Happy Birthday, Mad Hatter!

To my darling Mad Hatter,

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

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

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

 

Adventures in Wonderland, October 21 – 28, 2018

—Sunday—-

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

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

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

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

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—Monday—

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

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

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

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A mysterious package arrived from Amazon.

And…I think I’m in love.

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

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

 

—Tuesday—

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

—Wednesday—

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

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

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

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

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

 

—Thursday—

The day we (maybe?) ate laundry detergent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

—Friday—

Working from home….

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah, we had fish and chips for dinner.

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—Saturday—

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

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

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

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

Click here to witness the circle of pets.

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

 

—Sunday, October 28—

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

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Happy birthday, Ben. ❤

*plays the song you sent last night*

Pika, so happy~

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Kittens – Amigurumi #41

Kitties!!!

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

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

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

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

This is how the kitties stand upright:

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No bones, no bones, no bones…no tail?

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

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

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

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

Do you like cats? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

*Spadina and Bloor is an intersection in Toronto.

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

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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

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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.”

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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?

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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~

Luna and Artemis (Sailor Moon) – Amigurumi #28

October has been a quiet month here at Pika’s Penguin Production Company. It’s incredible how you can go from an entire summer of free time, to a whirlwind of commitments in the fall. According to my neglected deviantArt account, Deku Link won second place in dAKnitters’ July contest! I may have mentioned this in the past, but well… everything’s happening all at once. So yay! Second place once again! 😀

So now that we’re back in action, what’s happening today? Well of course… KITTIES! And not just any kitties: (faceless) sailor kitties.

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Waiting for Shoonie to take them to their new home.

Time to let the cats out of the bag.

Time to let the cats out of the bag.

These kitties were made as a request for Shoonie’s friend, who also requested Navi and the Deku. Would you believe our luck: the Raichus (my parents) went through my Pika Cave (room) and threw stuff into plastic bags. And guess what else ended up getting tossed in there? Naturally, I found them moments after Shoonie went home.

 

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Click for Laure’s Instagram page

These kitties are now at their new home. They were modelled after the designs from Instagram user Laure Lafey. From what I gather, she uses a lighter yarn and smaller hook, which allows for fine details and small plushies. I use thick yarn and a standard H (0.5 cm) hook, which works well for my heavy-duty, less detailed, chibified designs. For more crocheted cuteness, feel free to visit her page at laurelefay.

I’m in my 20’s, and you will rarely find a girl my age who doesn’t say Sailor Moon was her childhood. I am one of those rare girls; Sailor Moon was one of those shows you watched just to fit in with your best friend. It grew on me after a while, (the Pure Heart story arc was my favourite, for some reason) and I would recreate a lot of the episodes with my Barbie dolls. Sometime’s I’d make up my own episodes. But like many childhood favourites, the show ended and we grew up. By the time Sailor Moon Crystal came out, my interest faded. Crystal looks nicer, but that’s about it. We all know the story, we all know the characters, and it doesn’t add much else to make this show “fresh.” But on the plus side, at least it’s easier for the new generation to get into it, right?

I’ve received requests to make additional kitty plushies on Etsy. Here is a sample of what the customer asked for. (Original source unknown) :

Original source: Unknown

Original source: Unknown

What did I do for Halloween this year, you ask? I worked at my part time job. This was the first year of being a childless adult on Halloween. Not sure how I feel about it. Maybe one day, I can write a list of annoying things about working in retail.

Do you/have you watched Sailor Moon? Do you prefer cats or dogs? What did you do for Halloween? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~