Jasmine (Aladdin) – Amigurumi #53

I can show you the world,
Shining shimmering, plushy,
Tell me, Pika, now when did you last
finish a project?~ (8)

A whole new plushhhhhh~
A cute mini I never made,
But when I’m way down here,
It’s crystal clear,
that now I’m in a plushie world with you~

At long last, my Princess Jasmine plush has been completed! I call her Jasmini, for reasons you will see later in the blog. Though one reason is that she doesn’t have a mouth, and therefore she is speechless. Heh? HEH?!!!!??! 😀 (Click on “speechless” to get the joke, and enjoy a lovely song)

I used the same head, arms, and body shape as Ariel. Jasmine was a bit more of a challenge to make than Ariel, due to having those…what are they called? Oh, feet.

Pre-styled hair

She also needed a LOT more hair. Sadly to say that this final result doesn’t have the “volume” I was hoping for. Perhaps I should rub the lamp, and wish for a new way to make her hair thick and luxurious?

And yes, I am aware that I used the same skin tone for both characters. I consider these prototypes, hence they are not available in the shop. These two are good friends; they even take selfies together! Further research shows that these two often appear together, outside of their respective movies.

#disneyPrincess #damselsInSuccess

If I recall correctly, Jasmine was my first Disney princess. For my second Hallowe’en, at age 5, I dressed up as her. Mother Raichu even bought a dollar store hair extension to make my hair look super long. I wore the costume the following year to a Hallowe’en party, and kids asked “woah! Pika, is this really your hair?!”

That’s when I decided to grow my hair very long, “like a princess.” Sadly, having thick, naturally curly hair meant the Raichus would frequently chop it down once it got too long and tangled to manage. Years later, I would go to a whole new world; it gave me a new fantastic point of view. With no one to tell me no [you can’t have long hair,] or where to go [to get hair cut,] or say we’re only dreaming [of having long hair.] Okay, I’m done with that song.

On June 27, I finally saw the live action Aladdin! Naomi Scott was a good choice for Jasmine. The only thing I would change, was to make her hair look more cobra-like. If you look at animated Jasmine, her hair is in the silhouette of a cobra.

Here is a picture of me with Jasmini, wearing the Jasmine-themed romper I bought from Hot Topic. I’ve been excited to see the live action movie, since hearing that an old friend went to the same high school as Mena Massoud. Woo, Ontario represent! Also, Wash from Firefly, plays Iago the parrot? Huh. Guess we really couldn’t take the sky from him. Though technically, didn’t the sky take the Wash from us? Oops, Serenity spoiler.

[/tangent]

Anyway, when we went to see the new movie, I introduced Jasmini to bubble tea. She likes the papaya smoothie. For some reason, I think real Jasmine would have preferred mango.

Jasmini had the best seat in the house: in my hat! She enjoyed every second of the movie, and sang along whenever Jasmine was on screen. Well okay, she hummed along, due to not having a mouth. During the end of A Whole New World, the Mad Hatter leaned toward me. Jasmini booped his head.

Perhaps with another blog post, I will give a full review of the movie. I should re-watch the animated Aladdin at some point. I remember watching Return of Jafar, and I remember this song from the third installment. But oddly enough, I don’t remember the original “classic” that everyone raves about. Hopefully I will be able to rewatch the animated movie some time soon.

As a kid, I also liked Jasmine, because she looked the most like me. Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario during the late 90’s meant I was mostly surrounded by, well…. people who looked more like Ariel. And I never knew how to explain my heritage to people, since my parents were never clear on it, either. Now that I think about it, the best description of my heritage is similar to Jasmine’s: it’s an amalgamation of cities and cultures. Jasmine’s city of Agrabah is a made up city, that draws from Middle Eastern and Indian cultures. I was born here in Canada, my parents were born in another country, and our heritage is from another country. If that makes sense. Sometimes I recognize foods, words, and mannerisms in other cultures, that my parents taught me growing up. They aren’t the same, but they are similar. Jasmine’s outfit in the animated movie is different from what a Middle Eastern or Indian princess would wear during that time period, but it is inspired off outfits that real Harem women would have worn. And her hair was designed to imitate the towers of the Taj Mahal, which confused me about the cobra silhouette earlier. Point is, Jasmine is a lot of things. And so am I.

Also like Jasmine, I have felt pressure to do things a certain way because “it’s tradition.” Jasmine was supposed to marry a prince, because she was a princess and it was tradition for her to continue the royal bloodline. But she chose Aladdin/Prince Ali, not only for what he could give her materially, but because he helped her achieve the life of freedom she always longed for. For my family, it is against tradition to move out before getting married, and it was unheard of to fall in love with someone of a different culture. But then I met the Mad Hatter, and he helped encourage me to pursue my dreams. That ultimately gave me the courage to move out and pursue my own independence. Now I’m looking forward to my final year of college, and hope that one day I can create movies that inspire people, just like how Jasmine inspired me. All it took was a little going against the norm.

Who was your favourite Disney princess? Have you seen the new Aladdin movie? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Popplio – Amigurumi #49

*The following plush also appears on @pikainabag

Meet my son, Popplio.

I made this Popplio circa December of this past year. It went on hold while I fiddled with ways to make its eyes. And then I picked up felting needles and stabbed fluff repeatedly into its head. It kind of worked.

I would give this Popplio a 7/10. In future iterations, I would make the snout broader at the base, and make the ears longer. And maybe the flippers should be a row or two longer.

The eyes are very fuzzy. Maybe if they were hand washed, they would lay flat?

As you may remember, Popplio received a lot of hate when the Alola starters were announced. But when I lifted Popplio gently into my arms, I knew I wanted him to be my son.

And my son, he was. His attack stats aren’t too strong, but his defense is off the charts. Basically, Popplio is a tank.

And look at its final evolution. LOOK AT IT. ABSORB THE FABULOUSNESS.

My son went to school with me, to help alleviate a bit of crunch time stress.

He found my one friend’s drawing of (Eevee?) and Jolteon.

And then he found a macaron. But wait…so did Mimikyu!

They bonded over their love of macarons. And now, Popplio and Mimikyu are friends.

Popplio and Mimikyu came to the annual demo reel screening on Thursday. People seemed to like mine. Do you? (Click here to watch)

Despite watching the demo reels on Thursday, the semester is not over yet! And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go finish the remaining assignments. There will still be a blog post next week, but it will be scheduled ahead of time. (This post was, too.) Whew… we’re getting to Easter, and despite how insane school has gotten, I’ve managed to blog each week since the beginning of Lent! I would say that I have accomplished my Lenten promise. Now, can I accomplish my academic promises????

Which Pokemon is next? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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~

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~

Cupcakes – Amigurumi #46

Who wants cupcakes? This is plushie 3/4 of my ami binge.

Or at least, it would be if I could find the original plush. 

Click here to view 1/4: Pudding
Click to view 2/4: Ice Cream

At long last, I have found a cupcake pattern that works. I also figured out how to (kind of) fix the blobby-bottom problem from the pudding. It turns out, all you have to do is use an invisible join on the base. Unfortunately because of the way I stuffed it, the underside still puffs outward, but it’s nothing a bit of kneading can’t fix. And at least it doesn’t look like a baking failure.

Crocheting a flat base

I normally work in spirals when crocheting amis, but put that aside for traditional joined rounds to achieve a flat base.

It also helps to use a smaller hook when working the base. This results in a sturdier fabric.

This pink and green abomination was going to be a cupcake with swirled icing. The idea behind it was to crochet a conical cake top, and wrap the yarn around it. Somehow I thought it made sense to tie the yarn at the top of the cake, and twist it around the bottom. #pastPikaLogic

Here is the swirl-top cupcake from before, and the one I made today. This time, I just single crocheted around the top of the cupcake to simulate a blob of icing:

The new cupcake looks like a rose

Cupcakes are like people: they come in all flavours and colours, and there’s something for everyone. Chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting are indulgent, but shortcake ones with a big ol’ strawberry on top are classic. They’re all cupcakes, just different kinds of cupcakes. Some people like certain cupcakes better than others, and that’s fine. At the end of the day, just keep calm and blah blah blah you know the rest.

Can someone explain this? (Click to follow through)

The slice of cake is part of this post because I am not a cake racist. Cake slice pattern is credited to Sarah from Repeat Crafter Me. (Click the link for the pattern)

Personally, I feel that red velvet cupcakes are a bit overrated. Store bought red velvet cakes just taste like sugar and cream cheese. Does anyone out there follow Tasty? Have you noticed they’ve been posting a ton of cheesecake fusion desserts? I like cheesecake just as much as the next person, but seriously? My stomach hurts just from scrolling through Facebook.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go look like this for a bit:

What are your favourite types of cupcakes? What other snackies do you like? 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~

Octopus – Amigurumi #44

Me, last summer: “I was invited to a baby shower. What do you do at baby showers?”
Shoonie: “Uh…you give presents, play games, and pat the baby. :D”

But what if the baby isn’t born yet?

Answer: You give the mum-to-be an octopus!

Inspired by the preemie octopus, this was a present to the Mad Hatter’s other sister, Jo. She wanted a colourful octopus for baby to be, and I happened to find some rainbow “baby yarn” in my stash. I didn’t make it to the actual baby shower, so I gave it to her when I saw her prior. Jo looked very happy, and let me pat her belly. ❤

It’s nice to finally have color on this blog.

This octopus was made with a now discontinued yarn, called Bernat Candyland. (Click the name for link) It has a boucle texture, which means it adds a bumpy texture to the finished fabric. I made a scarf using the green, white, and purple yarn, pictured on the same page.

Washed and ready to wrap!

The octopus’ legs are crocheted directly to the body, so they wouldn’t come apart once baby gets to the grabbing/pulling phase. Once I finished making the octopus, I stuffed it into an old stocking and washed it. Octopus became socktopus, and then washtopus. It’s important to wash knitted and crocheted items before giving them to a newborn. Especially if you’re using yarn that’s been sitting in storage for a long time.

And if you desire, this octopus can also be… a hat.

Please join me in wishing Baby Izzy a very warm welcome. Hello Izzy! I hope you’ve enjoyed your first 6 months on Earth! When you grow bigger I’ll make you snacks. Trust me, they’ll be even tastier than my finger!

As fate should have it, I got Jo in the Secret Santa draw. Among the other things, I gave her this birth announcement. I really just wanted to experiment colouring with colored pencils. Unfortunately I didn’t scan or take a photo of the final product, but the photo on the right is the rough draft. I’m happy that Jo is happy.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this octopus was inspired by the octopus toys made to comfort premature babies. I’m sure even non-preemies would love to have a dangly friend to cling onto. Izzy wasn’t a preemie, but she certainly enjoys her octopus! If you would like to contribute an octopus, visit the “octopus for a preemie” website or one of their Facebook pages. (Click the blue texts to follow through)

What other baby toys should appear on the blog? Do the octopus’ colors turn your cats into rock-toed pusses? Know any better octopus puns? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~