Mimikyu – Amigurumi #48

*The following plush also appears on @pikainabag

Monday was Shoonie’s birthday! In commemoration of her 2 decades on this planet, I broke taboo and made…a Pikachu!

Hm? What’s that? This ISN’T a Pikachu?

…oh. It’s a Mimikyu!

This little guy was a bit tricky to get just right. As pictured to the left, it turns out Mimikyu’s black body underneath has the same spiky pattern as the bottom of its costume. I thought that was merely shadow, but after looking at its model in Sun, it turns out that is not the case.
You’ll also notice it doesn’t sit flat, but rather rocks a bit. The weight created by its head and tail leaning to one side doesn’t help either. After doing a bit of research, I may have found a way to keep the base laying flat. Once the shop reopens, I will make and sell a new Mimikyu according to these strategies.

This cutie has been widely received among my classmates. It’s very well behaved too; it quietly listens to music while I work.

Sometimes it joins me for tea.

This Mimikyu is Canadian made. So Canadian, in fact, that it sat and watched hockey with my roommate.

Poor Mimikyu. It just wants to be loved. Maybe it will find a friend in No-Face.

With only 2 weeks left of school, things are getting hectic. While I’m glad to have gotten a chance to sit down and make plushies again, I must also focus on the plethora of assignments that are due in the coming week. Perhaps I will share the completed ones here at the end of the semester!

Which Pokemon should be next? Or should Mimikyu get an alternate costume? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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No-Face and Soot Sprite – Amigurumi #47

Before we begin, allow me to take a moment for some shameless self-promotion: I now have Facebook and Instagram pages! Yeah, I know, 5 years late, but better late than never. Follow for plushies, as well as crafts and miscellaneous artwork that won’t necessarily be featured on this blog. Etsy shop is expected to reopen by May 1, 2019!

Follow me on Facebook at Pika in a Bag, or on Instagram @pikainabag! (Click links to follow through)

These count as one post because they are from the same movie.

We watched Spirited Away in our History of Animation class last week. I’ve watched it quite a lot in the past. We watched it when Hatter’s friend came to visit, but No-Face and Sootsprite didn’t want to see their namesakes.

At first, No-Face’s mask turned out too small. It made the purple designs look like blush. No-Face’s mask is an oblong shape, and therefore needed to be made with an oval shape. I am working on a round 2 No-Face plush. Hopefully it will turn out better.

Remember that scene at Zeniba’s house, when No-Face was knitting? In Japan, they have a No-Face who knits. In Canada, we have a crocheted No-Face.

The soot sprite is made from leftover black fluff. Recycling level: crafty.

I’ve been experimenting with felt needles lately. To make the details on No-Face’s mask, I felted some bits of fluff to his face. To think, I used to glue and sew felt onto things… maybe I’ll make my own goomba plush, and felt the eyes directly onto the plush.

Today in class, the soot sprite wanted to drink coffee. But he needed a little help.

Ne ne~ (8)

And then we travelled to Wonderland, to meet the cat-No-Face and cat-Sootsprite.

Let’s see what No-Face (Nofie) and Sootsprite (Sootsie) think of their namesakes…

Nofie with the soot sprite

As I type this, Nofie is jumping around with his namesake. I did not put cat nip in the doll, so I’m not sure why he’s doing that. And just now, he picked it up in his front paws and threw it against the bedroom door like a pro-wrestler. “Mom” is pleased that he’s enjoying the toy. Good thing this was a prototype No-Face, because it is covered in dust now.

Sootsprite is watching his brother. Earlier, he was hesitating to go play with the toys. I told him he needs to go ask his brother nicely for the toys, not just stare awkwardly. So then I threw the No-Face doll, and it spun around like a top. The cats seem to like the No-Face a bit better than the soot sprite.

Like the jingle bell balls before it, the soot sprite toy has vanished under the couch. The cats tried licking the soot sprite, and both went “pleh pleh pleh.”

Did you know…. the bath house was actually based on a location in Taiwan? Toni from the PepperToni Pizza is from Taiwan, and thought the environments looked familiar. I would love to visit this location. Maybe Toni will take us?

Since I watched this movie for the first time at age 12, I’ve had a fascination with the attention to environment and character development present in Miyazaki’s works. When I first watched Spirited Away, it began with a long intro by John Lasseter, pointing out the detail of Chihiro putting on her shoes “like a real little girl.” Years later, my teachers would point out the finer details of the shine in eyes, breeze blowing through grass, and yes, character behaviours. These are all things one must pay attention to when animating. You can tell a lot about a character or environment by how it behaves. When something bad happens, Chihiro curls in a ball like a little girl. When she feeds Haku the medicine, she pulls his mouth open like a dog. You don’t think of things until you watch behind the scenes, or fun facts about the movies. But if you want to create believable, interesting animations, you must take notes of little nods like these.

I often like to sit back and wonder, “how do they come up with these things?” Who else could have come up with No-Face, or thought to personify the dust that comes from burnt objects? That’s why I long to be an animator, and to create my own works. I want to create, animate, and make the world plush.

What Studio Ghibli plushie should be next? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Ariel (Little Mermaid) – Amigurumi #45

Look at this plush, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you say that this project’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl… the girl who makes, everything? (8)

This is Ariel from The Little Mermaid. She’s pretty cute, if I do say so myself! I chose this combination of red and green, because they contrasted each other and really stood out. She looks pretty close to the original design, so I’d say this was a success.

The body and head shapes were easy. The hair was the hardest part. I felt discouraged at first, because the hair fibers looked much shorter once they were brushed out. I broke a few of the strands too, resulting in a waste of yarn in general. Sigh…

After some brushing and work with the hair straightener, the hair finally started to come together. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn to make this hair, which is not recommended. The final product looks nice, and didn’t take much head to get it nice and smooth. (The iron was only 350 degrees) However, you can’t give this plush to a kid who likes to brush and style doll hair. The fibers of Super Saver get snagged in toy brushes, such as the ones that come with Barbie dolls. I had to pin up her hair while I sewed on the seashell bra and tail frill. Taking out the bobby pin after finishing the doll was very satisfying. It was like taking down your girl friend’s hair after doing her makeup, and asking her what she thinks.

Admittedly, I didn’t watch Little Mermaid all the way through until about 3 years ago! As a kid, I became a fan the same way some people become fans of Overwatch: through fan osmosis. In grade 1, I owned a two-piece outfit decorated with Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian. It looked like a pyjama set. Around this time, someone gave me a volume of the Little Mermaid TV series. I remember one episode where Ariel brought home a baby whale and hid it in her room, only for the whale to sneak out and interrupt one of the concerts in the palace. When everything falls into chaos, Sebastian says, “and dat, my friends, is what is meant by ‘bringing down de house.'” My dad told me ‘bringing down the house’ meant to annoy everyone. I took his word for it, because that’s exactly what the whale did.

Until Rapunzel came along in Tangled, Ariel was one of my most identifiable Disney princesses. Despite her father’s warnings, she risked everything to experience walking on land for the first time…even if it was primarily motivated by a guy she liked. I’m not saying that you should always disobey your parents; sometimes you have to think for yourself and make your own decisions in life. Sure, our parents love us and want what’s best for us. But what’s best for us, and what makes us happy, doesn’t always go hand-in-hand. When was the last time you heard a story of a person who did everything they were told, never took risks, and never thought for themselves? I worked with people who were Ariel’s age at my old job, and many of them lamented that they wanted to study art or learn a trade, but their parents were making them go to University. Having been in their situation at one point, all I could say is, “go with what your parents are saying for now. But as soon as you get the opportunity to do what you want, take it.” (I suppose this advice would better relate to Moana, another plush I hope to make)

Zzzzz…

Ariel’s decision wasn’t perfect; she got what she wanted, but at the cost of her voice. But she still made the best of what she had. Because she couldn’t speak, she could only listen to Eric. Even though it was mostly shown in montage, you could see that she enjoyed every minute of those three days on land. Well, two, if you include the day Ursula appears in human form. In the end, Eric saved her from Ursula, because he loved her. And he wouldn’t have realized he loved her, if she hadn’t risked everything to be with him… Many critics say that Disney princesses are sexist, but I think it’s about how you look at it. Some see Ariel as a story of “go ahead and make stupid mistakes. Your boyfriend will save you in the end.” I see it as, Ariel took that risk to ultimately become happy.

Late night snack

In the darker, original version of the tale, the little mermaid does not live happily ever after with the prince. However, she does have a happy ending: she is granted a chance to gain eternal happiness, by only doing good deeds for the next 300 years. I think the moral of The Little Mermaid remains the same: there is no pleasure, without pain.

Do you have gadgets and gizmos aplenty? Or whozits and whatsits galore? Which Disney character should be next? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Pizza – Amigurumi #43

Benji, who’s your best friend?

Pizza?!

As part of his birthday/anniversary present, I made the Mad Hatter some trivets shaped like his favourite food. The original pattern was created by Jenni over at By Jenni Designs. (Click the name to follow)

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A trivet is used to protect surfaces from burning. Think of it as a coaster, but intended for things that had previously been placed directly on the burner.

This trivet turned out a lot bigger than anticipated. And I used a smaller hook, than the pattern indicated! And yet, this large trivet turned out to be the perfect size for the big pot. No-Face and Sootsprite thought the pepperonis were the perfect size to chew on. Well sucks to be them, because “mummy” isn’t going to buy them more toys until they destroy the ones they already have. Hiding them under the couch doesn’t count.

Not recommended for actual consumption

I was amazed, that these coasters turned out fairly even, and didn’t show signs of the “spiral” that amigurumi are known to create.
With the smaller trivet, I noticed the spiral pattern had returned. I’m not sure about the physics, but apparently as long as you stick to the same amount of rows, you won’t get the spiral? Pictured above is the smaller pizza, which is about 7″ in diameter.

Non-coaster pizzas also make nice hats. The following was made from my own pattern. I call this one, “PepperToni Pizza:”

The next goal is to teach the cats “who’s your best friend?”

Overall verdict: I enjoyed making this trivet. I might make a few for myself! Click here for the original pattern.

What do you like on your pizza? What other pizza crafts should come next? Who’s your best friend? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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~

Kittens – Amigurumi #42

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~