Thursday, December 31, 2009

まんげつ:mangetsu, meaning "full moon"

If you've been outside in the past few hours, I'm sure you've noticed that tonight is mangetsu (満月), a full-moon night. It's also the 13th full moon of this year, which in some cultures is called a blue moon. (Not in Japan, mind you, but there is a good song about the "blue moon of January", or ichigatsu no aoi tsuki, called Yasashii Yoake (Gentle Dawn) that you can listen to if you like J-music.) 

It's also the last night of the decade. :D

Please let me wish you all a cookie and a happy end to the year; I hope to see you all again in the first hours of 2010, and for many years thereafter. Cheers! 乾杯!

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ha ha happy holidays. :D

After making cookies, dinner, pie, and burning a very argumentative DVD (grr, stupid encoding errors) I am officially lazy. XD I'll be back sometime before the new year. (^3^)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Note to Self

I'm putting this here for my own benefit, so I don't keep losing it when it falls off the fridge. By all means, please do try it for yourself if you like fluffy, thick pizza crust.

The Best Pizza Crust Recipe I Have Ever Found
in Eleven Years of Searching

poorly illustrated by Ku

Notes in addendum:

"Rapid rise yeast" means exactly that; active dry isn't powerful enough for a fluffy dough. "Knead a whole lot" means fold and smash and roll up and repeat like 20 or 30 times. "Punch down the dough" might mean something else to serious chefs, but in this recipe it means "beat the shit out of it for serious". Adding a tablespoon of crushed rosemary to the dry flour makes it herby-good. :D

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2 + 2

Some people out there are freaking awesome. Some people can take several simple things and make them into one awesome thing.

For example, the mathematical proof I shall hereafter call "Lovebiser's Equation":

tripart embroidered ornament by Lovebiser
click image to go to very clever tutorial

Some people see a plain shape and think "I can make that infinitely cuter."

Pomeranian Plushie by meow726, who also made a cow

And SOME people are fans of great video games and even pick out all the right items to properly katamaru and get them in the picture for plus 10 points.

Let's all petition her to make a Prince pattern. XD

Everybody 'round the world, let's keep making stuff! :D

*redwork and blackwork are essentially the same thing, except redwork is done in red. Seriously.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

[!] : Your startup disk is almost full.

Oh no oh no, there are so many things I am supposed to be doing right now and I haven't done enough of them kyaaaa~ ゥェ—。゚゚(ノ´д`ヾ。)゚゚。—ン

And I want to open an Esty store so I can support my crafting habit
addiction but nobody will ever buy anything I make kyaaaa~ 。゚ヾ(´A`)ノ゚。ゥワァーン

And why the hell didn't anybody ever tell me about the Hotsuma-Tsutae and the yamato-kotoba system before now, damnitall?! ヽ(≧Д≦)ノ ウワァァン!!

I'm gonna go look at the cheerful Nikki's life to help me feel better. (/×\)

...which reminds me that I ought to be writing all my nengajyou soon, too. -_-; Damn.

I'll be back sometime this week with a pattern.
I hope.
If I can find it under all this other stuff I'm supposed to be doing. ;_;

Thursday, November 26, 2009

感謝祭:kanshasai, meaning "Thanksgiving Celebration"

Those are relatively tough kanji, actually. The last one, 「祭」is まつり、matsuri, meaning "festival", which you may have heard before in Japanese media. :3

I was going to make the traditional list of "things I am thankful for", derp derp, but that would be a very long post, including such things as clean water, pugs, and Canada.

Instead, here is a list of groups whose hard work I am thankful for.

11/19/09: Wilma, rescued by the ASPCA
The first and oldest humane organization in the Western Hemisphere, the ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws, and share resources with shelters nationwide.

The United Nations Children's Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and health care to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. It has since evolved into the world's largest advocate for children in impoverished and war-torn nations, providing long-term humanitarian assistance to children and their mothers.

Founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory in 1965, PRBO Conservation Science is dedicated to conserving birds, other wildlife and ecosystems worldwide through innovative scientific research and outreach.

If there's another cause you favor, you can always find a charity of your own to support. :D

Or if you've got a few minutes, you can donate your clicks to a good cause.
Help end world hunger
The Animal Rescue Site
The Child Health Site
The Rainforest Site
The Literacy Site
The Breast Cancer Site
The Hunger Site

Happy Thanksgiving, 感謝祭おめでとうございます。:3

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The End of Cake

タダイマカエリマシタ!!!>w< I'm back!

Grr, Google Ads, cut it out! This is not a cake blog! I know there have been some cake-related things in the past few months, but no! This is a blog about toys and sewing and paper and string and Japan!

See? A soft toy pattern! It's a plushie! ...of a cake. -_-;

This is the last cake-themed thing I'll post for a while. I promise. Really. 
Click to download the pattern as a PDF; instructions and pictures below.

I made this thing on the fly as a present for a former co-worker, the lovely Diana G., who knows everything there is to know about cake decorating and Wilton stuff. I wish I had some pictures of all the cakes she made and demo-decorated on Saturdays, 'cause damn, girl, were they ever awesome. And freaking sweet, too. Like the kind of sweet where you can feel the sugar crystallizing in your veins, but you still want more because it's just SOOOO good. ^^;

This is a pretty easy softie in theory; getting the edges of the frosting pieces to lay as you want and stitching them down with blanket stitch is a little bit of a challenge. Just go slow and it'll be fine. It helps if you make the whole cake form first, stuffing and all, and then sew the top frosting layer on to the finished form, so you're not fighting to get it pinned down on a limp, unstuffed model.

A Pictorial Walkthrough

1. Here are your pieces:

2. With a complementary color of perle cotton or embroidery floss, blanket stitch the frosting band to one of the layer side bands. (It helps to baste the pieces together first to keep them lined up while you stitch.)

blanket stitch, close up

3. This is what it should look like. Blanket stitch is a very easy and clean stitch that covers the raw edge of the felt and maintains that little bit of depth between the two pieces. If you have never done blanket stitch before, here's a lovely tutorial that shows it step-by-step

top layer, frosted bottom layer

4. Using regular thread, sew the other cake layer band to the top of the "frosted" one you just finished. 

"layer sammich", with finished seam along the top

NOTE: From here on, take care to remember which end is up, else things might get sewn to the wrong side of other things, which is a sucky mistake to make. :(

5. Sew your completed cake sides into a broad loop, wrong side (with all your seams) facing out. this.

6. Sew on the bottom layer of the cake. It's really not hard to sew a circle onto the end of a tube; just line up the edge of the circle with the edge of the tube/cylinder of fabric, take a few stitches where the two are aligned, then turn the circle a bit and repeat. 

This is the top end, actually; notice the frosting on the bottom? I wasn't paying attention. -_-;

7. Sew on the top cake layer just as you did with the bottom, but remember to leave a gap of about 1.5 inches or so (3 cm+) to turn the form right side out. Stuff the finished form and sew the turning gap closed; it doesn't need to be pretty, because the top layer of frosting is going to hide it anyway.

Okay, so wait a second. Why did we just sew a top layer onto the cake if we're going to cover it up with the round frosting piece? Because it makes this last step much easier.

a blanket stitch in progress; going around the top frosting layer

8. Lay your frosting piece atop your finished, stuffed, stitched-closed cake form. Make sure it's centered. (Also, make sure it's on the right end.) Either pin on baste the piece into place so it doesn't get off-kilter while you're going around with the blanket stitch. Using the same embroidery cotton from before, blanket stitch all around the edge of the frosting top layer, laying each "ruffle" of frosting down over the edge of the cake as you go. Navigating the hills and valleys isn't really that hard if you just remember to keep your stitches evenly spaced and parallel to the closest tangent point of the edge.

For the strawberry on top, just make a tiny version of this softie. :D

Thanks for all the cake, Diana! (Especially for making the lemon ones, and letting me eat the extra frosting!) X3


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oh yeah, Halloween is coming.

I almost forgot. :D

Got some papercutting patterns for Halloween. If you like paper (I do) and are pretty cheap (I am), paper decorations are the way to go.

 the ghosts are red because, g*dd*amnitall, would you believe that I had absolutely no white tissue paper

...and here are the patterns:

Yay! :D 楽しみしてね!
PS: GRR where did the movers pack all my felt~?!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I forgot to mention a thing.

It would be this thing, which is a consortium of the crap I love about the Internet. I had to put it all somewhere, and my hard drive was clearly not that somewhere.

In any case, all the links to webcomics, references, etc. that I had up in the original iterations of The Shishi Girl along the side over here --> can now be found on Omnomnomnibus, plus randomness.



PS: I've almost almost almost got a new stuffie pattern done, expect it shortly~

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Update: Dawn Smith

Still has her brain tumor, still desperately petitioning CIGNA to approve the surgery doctors have been waiting for two years to perform. She's on pain medication while she waits, and now, CIGNA has jacked the price she has to pay for that medicine from $10 to $1,115.

From Dawn:
I'm at the end of my rope. What CIGNA is doing to me is—well, it's outrageous.

I have a brain tumor. Doctors are ready to help me. But CIGNA has been blocking me from getting testing and treatment for two years, while almost doubling my premiums.

Then, this week was the kicker. CIGNA's pharmacy called to say that the co-pay on the medicine that helps control my debilitating head pain is skyrocketing from $10 to $1,115. That's not a typo. They're making me pay one hundred times what I'm paying now, in addition to my $753/month premium.

I can't afford that. So when the pain comes, I won't have any defense. I'll spend hours in the fetal position, out of my mind with pain.

When my story went public a couple of weeks ago—with the help of over 100,000 MoveOn members—CIGNA said they would pay for a test I'd been asking for at Cleveland Clinic. It was a step in the right direction. But after two years of denials, and with a long course of treatment ahead of me, I knew better than to just take them at their word.

So I asked questions. But they wouldn't offer any explanation for why they denied my coverage for so long, or any assurance that they had changed their procedures so I wouldn't face the same unjust denials again. And I began to wonder if they were more interested in just sweeping my story under the rug than actually helping me.

When I got this latest news from CIGNA's pharmacy on Tuesday, I kept asking myself, is this a mistake? Or is this happening because I went public with my case? Are other CIGNA customers receiving the same phone calls?

I used to give CIGNA the benefit of the doubt, but after years of unexplained denials, I've had enough. So I'm asking for your help again. For myself, and for everyone else who is suffering, I am asking CIGNA for answers.

And I think it would help if thousands of people like you were to join me in demanding them. I'm writing them a short letter with a simple question: Why? Can you add your name to my letter?

click here to sign the letter

Here's what I've written to Dr. Jeffrey Kang, CIGNA's Chief Medical Officer:

"As you probably know, your company has denied me needed care for two years while I suffer from a debilitating but treatable brain tumor. I pay my $753.47 premiums. I follow the proper procedures. But CIGNA refuses to give me the care I need. Instead, you keep increasing my prices. First my premiums rose by hundreds of dollars, and now my prescription costs are going up by more than 10,000%.

"What makes you think you can treat sick people this way? When will you stop doing this to me and the thousands of people like me who are suffering? And if you solve this latest problem, how do I know you won't do this to me again next week—that you're actually changing your ways and not just trying to make your PR problem disappear?

"Please answer these questions. I need to know, for the sake of my health and my life. Many others have signed this letter too, to support me and make sure I get answers."
Thanks for all you're doing. I don't know where I'd be without your help.

Most sincerely,
Please, please, please. Help Dawn Smith.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pretty Damn Important

I have no health insurance. Dawn Smith might as well not have any health insurance.

Dawn Smith lives in Atlanta. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare, but treatable brain tumor. Her doctors are ready to remove it, but they can't because CIGNA refuses to pay for the surgery.

Dawn has been fighting CIGNA on her own, but now she's asking for help. CIGNA may be able to ignore her, but they won't be able to ignore millions of us standing together.

I just added my name to the group of people standing with Dawn. Will you join me so we can shine a light on Big Insurance's abusive tactics, get Dawn the care she needs and make sure they don't do this to anyone again? You can sign at the link below

I had health insurance.

When I was a minor, I was a dependent on my father's plan. I got to keep that health insurance when I went to college because I was a full-time student. Then I got a job teaching English in Japan (JET program) and was automatically enrolled into the Japanese National Health Coverage program, 国民健康保険 kokumin-kenkou-houken, when I applied for a work visa.

It was actually pretty cool. As a function of paying my local taxes, I could go to any clinic or hospital in any city in the prefecture, for any type of sickness or discomfort. I caught a bad flu over the winter (aching all over, barfing, fever, delusions, the whole nine yards) and went, without an appointment, to the nearest clinic, on a weekend. I showed them my little orange and white Kokumin card, waited 20 minutes in a quiet waiting room with some tea, then was seen directly by a doctor. He checked me out, asked me about my symptoms (in English, even), and asked a few questions: we mutually decided it sounded like I had the coastal flu, and he went over the symptoms and usual progress of the virus to be sure it matched with the symptoms I'd experienced. Then he wrote down a combination of two medicines on my chart, and we went up front to the nurse's desk. I bowed goodbye and thanks to the doctor, the nurse read my chart, and brought me my proscriptions from the medicine room, along with dosing instructions in English. My copay was exactly 1,000 yen. About $10 USD.

Then I came back to the US.

The health care industry in the States does not consider Japan's Kokumin health care to be a legitimate form of "continuing coverage," so I could not re-apply for any plan I had been covered by in the past, even at a higher rate. In addition, treatment for any condition I had developed before, even while covered by US health insurance companies, would no-longer be covered by any plan on the market.

I applied as an individual, age 24, non-smoker, non-drinker, and was subsequently denied coverage by Cigna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health, and Assurant to any plan at any cost. The reason given for the denials was always that I have PCOS and hypothyroidism.

Neither of these conditions are terminal. Neither are even considered serious by the doctors who diagnosed me. Both are well-controlled by medication.

I am currently paying for those medications out-of-pocket at about $300 a month because I have no health insurance, no prescription coverage. There are no generics available for one of the medications I must take daily, and the manufacturer offers no discount programs or assistance.

I need to find a job that offers health care. I cannot be a freelancer anymore -- I must be corporately employed. Most employers in my field, however, do not offer major medical insurance. I'm still looking for even one that does.

Until then, I am nervous, insecure, and one of America's 40 million or more uninsured.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kitchen Status: Fully Operational

There's nothing like moving across the country to turn up stuff you didn't even know you had.

Like a bundt pan. o_o' And when life unpacks you a bundt pan, there is but one thing to do.

Almond Bundt Cake
with almond drizzle icing and toasted almonds

Original recipes from Glazed Almond Bundt Cake and Vanilla Glaze;
altered and recombined from suggestions on the site and the availability of stuff in my kitchen.

Cake Ingredients:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
0.5 cup raw, ground almonds*
1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
*can sometimes be found ground in the store, but the best way to get ground almonds is to take slivered or sliced almonds and put them in a food processor for about 30 seconds, just until they're in tiny bits. If you're using whole almonds, add a little granulated sugar to the processor to help keep the almond oil from binding your grinds into a paste.

Cake Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease and flour a 10 (12) inch Bundt pan. If you skimp on the pan greasing+flouring, you will have a hell of a time getting your finished cake out of the pan. Seriously.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. If using an electric mixer, use medium speed to introduce ingredients to each other, then high to cream them together. Beat in the eggs two at a time at low speed, then stir in the almond extract and vanilla.
  4. Adding your dry ingredients to the wet, alternately beat in (at low speed) the flour mixture and 1 cup milk, mixing just until you have a homogeneous batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a stick of dry spaghetti inserted into the center of the width of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then turn it over and ease it out of the pan onto a wire rack. Allow cake to cool completely before icing.
Almond Icing:

1.5 cups confectioners' sugar
2.5 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt (aka "two pinches")
0.25 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon melted butter

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the wet ingredients and stir until you have a creamy consistency. Easy. Drizzle the icing over your cooled cake.

The only thing left to do is sprinkle some toasted almond slices on there. To toast them fresh (always better than buying toasted almond bits from the store), just spread about a half cup of raw sliced almonds on a baking pan and pop them into the oven at 350 for about 5 to 7 minutes. You can do this while preheating the oven for the cake. :D

This cake kept pretty well in just a tupperware box, actually, and was eaten (with family, although I COULD have finished it off all by myself) over the course of 5 days. Almondy goodness for breakfast. >w<


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Son of Ramen Cake: Sushi Cake

Please note this post has been delayed by several months because of the move this summer. Sorry. -_-;

My sister's birthday is the season of weird cakes. Last year, it was a bowl of ramen. This year, we tried a piece of sushi.



The result was... eh, lacking something in the department of realism. However, I remain convinced that the concept and design are solid enough that this cake could be, in the hands of an experienced sugarcrafter, a really slick show.

Coincidentally, I imagine many of you fall into the "experienced sugarcrafter" category. *hint hint*

Here's the original process developed in this first, experimental instance of... Sushi Cake.

Make some round cakes and stack 'em up. Three 8-inch rounds were used here, the domed tops of each cut off (to level the cake, but you probably already knew that), and a layer of frosting spread between the layers (to make the layers stick together, but I'm pretty sure you knew about that too). Flavor is entirely arbitrary; per my sister's desires, I used strawberry and chocolate cake mix, marbled together.


Spread white or off-white frosting all over the top the cake. Again, flavor is arbitrary, constrained only by the fact that it needs to be of a whitish color. We used cream cheese frosting (again, sister's choice) from a can. And not the "whipped" kind, because I hate it.

Now you need sprinkles. Lots of Sprinkles. Sprinkles that look like rice, or as close to rice as you can possibly find them. I believe they call this shape of sprinkle "jimmies", or at least that's what they were labeled when I finally found them in Missouri. Incredibly, I could not actually find plain white jimmies, but the local Hobby Lobby was able to come up with these cool pearlized off-white ones for me, which actually look even more like cooked rice than I was originally hoping for.

寿司ご飯のように :D

Sprinkle the sprinkles (hurray for immediate noun-verb congruity in a sentence!), all around the top of the cake, leaving a round area in the middle of the cake with only frosting. This will be the "core" of the sushi, where the key ingredients would be rolled up if the sushi were real. You might want to make an indentation in the frosting to mark out this part. The wide ring of sprinkles, meanwhile, is the thick layer of rice. It looks more rice-like as you get a heavier coating of sprinkles on there... try to completely hide the underlying frosting.

Now we need a substitute for the seaweed wrap (焼き海苔:やきのり: yakinori, literally "cooked seaweed") that goes around a roll of sushi. You could, of course, actually use yakinori... or you could find/make the darkest, blue-green-brown frosting that you possibly can. If you know how to make frosting and have access to powerful sugary secrets, you can probably do this very well. In my case, I had a can of lemon frosting (yes, sister wanted lemon), and several vials of food coloring. This is the lemon frosting after about two little bottles of blue, two of green, a few drops of yellow and a hit of red:


...not very nori-colored, but the base frosting was starting to get watered down with all the food coloring, so... meh. Spread your seaweed-colored frosting all around the sides of the cake, keeping the surface smooth and even so it looks at least a little like a wrap around sushi, and not like bizarre green frosting on a cake.

Your cake should now look something like this. Actually, your cake should look
better than this.

Now you add the core of the roll; that is, you put things that look like a sushi core in that bare spot in the middle of the cake. Sushi allows for almost anything to be rolled up at its core, usually in sets of three to five ingredients. Because not all of these ingredients are easily imitable in a sweet format, I tried to mimic three of the more common ones:

オレンジ色チョコ飴、orange Sixlets = いくら、ikura, salmon roe (fish eggs)

赤ゼラチン、 cherry Jello (super thick "Jigglers" recipe) = まぐろ、maguro, raw tuna

ピスタチオプディング、 pistachio pudding = アボカド、 avocado

出来上がり...さあ。ケーキの味はいちごとチョコ、アイシングの味はクリームチーズとレモン。そして、実は、おいしかったよ。o_o' 本当に。

OKAY, so here's our chocolate+strawberry cake with cream cheese+lemon frostings,* topped with pudding, jello, and little chocolate candies, that is intended to look like a roll of sushi. In retrospect, I think my ratio of width-of-rice-band to sushi core was pretty off. A real roll of sushi has a thinner rice band and a wider core. Also, the pistachio pudding was way off the color of real avocado, and the wrong consistency. I think if I'd used a chunk of mint fudge or something, it'd have lent the right kind of shape and color to the whole thing.

Then again, there would likely have been a fight over who got the lump of fudge. -_-;

*And, would you believe, it actually tasted awesome. o_o'

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Land of AZ

I'm not even going to make excuses for the long drought of activity, I'm just going to start posting again. Everybody cool with that? Okay, thanks.

So here we are: Ku House is thus established in southern Arizona. I like the vibe around here; it's a blend of cosmopolitan speed and wilderness heritage. Also, a massive artist/gallery community. :D

The weather's nice, too. There's no contest between Arizona heat and midwestern humidity; I'll gratefully take a week of 110° in Arizona over one day of 90° in Missouri.

Roughly 75% of all my crap "art stuff" is still in cardboard boxes, buried under and behind furniture, in a storage facility, an hour drive from the house. This includes all of my embroidery thread, yarn, crochet hooks, beads, paint, and fabric. (I'm going to be fussy and cross until I've managed to dig it all out. >_<)

In the meantime, however, I have tons of old half-finished tutorials to actually finish and post. Also, tons of pictures.

Thanks to all y'all who've kept dropping by despite a lack of activity. :D

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Remedial Space-Time Continuum Management

Ugh. I have always been a D student in the field of horology... I keep my clocks 5 to 15 minutes fast, I write to-do lists, I have at least three planner/calendar thingies... and still, what happens? I forget to email people and I slack off on blog posts. My sincere apologies to everyone. m(-_-)m

HOWEVER, I am confident that the current situation at Ku House affords me a little (veeeery little) mercy in the way of an ongoing distraction of the first order: we are moving away from our home of 7 years in pleasant Ballwin, Missouri, continuing westward to Tucson, Arizona.

So now my migration pattern goes like: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Japan1, Missouri, Japan2, Missouri, Arizona. And no, I'm not a military kid. ._.

All geography aside, the vast majority of my activities since the end of June have been non-craft and entirely uninteresting to all you fine folks out there on the Internet: getting carpet installed, fixing the front porch, WD-40ing the squeaky doors, giving junk away, powerwashing the house, hiring painters to kill the lovely pink color of the foyer, trying to compose something edible out of the perishables left in the pantry... that kind of stuff. I have about seven different things I want to make tutorials and patterns out of, but no time. ;_;

The good news is that this is the home stretch. Within 2 weeks, I expect we'll be done.
The bad news is the same; only two weeks remain until we leave Missouri. TT_TT

If anyone would like a nice house in Ballwin, I have one to reccommend.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What ho, changes afoot!

Time once more to scuttle the page design... please ignore any temporary color clash, broken images, or poor column spacing.

Back shortly with new amusements, for serious.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yay Quex Day~

Today is Quex Day. :D

Here is what I got for Quex Day:

It is fantastic, and the lemmin skwarez are REAL. >w<
Thanks, Fushica. ヾ( ̄∇ ̄=ノ

EDIT: Also, because Alpha is FANTASTIC, I got this:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Very Important

Please, please, please:

Support Lt. Dan Choi.

Thank you all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Westward (and a little Southward)

Dear Whomsoever Hails From Arizona,

How is it out there? ._.

(Ku House is moving to Tucson.)


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

スイカ : suika, meaning "watermelon"

Booyaga, let's get this summer thing started. :D

Painting a Watermelon Pot

This is a short, easy craft you can do with minimal supplies and/or skill, thus making it a good option for kids. これは子供が簡単にできるクラフトです。

What you need:
A plain terra-cotta pot 普通なテラコッタ鉢
Some paintbrushes 絵筆
Acrylic paint in red, green, white, and black アクリル絵の具:赤、緑、白、と黒

Most hobby stores will have all this. You don't need expensive "artist-grade" acrylic paints; there should be little bottles of acrylic craft paint available for not much more than a dollar. If you plan to put your pots outside, I’d suggest DecoArt's “Patio Paint".


What you do:

Start with the white paint and make a ring all around your pot, just below the collar. This is going to be the white stripe between the green rind and red watermelon parts. Make the ring much wider than the actual white stripe you plan on showing. (It might take a few coats to get it really white.)

Next, take your green paint. If it’s a really bright green, add just a little black to darken it. Paint the collar of your pot with this dark green color. Paint over a little bit of the white area from before, taking care to get a clean line between the green and the white. You can use masking tape to protect the white that you don’t want to get green, or you can just go slow and pay attention.

Okay, now the red paint. Paint the rest of your pot red from the bottom up to the white stripe, going over the uneven edges of the white and making a clean line where the red stops. Now your white area should be as narrow as you want it.

Final touches now. Add some green paint to a blob of white paint and adjust the ratio between the two until you get a lighter green for the stripes on your watermelon rind. Now you just have to paint stripes on the darker green collar of the pot. You can make them wiggly or straight, or however you’d like. Be careful not to paint into the white band.

Lastly, get some black paint on your brush and paint little drop-shaped “seeds” at intervals around the red part of your pot. If you leave heavy dollops of paint for each seed, it’ll dry into a tiny paint lump that looks especially seed-like. You can add a few smaller white seeds here and there if you want a more realistic watermelon slice.


Hopefully the scraggly basil plant likes its new home... make lots of leaves, little guy.

Yey summer~ :3