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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Pixel Art: Heart Earrings – DIY #8

Why wear your heart on your sleeve, when you can wear it on your ears?

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These earrings ended up looking like raspberries. So I’m calling them “raspberry hearts,” like in that one song from DDR. As you can see, they look better from a distance.

I’ve been staying in the Winter Wonderland this weekend, to spend Valentine’s day with Top Hat. We are going to stay in, dress up nice, and eat a candlelit, homecooked dinner. I’m going to wear a red dress, but couldn’t find matching accessories or jewellery. And so two nights ago, I made these with materials provided by Mother Top Hat, and earring hooks that were hiding in my bag from the Muffet earrings. Here is what I used:

dsc_0146Beading needles

Fine beading cord

Earring hooks

Pliers

This pixel heart, as a guide. 

*The scissors became useless, after I learned that the pliers had built-in wire cutters.

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I started out with a length of wire that was the length of my forearm, and 5 beads to start the center chain. There must be a proper name for it, but I call it “weaving.” Basically, you string the 5 beads as normal, then use one end of the string to weave back and forth between them, creating a sturdy chain.

I personally prefer to use polyester sewing thread, because it doesn’t curl back on itself as much, and it lays completely flat and doesn’t kink. Beggars can’t be choosers, of course, not to mention this cord is sturdier and doesn’t show between beads as much.

When working pixel bead art, start from the middle, and work one side at a time. This will keep you from getting confused, and causing the work to twist. It also helps if you sort out your beads ahead of time. This way you can determine which ones are too tight for your needle. If they can’t handle the eye of a needle, they won’t be able to handle the bundles of cord created by weaving. I got the Mad Hatter to do this step for me… after he woke up from his couch cat nap.

dsc_0153Another thing I suggest is to work beside someone motivational. Sometimes the best way to work isn’t to work with them, but to work alongside them. What I mean is, do your own thing, but do it in proximity to one another. I kept struggling and breaking beads while sitting alone. It wasn’t until the Mad Hatter finally came to sit with me, that I made progress. This is also a good way to spend time together, while still doing nothing at all… if that makes any sense.

Whether you have a date for Valentine’s Day or not, this is a cute project to make. You can wear them, give them to your girlfriend, or give them to your best friend tomorrow, for Friends’ Day.

To attach the hooks, I wove the remaining ends until they both stuck out of the top center. Then I just tied them to the hook, and snipped any excess cord.

Tonight, The Mad Hatter and I are going to have a nice date. I’m going to wear these earrings with a red outfit. Stay tuned this weekend, to hear about our date, and a DIY for the outfit! Meanwhile, enjoy today’s entry for the 30 day art challenge. Click the image to see the rest of this month’s submissions!

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Food is a universal language. Whether you have a Valentine, are just celebrating with friends, or you have exams to worry about, take time today to share a meal with someone. Meals taste better when shared.

From all of us at Pika’s Penguin Production Company, have a safe and happy Valentine’s day, and don’t forget to brush your teeth tonight!

Pika, so happy~

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Part 1 of 2

So this is what I’ve been doing all month. And holy sheep, I actually finished it. Why not recap the experiences with the 30 day drawing challenge?

Day 1 – Super You!

uoit-dc-day-1The first challenge was to draw yourself as a super hero. This is Shay Crowe, alter ego: Crocheria. (Working name) She has the ability to bring the plushies she makes to life, or simply wrap her magical yarn around her body, and use it as leverage to grapple. Think of her as “yarn spodermin.”

If you’ve perused Tumblr, you’ve likely happened upon The Knitter. Consider this his nemisis. I took way too long to finish this, and it looks like something I would’ve drawn in high school. There is a long way to go…

The design was inspired off Pascal from Tales of Graces, and… I dunno…Harley Quinn? I would like to wear long, thigh high socks with garters. As for the boots, not even I remember if they’re supposed to be boots, or thicker socks.

Days 2 – 7: Basic Anatomy blaster

These days were the most tedious. Although the point of this week was to help improve your ability to draw basic anatomy, they were very tedious. Hands are forever my nemesis, though day 6 was the day I learned to use shadows to indicate depth. Legs and feet were fun to draw, and yes, I used Spiderman as a reference for the leaping pose. The eyes and basic poses were drawn on the same sheet, and I didn’t feel like separating them in the dA submission.

 

Days 8 – 14: Concept art, and a doggy

Finally, a chance to draw concept art for other projects! These are plans for things that appear in my next project, a NaNoWriMo novel. It would be nice if the dream home became real one day. And the doggy is just a doggy, because doxies are cute.

The owl is Hibou, the main character’s pet owl. He is a cute, loyal companion for the most part. However, he also has the ability to turn his head upside down and emit a horrid screech, when he is upset or provoked.

The grey chain link on the right hand side is a sort of mind-controlled weapon. At least, that’s the best way to put it. The blue chain on the left is an alternate version of the weapon, after a certain point in the story.

Lac Gaawel (Mirror Lake) is a spring located on a mountain summit. They say the water here is so pure, that if you gaze upon it, you will see your true reflection. This means that you will see yourself as you naturally are, without makeup, masks, or transformative magic.

This armour is initially worn by a character who appears much later in the story, but is significant nonetheless.

 

Days 15: uoit-dc-day-15Hero Revisited

We’re at the halfway mark, which means it’s time to revisit that character you brain-farted out on day 1. You must place them in an action pose. This is where I settled on this style of using polygons, rather than drawing lineart and colouring in. (Translation: I couldn’t be arsed to put effort into lineart)

I do like the way the hair turned out, and it felt refreshing to draw something besides the usual 3/4 view static pose.

Incidentally, day 15 was also Keedee and Bear’s wedding day! I was unable to attend, so I wrote a simple prayer for the two of them on Facebook. Remember folks, true love is not letting them put green peas in their mac and cheese.

It’s safe to say day 15, was the start of a time of changes for my close friends and I. Kitty got married to a cute bear. Tabbs found and adopted a kitten companion. And me? Well, you’ll have to find out next time!

Have you tried a 30 day challenge before? If so, what were they, and have you finished? Are you participating in this month’s NaNoWriMo challenge? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

 

Japanese Style Curry

Warning: diet blog incoming. And by diet, I mean reduced pictures. It’s not easy to take pictures and cook at the same time!

As you probably know, I’ve been on a cooking kick lately. You may also recall the time I found Pokemon themed box curry, and thought it looked kinda gross. Well, Ochikeron had a homemade recipe that looked way tastier, so I gave it a watch. Unfortunately, the recipe called for curry roux blocks. These blocks are harder to come by than I thought. That’s why I was glad Ochi also had a recipe completely from scratch, using all natural ingredients. And so today, I finally made this Japanese style curry, with a bit of my own technique mixed in. My suggestions are written in bold. Video recipe here:

The first bit of the recipe was easy; cut and prepare your meat and veggies. (I used beef instead of pork) I only decided today that I wanted to make curry, so the poor meat didn’t get to marinate overnight.

Eww… these potatoes were mushy. Let this be a lesson to anyone else out there: use fresh ingredients. I was trying to finish up whatever we had left, so that’s the only excuse I have for using these sad, hard-to-peel potatoes. Aside from the onions, carrot, and potatoes, I also threw in a single chopped celery stick.

Making the broth went well, until I realized I’m hopeless at opening corked bottles. (The wine bottle) It seems that cranberry, pomegranate, or unsweetened grape juice also work in a pinch. I used pomegranate; we will add Worcestershire sauce, which contains malt vinegar. I theorize that this balances out the taste of the juice.

Because so many Japanese curry recipes suggest the use of honey and apple, I envisioned this curry to be sweet. But so far it was vinegary! This is because we’re adding in a lot of salty (chicken stock, salt and pepper) and vinegar-based ingredients. (Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce) If it’s too vinegary or salty, add a little bit of sugar to balance the taste. Oh! I just got it after typing that sentence: sweet honey and apple helps balance the vinegar taste! GENIUS! XD;

The recipe called for a grated potato. The idea is that the starch from this potato will help thicken the curry. Not sure if it was because these potatoes were mushy or I just have bad luck, but it didn’t work. So instead, I sprinkled a little bit of flour at a time, until the sauce was thick enough that some of it held onto the spoon. Here’s why I knew it would work:

Curry roux is meant to be used as a thickening agent. Roux is a flour and butter mixture used to give sauces and stews their thick consistency. Ever wonder why Kraft Dinner cheese comes in powder form? At least that’s my theory. Hey, flour is safe to eat. Not like I’m suggesting it’s made from bugs. Ha ha ha ha…. <_<

Joaks. I do loves me some boxed mac and cheese from time to time. Anyway, let’s finish this curry.

After liquid reduced and the curry thickened, it was time to serve! Unlike our Indian curries where we dunk it on top of the rice, this curry is more appealing when served beside the rice.

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Final verdict: kare oishii desu! [/weeaboo] I will mix a bit of honey into my next plate, see how that turns out. It is indeed pretty strong on its own. Also, beware telling your Japanese-savvy friends about this. They just may magically lose their clothes. (Will get a picture to prove this ASAP)

So… what is my excuse for not blogging last week? Slowness. Why do you ask?

*wind blows the tumbleweed* Oh, right, there’s no one here. But at least now you are aware of a delicious curry recipe! As for the big, complicated plushie, it has been shipped. It’s a surprise, and I don’t want to give it away before the person receives it. 😀

Round 2! Om nom nom

Round 2! Om nom nom

Do you like curry rice? How do you prepare it? What other curry recipes do you like? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~