Anime North 2017! (Floof and Poof’s Excellent Adventure)

So much for blogging during the actual con, we were too busy enjoying every moment of it!

And so much for posting the weekend after… ( > _ > )

Anime North 2017 concluded on Sunday, May 28. I attended for the full weekend, cosplaying a childhood favourite: Sheena Fujibayashi, the ninja summoner from Tales of Symphonia. (I got hyped just by saying that out loud!) I even had the Corrine plushie to match!

This blog will cover my experiences, and include some updates to the blog from two years ago. For title purposes, Top Hat/Mad Hatter will be referred to as “Floof,” and I will be referred to as “Poof.”

 

Friday – Arrival and first evening

Since we were staying in a hotel this time around, I managed to avoid the worst of the rush. Or so I thought… it turns out the 52 will be crowded no matter what. I guess it didn’t help that I was travelling during rush hour, when kids get off school. Nonetheless, I made it to our hotel, and after a traditional Anime North dinner, I threw on my costume and headed to the con.

Some tips for commuting by TTC’s green line: go to Kipling station, and grab the 43 from there. It looks like a long trip, but believe me, it will save you the fumbling from Lawrence West, to Lawrence, and back again.

DSC_0490

Corrine meeting Sheep for the first time

Now before we move on, I would like to share a pro tip on hotel living, re: food. If you have a long commute from your home to your hotel, pack non-perishable foods that are inexpensive, yet filling. Some ideas include:

  • Hot Rods (salami sticks)
  • granola bars
  • Bread (specifically buns)
  • fruit cups
  • cookies
  • muffins
  • summer sausage (or other non-perishable meats that you can slice as needed)
  • ramen noodle cups
DSC_0502.jpg

A traditional Anime North dinner

The last one is a staple of conventions in general, because they are lightweight, filling, and easy to prepare. I think further meal information will be part of a second blog, since there is quite a lot to cover. We made our noodles with the coffee maker. Don’t forget to use the coffee maker for its intended purpose as well, and take advantage of the hotel’s complementary breakfast! And remember, there’s nothing like a hot cup of tea after walking all day.

 

Cosplay

Remember what I said two years ago, about crunching on your costume no matter what? Well, this year I barely slept at all the night before. I literally stayed up all night trying to sew the gloves just right, before saying “forget it,” not completing the boot covers, and falling asleep from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. I was running on 3 hours of sleep, and the con hadn’t even officially begun!

LOL DSC_0511LOL IMG_20170527_144255IMG_20170527_143946IMG_20170527_144145DSC_0510LOL IMG_20170527_144323

You can tell from the pictures why I’ve dubbed myself “Poof.” My poofy hair is my defining feature, so instead of donning a wig, I like to make use of its natural state. Too bad I balked at cutting the appropriate bangs. But for the most part, I’m pretty happy with how my costume turned out. And it was really flattering, that people asked me for pictures. In the future, I would like to make a blog about what went into the costume.

 

Artist’s Alley

We spent most of our time in Artist’s Alley, looking at all the cool things people had for sale. While there, we ran into a few nice cosplays. (If anyone knows the people in these pictures, please tell me so we can give credit where credit is due!)

 

DSC_0526

Yato gave me his business card. Perhaps I’ll call him in to write a guest post one day.

 

With impending changes, I thought it would be nice to pick up some updated artwork deco. I also found some inspiration for future crafts and plushies! Corrine and Bunny were very happy to be among their kind. I will include links to the interesting shops and art pages below. Please pay them a visit! The amis pictured below were made by Golden Enigma Crochet.

About that jellyfish… it seems great crafters craft alike. 😀 I prefer the way hers turned out: the frill is wide and defined. Not to mention it ripples around uniformly, between each leg.

DSC_0508

More of Golden Enigma’s kawaii kreations

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I always feel bad browsing the cute amis and thinking, “I could totally make this, if I would stop being so darn lazy…” Then I remember Corrine, and how happy I was to see him finally completed. The girl running Golden Enigma booth also admired him. I think it’s important that crafting communities take time to admire each others’ work, and give constructive feedback, rather than tearing each other down or trying to outsell each other. We are skilled in rare arts; we mustn’t let them turn into yet another mass-produced, corporate mess.

LOL DSC_0523

Shoon Jr. the Alpaca

We also found some alpacas with bows on their heads. Just like Shoonie! Sadly, I don’t remember who made these. Let me know, if you find it in the links below!

 

Here are some artist links worth visiting:

Golden Enigma (awesome crochet!)

Yuukiice (an old friend from Uni. She’s a talented artist!)

Janice Sung (more arts)

Red Paw Designs (hilarious chibi prints)

Colourfy Me (Cute crafts)

Snow Paws (Art and unique plushie design)

Geek @ ❤ (Geeky trinkets and knick knacks. This name sounds familiar…)

 

Saturday – Panels and stuff

We actually attended a panel today! It was a panel about paper cutting. The presenter made some interesting cutouts, and even demonstrated his techniques. For further information, you can visit his blog, at https://japanesepapercutting.wordpress.com/. Maybe one day, I can try making something for Floof. I find myself drawn toward educational panels; it’s fun to learn about new crafts, and polish your knowledge of old crafts.

We also attended a few improv sessions. Have you heard of the 404s? I hadn’t, until I viewed their YouTube channel and noticed a couple familiar names… Andre (Black Nerd Comedy) and Skitch. Hm…

NC

Holy sheep on the farm! Skitch orchestrated the intro/outro theme for Nostalgia Critic! And Black Nerd is the same Black Nerd from the Smurfs review! The world of YouTube just got a bit smaller. And I begged Floof to take me for chicken nuggets afterward. (He did take me out. But I’m not gonna say where. ^_^ )

I avoided fandom panels this year, mainly due to how nutty bananas people have gotten over the years, in regards to their favourite things. Seriously guys, we all love the same things, we just have different ways of showing how much we love them. Unfortunately, you get too many vocal “purists” who make fandoms inhospitable to newcomers. That, and the panels overlapped with other things we wanted to visit. XP And we avoided the One Punch Man panels, because Floof knew that none of the Saitama cosplayers’ heads were shiny enough.

IMG_20170528_183956We also watched a kimono dressing race. It was interesting to watch how they tied the kimono, compared to the way I tied mine. Sheena’s belt is tied in a big bow, with long trailing ends. To tie my belt, I used a tutorial for tying basics, and worked out my own method to look closer to the official artwork. I want to post the full method in a seperate blog, about the costume.

Although you’ll want to save your money to buy souvenirs from the con, it’s okay to go out to eat at least once. (I really wanted chicken nuggets, okay?!) We found a familiar restaurant, which didn’t have any lineup at all. And yes, the food was tasty. I think it was because it was so out of the way, that many people didn’t consider it an option. That’s another tip: costume and comfort permitting, try to explore the area outside the con. You never know what you might find!

 

Sunday – Photoshoots!

Finally, the day we’ve all been waiting for! The Tales of… photoshoot was held today. I knew I was home when we were trying to cross the street, and the Kratos in charge squee’d, “OMG SHEENA!!!” I got to pose with an adorable Collette, and Zelos cosplay. There sure were a lot of Zestiria cosplays. This group was amusing: the Mikleo was hesitating to join in the Sorey/Mikleo shots, so Alicia pushed him in. XD

DSC_0544.jpg

You can also click here for the official Anime North photoshoot page. Be prepared for a swarm of D.Va cosplays in the Overwatch category. If you attended this year and got some great photos at the photoshoots, please upload them to share the awesomeness with the world!

Here are a few more shots I managed to get, with Colette and Zelos. We recreated some funny scenes and fanart.

comparison1.png

“Sheena’s real name is ‘Violent Demonic Banshee!’ …. >_< SEE?! I TOLD YOU SHE’S VIOLENT!”

comparison2

A memento from Corrine

comparison3

T_T

 

sheena fall.jpg

Click image to view fullscreen

The last one was based off this point in the game.

Sunday is also the last day to purchase things, so get over to Vendor’s/Artist’s Alley to grab those deals before they close up shop! I bought a few candy kits for Shoonie, the “OMG THEY KILLED RORY!**” print, supported Yuu-ki by buying a Gerudo Link sticker, and got the candy bento kit to try with Floof. I’m quite proud of myself: my only real weakness is candy kits. X3;

Expect to see fewer cosplays on Sunday, as this is the last day of the con. At 8:00 pm, say goodnight to the best 52 hours of otaku life in Toronto. (Though technically, it’s in Etobicoke) But it’s okay, because then you can head back and enjoy the merch you bought, and the last night of chills in your hotel. I made Floof try the bento candy kit. His verdict was 7/10, and the broccoli didn’t turn out mushy and slimy. Maybe Shoonie and I just have bad luck.

If possible, stay the night on Sunday, and leave Monday morning. This will significantly reduce the rush to get home, as many people will leave after the closing ceremonies on Sunday.

And so ended a lovely weekend at Anime North. Before Floof returned home, we used the coupon we received for Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Cafe. Considering all the time we spend apart, you think I’d be used to seeing him go…

I’ve decided to go again in two years. While it is a fun trip, Anime North gets pretty darn expensive. Once you account for the cost of tickets, hotel, food, transportation, and merch, you’re looking at spending no less than $300, and that’s a very forgiving estimate. It helps to put aside a little bit of money throughout the year, so you can treat yourself once the big weekend rolls around. And in my case, that two year wait gives me enough time to decide on a couple’s cosplay for Floof and Poof. :3

Did you go to Anime North? If so, have we met? Do you plan to go in the future? If Colette and Zelos from the pics are reading this, you girls were awesome!! Comment below!

Pika, **you Daleks!

 

Corrine (Tales of Symphonia) – Amigurumi #36

At long last!

DSC_0463

This is Corrine, Sheena’s first summon spirit from one of my childhood favourite games, Tales of Symphonia.

058e9c5c25edf56b016474a570f87d3a

Corrine as seen in the anime

Although he has only 3 – 4 lines of VO in the English release, Corrine was a crucial part of Sheena’s character, who sacrifices himself to protect her from a an attack by the summon spirit, Volt. It is thanks to his sacrifice that Sheena overcomes her fear of failure and losing her friends, and finally forms the pact with Volt. If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the original game, you can watch the clip from the anime, which did a much better job of expressing the emotion around Corrine’s sacrifice. I highly recommend watching the full animated series, which focused on creating emotional connections to the characters, rather than just generalizing their backstories to suit the overall theme.

Corrine’s body is made using a modified version of Wolfdreamer’s Umbreon plushie. The Umbreon I made from this pattern was confused.

DSC_0483

DSC_0465The tails took a lot more fiddling than anticipated. I was originally going to make a long rope, as with the pretzel plushie, and roll them up to look like curly tails. After factoring in the colour changes, I realized this would not look smooth. And so, I tweaked it… and that didn’t work, either. In the end, I went with the “pretzel” method, by making a long rope and coiling each tail into place. The hair was made using the method from a previous blog post, except I just brushed strands until they fluffed.

As you can tell from the photo, Corrine can’t stand up properly, due to the added weight of his tails. It causes him to sit on his haunches. By the time Anime North arrives, Corrine will have his bell accessory.

Today, I took Corrine to the park for a photoshoot. *cough* And to place Pokemon at the gym, now that Valor’s been kicked out *cough* #teamMystic *cough* *sneeze* Hm, I seem to have gotten allergies from the flowers.

DSC_0474

Purple Flower

 

DSC_0477

Paying respects

DSC_0478

Slide

DSC_0480

New Friend

 

For those who read the last blog, Anime North is less than 2 days away! And yes, Corrine will be attending. Look for him wandering about Vendor’s Alley, getting inspiration for future posts. If you are attending for the first time, read up my post from a few years ago about preparation, and what to expect. And yes, I will be blogging during the con, so if you have a cool handmade prop or costume, come over and say hello!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my friends, family, and of course the fans who wished me happy birthday! Yes, I moved another year closer to 30, but I don’t feel older at all. Age really does become a number after 22. In fact, I’d like to think my life is only beginning. And I hope that you, dear readers, will continue to follow me on this journey of plushies, puddings, and cuteness.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Pikachu Card Holder/Wallet – DIY #10

Pika… I’m just a Pika on a wallet.

Attach9492_20170401_164436Attach9496_20170401_164544

Shoonie turned 18 on April Fool’s day. I still remember going to visit 3 days after she was born, and now she’s going to start college in a few more months. (;w;)

If there’s one thing I can recommend to a prospective college student, it’s to keep a wallet or card holder on your person at all times. (That is, if you don’t already) Along with your student ID card, you will need to carry your bus pass/driver’s license, health card, points cards, and debit card, to name a few. And as you get closer to graduation, it’s nice to create and keep a business card with your information on it, to hand out at job fairs.

This project was inspired by a Pika phone case Shoonie made for me years ago, back when I was about to graduate high school. Sadly, the case was too small for my clunky LG Neon. Said phone up and snuffed itself out about a year later. Good riddance.

Now it’s 8 years later, and both Shoonie and I have come quite a ways since our beginning years in crafts and design. I decided to make this as a tribute to how far she’s come.

The initial design for the wallet included a few slits for card holders, a clear window for a photo ID, and a pocket for cash money. Kind of like this, but with a photo ID window instead of the zippered change pocket. To make the ID window, I took inspiration from one of Yumi King’s past tutorials. And you know that Rilakkuma = YASSS.

Then, I gathered the materials needed:

DSC_0380

 

1 sheet yellow fabric

Scraps of dark brown, red, and black fabric

White 3D paint pot

Needle and matching threads

scissors

measuring tape

seam ripper

clear ziploc bags

money and cards (for reference)

Pencil and paper

 

…and promptly decided that the scope was too great. As you can tell from the lighting, it was very late at night, and we had to travel to Shoon Land the next morning. After much hesitation and deliberation, I decided to just duplicate my own basic cardholder. The outside would be a Pika face and tail, while the inside would resemble a 3DS. I made a paper prototype:

I cut a 10 x 13 cm rectangle, and two 5.6 x 5 cm rectangles. The “dip” in the center is meant to make it easier to slide your cards in and out of the holder. The small rectangle on the right was meant to become a tail for Pika’s backside, but decided it would only cover the stripes on the back.

DSC_0402

In the end, it wasn’t as all-in-one as planned, nor did it have the fancy 3DS detail on the inside. But it does what it’s supposed to do. And look, it holds $18!

Attach9504_20170401_165156

Overall, I have quite a ways to go in terms of my felt/needlepoint skills. Attach11638_20170425_165436Luckily, the upcoming month’s project will grant plenty of time to work on that…

Watch out for this at the end of the month, along with a plushie to go with!

Have you tried making a wallet/purse before? If so, what did you use? What were the results? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Cookie Cat (Steven Universe) – Amigurumi #35

Okay, so it’s actually a felt-gurumi. But with the ami rut I’ve been in lately, this is still a suitable friend for your tummy, and super duper yummy!

DSC_0318

Well okay, I wouldn’t recommend eating this. If you want one that actually awakens your gem powers, you’ll have to go to Nerdy Nummies.

I don’t release knitting and crochet patterns, but I never said anything about felt patterns. ;3 Feet free to follow along with my somewhat-coherent instructions on how to make your own Cookie Cat plushie!

 

What I used:

DSC_02431 sheet each of dark brown, light pink, and white felt

Scissors

Sewing needle

Matching pink, white, and brown thread

Polyfill stuffing

Paper and pencil

*Optional: someone to Skype with while working

 

First, make your pattern. I folded the paper in half, and eyeballed a half-cookie cat shape on the fold. Cut out the shape, open it up, and use it to trace and cut out two ‘cookies’ on the brown felt.

DSC_0247DSC_0249

For the front piece, fold one of the cookies in half, and draw a circle for the eye. Pinch the piece in the center of the eye, and make a snip so your scissors can go through. Cut out the eye through both layers. Unfold everything, trimming as you go. You should have two eyes like this:

DSC_0251DSC_0253DSC_0254

For the strawberry ice cream, fold your pattern in half again, and use this to trace two pieces from the pink felt. Do the same for the vanilla ice cream, using white felt. Then, place all the pieces together, and trim off about 1 mm around the edges. This will make the cookie ‘hang’ over the edges of the ice cream, just like in the show.

To make the sides of the ice cream, I used a scrap of thread to measure the outer perimeter of the ice cream pieces. This takes me back to grade 3, where we learned to use string to measure the perimeter of irregular shapes. Simply align the thread along the side of the ice cream from point A to point B, (see image) and measure this length against a ruler. I’m quite proud of my fine motor skills lately; this perimeter measured exactly 15.5 cm! I added 0.5 mm for seam allowance, and decided I wanted the sandwich to be no more than 2 cm thick. (It would shrink while sewing) Therefore I cut a pink strip, and a white strip, that were 16 cm x 2 cm.

DSC_0263DSC_0264DSC_0268DSC_0269

Sew the strips onto their respective ice creams using their matching threads, and a blanket stitch. I find it was best to begin each stitch by inserting the needle into the strip, and sewing the needle up through the flat face. You should have two “pouches:” one strawberry, and one vanilla.

DSC_0270DSC_0271DSC_0272DSC_0273

DSC_0277Sew these pouches together using a hemming stitch. (At least, I think that’s what it’s called. Mine turned out a lot more visible than this…) Basically, you weave the needle under the fabric, on an angle, and pull up. This creates horizontal stitches that hold the two pieces together, while allowing them to remain flat. Do not sew all the way around! Remember, we need a hole to place the stuffing. Once you’ve added enough stuffing to help the plushie hold its shape, go ahead and sew it up.

DSC_0279.jpg

When you’re finished, it should look something like this.

Now, begin to assemble the Cookie Cat. Remember, strawberry goes under the right eye, and vanilla goes under the left eye. At this point, I realized that not only did I have the wrong coloured brown thread, but the cookies looked way too flat. And so I decided to cut two more identical cookies (one extra front, and one extra back) and layer them on top of the first cookies.

Sew the first cookie layers onto the ice cream using a… hm. I’m not sure what this stitch is called. It reminds me of a modified running stitch. You insert the needle from the top, through the cookie, and through the bottom of a stitch on the ice cream. Then, you re-insert the needle into the cookie only, from underneath. I’m not sure how to describe this… see the images below for an example.

Sigh. This is why I don’t post tutorials. (.-.)

Anyway, once you have your cookies secured, use a blanket stitch to sew the second layers to your cookies, and you’re finished!

 

DSC_0318.jpg

Final verdict:

It’s very time consuming to hand sew all the pieces together, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Cookie Cat is best served on a plate, along with a smiling popsicle. Even if it’s not yet warm enough outside, there’s never a wrong time to enjoy a delicious ice cream sandwich.

DSC_0324.jpg

What other felt-gurumis should we try? Should we try an amigurumi version next? Comment below!

Pika, so hungry~

Wrap Skirt tutorial and Valentine’s Nonsense – DIY #9

So I done goofed. This year was not my first Valentine’s Day in 3 years. It was actually my first in 4 years! And what a day it was: I went to the winter wonderland up in the countryside, where the Mad Hatter and the white rabbit were waiting. We decided to stay in, dress up, and have a home cooked dinner.

The Mad Hatter’s trademark colours are red and black, and I wanted to match his outfit. Since red is a nice Valentine’s Day colour, I chose to make a red outfit. Unfortunately, I didn’t own any red dresses, and there was no way I was going to drop $40 on a new dress I’d only wear once. I did, however, find a red t-shirt that fit fairly snug, and thought it would make a cute cutout top. How about, I thought, we cut the top, and make a detatchable skirt, like the one April made.

And then I started looking through videos, and found this video about a convertible skirt. These skirts are similar to the infinity dress, which can be worn in many different ways. So I thought about making a similar one; it’s basically a wrap skirt that goes around twice, with a keyhole in the center of the band to accound for the extra wrap.

But then, a whole bunch of things went wrong…

  • I bought sheer ribbon, thinking it would work. It did not.
  • I found the perfect red fabric, but not the perfect complementary fabric.
  • Logo removal methods didn’t work on the shirt.

 

So here is the final decision on the outfit. First, we will make the skirt. Note: this is not a formal pattern. If anything, it’s an experimental blog. Now let’s dive in!

dsc_0100Materials :

Fabric of your choice

Scissors

Sewing machine

Matching thread

dsc_0102Step 1: Measure the fabric around your waist. It should be enough to wrap around twice. When in doubt, round up. Remember, it’s easier to take in a garment, than to let it out.

My measurement is about 30 inches (76 cm) around. So the minimum amount of fabric I need is 76 x 2 = 152 cm, or 1.52 m. To be on the safe side, I bought 2 meters of fabric.

dsc_0103This is where I started to fail… I bought satin. ($4/m) Satin is delicate, frays easily, and shows mistakes. You can try ripping out seams, but the holes where the needle pierced it will show through. In the future, I will use jersey, or a soft knit fabric that doesn’t fray and show holes. It’s a good thing I bought extra, because a lot of the selvage ends had to be sheared to remove stray fibers.

Step 2: Make the band.

Decide how wide you want your band. I want mine to be about 2.5 inches (5 cm) plus half an inch for seam allowance. So the width of the fabric I cut was (2.5 + 0.5) x 2 = (3) x 2 = 6 inches. Hooray for BEDMAS!

As for the length, I just used the length of the remaining fabric. Each cutout strap was 6″ (15.24 cm) x 2 m. You can adjust the length of the straps later.

straps

*Looking back on this project, step 4 was unnecessary. I think I meant to sandwich the top of the skirt between the two pieces, and cut it open so I could roll the hems? I don’t remember.

Step 3: Attach the skirt to the band.

Yeah. I got lazy and just sewed it on flat, as thought it were a ribbon. To ensure the skirt fit me properly, and to give it a bit more body, I made rough pleats with my fingers to gather any excess fabric. Below, I’ve pinned a ribbon, to give you an idea of where the strap was sewn. (I forgot to take a picture of this step. >_< )

dsc_0111

Step 4: make a keyhole in the center of the belt. Glue the edges of the keyhole so it doesn’t fray.

To determine where the keyhole should go, I held one end of the skirt, wrapped it around my waist once, and marked the position where the belt crossed.

Instead of hemming the skirt, I treated the raw edges with FrayCheck, to keep them from unraveling. This helps maintain the flowiness of the fabric, and saves on thread.

Finished! Sigh… Perhaps in the future I’ll revamp this skirt, into an easier-to-follow pattern. More like Fail-entine’s Day, amirite? ^_^….’_’… T_T

Here is the final product, side by side with my Mad Hatter’s dashing suit. He said it looked good, but I know I can make something better. I paired this outfit with the heart earrings from last week’s blog, and black stockings.

img_20170218_022516

Date not included. Perhaps one day, I’ll make another skirt like this.

 

Hm… I should’ve made this much shorter. I think I’ll refashion it into a wrap dress.

dsc_0131For the top, I took a fitted red T-shirt I no longer cared about, and cut a square neckline. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remove the logo on the front, so I ended up cutting a low back. Yikes! This low back, plus the square neckline, meant the top couldn’t stay up on its own. So instead, I opted for a technique I used in a Pikachu costume way back when, and wove a ribbon in the back. This created a cute lace-up back. I hope I’ll get more chances to wear this style in the future.

I tried to curl my pigtails, but they failed miserably. Do you ever get that? Like, you’ll be putting on eyeliner and one eye will be Beyonce, and the other side will be Jay-Z? Or one side of you is original, and the other side rips off jokes from iiSuperwomanii?

dsc_0164

Strawberry Rose

After getting dressed, the Mad Hatter took me by the hand, and opened the door. We sat beside each other and ate spaghetti with bacon alfredo sauce. Yes, we tried the Lady and the Tramp thing. We decided it’s best left to doggies, who can make anything look cute.

We made the fondue after we finished eating, so it would be fresh. In the past, Shoonie and I have made chocolate cups by melting chocolate, painting containers with the melted chocolate, and letting them harden. The chocolate fondue stayed nice and liquid for a long time by comparison. We dipped strawberries, marshmallows, bananas, and even bacon! The bacon was sweet and salty, aka delicious. But the bananas were still my favourite.
Spaghetti: $0.99
Butter: $2.99
Whipping Cream: $3.69
Parmesan cheese: $3.00

Chocolate Chips: $3.69
Strawberries: $2.00
Bananas: $0.59/lb x 2 = $1.18
Bacon: $5.00
Marshmallows: $3.69

Fabric: $4/m x 2 = $8.00
Ribbon: $1.25

Megabus tickets: $70

Time spent with the Mad Hatter: Priceless

The moral of the story is, you don’t need lots of money to have fun. All you need is good friends, good food, and good times. Here is my belated present to you, dear readers: an entry from this month’s 30 Day Challenge.

Day 17.JPG

How was your week? Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Friends’ Day? Cousins’ Day? Write midterms? How do you like to celebrate? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Pixel Art: Heart Earrings – DIY #8

Why wear your heart on your sleeve, when you can wear it on your ears?

img_20170212_221837

These earrings ended up looking like raspberries. So I’m calling them “raspberry hearts,” like in that one song from DDR. As you can see, they look better from a distance.

I’ve been staying in the Winter Wonderland this weekend, to spend Valentine’s day with Top Hat. We are going to stay in, dress up nice, and eat a candlelit, homecooked dinner. I’m going to wear a red dress, but couldn’t find matching accessories or jewellery. And so two nights ago, I made these with materials provided by Mother Top Hat, and earring hooks that were hiding in my bag from the Muffet earrings. Here is what I used:

dsc_0146Beading needles

Fine beading cord

Earring hooks

Pliers

This pixel heart, as a guide. 

*The scissors became useless, after I learned that the pliers had built-in wire cutters.

img_20170213_111933

I started out with a length of wire that was the length of my forearm, and 5 beads to start the center chain. There must be a proper name for it, but I call it “weaving.” Basically, you string the 5 beads as normal, then use one end of the string to weave back and forth between them, creating a sturdy chain.

I personally prefer to use polyester sewing thread, because it doesn’t curl back on itself as much, and it lays completely flat and doesn’t kink. Beggars can’t be choosers, of course, not to mention this cord is sturdier and doesn’t show between beads as much.

When working pixel bead art, start from the middle, and work one side at a time. This will keep you from getting confused, and causing the work to twist. It also helps if you sort out your beads ahead of time. This way you can determine which ones are too tight for your needle. If they can’t handle the eye of a needle, they won’t be able to handle the bundles of cord created by weaving. I got the Mad Hatter to do this step for me… after he woke up from his couch cat nap.

dsc_0153Another thing I suggest is to work beside someone motivational. Sometimes the best way to work isn’t to work with them, but to work alongside them. What I mean is, do your own thing, but do it in proximity to one another. I kept struggling and breaking beads while sitting alone. It wasn’t until the Mad Hatter finally came to sit with me, that I made progress. This is also a good way to spend time together, while still doing nothing at all… if that makes any sense.

Whether you have a date for Valentine’s Day or not, this is a cute project to make. You can wear them, give them to your girlfriend, or give them to your best friend tomorrow, for Friends’ Day.

To attach the hooks, I wove the remaining ends until they both stuck out of the top center. Then I just tied them to the hook, and snipped any excess cord.

Tonight, The Mad Hatter and I are going to have a nice date. I’m going to wear these earrings with a red outfit. Stay tuned this weekend, to hear about our date, and a DIY for the outfit! Meanwhile, enjoy today’s entry for the 30 day art challenge. Click the image to see the rest of this month’s submissions!

day-14

Enter a caption

Food is a universal language. Whether you have a Valentine, are just celebrating with friends, or you have exams to worry about, take time today to share a meal with someone. Meals taste better when shared.

From all of us at Pika’s Penguin Production Company, have a safe and happy Valentine’s day, and don’t forget to brush your teeth tonight!

Pika, so happy~

How to Make Amigurumi “Fluffy”

Figures: first new blog post, is posted over a month into the new year.

So I’ve finished Yuri!!! On Ice, started Fukigen na Mononokean, (The Morose Mononokean) and finished applications for Seneca, and Durham College. By the time you read this, a new 30 day art challenge will be underway. I guess that means we have time to make a blog post before that! Let’s kick off the new blog year with a how-to style blog. This week’s question: how does one make amigurumi “fluffy?”

You might recall the fluffy tail on Bunny. Today, we’re going to use the same method to make an entire ami fluffy.

dsc_0022You need:

UNASSEMBLED Amigurumi

Metal pet brush (Slicker brush)

 

dsc_0019First, create all the pieces you will need. I’m making a pink bunny. She shall be called Rosie. I made her using Red Heart: Super Saver yarn. Make all the pieces as you normally would. Don’t sew them together yet.

dsc_0021Take your slicker brush and brush all over the pieces in short strokes. I brushed about 10 times in one spot.

Hm… This didn’t working out the way I expected. Bunny’s tail looks super fluffy, like a little cotton ball. Rosie’s body, on the other hand, just looks like an ordinary ami with fuzzy hairs sticking out all over the place. She also looks a lot bigger than Bunny. Perhaps I could argue sexual dimorphism?

Here is the finished product:

1483835141732

“Now all he needs is a drum and sunglasses.” – Father Raichu. #dadjokes

After doing a bit of research, it turns out that the quality of your yarn, can affect the fluffiness of the ami. I used Red Heart: Super Saver for Rosie, and Patons: Astra for Bunny. Astra is a thinner weight yarn, making it more susceptible to stray fibres. It also feels nice and soft to the touch. Super Saver is a value brand yarn, best used for sturdy projects that require a lot of body.

Tips for fluffy amis:

Check the gauge of the yarn.

The gauge on the Astra yarn recommends using a 4mm (size 6/G) crochet hook. I used my trusty H hook (5 mm) which is bigger than the recommended gauge, and therefore provided a strong, yet loose stitch. Super Saver, on the other hand, has a whopping recommended size of 6 mm (size 10/J). This meant that the stitches made with the H hook would be tighter, as if they needed to be tighter.

On that note: for the last time, knitting and crochet are not the same thing.

Just because a label recommends a 5mm knitting needle, doesn’t mean that a 5mm crochet hook will produce the same result. A single knit stitch is made up of one loop, while crochet stitches are made of two loops, with an additional loop on top to secure them together. Did you know that crochet uses up 3 times as much yarn as knitting? This is why!

I may not post tutorials on this blog, but let it be known that I’ve taught my readers something new this year. *puts on professor hat*

What else shall we post in the new year? Are there any other plushies, or themed crafts you want to see? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~