Tea and Gondor – DIY #11

I made a cozy for the Mad Hatter’s sister, Kate. It features a cross stitch pattern of the Tree of Gondor, from Lord of the Rings.

DSC_0003DSC_0004

Click to see the video demonstration.

This cozy is part of an art exchange. Kate made me this adorable earring and necklace set. Now I can always keep the Mad Hatter close to my heart. ❤

27783745_10159924486755203_262801415_n

Unfortunately, I don’t know much about Lord of the Rings, (I was more of a Harry Potter fan) aside from this ancient meme. I do know however, that cross stitch is not my forte. Multiple sources have tried to teach me over the years, yet the stitches never look right. That’s when Mad Hatter designed this pattern, which accounts for the chunkier floss (yarn) used in the project.

gondor

The body of the cozy was created using materials provided by Mother Top Hat. I used her cozy to make a pattern, and sewed the batting inside. The crochet cover took forever to make, but it was all worth it to see it come to completion. And I had a lot of fun cross stitching the Tree of Gondor. In the future, I might make the cover a bit tighter. I didn’t count on it becoming drapey in the wash. x_x

Mother Raichu was tickled to see a tea cozy again, after many years. Apparently, tea cozies were all the rage in the olden days. My grandmother Raichu used to cross stitch her own covers, too! Perhaps I will make a cozy for us, and decorate it with cross stitch flowers.

*yawn* As I type this, it is 1:50 AM, and I long for a cup of tea. We have just completed my first game jam with the Mad Hatter and friends. I hope to blog about our final game here soon. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, that as soon as I lamented not being creatively productive over the summer, Mad Hatter suggested this game jam. He’s always looking out for my best interest, and his cuddles warm me up like a hot cup of Forest Green. Kate is probably thinking, “my brother, cute? Eww…” XD

If you’d like to get to know Kate a bit better, you can read her blog, Peace and Pekoe. I blog about crafts while musing about life, and she blogs about life while musing about “a lot of things.” – Mad Hatter 2018

Are you a tea drinker? If so, what is your favourite kind of tea? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

 

Advertisements

Bubble Tea – Dessert Days #6

Quick edit: fixed the weird crowding in the first few paragraphs. WordPress editing is not mobile-friendly.

*This recipe is by no means “authentic.” It’s just how I like to make it.

Today is my birthday! But since this weekend was busy busy, we celebrated last weekend (long weekend for us here in Canada) with bubble bubble bubble tea~ Maybe I’m just getting older, but it’s gotten to a point where physical presents just aren’t satisfying anymore. I would rather have big experiences, and take home a small token to remember it by. And well, since we celebrated me birthday a week early, as promised there is a special guest! From all the way in Penguin-ton, heeeeeeeere’s….. Shoony!

Shoony is on the left.

Shoony is on the left.

Okay, you’re sitting down for this next part, right?

Sit.

Hey, I see you standing!

Sit down somewhere, you’re holding up traffic!

Okay, good.

…Shoony has never had bubble tea before.

*wind blows the tumbleweed*

Here in Toronto, bubble tea is fairly easy to find. Most shopping malls around here have some kind of bubble tea/smoothie shop. A shop opened up near my school, and I went with Flash and Green Lantern after they had a big presentation. The shop also sells samosas. So really, it’s a matter of knowing which places sell bubble tea, since not every shop is “bubble tea only.” And no matter where you go, it always runs expensive. (Up to $5 for a small) For a few dollars more, you can swing by your local Asian supermarket, buy some instant tapioca pearls and flavour packets, and make many bubble teas the way YOU like!

bubble-teas

Store Bought vs. Home Made

For those who have spent the past few years under a rock without internet, bubble tea is a popular drink originating from Asia. I’m not sure which country exactly, nor am I sure of the “true” recipe. But around here, bubble tea is distinguished by the big tapioca pearls (bubbles) settled at the bottom. The drink itself is made with coffee, tea, or simply flavored milk. The first time I made bubble tea, it was literally just cold hot chocolate with tapioca! Now that we’re moving into summer, this is the perfect treat. It’s also fun to make with friends! Instead of coffee dates, why not make it a bubble tea date?

You will need:

tapioca pearls

coffee, tea, or flavour powder of your choice

milk

sugar

water

a jar, or any container with a tight lid

clear glass(es)

fat straws

IMG_20150524_142340754First, prepare your pearls. You can buy these at any Asian supermarket. (Look in the tea aisle) It doesn’t matter if you get the original black or coloured, because they taste the same. I recommend getting pearls that say “Ready in 5 minutes,” so that if you ever get a hankering, you don’t have to wait too long.

The standard ratio of pearls to water is 1:10. So for every 1 cup of pearls, boil 10 cups of water. Use your personal preferences when deciding how many pearls to make. There were only two of us and I wasn’t sure if Shoony would like them, so I only used 1/4 cup of pearls. (1/4) * 10 = 2 1/2 cups of water. Really, I just winged it boiling a small pot of water and dunking in the pearls.

If you’ve ever cooked gnocchi, this process should sound familiar. Bring the water to a boil, and then add your pearls. Stir gently for a few seconds to keep them from sticking together, and then let them simmer until they float to the top. (Timing will vary according to package directions) Scoop them out, (be careful not to overcook) and plop them into a bowl of syrup to let them cool, and to give them a bit of flavour. I used honey today, but we used a basic sugar + water syrup for Shoonie. She had a little too much fun mixin’, and a mixin’, and a mixin’…

stir

Soak the pearls in the syrup for at least 15 minutes. We ate lunch at this point. By the time we came back, uh oh… they were kinda stuck together. >_<; No worries, it was nothing a light stir couldn’t handle. If stirring doesn’t help, microwave the pearls in 5 second bursts, or until they are separated again. Also, make sure there is enough syrup to cover all of the pearls.

Today, the pearls are soaking in honey.

Today, the pearls are soaking in honey.

Meanwhile, make your tea. This was Shoonie’s first bubble tea ever, so we kept things simple with green apple flavoured milk. For a single serving I usually use 1 cup milk + 2 teaspoons powder. (Don’t forget to account for the tapioca and foam) Today I’m making cold coffee with milk. If you brewed hot, let your tea chill in the fridge. Bubble tea is best served nice and cold. coffee

Did you know bubble tea is named for the bubbles (foam) on top? Most people think it’s because the tapioca look like bubbles. That’s why this recipe isn’t just bubble tea, it’s bubble bubble bubble tea! Get it, bubbles on top? Bubbles on the bottom? And you get all bubbly from drinking it? I used the word “bubble” 3 times!

*cheep… cheep… cheep…*

To get that nice, bubbly topping, we need to shake, shake, shake! Most instant bubble tea powders only require stirring, but what fun is that? Pour your tea ingredients directly into a shaker, and go to town!

shake

Now it’s time to serve. Scoop out as many tapioca pearls as you want, and put them in a glass. (I recommend clear glasses) Then give your tea another quick shake, and pour it into the glass as well. Stick a fat straw inside, and enjoy!

Shoony likes her first bubble tea.

*If you can’t find fat straws, you can just drink the tea normally and use a spoon to scoop the pearls. Personally, it just doesn’t feel the same without a fat straw.

Verdict: Shoonie loved the bubble tea. :3 The tapioca pearls feel like gummi candies. Think I undercooked some of the pearls… nonetheless, they turned out tasty enough. To really make this a refreshing summer beverage, add crushed ice. Cubed is fine, too.

The beauty of bubble tea is that you can make it however you like. Maybe you like coffee, maybe you like tea, or maybe you just want a sweet treat. I’d like to think there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to enjoy bubble tea. Today, I made milk coffee bubble tea as a present to myself:

IMG_20150524_160309

And of course, don’t forget to pair with Shoony’s homemade bunny bite donuts.

bunnies

Nom nom nom *pom pom falls* BUNNY!!!!! DX

Anime North update: I went to Anime North yesterday, in my derpy Katara cosplay! Was too burned out to go back today. Didn’t buy anything except a candy kit for Shoony. *sigh* Such is life as a crafter: you see cute plushies and think, “I could make that myself…” Will blog about AN next weekend on the regular day, Saturday.

How do you like your bubble tea? Have you tried making it at home? What snacks do you like to eat for tea? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Red Fairy Survival Guide (With pictures!)

Gentlemen, don’t click away! It’s extremely attractive when a guy knows how to help a girl on her period. 😛

This is also my excuse this week for not having a craft-related post. It seems whenever I try to make something, it just fails and I get upset. D: Also I have a habit of slouching while working, which we’ll get into.

I love my gaim doev boys. But let’s face it, there are some inescapable differences they simply would not understand. *cough cough* If you’re in a similar situation, do not fear! I have some tips to share with you. They’ve worked in the past, so if you haven’t already, try them out. This will also be an opportunity for me to use my poor, neglected drawing tablet.

*DISCLAIMER: These are only what have worked for me personally, and are not guaranteed to work for everyone. If none of these work for you, try alternate methods, or see a doctor for professional advice.

Spider cramps, spider cramps…

1. Take a nap

Stress and lack of sleep make your cramps a lot worse. When sleeping, stretch out on your stomach. Place a heating pad or your hand directly under your tummy, where you’re feeling the cramps. You can also raise one leg. Think of Spiderman climbing a wall. Untz untz.

Wrapping up nice and warm works, too. Keeping with today’s spirit of Wear it Pink, I am wearing a breast cancer-themed pink snuggie. 😛

2. Proper posture

Slouching looks just as bad inside as it does on the outside. When you slouch, you’re putting pressure on your insides, and pressure is the last thing your poor 2nd tummy needs. If you’re sitting against a wall (like I currently am) try leaning back, and place a cushion against your lower back. I find this also helps take pressure off my lower back, which the sharks are apparently trying to eat.

slouch

3. Do not stay hungry

Ynomnomnomou may feel so bloated, just the thought of food will be enough to make you nauseous. Ironically, hunger is one of many things that contributes to cramps. The trick is to find a food that fills you up, but you can save the leftovers for later so that you have something to eat once the nausea goes down. Consider finger foods like chicken nuggets, raw veggies, or cheese and crackers. Also let me stress: no, candy and sugary snackies do not count. Those are dessert foods; dessert foods are meant to end off your meal, not fill you up. Eating sugary snacks on an empty stomach will only result in a nasty stomach ache. And believe me girl, one tummy ache is more than enough.

4. Peppermint Tea for hormonal acne

teaIn my family, the best solution for sickness and pain is a cup of hot tea. Not only is this one of my favourite flavours, but peppermint tea also helps regulate your hormone levels, which go out of whack when you’re on your period. If you tend to break out shortly before your period starts, that’s called hormonal acne. There’s not much you can do to prevent it, since it’s caused by the hormonal changes in your body. What you can do is reduce it: drink a cup of this peppermint tea every day. Gradually, you’ll find your acne clearing up, and your cramps will ease up.

If you’re having trouble keeping food down, slowly sip on a cup of this tea, mixed with a spoonful of honey.

4. Get a massage

Peter being awesome

Peter being awesome

You don’t have to go to the spa for this. (Though that’s not a bad idea if you have the time and money! I don’t, so anyway… ;w; ) Ask a friend, family member, or your sweetheart. Have them rub gently in circular motions wherever you’re feeling the cramps. If a tummy rub isn’t helping, ask them rub your lower back in the same way. Peter used to rub my lower back whenever it hurt. He was also the only straight guy I trusted to do this without being a creeper. I miss him right now. 😦

5. Ibuprofen

Tylenol is the choice on this end, but Advil’s worked in a pinch. Take one tablet and take a nap as described above. If the cramps are still there when you wake up, take another. Unless prescribed by a doctor, follow the directions on the bottle, and never take more than the recommended dosage. Especially when you’re on your period, and are experiencing enough hormone imbalances as it is. (Hello, BO. -_-; ) If you feel your cramps aren’t responding to regular drug store products, talk to your doctor about alternate methods.

6. Ask your friends if they think you’re pretty

I know this sounds kinda silly, since no one else should be responsible for your confidence besides yourself. But it really does work, especially on those days when you’re feeling fat, sweaty, and just overall gross. Ask your friends or sweetheart if they think you’re pretty. If they say yes, don’t shoot them down with, “no I’m not.” YOU ARE! They wouldn’t be your friends if they didn’t think you were pretty on the inside. And when you’re pretty on the inside, it shows on the outside, whether you believe it or not.

pretty

7. MAKE yourself pretty

Tying into the above, you probably feel bloated, sweaty, smelly, and all sorts of other unpleasant-sounding adjectives. Remember how I said no one else should be responsible for your confidence besides yourself? Do it: take a warm bath or shower with those special scrubs you save for special occasions. Put on makeup, even if you don’t plan on going out. Wear that outfit that makes your butt look cute. Now look in the mirror: do you like what you see? You do? Well then, you’ve successfully completed this step!

8. Kill stuff (in video games)

You may feel frustrated or angry. Sadly, there are many laws against violence that can’t be excused by your period. Take out your anger in a violent video game. Name the enemies after people who upset you that day. It’s great stress relief. The bloodier, the better!

altair

And those are my tips. Hope you’ve enjoyed the derpy drawings. It seems I’ve gotten so used to drawing derpy sketches of prospective projects, drawing seriously no longer comes naturally. Oh sigh…

Were these tips useful? What are some of your shark week survival tips? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~