Umbreon – Amigurumi #31

At long last, another ami! This was made from a pattern by Wolfdreamer Off The Hook.

I’ve finished watching Inu x Boku: SS. It’s a nice, light series you can watch while doing something else. It’s kind of like Fruits Basket, but instead of animals, they turn into supernatural beings. And why not set the mood with a dark-type Pokemon? It’s Umbreon!(Click image for pattern link)

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Oof. This turned out a lot bigger than it looked. Guess I missed the part where it said the ami would be approx. 8 inches. I attempted to work on this during the trip to FanExpo, but fat lot of good that did. The yellow felt was a much darker shade than the yellow yarn used on the ears and tail, so instead I made crochet rings. I ended up gluing them anyway, due to laziness. u_u

It can stand on its own pretty well.

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Pondering life

img_20160917_194656318-1The shape of the head and body give me an idea for future Eevee-lutions. Have you noticed that all the -lutions have the same general face shape, while Eevee has a chubbier, more square-shaped face?

I hope Pokemon Go will be successful enough, to include gen 2. Umbreon is a solid evolution, but Espeon is cute too. Anyone else here still not have the update? *raises hand*

 

Ah… smart, half-asleep Val broke the yarn needle again. That meant poor Umbreon was just bits and pieces until we finally heaved the mattress.

Unfortunately, we were too late to submit Umbreon to Knitting and Crochet’s August Contest. Though I doubt this would’ve gotten very far (ain’t nobody got time for 10 deviations…) but it was still nice to finally post an ami after so long. Plus, it doesn’t feel right to submit a pattern I didn’t create. Maybe we can try making smaller versions of the other -lutions?

Oh my goodness… this is happening in Texas now. How exciting! Someone in Texas is also making the world plush. Poke-plush, to be exact. I wonder if we could bring this to Ontario?

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Skinny legs club

What’s your favourite Eevee-lution? Or do you just like Eevee? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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Boot Cuffs – DIY #5

Happy New Year 2016! You may have read the blog posted on December 30, 2015. I posted a reply to that blog on Sunday, which you can read here.

It’s time to start the new year off right: with some much anticipated craft posts. Whatever your reason for lack of motivation, completing quick ‘n easy projects get the creative juices flowing again. Now that we finally have snow and winter chill, why not try making these boot cuffs?

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50% of girls on social media have a picture like this. 100% of those girls think it’s artsy. That being said, I call this one, “Waiting for You.”

Here is the tutorial I followed:

For this project, I used the now-discontinued Bernat BlackLites yarn in Cherry Chill. I also possess a ball of Cowboy, which I would like to use for longer cuffs.

Bernat BlackLites in Cherry Chill, left, and Cowboy.

Bernat BlackLites in Cherry Chill, left, and Cowboy.

If you already know how to knit, this project should be a breeze. Your fingers are the knitting needles!

The girl in the video cast onto her dominant hand, but I started by casting onto my non-dominant hand. I found this easier, because I could count the rows as if they were on regular knitting needles. The first row is the “right side,” while the second row is the “wrong side” in stocking stitch.

Regardless of the size of your calves, 20 rows should be enough to wrap around. Thanks to the wide stitch, you don’t need to make buttonholes! I made the buttons using a smaller crochet hook than the yarn’s recommended size. They measured about 3/4″ (2 cm) in diameter.

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boot socksFinal Verdict: My boots have never looked so stylish! And my calves are nice and warm, without having to wear baggy pants. I want to make more cuffs, using actual knitting needles next time.* I wonder if they could be worn long, like the ones on the right?

Humph. The yarn became frayed. No wonder it was discontinued. Still, I like the colour design of black mixed with red, white, and pink. Here’s to hoping the blue ones will look great, too!

I finished my first pair, the night before seeing Kitty and Bear. That almost rhymed.

The next few months will be quite a challenge. Not only will I be returning to school, but I will return to school AND work a part time job at the same time. It may not be so bad, though it means M and I will have less time to chat and hang out. But at least we will have time in between classes for lunch. This week, we went skating and ate chilli. For all the bad luck I’ve had so far this year, it’s reassuring to have a positive M at my side. M says I worry too much.

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Staying warm, on and off the ice!

Top: Finger knitting, 8 sts cast on. Bottom: Size 11 needle, 16 sts cast on.

Finger knitting, 8 sts CO vs. Size 11 needle, 16 sts CO.

*After a bit of experimenting, I discovered that swapping to knitting needles may not be such a good idea. Finger knitting creates wide, open stitches, while size 11 needles (the size recommended on the yarn label) create tighter stitches. My fingers ended up creating stitches twice as wide as the needles!

You can design a needle-based pattern for long cuffs using this pattern. Simply multiply the rows you worked in finger knitting by 2. For example, the video tutorial showed 20 rows. 20 x 2 = 40 stitches cast on. From there, work until the cuffs are as long as you like. Make button holes as you see fit.

The adjustable stitches mean that the excess will stick out. Try adding a third button, beside the top button, to keep things in place.

And so ends the first official craft post of 2016! What other crafts and DIY would you like to see here? Have you tried making winter accessories for friends, or family, or yourself? What projects would you like to complete this year? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

 

Nyan Cat Headband – Amigurumi # 27 / DIY #4

Yes, I am counting this as an ami.

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So this project took longer than necessary. I originally tried knitting this headband and changing the colours vertically. It looked great at first, but it quickly became a nuisance with all those colours getting tangled and shifting apart. I finally gave up and ripped it out. Summer was starting, so I didn’t bother with it again.

Until now. Oh Moogly, bless you and your blog.

Moogly posted this blog with links to 10 free headband patterns. It just so happened #8 was perfect! The band is worked horizontally, and has a cute cinch in the middle that makes it look more like a giant bow. And the “wrapper” to cover the cinch looks just like Nyan Cat’s body! Time to bust out the colours once again.

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Boo!

This headband was super easy and fun to make. Now that we’re getting into fall weather, this band will be great for keeping your ears warm and your hair in place, without the bulk of a hat. If you tend to work slowly, start now so you’re ready for the full cold blasts!

You can also try variations of Nyan Cat:

Next project: get better quality pictures.

Do you prefer hats, headbands, both, or none? Do you like original Nyan Cat? Tac Nayn? Taco Cat? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

OMG DOUBLE FEATURE!!!

So I’ve missed last week, and the week before the last post.

You: “What does that mean??”

It means we’re doing extra fun stuff this weekend!

Now that it’s September, we’ve succumbed to the dreaded bipolar weather patterns. This week has been comfortable, but last night was freezing cold! And just last weekend was cold and rainy. Either way, it’s time to bust out the layered outfits. If you don’t go out much, chances are you have stuff in your closet that no longer fits, but it stayed in said closet because you forgot it existed. This became the inspiration behind the dress I wore yesterday.

I don’t remember where this dress came from, but I do remember how old I was the last time it was worn: 12 years old. Imagine all the other girls your age dressing in sexy spaghetti strap and halter dresses, yet there you are looking like your favourite doll from when you were 6. I stowed this dress in my closet and never wore it again. As for why I still haven’t given it away? See above.

I like the light, airy fabric of the skirt, but could do without the huge collar and puffed sleeves. And I wanted a new outfit for a date with M yesterday, so figured why not. Let’s help this dress grow from a self-conscious tweenager to a self-confident twenty-something!

Before vs After

Before vs After

Let’s assess what we have to work with here: the dress looks like it has two layers, but it’s actually sewn in one layer. The dress has a zipper at the back to account for the closed collar, and ties at the back to make the dress more fitted. It also has a nylon cord in the front, to lace up the bodice. While it will waste less fabric, it will also require a lot more time to detach the white parts of the dress.

rip

We begin by turning the dress inside out to find the seams. Then we’ll take out our lovely eye goug–er, I mean seam ripper, and rip out the sleeves. As always, you can simply cut them with scissors. I like to seam rip, so as to waste as little fabric as possible. Seam ripping also leaves the bent edge, so you only need to fold over once more to create the perfect, fresh seam. Once that’s done, repeat the ripping process for the collar. I wanted to keep some lining underneath, so I marked the part of the white body piece that will be covered by the floral dress. We’re not going to seam rip anything below this line.

I saved the collar to make a necklace. This will add interest to a baggy, plain sweater. Just in time for fall!

Halfway done! Hem and iron out the edges.

Finally, I tried on the dress. It feels a bit long, but I’ll let M decide what he thinks of this length.

Ne-ne~ Simply by removing the sleeves and collar, we have a comfortable sleeveless dress! Pair this with solid coloured accessories, and you’ve got the perfect end-of-summer date night outfit. 12 year old Pika is very happy.

Part 2: Delicious Eats with M

This next part is a great date idea: cooking lunch together! M loves cheese, I love chilli, and so we made chilli mac n cheese. He has stories about his grandma using a whole block of cheese in her homemade mac, but for my tummy’s sake we’re going to use a small bag of shredded cheddar. Click here for the recipe we used.

M cut the onions, while I stirred the meat. We used the whole box of macaroni, because M started eating the noodles raw. XD I’ll admit it doesn’t taste bad, but it feels weird to eat uncooked macaroni. It feels like a cross between a corn nut, and a plastic tube breaking in your mouth.

*A tip on cooking mac n cheese from scratch: if you make the noodles seperately, don’t add all the cheese right away. As you take servings, add cheese accordingly. If you add all the cheese right away, leftover mac will become dry and gross.

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You drooling yet?

Final verdict: amazing! This is the perfect comfort food, all right. Too bad we didn’t have any garden salad on the side. I filled up a huge plastic container for M to take home.

I got two phone calls during this date, both from people I actually care about. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you typically text instead of call, this is quite a treat. M talked to both of them. XP Until it was time for dinner, M and I cuddled and watched Rick and Morty. It reminds me of a cross between Doctor Who, Adventure Time, and South Park. I should finish watching Archer… Man, it’s hard living with your parents. It’s annoying when you just get comfortable while watching a great show, and then all of a sudden you hear, “don’t sit like that, it’s bad for your back! You’ll walk with a hunch!” “Why you’re watching this? This is not a good show!” “Instead of watching TV with your guest, come help me!”

( – _ – );

We went to dinner with Kitty that evening. When he saw M, Kitty’s like, “HOMG, M!!! HI!!! NICE TO FINALLY MEET YOU!!! <3” They were bros. It’s blurry, but this is an immortalization of my favouirte memory from yesterday: walking to dinner with my BF and BGF. (Best guy friend) Peck Peck asked, “why does that guy on the right (M) look like he’s from Brokeback Mountain? XDDDD” (- _ -); Humph. M if you’re reading this, don’t worry, I still think you look handsome. :3

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Kitty and M

I tried Steak and Kidney pie for the first time. It was pretty good, albeit very salty. Think of a chicken pot pie, but instead of chicken it’s beef. And no, the “kidney” doesn’t mean kidney beans. If you know what liver tastes like, kidney tastes the same. I for one am not a huge fan of either, but I give it 7/10. The pie came with mashed potatoes, but the waitress forgot to bring the potatoes, so I got free dessert! Wot wot~ I felt awful for undertipping; to the waitress at the Black Dog Pub, I promise you’ll get a better tip next time! Here is the free key lime pie, a perfect end to a perfect day.

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Sometimes, you come across a person who just makes you feel great. Sure you felt great before you met them, but this “greatness” is different. You want to improve for them, you want to make them happy, and in return they make you happy. You want to share the most important parts of your life with them, whether it’s going out to your favorite restaurant or introducing them to close family and friends. I know it hasn’t been a long time, but I’m looking forward to many more memories with M. I can’t wait to cook new dishes with him, go on new adventures, and cuddle with him again. ❤

How’s September starting out for you? Any cool new changes this year? Have you repurposed or upcycled any of your old clothes into new outfits for this year? What do you like in your mac n cheese? (If you say “green peas,” we can’t be friends) Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Pika’s Soba Noodle Soup!

“Hey Pika, where have you been all month?” – Nobody

Regardless of the length of summer vacation, everybody seems to wait until August to do the really fun things. Maybe it’s because the weather evens out by then, maybe it’s because they spent July saving up money for August frolicks, but whatever the reason, August is the time of all the fun things. Case in point: I just got back from Washington, DC. I saw the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, two landmarks that I’d only seen in movies and TV shows. On the way back, we did some shopping in Grove City. Shoonie got a little green bow. BOW!!! |>o<|

And today… just feeling bleh. How to describe the feeling… it’s when you have more on your plate than you thought. Or when you take work with you on a trip thinking you’ll get it done, but you don’t because it’s a vacation. Or when you miss somebody. Or you remember the red Navi is coming soon. Whatever it is, it can be temporarily healed with comfort food!

Guess what I bought today? Soba noodles! These are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. The ones I bought come in a pack of 6 individually wrapped bundles. Each bundle makes one serving of noodles. Genius! Why can’t we package spaghetti like this? In Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, you can cook buckwheat noodles with egg. That was the inspiration behind this improvised recipe, along with my Naruto-esque love for ramen. So, without further ado, let’s get comfort cooking!

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Ingredients

IMG_20150829_2013115901 bundle Soba (buckwheat) noodles

2 cups water

1 chicken flavoured bouillon cube

1 egg

2 sticks of imitation crab

Chopped chives for garnish

First thing’s first, boil the water and dissolve the cube to make your soup stock.

IMG_20150829_201710Crack the egg into a bowl and beat lightly. Set aside.

IMG_20150829_203043Then, take a bundle of soba noodles and pop them in the pot. Do not break the noodles! These are soba noodles, not spaghetti. They may look like cardboard, but they cook in about 5 minutes.

IMG_20150829_203423Meanwhile, chop up your imitation crab into bite size pieces. I don’t care what people say; imitation crab is tasty and convenient. But if you would rather have stronger tasting protein, you can substitute the imitation crab for ham, hot dogs, bits of cooked chicken or beef, or tofu if you’re an alie—-er, I mean vegetarian. 😀 Whatever you decide to add, make sure it’s cooked. This way you can simply toss it in to thaw and warm up.

Pour the beaten egg into the noodle soup, stirring constantly to disperse the egg. Look familiar? If you frequent Asian restaurants, it should; you’ve just made egg drop soup!

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Finally, add in your chopped crab meat. Turn off the heat and let the soup “rest” for about a minute before serving.

Pour into a bowl, top with a few chives, and you’re done!

Final Verdict

Tasty and comforting! This is a very versatile soup. Don’t like crab? Try ham. Think egg drop looks gross? Maybe poached is more your style. I think next time, I will try a meatless approach by substituting the crab for sautéed mushrooms, and instead of egg drop just hard boil and slice the egg.

Eww… these noodles turned out a bit slimy. I guess that’s why the package said to rinse the noodles after cooking. Basically, cook noodles separately, drain, rinse, and add to prepared broth. I wish I had read this blog post before hand. Also beware, egg drop soup does not keep well. It will leave a gritty feeling in your mouth when eaten cold, and congeals the next day. Bring a friend, or at least a large appetite!

I would definitely eat soba again, and in different ways. I said before that these are not spaghetti, but maybe I will try using these noodles instead of spaghetti sometime.

Have you tried soba? Do you eat your noodles with self-confidence? How do you prepare your soba? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Canada Day Pudding Party!

Edit: use only unsweetened milk for this recipe! Remember, marshmallows are just puffs of sugar. If you melt them into pre-flavoured milk (like chocolate milk) your pudding will turn out way too sweet. Use only unsweetened cocoa, or a tiny bit of your favourite flavour extracts.

Happy Canada Day!!!

I’ve been cooking up storms lately. And we can’t have food without dessert! Since today is Canada Day, here’s a light dessert to follow up your poutine, or provide a sweet complement your Tim Hortons’s coffee. (Man, our mainstream cuisine is unremarkable…)

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

One of my favourite types of dessert is pudding. (Custard, for people outside North America) Since I was a Pichu, I’ve tried all kinds of store-bought pudding brands, from the sugary sweet Snack Packs to the rich, $5 4-packs found in the dairy aisle. My favourite go-to homemade dessert is custard pudding, or creme caramel. I’ve made it for guests, and they always rave about it. Aunty Waggie makes it the best.

Let’s begin the summer with some super easy 3 ingredient pudding from ochikeron.

Matcha is green tea powder, and one of my favourite flavours when mixed with milk. Green tea mochi ice cream = yum num num. Sadly, I don’t have matcha powder, but I do have cocoa powder. Ergo, chocolate pudding, here I come!

IMG_20150630_215945244Ingredients:

3/4 cup milk

50g marshmallows (approx. 6 jumbo size)

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

Mix the powder with a bit of the milk. This will make it easier to incorporate.

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Add in the rest of the milk and marshmallows.

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Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. The mixture doesn’t need to boil, it just needs to be hot enough to completely melt the marshmallows. You can help the marshmallows melt faster by cutting them into pieces.

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Taken while making vanilla pudding

When it looks like this, you've got it!

When it looks smooth like this, you’ve got it!

Once all the marshmallows are fully melted, pour mixture into molds.

pour

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 – 3 hours, and then dig in!

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Obby~

Makes 2 small servings.

Final Verdict

ASDFGHJKL;’ IT’S SO GOOD!!! The pudding is smooth, creamy, and not too sweet. According to the package, 4 marshmallows = 30 grams, so I used 6 marshmallows + 1 to make sure the pudding set. In the video, ochikeron added a lot of marshmallows and got very obvious foam on top. When you add more marshmallows, the foam is more likely to separate. The pudding also ends up thicker and less “jiggly.”

I wonder how this pudding would look in a glass dessert dish, topped with whipped cream. If I have to describe the taste and texture in relation to a store-bought pudding, this felt like a milkier version Danone’s dark chocolate “Danette” puddings. Taste wise, this chocolate pudding tastes exactly like a Fudgesicle. This gives me an idea for later in the month, when it REALLY gets hot out…

You have to be patient with this pudding: make sure it stays in the fridge for AT LEAST 2 hours. It won’t set if you keep poking at it! Due to its softness, the pudding separates from the mold fairly easily. That doesn’t mean it transfers well…

plop

Plop.

Serving sizes are very small, creating less than 1/2 cup servings after the mixture settles. This is the type of dessert to make when you have only one friend over, or you and the sweetheart don’t feel like going out. That would be a cute date idea: make these together, let them chill in the fridge while you eat dinner, watch a movie, and take them out after the movie to enjoy while chatting. You’re welcome, Internet.

*You can swap the cocoa and milk for any other flavours of your choice! The original recipe called for soy milk, but I used skim milk. If you want a creamier pudding, try heavier milk. How about strawberry flavoured milk? Use your imagination! I do not think this will work with condensed milk, because it is too sticky and heavy.

And of course, you can make plain vanilla pudding by simply omitting the flavour agent. Marshmallows are already vanilla flavoured, so there’s no need to add vanilla extract. Serve with fresh berries; who needs marshmallow dip?! I theorize that this white pudding would taste great if made with almond milk.

Nailed it!

Since it’s Canada Day, how about some maple syrup flavoured pudding? Skip the artificial stuff you use on pancakes and grab some 100% pure maple syrup. Or just buy some maple candies and decorate your pudding.

What other quick and easy recipes should we try? Did you make any cute patriotic snacks today? Comment below, and have a Happy Canada Day!

Pika, so happy, eh~

Let’s Super Mario!

E3 happened this week, so I bet you know what I’m going to talk about… Yoshi’s Woolly World!!!!

Well… yes and no. I’m going to mention my thoughts, and then get into what I really wanted to talk about.

 

I just sat watching all the yarny goodness. Then it cut to the rows upon rows of Yoshi plushies. I think, “oh man I could totally do that. I could make them all. I can make EVERYTHING. I CAN BE AWESOME!!!”

Life goal: Emi Watanabe.

I don’t consider myself a programmer, and my art skills could never compare to the artists in our class. But I can utilize my skills in a way that not everyone can. I was the only person in our class who could make plushies. It’s basically 3D modelling, but using craft supplies instead of a $3,000 modelling software.

Now let’s talk about this week’s real post: a throwback to the Super Mario themed plushies I’ve made. Or rather, the #LetsSuperMario contest they’re running over at Nintendo. It’s been 30 years since the first Super Mario Bros came out, and what better way to celebrate than by making a video in honour of the series? It’s for a good cause, too! Proceeds go to Operation Smile, a charity that offers free corrective surgery for children born with cleft lip. I won’t have time to make a video, but hopefully by spreading the word, someone reading this will be inspired to do so.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the plushies, shall we? All patterns are from WolfDreamer. Click on the picture for the specific pattern link.

Here’s one of my first successful plushies made from a pattern: the classic red mushroom. Man, is it derpy. Back then, I liked my work to be nice and smooth. That’s why I left everything on the wrong side. Problem is, when you leave the wrong side facing out, it distorts the shape and looks derpy. Past Pika, that right-side texture isn’t all that bad. You might even forget it’s there!

red-mashram

Iz mashram.

I improved a bit by the time I made the green mushroom. The spots sewed on correctly, too! But again, wrong side out because “SHMOOTH SHAILING LOLOL!” I like the colour of the blue mushroom.

Iz moar mashrams.

Iz moar mashrams.

These mushrooms are a fun project for beginners. Once you master those, you can make mini mushroom earrings.

Fire Flower! I always forget about this guy. It’s become such a permanent fixture on the lamp, I often forget it’s there. Yet the lamp looks weird without the flowers. Huh. I put a pipe cleaner inside the stem hoping it would hold its bend like the other flower, but that didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. Oh well, it’s still cute.

fire-flower

We can’t have helpful powerups without enemies to avoid and/or defeat! I tried to squish the Goomba into a shape closer to the game. Maybe I should’ve actually jumped on him. I’m impressed with myself: I could amp up the lighting and contrast, put in my name and blog, and add the views side by side, yet I couldn’t ‘shop the stray thread in between his eyes. From here on, I preferred to glue felt, instead of sew.

boomba

I also made Toad and Toadette. They were Christmas presents for my then-sweetheart and his sister. Word is that Berry (his sister) was raving about Toadette. Sadly, I didn’t get a very good picture of Toad and Toadette before sending them off. You can look at WolfDreamer’s pattern for pictures; the finished plushies looked the same, except Toadette had both eyes open, and they didn’t have mouths. As a way of avoiding copyright infringement, I tend to not draw mouths on my plushies unless it’s an important part of the character’s design. I might try making and selling my own versions of these two.

And last but not least, Bob-omb. I made this one in a rush the night before some cute kiddos came to visit. One of them stuffed the mushrooms and Bob-omb in his shirt, and I said, “but now they’ll blow up!” He panicked and dropped them all. XP

bob-omb

And that’s it for now. Tune in next week when (hopefully) you can see the cutest, probably most difficult plushie I’ve made!

Once again, here are the main links:

Let’s Super Mario!

–> For more information about the beneficiary, visit Operation Smile’s official website.

Wolfdreamer Off The Hook

What was your favourite part of E3? Comment below!

Yoshi! Wa wa wa wa wa wa~