On Moving to the Next Stage of Your Life

With the month of June comes great changes. Maybe you’re graduating high school, or you’ve attended convocation. But there are some things you ought to know:

 

25. There are only 3 things you should ever expect on your birthday and holidays:

Good food, good company, and good times. Material presents are just bonus.

 

24. Don’t be afraid to keep contact with new friends.

You add someone on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, what have you, and have decided they’re pretty interesting. You want to hang out with them, but you’re worried it would be weird to contact them out of the blue. And sure, maybe it is. But chances are, they’re worried you think they are weird. If that makes sense. Point is, sometimes a little nudge in the right direction, is all a new friendship needs.

 

23. “Every life is a pile of good things and bad things…The good things don’t always soften the bad things. But vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” – The Eleventh Doctor

You’ve probably heard me say this in the time capsule response. But I want to reiterate because it’s just so important: you need to take the good with the bad. If anything, bad things help you appreciate the good things.

 

22. Men and women CAN be friends.

Never underestimate the power of platonic friendships. Being polite is so rare these days, that it’s often confused for flirting. Learn to maintain contact with people based on who they are, not what’s in their pants. Just ask Alburr, Ginger, and Kitty, to name a few.

 

21. Letting someone new into your life is both the easiest, and hardest thing you’ll ever do.

There’s a difference between being friendly with someone, and being friends with them. It’s easy to be friendly to someone. (I wish more people understood this…) But being friends with someone means you have chosen to keep them in your life, despite all their flaws. And I mean all their flaws. Maybe they’re unemployed, have inexplicable bouts of depression, or talk to themselves when they think no one’s listening. Or maybe that last one is just what I do. The point is, as with any relationship, you need to do your part in keeping the flame alive and burning. Call them up, catch a movie together, or just stay in and watch a movie on the couch.

 

20. Nothing in life worth doing, is easy.

Of course you need to put more effort into the more difficult things. You don’t get a cookie just for putting in the bare minimum. Okay, you’re nice, but what else? Okay, you’re attractive, but what else? Okay, you have decent grades, but what are you doing with those grades? Okay, you have a job, but what are you doing outside of it?

 

19. That being said, college and University are optional.

Many artistic paths don’t require college or University prep, and people should understand that. Coming from a culture that places great emphasis on reputation and fancy degrees, I know it’s easier said than done. Maybe you can try to compromise by enrolling in a program that sounds interesting, and will also make your parents happy?

 

18. But if you’re going to skip out on post-secondary education, make sure you’re prepared for the consequences.

Be prepared to watch your friends move on in life, start exciting new careers, raise a family… while you’re stuck doing the same old thing. Sit down and think about what you want in life: where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why are you pursuing the path you have chosen? Can you viably pursue this path, on top of other commitments? What if something happens to throw you off the path? If you haven’t already, now is the time to sit down and think long and hard (hehe) about the long road ahead.

 

17. The most difficult decision you will ever have to make…

…is whether to try harder, or simply walk away. As noble as it may seem to push through and never give up, sometimes you’re better off giving up and moving on. A true warrior knows when to lay down his sword. Remember, it’s better to withdraw from a course and have lost money, than to continue and destroy your GPA with a D.

 

16. It’s okay to fail.

If you applied to college and didn’t get in, so what? All you’ve lost is the application fee. Believe me, that fee is a sneeze in a bucket, compared to spending 4 years and >$40,000, just so you can tell other people you have a degree.

If you’ve put out resume after resume, gone to interview after interview, and still haven’t landed a job, so what? That’s just an excuse to keep trying. Use this time to receive feedback for your portfolio, attend resume editing workshops, volunteer and add experience… but never, ever let yourself stagnate.

 

15. Floss.

Peritonitis isn’t fun.

 

14. Forget coconut oil; hot water bottles are your best friend.

Feeling cold? Hot water bottle. Cramps? Hot water bottle. Miscellaneous body aches? Hot water bottle. Miss your sweetheart? Hug a teddy bear… stuffed with a hot water bottle.

 

13. There are people in this world whose lives are so devoid of meaning, that happiness and positivity actually hurt them.

It’s sad but true. You’ve seen this everywhere, from school hallways to Facebook groups to YouTube comment sections: these people are given a nice soap box to spew whatever vitriol they want, from behind the safety of their computer screen. The wise ones say, “don’t feed the trolls.” If nothing else, just make a sandwich.

 

12. Support is key in any relationship.

And this doesn’t just apply to dating. Surround yourself with friends who support your talents and interests. Likewise, assist your friends and family members in their endeavors. After a long day at work, give your parents the night off by cooking dinner, or cleaning the house. Let your best friend rant about her problems, even if you don’t have any solutions. Send a “thinking of you” text to your sweetheart, just because. These are little ways to show someone you care, without using words.

 

11. If you’re going on residence or moving out on your own, try a vegetarian diet.

Produce is dirt cheap, pun somewhat intended. And your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, so why not make her proud? Look up recipes that double as tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch, and save the TV dinners for nights when you’re too burnt out to cook. If you have extra cash left over, pick up some boneless skinless chicken breasts. I prefer breasts because they are easier to prepare and don’t have as much fat to remove, but if you want flavour, pick up thighs instead.

I recommend these creamed spinach baked eggs. To make a single serving, prepare your creamed spinach, fill a ramekin half full, make a well that covers the sides, and crack the egg into the center. This will prevent the baked egg from sticking to the sides of the dish, which can be a nuisance to clean afterward.

 

10. “Some people are worth melting for.” – Olaf from Frozen

Money is good to have, and is often necessary; unless you’re a dentist, smiles don’t pay the bills.

Really, the point is that some people are worth putting in a little extra effort. Sometimes it’s worth spending $70 on bus tickets to see that someone special. Sometimes it’s worth giving up the last slice of pizza to your hungry sibling. And sometimes it’s worth turning down a fun night out with your friends, just to go visit that relative who’s perfectly healthy, yet never interacts with anyone else.

 

9. A little rulebreaking is fine, as long as it doesn’t go too far.

You may have heard this one from the Cat in the Hat: it’s good to have fun, but you have to know how. It’s okay to play in the mud, as long as you don’t track it on your parents’ new carpet, and you wash off afterward. It’s okay to eat a sugary snack, as long as you balance it out with proper diet and exercise, and brush your teeth afterward. And yes, it’s okay to play video games the night before a test. One of our professors told us to not study the night before a test; if you’ve been studying in little daily doses throughout the week(s) leading up to the test, you should be fine.

Know your limit, and play within it. Now I see why the OLG uses that as a tagline.

 

8. Keep a notebook and pencil/pen on your person at all times.

Ever had an idea, and thought, “I’d better write that down?” Well now you’ll always be able to!

 

7. Never date someone, just to fill a void.

Maybe your best friend has a new boyfriend, and you’re jealous. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a cute girl, but she’s with another guy, so you date someone else just to “kill time” until the cute girl “becomes available.”

*Cartman voice* No reader, that’s a bad reader! *smack*

It’s just a waste of your time, and your void-filler’s time. If you just want something to cuddle, might I suggest a pet, or a plushie?

 

6. No amount of money is greater than your health.

There will always be things to pay for. But your health always comes first. What’s the point in saving for your future, if you’re just going to spend it sick? If you know you’re not going to be able to focus on your job because you’re in that much pain, stay home! All it will mean, is that you have to realign your budget to account for the loss. The alternate option is to go in anyway, only to be sent home. Or worse: sent to the hospital.

 

5. It’s okay to say no. Even to family members.

We’re taught to say “no” to drugs, and other destructive substances and practices. Why aren’t we taught to say “no” to toxic, destructive people the same way?

If someone is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, tell them! And if they still aren’t getting the hint, it’s okay to fight back! It irks me that we’re taught “fighting never solves anything,” not because it’s false, but because there are so many exceptions to the rule. Sometimes we need to fight. If the French didn’t fight during the Revolution, they would still have the classicist structure, where the nobles spent in excess while everyone else lived in poverty. If animals didn’t fight in the wild, their territories would be taken over, and their species would be wiped out without any human intervention. If Harry Potter didn’t fight against Voldemort, the world would be full of nothing but Pure-bloods. It’s okay to say, “no, we don’t want to live in poverty anymore.” It’s okay to say, “no, this is MY territory!” It’s okay to say, “no, people deserve to live regardless of their heritage.” It’s okay to say, “no mom, you can’t come with me to my job interview!

The full saying goes, “the bonds of blood are thicker than the waters of the womb.” You don’t owe anyone anything just because you share DNA. And likewise, you must never expect special treatment just because someone is related to you.

 

4. If you’re good at something, never do it for free. – The Joker

This one is a bit more personal, but I hope it extends to anyone with a service to offer, especially after this post went viral. (I do recommend reading it, that programmer deserves better) Never, ever, ever, EVER sell yourself short. Sure you need the sale, but if you sell your crafts cheap once, you will never be able to sell them for their true worth.

Say you make a plushie, and your initial rate is $15, or $20 for larger/more detailed plushies. But your “client” says they can’t justify spending more than $5 on a plushie. You may rationalize that the client is a friend of a friend, or that “money is money,” but the fact is that once you take that $5, EVERYONE will want your plushies for only $5. Oh and the best ones are the ones who simply offer exposure.

oregon-trail-exposure2

Conceding to hagglers undersells the value of your time, effort, and skills. Don’t fall into this trap! Set your rate limits and stick with them. If you want to offer discounts to close friends and family members, do so at your own discretion. For best results, discuss payments with your customer up front, and make it clear that once the price is set, that’s it. If they try to haggle with you after your work is done, let them take their business elsewhere. And hey, you may not have gotten paid, but now you have an already-made plushie you can sell for its actual price.

 

3. Falling in love happens. Staying in love is a choice.

It’s easy to look at someone and think, “that person is attractive.” But when I met the Mad Hatter, the last thing I thought was, “that person will be an amazing partner.” Fast forward a few years, and it was only after spending a lot of time chatting and listening to each other, that we finally got together. That was 8 months ago, now we have attended a full Anime North together. I look forward to seeing what other adventures await, down the rabbit hole. I won’t say I’m in love, but I certainly do have immense affection for this Cracky Nutters Capped Crusader.

That being said…

 

2. You’re not Fix-It Felix

We all knew that one kid in school whom nobody liked, or wanted to play with. So we decided to hang out with that person, just to be nice. We thought that maybe we could prove this person wasn’t so bad.

And then our new “friend” started spreading rumours about us, got into fights with our old friends, stole or broke our toys out of jealousy, basically proved to be a complete ingrate. Getting out of these kinds of friendships proved to be near impossible, and it was usually by sheer coincidence that we would be separated from them, and never had to deal with them again.

Unfortunately, many of us continue to adopt the “I can fix it!” mindset into adulthood. We love stories in which the cold cynic who has never loved anyone before, meets the man/woman of their dreams, and suddenly their whole world makes sense, and the two fall in love and live happily ever after, bladdy bladdy blah…

In fact, we love those stories so much that we try to recreate them in real life: we date people with whom we have nothing in common, or people who have so many red flags they could make China jealous. But we stick with them because, “I can fix them! If they love me, they will change!” That’s just it — staying in love is a choice. And staying in love with someone who needs to be “fixed” is a terrible choice!

If someone is always alone, constantly moving around from friend group to friend group, or their current group of friends/family members have nothing but negative things to say about them… there’s a good reason why.

 

1. Above all, remember:

It’s gonna be okay. You’ve got this!

 

The above list isn’t the be-all end-all of how you should live your life, it’s just my experience after 26 years on this spinning rock called Earth. Some of these were things I’d been told, yet took for granted. But what works for me, may not work for you. Refer back to #16: if you fail, take time to mourn, use it as a learning experience, and move on with your life.

Wherever you may be in life, I hope my insight has helped. Maybe you needed to see one of these things, or you want to share this with a friend who needs to see them.

This also marks 3 years of this blog. Thank you for following me on this journey, following me through the weeks and months of silence, and taking an interest in these rambling posts and low-quality photos. I hope you will continue to support my rambling nonsense along the way, and I wish you the best in whatever your future holds. Here is my cute picture tax:

img_20161002_155150 img_20161215_164918418 DSC_0465

How’s life treating you? What’s next on your life list? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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!

 

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~

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~

*DO NOT CLICK OR POST BEFORE DECEMBER 30, 2016*

Greetings from 2015! Another year has come and gone. With the success of your 2014 time capsule, it’s only right to make one for this year, as well. Although this blog was written on January 3, 2016, it only encompasses the dates between December 31, 2014, and December 31, 2015. Please comment as you see fit!

You can’t remember the first half of 2015 very well, since it was pretty meh. You made the decision to take a semester off school to clear your head, and in the process found a part time job to help earn your keep. Plushies have been put on hold for the most part, in favour of learning to cook new dishes from scratch. Your current signature dish is chicken “stoup,” as dubbed by Shoony this New Year’s Eve.
The semester you spent in school was not a waste, of course! You studied Mandarin Chinese, discovered a new interest in video editing, and made a cutscene for your Demo Reel Development class. The latter is your first step towards completing your game project. That’s good! Next stop, the prototype. Expect to graduate in 2017; better late than never.

Your first Anime North was great! You went with your birthday buddy, and you cosplayed Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly you didn’t stay long, due to exhaustion, and the fact that your cosplay was derpy at best. Assuming you do return this year, you were considering cosplaying either Sheena from Tales of Symphonia, or Oliver from Ni no Kuni. Hopefully, you’ll run into more people you know.

Tay moved away this year, but you still say hello now and then. You two spent a day together in the summer, and you sent him a Sadaharu plushie after he moved. Thanks to him, you got back into anime, and even found a couple new series to watch. Don’t forget, once he gets his own place, he owes you a sweet snack! Ginger is still as adorable as always, and you continue to pray for his good health. As a matter of fact, you were talking to him moments ago! Conversely, you haven’t spoken to East much since he graduated this year. He’s keeping busy busy, working on everything and stopping for nothing. Whatever that means.

As far as the blog and crafts go, you entered and won a couple contests on DeviantArt, and you may have earned some fans among Shoony’s friends. 😛 You succeeded in making two more giant plushies: Kirby, and a Master Ball. This year was focused on crafts, particularly sewing and decorative desserts. If anything, you’ll make a good housewife, right? Ha! Ha! Ha!

Speaking of which, you met someone very special this year. We’ll call him M. You met him while visiting Top Hat, and your first words to M were, “hi! Do you taste good? :3” He likes Magic: The Gathering, Doctor Who, cheese, and eating pasta raw. His personality can be described as quirky, silly, nerdy, and cute. He’s also quite keen on you learning to play Magic.

You two had your first official date on July 29, first kiss on August 8, and became “official” on September 1. That means as of writing this blog, you’ve been official for 4 months. Not to mention, he’s convinced you to start watching Doctor Who! Kitty and Brandon seem to like him, as well. This Christmas, you rode the VIA rail train for the first time, and had an “actual” Christmas dinner with his family. (The kids’ table is a thing! People really do bake stuffing inside the turkey! You thought these things only happened on TV!) Maybe things can work, maybe you can make it to an anniversary…
I really didn’t want to get my hopes up by asking this, since we know how things can come crashing down at a moment’s notice: are you two still together? It would be really nice if you are. If not, well like I said last year, you’re hottest at 25, so he’s totally missing out. 😛

Now, it’s time for a checklist of goals, and things I’m looking forward to in the coming year:

  1. Game: Making a playable prototype.
  2. Animation: lots more of it.
  3. School: finally passing “that course.”
  4. NaNoWriMo: actually complete it this time.
  5. Plushies: complete at least one per month, even if it’s just a small thing, or not even my own pattern.
  6. M: our first anniversary.
  7. Friends: Introducing more of them to M, and attending Kitty’s wedding! =O
  8. Anime North: attending for the second time.

Well, 2016 Pika? How’d we do? What do you think of your 2015 self? Comment in your next response!

Pika, happy new year~

Pixel Art: Muffet (Undertale) – DIY #7

Blaaaargh.

Beadwork is a lot harder than it looks. Gone are the days of being five years old and simply stringing brightly coloured plastic beads onto an elastic cord. These are the days of painting 1 mm beads, (millimeter, for those outside Canada and Europe)  and then weaving them in such a way that they remain firm.

Top Hat requested Undertale-themed earrings for one of his nieces. And because the internet can never have too much Undertale fanart…

img_20161220_004636

muffet-gridAs usual, pixel art is easier said than done. Fortunately, Muffet is already drawn in pixels, so it was simply a matter of transliterating the large image to GIMP, with a visible grid. Doing so resulted in a product that was about 36 beads long.

Well…that turned out to be waaaay too long.

img_20161218_211049167So there I was, hunched over a puddle of tiny beads and a single, flimsy beading wire, with only the soothing melody of Danny Sexbang’s vocals as company. Because the wire was a shiny gold colour, it kept getting lost, or mistaken for a stray thread. I always found it in the end, touch wood, but it was time consuming. After about an hour, this was all I had accomplished.

Let’s take a break to enjoy this amusing incident that occurred during this time.

Me: *singing aloud* “Taaaaake…onnnn….meeeee~”
Top Hat: “Take me on? :D”
Me: “Yep, it’s the NSP cover!”
Top Hat: “NSP?”
Me: “Ninja Sex Party.”
Top Hat: “…”
Me: “Lawl it’s a band.”
Top Hat: “So there are sexy ninjas playing instruments?”
Me: “Well, only one of them is a ninja.” (Ninja Brian)
Top Hat: “That’s such a lonely party!”

img_20161219_123558782Finally, I could take no more. This chintzy wire was good and fine for getting through those too-tight beads, but it was flimsy and kept getting lost. Fortunately, Mother Top Hat has lots of craft supplies. Including steel beading needles! Things went a lot faster with these needles. It was nice to sit next to Top Hat, while we worked on separate projects. Except the part where I stabbed myself in the throat with a needle, that hurt. X_X With the needles, this is what I accomplished in less than 20 minutes. Note that it’s a lot neater, as well. The trick is to work one side at a time, and finish that side before returning to the other.

At long last, I was finished. And then Top Hat pointed out, that Muffet has eight legs, not six. And this is why I ‘humphed’ at him. Which really wasn’t a good thing, because then he got more pictures of me going ‘humph.’

At this point, I was so tired and wanted to spend the last night doing something besides working. So the earrings now look like the finished product, shown above.

After posting the earrings to Facebook and Instagram, Huggie Buddy posted this in the comments. Super! Just as I said I didn’t want to look at beads for the rest of the year, all my brain could think of now was, “MAKE MORE CHARMS!”

1482428044245Upon returning home, pink beads and a pack of needles in hand, I set to work on a full-size Muffet. And here’s her progress, two days and a stiff shoulder blade later. When it’s finished, I’m going to send this to Top Hat, as a supplementary gift alongside the derpy earrings. Maybe it can be a window charm?

Next week will be the blog no one waited for: the time capsule! I don’t remember what I wrote in it, but hopefully I stuck to at least half of those resolutions.

From all of us at Val’s Crafts, Pika Plushies, Pika’s Penguin Production Company, and so on so forth… Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year 2017!

Pika, so happy~

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Part 2 of 3

On Sunday, I broke the month long silence and told you what was up. Today, we’re going to continue on, since I have much more to say about the second half of the challenge.

From Day 15 onward, the challenge took a turn. We were no long warming up: we were getting real.

 

Day 16 – Scribblenauts

uoit-dc-day-16

For this challenge, you have to draw a scribble, and use that scribble to form a tangible drawing. Mine looked like the dummy from Undertale wearing a grass skirt.

8-bit characters look very different when drawn with solid lines. This drawing was finished by 2:00 pm, making it the earliest completed challenge to date. Which is good, because it meant having a lot of time in the evening to sit with Top Hat and chat about life. You know, changing the art style isn’t the only way to make something different. Maybe it’s just drawn in a different setting, like in a meadow, or another place that is free of stress. Or maybe it just looks different, like when you draw an American cartoon character in anime style. Or maybe you just get to know it on a more personal level, like when you finish a series finale, and then relive the series again starting from episode 1. Back when you first started, who knew that you’d grow attached to the characters, or that you’d come to identify with them on such a level?

Okay, enough pseudo-poetry.

 

Day 17 – Pixel art

After waking up to a new beginning, it was time to tackle the next project: pixel art! After studying game development for so many years, you’d think this was a no brainer for me.

Quite the opposite, actually. The better you get at something, the more critical you become of yourself. Why do you think it takes so long for new plushies to appear? You end up starting new shapes, only to rip them out and start over, and so on so forth. I intended to draw something cool, but it wasn’t working, and I got frustrated. Top Hat suggested drawing a cat. And why not, after being surrounded by cats for two days straight.

uoit-dc-day-17It’s a calico cat. This challenge would make an excellent graph for a pixel blanket. This project was created by Sarah from Repeat Crafter Me, and was featured on Moogly’s Facebook page, and it was just too cute! Now, if only I could find the patience and motivation to make all those squares. I’d really like a Majora’s Mask throw, just to decorate my bed. (That Harry Potter blanket is ancient, and getting a little stale)

Did you know there was a time, when good yarn was only $2.59 a skein?! At least, according to the labels in Mother Top Hat’s stash. I now possess a skein of black yarn, which will be useful for finer embroidery. It could also be useful to make a new mini shrug. (I’ve underestimated how much I’ve grown since high school) If this kitty was covered in more, darker spots, it could almost look like Cheery the cat.

 

Day 18 – Rocks and Trees and Trees and Rocks and Rocks and Trees and Trees and Rocks

uoit-dc-day-18

img_20161017_144605851

And water.

That’s what we have, here in Canada. Oh, and those horrible flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz, that we refer to as our geese. Thankfully, there were none of those this time around.

This was a bittersweet day, because it meant having to leave Top Hat and come home. Sigh. But hopefully there will be many more times together.

This challenge was inspired by a picture I took at Rock Dunder. It encompasses the best that Canada has to offer, in terms of rocks and trees and trees and rocks, and rocks and trees and trees and rocks, and rocks and trees and trees and rocks, and rocks and trees and trees and rocks, and waterrrr~

I’m okay with how the rocks turned out, but hesitated too much with the colour in the trees. As usual, photos and drawings don’t do the scenery justice.

 

uoit-dc-day-19Day 19 – Still life

Remember when you took an art class, and the teacher made you draw a bowl of fruit? That’s what this challenge was about. I drew yarn. Incidentally, out of all the 30 day submissions, this one received the most +favs. It is now the featured deviation on my deviantART.

 

Day 20 – 22: Fun with Markers

Time to bust out the traditional art tools! Although day 20 was drawn digitally, these three days could be considered the minimalist days. Calligraphy challenges remind me of the time we went to the kitty cafe, and Kitty commented on how the cashier/barista had really sexy handwriting.

uoit-dc-day-20Day 20’s challenge was to design a tattoo. These words have significance to me, and they’re words that one should always remember. Ever heard the song, No one Likes you when you’re 23? Well, as a matter of fact… I started this blog at age 23. That was two years ago. Back then, this blog was all I had. And right now, I’m working a crummy job, saving money to go back to college, making crafts, and an old friend has become my sweet, supportive boyfriend. I’m okay. And if I can be okay, you will be okay, too.

uoit-dc-day-21Day 21 was a calligraphy challenge. But let’s be real, it was a continuation of yesterday’s challenge. I reused the “swoop,” which looks a lot better when you use the shaped calligraphy brush. These look like simple words, but in truth, it took several tries to get the words aligned just right. The finished product is now plastered on my door. This way, the words can be seen every day, every morning when leaving the room to face the world, and every evening when lying in bed and pondering life.

Finally, we just draw stuff with markers. I was going for a flower or something, but it ended up as this butterfly-like abomination. I call it, “Queen Jellyfish.”

uoit-dc-day-22a

Day 23 – Brained Food

“Bring your favourite food to life,” they said.

With the cold weather coming on, there’s nothing more satisfying than a hot bowl of creamy chicken soup. But why stop there? How about some dumplings?

uoit-dc-day-22

I drew some friends as dumplings. I’m in the very center, and Top Hat is beside me with the carrot top hat. Shoonie is below, though I forgot to add a handle to the celery shoon. Tabbs is the big one, next to the mini kitten dumpling. And of course, Kitty and Bear are at the top, with a hearty (pun intended) carrot. The others are Cassie, Huggie Buddy, Alburr, and Ginger. Ginger has carrot hair. I ran out of space to include Nerdbra, Lawraffe, and Melon. Hopefully they can appear in another post. :O

For those girls who say they only hang out with guys, because girls cause too much drama: well, maybe you just need to find more girls like my girls.

Yikes, this post got long. We’ll have to make this a three-parter!

Are you eager to see the conclusion to this challenge? Are you just eager, because once the challenge is over, it will mean back to plushies? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~