Pie – Amigurumi #54

It’s been a week since COVID-19 sent us all into hiding. So what did I do? Run to Michael’s, stock up on supplies, and start making plushies again!

This pattern was created by Sherry Rohekar on Ravelry. The original pattern made a cherry pie, with a suggestion for blueberry pie at the end. So here we are.

Before making the single crochet trim, the pie looked like this. On its own this isn’t too bad. If you are not confident in making the trim, you could probably get away with leaving it like this. I think the trim makes it look like the edges have been “sliced” from a whole pie, which is what you are going for. My slice ended up a little overstuffed.

The pattern said to make bobbles “every now and then.” I tried to keep the bobbles evenly spaced each row, and it ended up looking nowhere near as interesting. Not to mention all the bunching going on… indeed, just make bobbles wherever you find enough space.

Growing up, my family was never “pie” family. We preferred cakes and cookies. I only had homemade apple pie once, before I met Hatter. Shoonie was a wee baby shoon, and we made it as a kids’ workshop project at the local apple picking farm. Having only tried the jelly-filled hand pies from McDerp’s, my mind was blown eating actual warm, baked apple pie! Maybe I’ll try making a cherry pie from scratch this summer, once cherry season kicks in.

I like to eat pie with a nice cup of tea. Hatter said this pie looks cute, but tastes “pleh pleh pleh.”

No-Face and Sootsprite liked it. As you can see they are enjoying the pie, and totally not just licking it because I put cat treats on the plate.

I meant to have this pie finished in time for Pi Day. And then we went into social isolation, which cancelled classes and due dates for this week.

Fortunately we had just enough time to have Pi Day, before isolation began. I made actual pies!

Clockwise from top left: bacon and mushroom quiche, Shepherd’s Pie, apple pie, and chocolate ganache tart. I spent all afternoon slaving away at these, but it was worth it to see so much gone by the end of the night. Some folks even took leftovers home!

The apple pie was the most intimidating because of all the apple peeling and lattice arranging. Which is why I got Hatter to do those things. 😀 I didn’t have nutmeg, so I substituted a secret ingredient. But it’s secret, so I won’t write it here. Don’t worry, rest assured it’s safe to eat. I just kept it secret from folks who might oppose it.

For the ganache tart, I used Chef John’s pots de creme recipe minus the coffee, poured it into the pie shell, and stuck it in the freezer for an hour. I was happy with how this turned out, because it was what I expected of a chocolate tart. Previously I made a chocolate pie, but found it too sweet and not at all like the silky, dark chocolate ganache I love. Hatter liked it, but I think a ganache tart is more of my taste. For best results, try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The taste and consistency reminded me of a popular ice cream chain’s cakes.

Baking all these pies, and being able to serve guests has boosted my confidence. Next, I want to make a key lime pie; real, and crochet. Mmmm….

It sucks to be isolated. But think of it this way: now you don’t have to share your pies! Here are some links to patterns and recipes, to keep you entertained:

Cherry Pie crochet pattern by Sherry Rohekar
Quiche recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
*Slow cooker Shepherd’s pie from Taste of Home
Apple pie with lattice crust from the Tenderflake official website
Chocolate mocha pots de creme by Chef John

*You can make this in the oven too. I used the slow cooker to save on oven space.

What other pies do you like? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

#WithDraw2020 Day 2: Wash

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. LCBO and Beer Stores are open for business. #priorities
Things are becoming more expensive. Even Super Saver yarn is being sold online for double the price you pay in-store. I have enough to finish my latest plush, it would still be nice to have enough yarn to keep occupied. I will make my way to the local crafts store before they shut down as well.
Which reminds me: stores are closing! Restaurants are offering takeout only, and even clothing retailers are closing up shop until further notice. I worry for employees at grocery stores and restaurants, who are being called in to work regardless.
Starting tomorrow, my school will be restricted to limited access. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, though not all my friends and classmates are so lucky. Yesterday was spent switching between group chats, making sure everyone’s okay and offering alternative software solutions.

It’s okay to be afraid, and to stay home. It’s also okay to take advantage of this temporary free time. Go outside and get some fresh air, just remember to practice physical distancing. Outside is safe; this isn’t the movie Bird Box!

Now, on to the drawing prompt: Wash.

Kenny doesn’t remember anything before coming to the orphanage. He remembers playing with his big sister, Kiri, and spending weeks in the infirmary during the spring months. Kiri taught him to wash his hands and brush his teeth, two things that were necessary when he was quarantined away from the other children. Kenny’s last memory of the orphanage was kneeling with his sister by a river bank. She was frantically scrubbing his hands and looking panicked. She scrubbed so hard that his arm went numb, and then…black.

Click image for original source

The above is the image I used for reference. It’s been a bit of a day today… No-Face has lost hair from the backs of both ears, and they have developed some gross crust around the inner edges. Applying his medicine while Sootsprite tries to swat his tail, has been a bit of a struggle. But hopefully if we follow the vet’s instructions, No-Face will be rid of whatever this condition is. I’ll be in Wonderland for a bit longer than anticipated, to make sure Nofie is okay, and to give Hatter some human contact during his work from home.

From here on, I expect to update Instagram way more often than this blog, or even Facebook. I have been working on a new plush, and expect to post about some of my in-progress animation work. Let’s all keep busy during this quarantine, and continue making the world plush as best we can.

Pika, so happy~

#WITHDRAW2020 Day 1: Home

*knock knock*
Who’s there?
COVID-19.
COVID-19 who?

Hopefully soon, the punchline will be, “Exactly!”

We’re all aware of the current state of the world. Mass panic, not a person to be seen in the streets, nor toilet paper rolls in the stores.

After taking the past several months to concentrate on finishing my final year of college, the publicly-funded school closures have forced me to take a break. So hello again. I’m Pika in a Bag, and we’re doing the WithDraw 2020 art challenge. My goal to be an animator, and create my own series, will not be stopped just because there’s an outbreak. If anything, this situation has only strengthened my resolve. Now I can work on my own things! It feels like forever since I got this chance.

This challenge was created by Simcha Fisher, over at simchafisher.com. I don’t know her personally, but we do have a few mutual friends. She’s definitely a clever person, to have thought of this challenge when literally the entire world will be bored at home. So hello Simcha! Challenge accepted!

Today’s prompt is Home. I drew a concept sketch of my main character’s room, in her home.

Sammi is a high school senior living in Ru Meilieu, Herota. Her only plan after graduation is to find the island of Larimar: an island that only exists in stories. But Sammi knows the island is real. It has to be, how else could someone like her exist? She wants answers, and someone — or something — is determined to keep her from finding them.

Sammi can often be found hunched at her desk, studying her world history books or scribbling secret letters to her friends. She will then roll up the latter, attach it to her faithful pet owl Hibou, and send him off to the recipient. She drew the mountains and trees on the wall when she was little, after reading that Larimar had beautiful mountains amid a vast forests. Papa wasn’t happy about it.

I was going to add one of those hanging lamps above her bed, with a pull-cord. That way Sammi could read in bed late at night. Also, scatter some papers and books on the desk. Because “tidy desks are for people with tidy lives.”

For the full challenge, and to see more of Ms. Simcha Fisher, you can follow her links:
simchafisher.com
Facebook

And that’s day 1 of the challenge. Tune in next time for the next day!

Pika, so happy~

Jasmine (Aladdin) – Amigurumi #53

I can show you the world,
Shining shimmering, plushy,
Tell me, Pika, now when did you last
finish a project?~ (8)

A whole new plushhhhhh~
A cute mini I never made,
But when I’m way down here,
It’s crystal clear,
that now I’m in a plushie world with you~

At long last, my Princess Jasmine plush has been completed! I call her Jasmini, for reasons you will see later in the blog. Though one reason is that she doesn’t have a mouth, and therefore she is speechless. Heh? HEH?!!!!??! 😀 (Click on “speechless” to get the joke, and enjoy a lovely song)

I used the same head, arms, and body shape as Ariel. Jasmine was a bit more of a challenge to make than Ariel, due to having those…what are they called? Oh, feet.

Pre-styled hair

She also needed a LOT more hair. Sadly to say that this final result doesn’t have the “volume” I was hoping for. Perhaps I should rub the lamp, and wish for a new way to make her hair thick and luxurious?

And yes, I am aware that I used the same skin tone for both characters. I consider these prototypes, hence they are not available in the shop. These two are good friends; they even take selfies together! Further research shows that these two often appear together, outside of their respective movies.

#disneyPrincess #damselsInSuccess

If I recall correctly, Jasmine was my first Disney princess. For my second Hallowe’en, at age 5, I dressed up as her. Mother Raichu even bought a dollar store hair extension to make my hair look super long. I wore the costume the following year to a Hallowe’en party, and kids asked “woah! Pika, is this really your hair?!”

That’s when I decided to grow my hair very long, “like a princess.” Sadly, having thick, naturally curly hair meant the Raichus would frequently chop it down once it got too long and tangled to manage. Years later, I would go to a whole new world; it gave me a new fantastic point of view. With no one to tell me no [you can’t have long hair,] or where to go [to get hair cut,] or say we’re only dreaming [of having long hair.] Okay, I’m done with that song.

On June 27, I finally saw the live action Aladdin! Naomi Scott was a good choice for Jasmine. The only thing I would change, was to make her hair look more cobra-like. If you look at animated Jasmine, her hair is in the silhouette of a cobra.

Here is a picture of me with Jasmini, wearing the Jasmine-themed romper I bought from Hot Topic. I’ve been excited to see the live action movie, since hearing that an old friend went to the same high school as Mena Massoud. Woo, Ontario represent! Also, Wash from Firefly, plays Iago the parrot? Huh. Guess we really couldn’t take the sky from him. Though technically, didn’t the sky take the Wash from us? Oops, Serenity spoiler.

[/tangent]

Anyway, when we went to see the new movie, I introduced Jasmini to bubble tea. She likes the papaya smoothie. For some reason, I think real Jasmine would have preferred mango.

Jasmini had the best seat in the house: in my hat! She enjoyed every second of the movie, and sang along whenever Jasmine was on screen. Well okay, she hummed along, due to not having a mouth. During the end of A Whole New World, the Mad Hatter leaned toward me. Jasmini booped his head.

Perhaps with another blog post, I will give a full review of the movie. I should re-watch the animated Aladdin at some point. I remember watching Return of Jafar, and I remember this song from the third installment. But oddly enough, I don’t remember the original “classic” that everyone raves about. Hopefully I will be able to rewatch the animated movie some time soon.

As a kid, I also liked Jasmine, because she looked the most like me. Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario during the late 90’s meant I was mostly surrounded by, well…. people who looked more like Ariel. And I never knew how to explain my heritage to people, since my parents were never clear on it, either. Now that I think about it, the best description of my heritage is similar to Jasmine’s: it’s an amalgamation of cities and cultures. Jasmine’s city of Agrabah is a made up city, that draws from Middle Eastern and Indian cultures. I was born here in Canada, my parents were born in another country, and our heritage is from another country. If that makes sense. Sometimes I recognize foods, words, and mannerisms in other cultures, that my parents taught me growing up. They aren’t the same, but they are similar. Jasmine’s outfit in the animated movie is different from what a Middle Eastern or Indian princess would wear during that time period, but it is inspired off outfits that real Harem women would have worn. And her hair was designed to imitate the towers of the Taj Mahal, which confused me about the cobra silhouette earlier. Point is, Jasmine is a lot of things. And so am I.

Also like Jasmine, I have felt pressure to do things a certain way because “it’s tradition.” Jasmine was supposed to marry a prince, because she was a princess and it was tradition for her to continue the royal bloodline. But she chose Aladdin/Prince Ali, not only for what he could give her materially, but because he helped her achieve the life of freedom she always longed for. For my family, it is against tradition to move out before getting married, and it was unheard of to fall in love with someone of a different culture. But then I met the Mad Hatter, and he helped encourage me to pursue my dreams. That ultimately gave me the courage to move out and pursue my own independence. Now I’m looking forward to my final year of college, and hope that one day I can create movies that inspire people, just like how Jasmine inspired me. All it took was a little going against the norm.

Who was your favourite Disney princess? Have you seen the new Aladdin movie? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Sushi Cats – Amigurumi #52

I asked on my Facebook page, and you answered! You guys really seem to like cats, and food. the lucky winner of the plush suggestion is…..

Cat Sushi!

Or are they Sushi Cats? Either way, these cute little guys exist. Two versions exist: salmon Nigiri (left) and Tamago. Tamago was created first, as evidenced by his eerie eyes and failed cross-stitched mouth. I’ll admit, I’m not one to cross-stitch often.

They have little tails, too!

Lookit the tails!

It is important to keep your sushi cats fed and happy. They are social creatures and thrive best when kept with at least one other friend. Put them on a pizza trivet, and you’ve got sushi pizza!

Perhaps I’ll stick a key ring on these guys and make them into keychains. They could also be made into larger pillows, like the Pusheen I made for Toni. (Oh no, I never blogged about that…)

Nofie and Sootsie didn’t seem particularly interested in these cat sushis. I blame the abundance of boxes and wrapping paper. Although, I did get Nofie to paw the tamago around a strip of wrapping paper. Both of them really liked the No-Face and soot sprite plushies. Maybe a little too much. The poor plushies don’t quite look like themselves anymore. ( ;w; )

For cat toys, it is best to use cotton yarn, so as to withstand the gnawing and licking. To give plushies a fuzzy texture, I use a pet brush that I specifically bought for this purpose. (For those concerned about allergens and cross-contamination) These brushes mimic a cat’s naturally coarse tongue, resulting in soft, mat-free fur. No-Face and the sootsprite plush got naturally brushed. XP Nigiri’s salmon piece is made from cotton yarn, as is Tamago’s seaweed. I think these cat sushis made from 100% cotton would make nice cat toys.

As you may recall, the shop is opening soon! The Torchic keychains and Popplio will be for sale, and comissions will be open! Leave your suggestions and let’s see how much more plush we can make this world!

What kind of sushi is your favourite? Mine is salmon sashimi. What should the next plush be? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Make This Again: Torchic – Amigurumi #9.1 + Bad News…

Ever heard of the Draw This Again challenge? If not, it’s pretty self-explanatory. I did the “Make This Again” challenge. Here are two wee baby Torchics!

Ahh! Surely, I have improved!

Previously, I tried to make the plushie all one piece. While efficient, it robbed the plushie of its intended shape. I’ve also used brighter coloured orange yarn to help them stand out. The feet are still chained, but they are broader and are closer to chicken feet. It was a hassle to sew the head, wings, and body together, but it was worth it in the end. I now feel confident selling these little guys in the shop.

Five years ago, I made a Torchic key charm for Kitty, before he went to live in the UK for a year. He attached it to his luggage, as intended.

When he went through baggage claim, he found his luggage…but not Torchic. It made me sad.

This time, I’m prepared.

I attached a metal keychain! It’s not great as a baggage tag anymore, but it’s definitely stronger than a yarn cord. This Torchic would be right at home on a backpack or carry-on.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since Kitty went to the UK. How much has changed since then? Well, to sum up, he now has a master’s degree, a beautiful wife, and a million more snob points. He’s seen me through new beginnings and bad breakups, made jokes at my expense, and took his share of my salt. He’s just like a real cat; drives you up the wall, but at the end of the day provides comfort. Sad to say we don’t talk as often as we used to, due to busy schedules and life in general. But when we do chat, it’s as though nothing has changed. This is my favourite kind of friendship. And we’ve established that he’s playing piano for my wedding, if I ever get married.

Now that you’re all happy from seeing such a cute little fire chicken…time for the bad news: I done goofed. Tomorrow was supposed to be the re-launch of my shop. However, due to imminent travel plans for which I forgot to account, the shop will be unavailable until May 12.

All is not lost, however! I will be taking requests and commissions during this time period. I currently only have Torchic and Popplio scheduled to be sold, but we need more colours, yarnit! Leave suggestions for plushies/amigurumi that you’d like to see, and let’s start making the world plush!

Do you have any commission suggestions? Have you attempted the “make/draw this again” challenge? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

*Edit: changed “darnit” to “yarnit” at former roommate’s request. Miss ya, Triztan!

Taco – Amigurumi #51

There are a couple things I want to taco ’bout.

First, this is a taco. It’s one of the plushies from the plush binge a couple years back. It has been almost 2 years since the binge, and I may have forgotten what plushies were made when. For argument’s sake, let’s say that there were actually 5 plushies in the binge, because I don’t remember making the cupcake that time, but I do remember making the taco.

Click here to view 1/5: Pudding

Click here to view 2/5: Ice-Cream

Click here to view 3/5: Cupcake

Tacos are amazing, as this video from Pleated Jeans will tell you. They can be crunchy or chewy, meaty or beany, cheesy or saucy. There’s something for everyone, and you can’t be wrong no matter what you choose. As a wee Pichu, I remember the Raichus taking us to Scarborough Town Center, where we would eat fresh, crispy tacos, and I would get ice cream for dessert.

I was craving tacos today, and took that as an opportunity to take some taco pics. I got 2 tacos, supreme fries, and some cinnamon bites. As I type this, I just remembered the latter are still in my bag. (Was too full of fountain drink to eat them)

Hatter suggested I save the amigurumi taco for last, because it looked like the best. So I did. But when I took a bite of it, I went *pleh pleh pleh* I guess just because something looks good on the inside, doesn’t mean it tastes good on the inside.

Messy food is best.

The amigurumi taco contains little red tomato bits. Perhaps I should have made them more prominent.

The next thing I want to mention is: 4 more days until the shop re-opens! I will be selling small plushies and remaking some old ones, as well. I think I will include several plushies as a single listing at a time. Larger plushies will get their own listings.

You will be able to purchase the plushies through PayPal, and in time I hope to incorporate online banking as an option. (I haven’t been on Etsy in a while, and want to check what other payment options are available) Currently, the plushies are only for sale in Canada, but hopefully after the shop sees more success, I can start shipping south of the border.

If anyone I know personally is reading this, please contact me directly for plushie orders. 😉

Hard, or soft tacos? What do you put in your tacos? Do you like fire sauce? What else do you like to eat with your tacos? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~