet, because how do I feet? I also tried colouring, but something just always feels wrong about the way I shade. I mean, it doesn’t look right. Perhaps it’s time I looked up Prisma colour tutorials.

This challenge is going a lot slower than expected. But I’d like to think it’s at least breaking out of the rut. Hey, there’s a post this week, isn’t there?

It appears that the knitting and crochet clubs on dA have been quiet, as well. But with recent events, they are back in business and have an appropriate contest going on! Here’s to hoping we can get in an entry!

What do you think should be the contest entry? What do you think day 2 holds? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Dango – Dessert Days #7

Dango, dango, dango, dango, dango daikazoku~

That was strange… I was sure I scheduled this blog to post on April 2. Yet when I came to check on the blog, there it was, posted March 26! Let’s all pretend that never happened, shall we?

You probably recognize these little dumplings from various anime shows. These colourful ones are called hanami dango, because they are the same colours as freshly bloomed flowers. (Hana = flower)

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I remember an old episode of Pokemon, where they were eating “muskrat meatballs.” Those were actually dango. And by the way, the “donuts” were actually onigiri. (Rice balls) Regardless, I’ve since been partial to meat stuff on sticks. Chicken satay with peanut sauce, GET IN MAH BELLEH. Perhaps one day, I will make a ball-on-stick themed dinner.

We’re going to try making mitarashi dango. That’s just plain dango with sweet soy sauce. I used runnyrunny999’s recipe.

IMG_20160325_154410872 (1)First, let’s make the dough for the dumplings. I’m using glutinous rice flour. It smells and tastes like rice. I added a teaspoon of sugar, since I hear dango is rather tasteless on its own.

Eww, they weren’t kidding when they said “glutinous,” this stuff is sticky like crazy! It’s important to follow Runny’s advice about wetting your hands and surfaces with water. He described the texture as being, “like an earlobe.” Touch your earlobe; your dough should feel exactly like that. My earlobes feels like there are holes in them. Oh wait, there are.

Since this is just a test, we won’t use colouring right away. We’ll just make plain dumplings.

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Nine dumplings and one loner

This was a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated. The flour is very sticky, and takes a long time to come together. Warning: only start using your hands once you’re 100% sure there isn’t much left stuck to the bowl.

I got lazy and instead of steaming the dough, I formed the balls (made about 10) and dropped them into boiling water. This process was similar to bubble tea tapioca prep: once they float, leave them in for a bit, and then scoop ’em out. Cooked dango will feel denser than uncooked dango, and they will be slimy and squishy to the touch.

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At first, I was doubtful that this would work. When I put one (the loner) onto a skewer, it drooped almost immediately, and the texture felt like squishy, sticky pudding. It turns out that if you leave them to cool a little longer, they solidify and keep their shape much better. Also, they became sticky to the touch, so I patted them dry and dusted them with a little more rice flour. The mitarashi sauce was just a matter of tossing everything in a saucepan, so I won’t add pictures here.

Final result:

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Not bad, but could’ve been better. I patted them with a little extra rice flour, to keep them from sticking to the plate.

Guess what happened yesterday? SHOONIE’S BIRTHDAY! She is grown up big. :3 Since last weekend was Easter, I made a fresh batch of hanami dango, this time using tofu instead of water.

This dough was a lot easier to work with, and wasn’t as sticky compared to the flour + water dough. And hello, it actually formed a solid dough!

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Divide your dango into equal thirds. Colour one third pink, and another third green. Most recipes suggest using matcha to colour the green mochi. Runny used carrot and spinach. (Not exactly what I think of when I hear, “sweets.” Except maybe the carrot, because carrot cake is awesome) I’m going to cheat here, and just use food colouring. (0’x’o) You can probably tell that I miscalculated the amounts a little bit. I ended up with a lot of pink dumplings, and not enough white.

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Anyway, boil the dumplings as you did before, let them cool, and you’re done! If your colours aren’t uniform, don’t worry: they brighten and even out during cooking.

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I wasn’t sure if Shoonie would like the mitarashi sauce, so I also packed chocolate sauce for dipping.

Stick ’em onto skewers, and you’re done! Serve dango as dessert, with various other delicacies. They go especially well with green apple jolly rancher jello!

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Happy (Belated) Easter!

Final verdict: *squeaky voice* oishiiiiii~ I love the way it squishes and squashes!

Plain dango doesn’t have much flavour. However, the chewy texture reminds me of the mochi ice creams they used to sell at T&T. (Now closed) This gives me a good idea for a summer DIY…

The mitarashi sauce is sweet and salty. It reminds me of the chocolate covered potato chips we bought in PEI. Yummmm~ But I think I added too much sugar. As I’ve said before, if you don’t like the mitarashi sauce, you can also use chocolate sauce. After all, you can’t have Easter without chocolate!

And for a special treat, try eating the dango while it’s still steaming hot!😀

April fools. *eeeee* Do not eat dango while it’s still steaming hot! It is very soft at this stage, and needs time to harden. It feels gross, like you’re eating a hot ball of flour. ;w;

Storage verdict: dango will keep in the fridge for a maximum of two days. Reheat in the microwave in 5 second bursts, if necessary.

And this ends the dessert days blog. If you’re reading this, happy belated birthday Shoonington, and may your year be filled with shoons and tasty snackies!❤ *hug*

What did you eat for Easter? Did you prank anyone yesterday? What do you do for your cousins on their birthday? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Napstablook (Undertale) – Amigurumi #30

<_<
>_>
Is February gone?
Yes?
Okay.

…ahem… *puts away tumbleweeds*

I’ve mentioned before that the best way to get out of a slump, is to work on easy patterns to get your motivation back. And since I spent a chunk of reading week playing Undertale, what better way to get out of a slump than with Napstablook?

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You encounter Napstablook early in the game, during the tuTORIEL. *zooms in on Sans, badum tss* Later on, you can join him in lying on the floor. I personally prefer to lie in my bed.

Warning: Napstablook plushie may start running snail races.

When I found Napstablook again, he said he would just weigh me down. Aww no, Napstablook. You wouldn’t weigh me down. I don’t think you’re physically capable of doing so. Here, let’s lie on the ground together and feel like garbage.

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IMG_20160312_135636The bottom was the most difficult part. At first, I thought of working through the front loops, like I did for Clara’s frill. However, Napstablook’s bottom is not frilled. It is straight down and static, like the ghosts

UntitledSo why have I been MIA? Eh, for the same reason as before: school + work + homework + life. Oh yeah, I’ve been trying to learn Krita. I drew this Napstablook while making a sprite sheet. He looks like one of the PacMan ghosts.

Sigh. Pixel art suddenly reminds me of my weeaboo phase. Oddly enough, that was the phase during which I picked up a lot of my current hobbies. I recently visited my old deviantArt account for sprite inspiration, and realized how those characters have changed. Their names, their physical designs, and even their stories are so different. As I’ve grown and learned, so have they. It’s like looking at a mini time capsule of the past 10 years.

Yeesh. Glad I’ve grown since then. Things that seemed cute and fun at age 14, are cringe-inducing today. Kind of like Temmie.

Napstablook and I are gonna go lie on the ground, listen to music, and contemplate life now. A lot of people have asked for a Papyrus plushie, and I want to make a Sans plushie for Peck Peck. I also wanted to make a Chimchar plushie for him, but look how well that turned out. .-.

Have you played Undertale? Oh wait, silly question, of course you have. Everyone on the internet has. Right?

Which Undertale character would you like to see next? Do you like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage? Comment below!

Pika, “not really feeling up to it right now~”

Candy Kit Review – Pizza

Now that that obligatory Doctor Who clip is out of the way, we’re making candy kit pizza.

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Poppin’ Cookin’ Pizza

Brand: Kracie

Price: $8.00 from a booth at Anime North 2015

Yes, this is the mystery kit I bought for Shoonie, from Anime North. At $8.00, it’s also the most expensive kit.

Holy moly, I found the English instructions.

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Click for RRCherryPie’s tutorial

This is yet another kit with a lot of things inside. You get the following packages, identified by colour:

  1. Pizza dough
  2. Cheese
  3. Tomato sauce
  4. Pepperoni (sausage?)
  5. French fries
  6. Grape soda
  7. Toppings

You also get a cup for the drink, and Shoonie’s favourite….

SHOOOOOON!

SHOOOOOON!

Oh dear… this was yet another kit that required the use of a microwave. And we all know what that means…

So let’s begin, shall we?

Once again, the bag contains a cute box to cut out. We didn’t make this box because we were more interested in torturing ourselves with the you-know-what. You do need to use the circle guide in the center, in order to form the pizza crusts.

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First, we made the emoji fries. Our kit came with (^_^), ( >o< ),😀, and jack-o-lantern faces. Surprisingly, after nuking them in the microwave, they didn’t smell like *eeeeee.* They shrank and became very dry in texture. Can you still see their faces?

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The pizzas were another story. Everything went fairly well, until we got to the sausage. It looked and smelled kinda gross. The closest thing I can think of is… beef stock? Dog food?

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“Sausage”

Kitty would have terrible deja vu if he saw how we made the sausage toppings. Once you mix the powder, you need to seal the bag and cut a corner to squeeze out the sausage. It looks really gross. ;w;

The cheese became a Play-doh that we had to shred. It smelled like mild Parmesan cheese.

Did you know that it’s a thing, to put peas and corn on pizza? It doesn’t sound gross at all. I’m currently a mushroom head, myself.

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Before microwaving

By the time we finished assembling the pizzas, they looked pretty appetizing! Someone with a lot of time and patience could make actual mini pizzas like these.

After microwaving

After microwaving

It’s too bad the cheese melted all over, ruining Shoonie’s decorating efforts. I’m not sure if our microwave was too strong, or we put too much cheese. This happens a lot with actual microwave pizzas, as well.

IMG_20151231_223510This kit came with grape soda drink mix. It fizzes up as soon as you add water, although the head doesn’t last very long. If beer and alcohol wasn’t so taboo, I bet this kit would be cute as an apple juice flavoured champagne kit. Maybe it could work as an adult-themed kit. Why not, it seems the majority of people who test these kits out on YouTube are teenagers, and people in their 20’s. Kracie, you can have that idea. Dou-itashimashite.

 

Overall Verdict

Difficulty: 3/10

Once again, we had yet another easy kit. Really, it’s pizza. You can’t go wrong with it.

Taste: 3.5/10

Yeah… no. These pizzas tasted strange; they were savoury, yet sweet. The fries were dry and crumbly, though they did taste like actual fries. This kit gets a 3.5 solely because of its best part: the grape soda. “Japanese” style grape flavour is tasty, unlike the grape flavoured candies we get in Canada, which are too sweet.

Overall verdict: 4/10 would barely recommend. Fun to make, not so much to eat.

It’s a shame… I do love pizza. What really put me off had to be the pizza crust. It’s as though it can’t decide if it wants to taste realistic, or like a candy. But at least it didn’t smell like farts. ;w;

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Kits like these make me consider looking up recipes for DIY kits. At least it’s fun to watch each other reacting to it. I think we’re getting better at this candy kit business. ^_^

Have you tried this kit? What do you like on your pizza? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Boot Cuffs – DIY #5

Happy New Year 2016! You may have read the blog posted on December 30, 2015. I posted a reply to that blog on Sunday, which you can read here.

It’s time to start the new year off right: with some much anticipated craft posts. Whatever your reason for lack of motivation, completing quick ‘n easy projects get the creative juices flowing again. Now that we finally have snow and winter chill, why not try making these boot cuffs?

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50% of girls on social media have a picture like this. 100% of those girls think it’s artsy. That being said, I call this one, “Waiting for You.”

Here is the tutorial I followed:

For this project, I used the now-discontinued Bernat BlackLites yarn in Cherry Chill. I also possess a ball of Cowboy, which I would like to use for longer cuffs.

Bernat BlackLites in Cherry Chill, left, and Cowboy.

Bernat BlackLites in Cherry Chill, left, and Cowboy.

If you already know how to knit, this project should be a breeze. Your fingers are the knitting needles!

The girl in the video cast onto her dominant hand, but I started by casting onto my non-dominant hand. I found this easier, because I could count the rows as if they were on regular knitting needles. The first row is the “right side,” while the second row is the “wrong side” in stocking stitch.

Regardless of the size of your calves, 20 rows should be enough to wrap around. Thanks to the wide stitch, you don’t need to make buttonholes! I made the buttons using a smaller crochet hook than the yarn’s recommended size. They measured about 3/4″ (2 cm) in diameter.

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boot socksFinal Verdict: My boots have never looked so stylish! And my calves are nice and warm, without having to wear baggy pants. I want to make more cuffs, using actual knitting needles next time.* I wonder if they could be worn long, like the ones on the right?

Humph. The yarn became frayed. No wonder it was discontinued. Still, I like the colour design of black mixed with red, white, and pink. Here’s to hoping the blue ones will look great, too!

I finished my first pair, the night before seeing Kitty and Bear. That almost rhymed.

The next few months will be quite a challenge. Not only will I be returning to school, but I will return to school AND work a part time job at the same time. It may not be so bad, though it means M and I will have less time to chat and hang out. But at least we will have time in between classes for lunch. This week, we went skating and ate chilli. For all the bad luck I’ve had so far this year, it’s reassuring to have a positive M at my side. M says I worry too much.

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Staying warm, on and off the ice!

Top: Finger knitting, 8 sts cast on. Bottom: Size 11 needle, 16 sts cast on.

Finger knitting, 8 sts CO vs. Size 11 needle, 16 sts CO.

*After a bit of experimenting, I discovered that swapping to knitting needles may not be such a good idea. Finger knitting creates wide, open stitches, while size 11 needles (the size recommended on the yarn label) create tighter stitches. My fingers ended up creating stitches twice as wide as the needles!

You can design a needle-based pattern for long cuffs using this pattern. Simply multiply the rows you worked in finger knitting by 2. For example, the video tutorial showed 20 rows. 20 x 2 = 40 stitches cast on. From there, work until the cuffs are as long as you like. Make button holes as you see fit.

The adjustable stitches mean that the excess will stick out. Try adding a third button, beside the top button, to keep things in place.

And so ends the first official craft post of 2016! What other crafts and DIY would you like to see here? Have you tried making winter accessories for friends, or family, or yourself? What projects would you like to complete this year? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~