Pudding – Amugurumi #38

Last week, I went on a 24-hour ami-roll. This is plushie 1/4 that I made. Hooray! Now I have blog material for the rest of the summer!

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I thought this pudding would turn out a bit better. Notice how it puffs up, and doesn’t lay flat. Real custard pudding “plops” out flat, which is what I was going for. Oh well. I already made real custard for the Top Hat family at the start of this month.

 

The Mad Dinner Party

We made korokke for dinner one night. While we were cooking, Vimes the cat was meowing at the door for a servant to let him out. However, the servants’ hands were dirty, so by the time I went to let him out, he was meowing away. Do you ever respond to your cats’ meows with, “I know, I know, hold on?” The korokke were tasty, though they took a long time to make, and we ended up making too many for one sitting. They paired well with Father Top Hat’s homemade salad. We also tried breading and deep frying cheese to make cheddar sticks, but the cheese melted into the breading, leaving nothing but a crispy, cheesy shell. It turns out you’re supposed to freeze cheese sticks before frying. Whoops! Well, now we know for next time.

The following day, we made pudding for dessert. Unfortunately, the water boiled, which sacrificed some of the smooth texture. But the Top Hats seemed to enjoy it just fine. They said it was pretty. I was happy, because pudding is one of my favourite desserts to make, as well as eat. Afterward, Mother Top Hat got out a recipe book full of desserts, and started flipping through for future dessert ideas. There were so many! I hope Top Hat and I will have enough opportunities to cook together…

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Which pudding is the imposter?

Did you know Rilakkuma’s favourite food is custard pudding? Dating advice: Find someone who looks at you, the way Rilakkuma looks at pudding.

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Or better yet, find someone who is willing to share their custard pudding.

What is your favourite dessert? 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.

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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
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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!

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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!)

 

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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

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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.

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

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A memento from Corrine

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T_T

 

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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!

 

Korilakkuma – Amigurumi #32

It’s about time Rilakkuma got a friend. Say hello to Korilakkuma!

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You know that feeling when you fail to read yourown handwriting? That’s how I felt making Korilakkuma. Her head was going well, until the img_20160925_041302786bottom started to show obvious gaps. Luckily, I was able to count the stitches in Rilakkuma’s head. The rest went smoothly, and now Korilakkuma can chill with Rilakkuma. Look, she’s awake!

Korilakkuma turned out a bit bigger and chubbier than Rilakkuma. Perhaps it’s because she’s freshly made.

Recently, we had Kitty’s “Bachelorette” dinner. Korilakkuma wasn’t ready in time, but Rilakkuma ate enough for both of them. After dinner, he was happy to relax with her in my bag. Even if she was just a head, body, and one arm.

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Rilakk… we’re just Rilakkumas in a bag.

Here’s the part where I amend and append some thoughts, from the Rilakkuma blog:

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*tugs ear*

As you know, Rilakkuma is a “relaxing bear:” he likes to take it easy, eat snacks, and listen to music. Korilakkuma is the opposite: she likes to play tricks, and listen to loud music. Yet they are such great friends, because opposites attract. Can you imagine what would one would do without the other? Rilakkuma would never get his homework done, because he’d be too busy sleeping. And Korilakkuma’s mischief would not be cute; it would be annoying. Though one could argue that Rilakkuma still wouldn’t get his homework done, due to Korilakkuma’s trolling. But you know what? At least they’d have fun.

Rilakkuma liked to play with Panda, but maybe Panda was not his true play mate. Yes, Panda was also a bear. And yes, Rilakkuma enjoyed hanging out and eating snacks with Panda. And of course, Rilakkuma was sad and lonely after Panda moved on to a different bear. So sad in fact, that Rilak settled for bears that had nothing in common with him. But it wasn’t the end after Panda left. Panda leaving, was just the herald of Korilakkuma’s appearance.

So don’t look for Panda. Look for Korilakkuma. I hope you readers will find your Korilakkumas, too.

Who knows, maybe one day they will find a kiiroitori.

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Have you found a Korilakkuma? If you identify more with Korilakkuma, have you found your Rilakkuma? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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~

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~

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~

Chibi Doll Base – Amigurumi #26

Last week’s post was postponed due to extended work on this project. Today’s blog was delayed because I was gathering pictures of our subject. Excuses aside, I present to you… Mini M!

Mini M is all ready to go to his new home.

Mini M is all dressed and ready to go to his new home.

Quick facts about this plushie

This is made from my improvised standard chibi base, using a big head and chunky body. The ribbon was suggested by Shoony, instead of wrapping the doll in tissue. His hair is sewn in strands using brown yarn. Yes, it was time consuming. Yes, it was worth every second. Eyes are made from scratch, not safety eyes.

The pattern is a change up from my original pattern that tried to make things look more realistic. See here, with a Mini Shoony doll made circa 2011.

Penguin Shoony doesn't approve

Penguin Shoony doesn’t approve

Perhaps I’ll remade this Shoony doll with the new pattern. Forget the “Draw This Again” meme, I’ll doing the “Make This Again” meme. 😛

But who is M, you ask? He’s one of Huggie Buddy’s roommates. And last Wednesday, M and I had one of the best days of this boring summer. We went for lunch, had froyo, watched the movie Stealth, and found a secluded area in the park that had couches. I also got a gigantic mosquito bite on the back of my leg. Woo…

Today, we had an adventure. M has been very kind to me, so it didn’t feel right to go over empty handed. And so I made the journey with Mini M and a bunch of homemade peanut butter cups.

Riding in Pika's Bag, to his new home.

Riding in Pika’s Bag, to his new home.

You can probably tell his eye is a bit messed up. While trying to make simple paint dots, the squeeze tube suddenly decided, “hey, know what this tiny squeeze needs? LOTS of paint!” BOOM! Gigantic blob of black paint. At first, I tried to fix it by scooping up the paint and duplicate stitching over the stained area. Then I tried painting it with a bit of white paint. Both… barely worked. M seemed happy nonetheless.

Famished from the journey

Famished from the journey

And yes, M was responsible for the hungry hungry Deku in the last post. 😛

Mini M always repays his debts.

Mini M always repays his debts.

Today was a day of movies and general cuddles. Hey, anyone else out there notice that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a really long movie? Well, you don’t miss much by the end. John Cleese can call my mother a hamster any day. XP What a lovely day, sans the lactose intolerant tummy aches endured by yours truly. (You just HAD to get cheesecake bits on yours, huh, Pika? D: ) M was truly a sweetheart to cut our walk short just to take me to the nearby restaurant for the washroom. >_<;;; Here’s our selfie to commemorate the good parts of the day!

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Pika introduces Mini M

I can’t wait to see M again! ^w^

Have you made something you want to retry? What other characters would you like made using this pattern? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~