Happy Birthday, Mad Hatter!

To my darling Mad Hatter,

Happy birthday! You have blessed this world for 9131 days! And as of today, you have blessed my world for 747 days.

I started working on a present, to celebrate our 730 days together. But of course, I didn’t finish in time. Guess that means I’ve got to pamper you even more this Christmas!

In the mean time, I’ve compiled some journals of our most recent week together. As my first blog subscriber, I dedicate this post to you. ❤

 

Adventures in Wonderland, October 21 – 28, 2018

—Sunday—-

At long last, I have arrived! And I got to meet the newcomers!

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Meet No-Face and Sootsprite, Hatter’s new pets! No-Face is the lighter of the two. I call them “Nofie” and “Sootsie” for short. They are about 3 months old, and are like two peas in a pod. When they get separated, they meow until they are reunited. I think they miss their momma cat.

Mad Hatter cooked me a delicious steak dinner, and I made the baked potatoes. Or at least, I tried to….

The skin did not crisp, as expected. It turns out you’re only supposed to drizzle a bit of oil, rather than rub the oil all over the potatoes. Oh well, you live and learn. The cheese and meat juices gave the potatoes all the savour they needed.

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—Monday—

Shopping, first day home alone with the kitties, and a mysterious brown package.

I broke out in horrendous hives this week. Okay, they had technically started the week before, but today they flared up all over my legs, arms, and hands. I walked with Hatter partway to his work, and then went to the drug store to buy anti-itch medicine.

Downtown Wonderland is pretty quiet in the mornings, but it does provide some nice street-side topiaries. And some of the neighbours really go all-out for Hallowe’en.

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A mysterious package arrived from Amazon.

And…I think I’m in love.

Mad Hatter bought this for me, in hopes that I could use it to work comfortably on my animation assignments. Now, even 800+ MB Maya files open, and run like a dream. On top of that, Steam works again! I haven’t used it in four years…

I’ll make you proud, Hatter. I’ll make cool things using this laptop. And you’ll be all, “why, my pretty girlfriend made all these amazing things, using the laptop I gave her!” Thank you, I love you. ❤

 

—Tuesday—

Today was a fiddle day. By which I mean it was a day to fiddle with the shiny new laptop. Sadly, I didn’t accomplish much, with all the hive itching.

I finally played Fez. Look at this fellow, walking around!

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Four years ago, I would’ve had more in-depth things to say about this game. If I recall, I originally bought the game, to write a game development blog about it. For now, my verdict is: Fez is fun. Play it, and try to find all the secrets.

At least the previous night’s dinner, made for great leftovers. (Failed) Goulash, alfredo pasta, and green peas.

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The rest of the night contained kitten shennanigans. The kittens discovered the stairs… and how to fall down them.

I gave the kitties a jingle bell ball. 18 hours later, it vanished.

 

—Wednesday—

We let the kitties wander about the apartment. But then we realized a little too late that….someone had a poop butt. Gross!

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Who, me? (*This might actually be Nofie)

*sigh* Apparently, we forgot the problems of long haired cats…and things getting stuck to their fur. So after he left several “butt prints” on the already-brown floor, we had to give Sootsie a bath. He wasn’t too happy about it, but he seemed a lot better after I held him in my arms, while he was wrapped in a towel burrito. I gave him a treat, for being a good bather.

The rest of the day consisted of general housekeeping. After a summer of getting paid to do this, I…actually kind of miss it? The getting paid part, anyway.

The hives had caused my hands to swell, when I washed the dishes, so we decided to eat out for dinner. OF COURSE, guess who decided to show up unannounced, and uninvited, just as I was getting all dressed up? Nobody’s favourite fairy! Mad Hatter bought us burgers. It was still a lovely night, even if we stayed in. Perhaps we can dress up, and go out another time.

 

—Thursday—

The day we (maybe?) ate laundry detergent.

I braved the red fairy’s curse, to cook spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. The recipe called for corn starch.

screenshot_2018-11-02-00-26-14I opened a plastic baggie containing what I thought was corn starch, and immediately noticed it smelled…nice. Like, artificial, floral-scented nice. Curious, I gave it a taste… and it felt like I had licked a bar of soap. I texted Hatter, and he assured me it was indeed corn starch. I took his word, (I had never tasted straight up corn starch before) finished cooking, and awaited the return of my hatter.

It did smell nice, and the spaghetti turned out perfectly springy.

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And then…. we both started to get suspicious. The sauce had a soapy taste to it, and it was a lot darker than Hatter was used to. I texted Shoonie, the baking/cooking expert, voicing my concerns about the white powder. She responded:

She ended up calling us in a semi-panic. XD

We’re fine, don’t worry. We didn’t eat much of our dinner, and I hadn’t been feeling well enough to eat much that day anyway. It kinda sucked that we had to throw away all the sauce, but we managed to store the remaining spaghetti. Hope it’s not still there as I post this…

After that incident, we took Nofie and Sootsie to their first vet visit. It turns out they’re both boy cats! No wonder they love to rough house, like brothers often do. Sootsie growled, when the vet poked him with the vaccine, but otherwise, both were well behaved boys. I felt like a proud parent. XD We had to give them some follow up medicines when we got home, which proved to be a struggle at first. Poor Mad Hatter faced the long claw of the law, when he tried to pin one, and squirt the medicine into their mouth. (Translation: Hatter got scratched)

*Protip for giving pets oral medicine: squeeze the syringe gradually, and let your pet lap up the medicine. It’s less stressful for them, and for you, too!

 

—Friday—

Working from home….

I had the worst morning. Not only did I barely sleep the night before, but I woke up with my right eye swollen shut! I forced myself out of bed, to see Hatter off to work, and we sat at the breakfast table together. I remember feeling woozy, and the only thought was, “I need to lie down.” Next thing I know, I’m on the floor…

Hatter worked from home, while I napped on the couch for the rest of the morning. When I woke up, we made a trip to the walk in clinic, to finally see about the horrendous hives. (They had not changed all week) Sure enough, within minutes of taking the medicine, I felt my face melting back into its original shape. And the hives died down quickly, though as of writing this, they do flare up from time to time. But at least now they’re under control.

I gave Hatter an early birthday present. Let me take a moment, to apologize in advance, to anyone who was subjected to his dreaded toe shoes…

I bought these from Muji. Next time I see him, I’ll bring my Rainbow Brite toe socks.

Oh yeah, we had fish and chips for dinner.

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—Saturday—

Last full day in Wonderland… Let’s start the day off, with the most important meal of the day.

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I have shared pictures of our meals, because they represent my favourite parts of the week: when the Mad Hatter and I sit down to a delicious meal. Sometimes he cooks, sometimes I cook, and sometimes we cook together. But in the end, we sit down to eat, relax, and just be together. Whether we’re at East Side Mario’s in our nice clothes, or just at home in our pyjamas making spaghetti, I hope I’ll be able to share many more meals with my Hatter.

After a week with the kittens, I have observed that Sootsprite is more interested in human cuddles, than No-Face. I’ll just pick him up and carry him like a baby, and he dozes right off. He purrs really, really loudly.

On the other hand, No-Face appears to be the smarter of the two. He’s figured out that he needs to cover his business, after using the litter box. He’s also the more peaceful of the two brothers: if he’s going for a toy, and his brother gets to it first, he’ll go “eh…” and sit quietly until it’s his turn. Sometimes I’ll throw a toy for No-Face, and zooom! Sootsprite will run to steal it.

Click here to witness the circle of pets.

Mad Hatter’s good friend, Paul, came for dinner. We made spaghetti carbonara, watched Spirited Away (too bad Nofie and Sootsie weren’t interested in seeing their namesakes…) and served tea and cookies for Paul’s parents, when they came to pick him up. And I think Paul’s mom, conquered her (fear?) of cats. Paul and his parents are nice. Last year, they invited us to a Christmas party, which is where I first met them. I wonder, if we will see them again this Christmas?

 

—Sunday, October 28—

Before they got married, my friend Kitty would recount how he and Bear would cry, when they had to be separated again. I don’t cry when I have to be separated from Hatter, because I know I’ll see him again soon. But I do feel that sense of emptiness. This week, it felt like I had my own little family, of a Mad Hatter, and two “hairy babies.” Mad Hatter, Nofie, and Sootsie… I’ll be with you again real soon. ❤

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Happy birthday, Ben. ❤

*plays the song you sent last night*

Pika, so happy~

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Kittens – Amigurumi #41

Kitties!!!

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Mad Hatter’s niece, Lily, turned three in June. She likes kitten stuffies, particularly purple ones. Due to some weather related issues, we ended up skipping the beach party (sad!) and going straight to Lily’s house instead. (Happy!)

These kitty patterns were designed by the talented designers over at Lilleliis. It was easy and clear to follow along. When worked on a larger sized hook, these kitties end up being the perfect cuddle size, for a small child like Lily. The only thing I don’t understand, was why the girl cat didn’t have a shirt.

dsc_13261On the right, is a picture of what the kitties were going to look like, before Mother Top Hat lent me her cross stitch equipment. It was cute, but sadly the kitties’ faces didn’t quite match enough. I liked embroidering the faces better, because the thread was fine enough to give the girl cat eyelashes.

These kitties gave me a chance to hang out with Cassie again. She covered Soft Kitty, and Adele’s Hello.* Cassie liked the cats. Cat-sie.

This is how the kitties stand upright:

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No bones, no bones, no bones…no tail?

Me: “Duchess, what do you think of the cat?”
Duchess: *sniff sniff sniff*

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Mad Hatter got a job at a prestigious company! Which company is it? That’s a secret. But it means the winds of changes are brewing stronger than ever. We must remind ourselves, that we are not just stagnating. We are working and grinding to save money, learn skills, and build relationships. It will also mean fewer trips to see the cats. This is why Mad Hatter must work hard to make lots of money, so he can adopt his own cat.

This pattern is credited to Lilleliis. For this pattern and more, click here to visit their website.

Because Lily is a minor, I will not show her picture. Just imagine a cute little girl, sitting on a Pika’s lap, with a Mad Hatter beside them.

Do you like cats? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

*Spadina and Bloor is an intersection in Toronto.

Tea and Gondor – DIY #11

I made a cozy for the Mad Hatter’s sister, Kate. It features a cross stitch pattern of the Tree of Gondor, from Lord of the Rings.

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Click to see the video demonstration.

This cozy is part of an art exchange. Kate made me this adorable earring and necklace set. Now I can always keep the Mad Hatter close to my heart. ❤

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Unfortunately, I don’t know much about Lord of the Rings, (I was more of a Harry Potter fan) aside from this ancient meme. I do know however, that cross stitch is not my forte. Multiple sources have tried to teach me over the years, yet the stitches never look right. That’s when Mad Hatter designed this pattern, which accounts for the chunkier floss (yarn) used in the project.

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The body of the cozy was created using materials provided by Mother Top Hat. I used her cozy to make a pattern, and sewed the batting inside. The crochet cover took forever to make, but it was all worth it to see it come to completion. And I had a lot of fun cross stitching the Tree of Gondor. In the future, I might make the cover a bit tighter. I didn’t count on it becoming drapey in the wash. x_x

Mother Raichu was tickled to see a tea cozy again, after many years. Apparently, tea cozies were all the rage in the olden days. My grandmother Raichu used to cross stitch her own covers, too! Perhaps I will make a cozy for us, and decorate it with cross stitch flowers.

*yawn* As I type this, it is 1:50 AM, and I long for a cup of tea. We have just completed my first game jam with the Mad Hatter and friends. I hope to blog about our final game here soon. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, that as soon as I lamented not being creatively productive over the summer, Mad Hatter suggested this game jam. He’s always looking out for my best interest, and his cuddles warm me up like a hot cup of Forest Green. Kate is probably thinking, “my brother, cute? Eww…” XD

If you’d like to get to know Kate a bit better, you can read her blog, Peace and Pekoe. I blog about crafts while musing about life, and she blogs about life while musing about “a lot of things.” – Mad Hatter 2018

Are you a tea drinker? If so, what is your favourite kind of tea? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

 

Totoro – Amigurumi #40

To-toro, to-toro~ To-toro, to-toro~

 

This Totoro was made for my friend An. Her birthday was on the 13th of this month. She loves Ghibli characters, and has a Totoro keychain. I had tons of grey yarn to burn, so I figured, why not a cuddly Totoro?

This Totoro is about 8 inches, or however tall this water bottle is. All I can say for certain is that he’s big enough to cuddle. Which is what An did as soon as she took him out of the bag.

 

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Totoro found his mini-me

What else can I say about An… out of all four of us main girls, she’s probably my favourite artists. She has a very light, yet detailed style of drawing. I’m even more impressed that she manages to juggle school, on top of a part time job. I’m also impressed that it took so long before her, “Pikaaaa, how do you do this in Mayaaa?” got annoying. XD I am proud of how far An has come with her 3D modelling skills. I also appreciate that she shares a lot of drawing references on her Facebook page, because they have been instrumental to my gaining confidence and practice in hand drawing.

An is also one of the few school friends who isn’t going back to a home country this summer. I’m thinking of a movie night at some point…

You can see more of An’s art on her Instagram page.

As of Friday, we have officially completed our first year of Animation! The year has flown by. It’s hard to believe that in only 8 months, I moved to a new place, made new friends, finally got a chance to leave the Fluff Company, and spent long hours stuck in the computer labs at school. It’s been absolute heaven, and absolute hell at the same time. Click on the pics below for caption nonsense.

Maybe one day, we will create memorable cartoons like Studio Ghibli. Maybe we will create our own studio! Whatever the future holds, let us never forget what inspired us to move in that direction, and thank the people who supported and cheered us on while we did so.

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How has your school year been? Spring/summer, anyone? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Cherry Tart – Amigurumi #40

Happy Pi Day!

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This cherry tart was made out of boredom. It was going to be a cupcake, but then I failed. The cherries look like literal bombs. If you give this to someone, are you saying that you’re their ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb?!

Here is the tart beside a cupcake, which was going to be a slice of pie, but it failed:

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It turns out that the tart is scaled to real life!

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I made mini quiches for the first time today. They contain cheese and green onion. I skimped on the bacon bits, because they were expensive and I’m already on a tight budget. [/collegeLife] I substituted with flaked ham, which didn’t have the same smokey taste. And I should’ve used a less overwhelming cheese besides cheddar, so they wouldn’t have turned out as salty. Regardless, my roommate, Juefei, ate a third of them!

Mmmmm fresh out of the oven… Though I probably should have baked the crust separately. I theorize that my college city has a pie ban; we went to two different grocery stores to find cream pies, and came up short. Instead, we have a McCain cake.

What do you mean “cupcakes don’t count as pies?!”

What kinds of pies did you eat today? Or did you use pi in your equations at school? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

So…Where have I been?

Happy New Year 2018!!! I’ve been MIA for the last few months of 2017.

Let me explain where I’ve been for the past few months: I got into art college! As a result, I’ve been drawing and animating all semester, even during the 5-week-long, province-wide strike. Thanks to that strike, our semester ended in the middle of January, and we are now into the second semester. Goodbye, reading week, you will be missed… 😦

Here are some of my workings from these past semester.

Life drawings

Yes, they were real live nude models. Come now, we’re all adults here.

Remember the golden rule of life drawing etiquette: don’t chatter, take pictures, or laugh during life drawing. It’s distracting and disrespectful to the model, as well as to your fellow sketching artists.

 

After impromptu sketching a classmate, you really appreciate the skill and patience models have, to hold perfectly still.

I quite liked our female model. Her curves were soothing, and fun to draw. Although I didn’t like some of my classmates’ reactions to the models: “why can’t we draw hot people?” As animators, we will be required to draw people of various ages, genders, races, and body types. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to the chiseled Adonis, or the wide-eyed anime girl. I could probably write an entire post, about why teachers “don’t like Anime.”

Speaking of which, I’d like to think life drawing has encouraged me to break out of my limiting box. To aspiring artists out there, remember: even the best manga-ka have an understanding of human anatomy.

 

Character Sketches

A term you will learn about is silhouette. Indeed, all characters have distinct silhouettes. For example, even if I showed you this silhouette, you already know who this is:mickey

Similarly, we studied silhouettes and designed characters. This is Frank McLauchlin, a “goofy” archetype character I designed for assignment purposes. Because of his design, Frank is capable of pulling humourous body language and poses. Here he is falling down, surprised, chilling, running, and hungry:

 

Modelling

Ah, modelling…I have a love/hate relationship with Maya, and the things it entails. I made a sword, though. And a Master Sword! (Click for the original concept art source)

Oh, and I made a house.

 

Animation

Unfortunately the playblasts refuse to cooperate with YouTube. But I did animate a bouncing ball, follow-through actions (tail wagging in response to the bouncing motion) and other neat things. You’ll just have to take honsest PiBaa’s word for it.

 

 

It’s really happening, guys. I’m finally on my way to make great artwork, and animation. Let’s keep making the world plush…and animated!

Pika, so happy~

Ice Cream – Amigurumi #39

I scream you scream, we all scream for… plushie 2/4 from the summer binge! Click here to view the first one.

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Pictured with its friend, the Lolly

Greetings from my home, away from home! I have now completed the first semester in residence. I am very excited to finally be taking steps towards true independence.

Residence isn’t necessarily living on your own; you have a roommate. One of my prospective roommates was a girl called Maddie. I’m still not 100% sure why I chose Juefei over her. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both lovely girls, but for some reason I felt like Juefei would be a good choice. As fate should have it, Maddie ended up living right next door! Yay, wall mates! I gave her this ice cream cone as a first meeting present. (Juefei got the chocolate covered strawberry) Ice cream is now sitting with Doggy.

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I lost the picture of Squirtle eating the ice cream. Oh well.

The original plan, was to make the ice cream scoops and cone all one piece. When that failed, I made the vanilla and strawberry scoops separately, and the chocolate attached to the cone. No more chocolate drips this way!

As much as I love ice cream, it was the food that taught me I’m lactose intolerant. Shoonie can attest, that that was the worst car ride ever. We had gone to PEI, and stopped at COWS Creamerey for…well, what else? COWS prides themselves on their 100% real dairy ice cream, and it was indeed delicious. But about an hour after consuming this delicious treat… ohhhh my poor tummy. And I had to sit in the car for an hour, feeling like I was gonna explode. Luckily Uncle Shoon was great and managed to pull over to a nearby gas station.

Oddly enough, store-bought ice cream from the grocery store rarely affects me. What the sheep on the farm is in that stuff? Or rather…isn’t in that stuff?!

 

 

 

What do you think 3/4 will be? Do you like ice cream? What is your favourite flavour? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~