happy together: dumpling + soy sauce :D

Another pair of plushes for the happy together series! :D (I’m contemplating the idea of making a separate page for the series, but for the time being you can see other characters of the series here, here, and here.)

I’m making this as a wedding gift for a friend who first met her fiancé at a dumpling gathering!

I always eat dumplings with soy sauce… but I don’t know if that’s the norm. I think so… anyway, I wrote down the pattern to share. One might think of other things to make that pair better with soy sauce. (Wasabi? Sushi? Plain bowl of rice? Possibility is endless for this little bottle of soy sauce!)



Bits of worsted weight yarn in white, brown, and red

3.5mm crochet hook

Stuffing (I used yarn ends from unraveling old work)

Embroidery thread in pink and white

Needle and thread

4mm black beads for eyes


Dumpling is made by crocheting a circle, which is then folded in half and seamed together with a scalloped edge.

The circle is crocheted in continuous rounds (i.e. no slip stitch at the end of round):

With white

ch 3, 5 sc in 3rd ch from hook, 2 sc in top of beginning ch, 2 sc in each of next 4 sc, sc in next sc, repeat [2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] until piece measures 1 3/4 inches across.

Then, repeat [1 sc in each of next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc] until piece measures 2 1/4 inches across. Then sc in next sc, sl st in next sc. Don’t fasten off.

Fold piece in half so that the raw stitch lies on the fold line, like so…

The scalloped edge is worked through both layers of the folded circle, through the back loop only of the front layer and both loops of the back layer, like so…

Crochet scalloped edge as follows:

[ch 2, 3 hdc in next st, sl st in next st] 4 times. Leave hook on loop, sew on the eyes and mouth.

Continue with repeats of [ch 2, 3 hdc in next st, sl st in next st] across until there are 3 or 4 stitches left. Stuff dumpling, then complete scalloped edge, fasten off.

And dumpling is complete! :D

Now on to the bottle of soy sauce. It’s made in rounds, and each round ends with a sl st into the first sc of the round.

With brown

Round 1: ch 3, 5 sc in 3rd ch from hook, sl st in top of beginning ch.

Round 2: ch 1, sc in same st, 2 sc in each sc around, sl st in first sc.

Round 3: ch 1, sc in same st, [sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times, sl st in first sc.

Round 4: ch 1, sc in same st, through back loop only, 1 sc in each sc around, sl st in first sc.

Round 5: repeat row 4, except work each stitch through both loops.

Round 6–8: repeat row 5. Don’t fasten off.

I embroidered “soy!” on the bottle at this point.

Cut a round piece of cardboard (I cut mine from a frozen pizza box) about the size of the bottom of the bottle and place it into the bottom of the bottle. This way the bottom will stay flat when the bottle is stuffed.

Continue with shaping the bottle:

Round 9: ch 1, sc in same sc, [2 sc tog, sc in next sc] around, sl st in first sc.

Round 10: repeat row 9.

Sew on eyes and mouth.

Round 11–13: ch 1, sc in same sc, 1 sc in each sc around, sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Now we make the bottle cap:

Round 1: Join red where brown is fasten off, sl st in each sc around in front loop only.

Round 2: ch 1, sc in same st, through top loop only, 1 sc in each st around, st sl in first sc. Leave a 6″ tail for sewing, fasten off.

Stuff bottle firmly to keep shape.

Top of cap, with the sprout:

With red

Round 1: work 6 sc in magic ring, sl st in 1st sc.

Round 2: ch 3, dc in next sc. Fasten off.

Sew top of cap to top of bottle, weave in ends.

Soy joy! :D

Everybody says “soy!”

And here they are again, happy together :D


If you spot any mistake or need clarification please feel free to drop me a note! Cheerio! :D

dim sum love

I love dim sum.

I like going to dim sum with my family. Lots of chatting, lots of eating, lots of dawdling. Makes a relaxing Saturday morning.

I also tried to make dim sum at home, with the frozen stuff, steamed in a large saucer. (I tried microwaving them before, it was bad news. They must be steamed.)

And of course, I have to make them with yarn.

If you like all-day dim sum that smiles back at you, they’re in my shop :D

The one on the right is a shrimp dumpling (蝦餃, “har-gau,” the pale pink one), and the one on the left is a pork/shrimp dumpling (燒賣, “siu-mai,” the yellow one). Siu-mai was the kind I was steaming.

Har-gau is a steamed dumpling filled with shrimp and wrapped in a white, translucent wrapper. Siu-mai is also a steamed dumpling filled with both pork and shrimp and wrapped in a yellow wheat wrapper and topped with crab roe.

If you do know how to crochet though, here’s a brilliant pattern for making siu-mai from All About Ami! I’m so tempted to make them, they would make a great “how are you feeling today” chart on my fridge! :D

If you prefer to knit, I stumbled upon this great pattern for knitting dumplings (or jiao-zi, in Mandarin)! The written pattern is a free Ravelry download if you’re a Raveler, but there’s also a how-to video for everyone. The creator stuffed the dumplings with catnip for her cat to play with :D


I’ve been working on some dumplings as well! Crocheting, of course, and adding another pair of characters to my “happy together” series (which includes, so far, nigiri and wasabinapa cabbage and chestnut, and pina colada). Characters in the happy together series were mainly made for weddings (except for the napa cabbage and chestnut, which are for my mom), and these ones I’ve just made are no exception — they’re for an old friend who first met her fiance at a dumpling gathering! She’s probably too busy to read my blog at this point, and I’m going to block her from seeing this post on Facebook, so it should be safe to show you… if you promise to keep a secret, that is.

Ta-da! Dumpling, and a little bottle of soy sauce! XD They’re spending a few happy days on my fridge, then I must say goodbye to them and send them to their new home on Saturday… *sniff* But I’ll be ok…

Stay tuned for the pattern, coming in the next couple of days!

Happy Monday!

sunday video — greetings from buttonville!

Spotted this on Craft this week, a super adorable stop motion video featuring buttons and a zipper train!

More fun facts from Bonkers About Buttons:

Russian animator, Anastasia Zhuravlena created & directed this fabulous short film dedicated to all the buttons lost in the metro… Starting with a rush-hour scene, where the trains are made from zips, the story unfolds of button love found on the escalator, love lost and love rediscovered. There are also some great little scenes of a button taken ill and then the usual drunken buttons on the last train home!

I love the “Asian tourists” with squinty eyes, especially when they started snapping pictures! XD

According to Google Translate, the title means “carefully doors open”. Enjoy!



p.s. The title of this post is inspired by the memory of driving by Buttonville every week going to watercolour class. It even has an airport. I always thought it was a cute name for a small community :D

favourite things friday

I love looking at maps and reading all the names of different places. These coasters will have me mesmerized for hours. How-to on I Could Make That.


Oooh, what an idea! “When you can’t hide them, embrace them,” it says. From Unplggd.


Love the simplicity of this. Perfect craft for beachcombers, like me :D I can picture them being wonderful place card holders too! For a party or even a beach-themed wedding! I so want to make this, but we have no room to put them in our apartment — I volunteer to make placecard holders if anyone is having a beach-themed wedding! How-to on Paint Cut Paste.


A skirt made of fabric napkins! I’m intrigued! Tutorial on Better Together (via Ucreate).


A very lovely yet simple design. Headband how-to on say YES! to hoboken.


I guess it has a bit to do with the blue table cloths in the photos, but these remind me of the Japanese ceremony of Toro nagashi, in which participants float lanterns down a river. Very peaceful to look at. How-to on Momtastic.


I recently discovered and started following My Little Hut, a blog with absolutely amazing paper cut designs. Here the artist behind the blog shares how to make wallart with junk mail on Craft. It’s brilliant!


Equally brilliant is this matchbook card or wall art, also shared on Craft. It was posted as a Valentine’s Day project, but I think it would be lovely gift idea for any season.


These are, of course, made for kids, but the tutorial involves tracing an existing pair of shorts or pants, so I imagine it would be easy to modify to adult sizes. I don’t usually wear shorts, but I would totally wear these. Tutorial on Grosgrain. (I think I just like the look of twisted or knotted fabric…)


Photobooth pictures seem to be a trend at weddings these days. Mike and I always joke that if we do our wedding again we would need to have a photobooth. And a proper cake (we had one but it was pre-cut into squares thanks to the catering staff :S). But since we’re not going to have another wedding we can have a photobooth for parties, with these fun props! How else could you get a picture with the fascinator? Printables on Oh Happy Day.


Printing with seeds and pods! I really like the pattern that the poppy pod makes (the white prints). From Maya Made.


This key lime pie popsicle is apparently made from condensed milk — A must-make! If condensed milk and lime aren’t your thing, there is a list of other dessert flavoured popsicles over on Be Different Act Normal, I’m sure you’ll find one you like :D


This is the funnest snack ever — featuring Bert and Ernie! (My brain promptly cues Healthy Food). How-to on Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.


And finally, see Ernie and Bert on set! A very cool gallery of behind the scene photos of famous movies, back when sets were handmade and special effects mechanical, on angusrshamal.com (via Swissmiss).

Wishing you a lovely Friday! :D



Today I wanted to wear my pink tunic/dress, but I needed to layer it with something.

All the tank tops are in the wash.

I have a pile of waiting-for-ideas-to-modify clothing in my closet (“you mean, the pile of rags in your closet,” said Mike). Ok, fine, the pile o’rags.

And I found this shirt that was given to me, from a certain Ironwork Fitness health club in southern Ontario. It fits well, and I like the colour and the length of it, but I don’t work out. I would feel bad wearing this shirt just as it is, as if I were pretending that I work out.

At first I just cut away the sleeves and the collar, but the armholes turned out too big, so I decided to lower the shoulder seams, as shown in my nifty diagram here.


All done before I had to leave for work.


It’s nothing spectacular. The modifying is pretty simple, and I work pretty late so I have plenty o’time in the morning. Also, I work in a rather casual setting, so I can get away with wearing a cut-up shirt because 4 year-olds have more important things on their minds than to care about what I’m wearing.

If you want to see some really amazing refashioning, check out New Dress A Day! That is, if you haven’t come across it already…

In fact, I was just catching up on NDAD’s posts, and that was what motivated me to make something with the pile o’rags today. Even though it’s just making a few cuts and sewing a couple of lines. I’m rather pleased with it. I liked it with the pink dress.

Happy Thursday! :D


milk tea chez mudpie

Once in a while we buy condensed milk for tea. So instead of using sugar and milk, we add two heaping spoonfuls of condensed milk into our tea. It’s absolutely creamy and delicious.

It’s far too warm for hot tea in the afternoon these days, so I thought I’d try making some cold Hong Kong style milk tea that one could get at Chinese bakery/coffee shop/diners.

My process was pretty intuitive (read: totally eye-balling and guesstimating), but it tasted almost as good as what I remember from the Chinese diners! (but then I’m not very picky when it comes to taste… it should be good though, because condensed milk makes everything better :D)

I needed some really strong tea, because I would add ice cubes to it later (I learned this from my barista days :D). So I tossed an orange pekoe teabag into a mug and filled it 2/3 of the way full with hot water.


While letting that steep, I poured  about 3 tablespoons of condensed milk into a large mixing mug. (Please excuse the toast crumbs in the condensed milk — we also put it on toast)


After the tea has been steeping for 5 minutes, I poured it into the condensed milk and gave it a vigorous stirring.


Then I poured it over ice — TA DA! Cold milk tea! That was quick, wasn’t it?


I poured it into empty jelly jars because it made a cool photo. I had some leftover after filling one jar. It probably makes one large glass of cold milk tea.

I like my tea really sweet, but this is easily adjustable — one could add more ice if one finds the tea too sweet, or add more condensed milk if one finds it not sweet enough.

Cheers! :D


Recently I took out The Book of Awesome from the library. It had me chuckling to myself many times when I read it on the subway. That in itself is pretty awesome.

And so like many people who’ve read the book or the blog of 1000 Awesome Things, I’ve started to mentally document everyday awesome things.

Like, freshly opened ice cream! When its surface is all smooth and creamy. I know that the ice cream will be soft and easy to scoop out and fresh tasting. And it’s so short-lived. After a week of opening, ice crystals will start to form and the ice cream will be all hard and even gooey in spots.

But for now, we’ll savour the moment. And snap a photo.

I’m known to be the one who takes photos. Sometimes I get comments like, oh here’s Trish with her camera again.

I admire people who can just live the moment and savour the experience and the memory of that is satisfying enough. I, on the other hand, feel compelled to take a picture when I see something new or interesting (and new or interesting to me could mean a patch of light on the wall as the sun sets, or the shadow of my house plant with a strange shape that I’ve never noticed before). Whatever it is, I feel the need to capture and convey the essence of what I see and experience.

I’m by no means a photographer. I was never trained in photography (high school photography class doesn’t really count; plus, I didn’t do so well in it), and I only know how to use a point and shoot. But it’s still exciting.

Today I was reading this interview with Moby who is going to release a photography book with his new CD. Something he said really resonated with me. Made me feel like I’m not the only one who feels this way, like I’m not crazy (or maybe Moby is crazy, so then I’m not the only crazy one. I can live with that).

My uncle when I was growing up and some of my other friends who are documentary filmmakers instilled in me this idea that whatever environment you live in it’s probably worth documenting even if you don’t see that, like things that seem normal to you in your environment to someone else can seem very interesting and strange and so I wanted to document that strangeness…

… music and visual art for me is all the product on one hand of living in this strange and beautiful world and on the other hand trying to represent the strangeness and the beauty and the world just keeps getting stranger and more beautiful. I feel compelled to make art that on one hand reflects and sometimes almost create like a sense of comfort when confronted with the strangeness of the world. 

That’s the most awesome thing I’ve read this week, and it’s only Tuesday! Imagine how many more awesome things we’re going to encounter for the remaining 5 days of the week!

Take care, friends :D

recycling bin kaleidoscope!

A while ago I showed you a project I did in school, the altered book project, where I turned a botanical foreign book into a kaleidoscope. I thought I would share the process here, but with a challenge for myself — everything I use must come from the recycling bin!

It even has turnable, interchangeable lenses, like my altered book project :D


I’ve made kaleidoscopes with groups of kids in the past (6–12 years old), and they seemed to have lots of fun and quite proud of what they made. For the younger kids I cut some of the parts for them ahead of time, like the clear plastic, and the hole in the middle of the eye piece (because it’s easiest to cut with a utility knife). For the older kids I just made copies of templates and had them cut out the shapes themselves (except the hole in the eye piece — I still cut that ahead of time).

Older kids (8+ years old) can probably handle a lot of the steps themselves, but help from an adult would be necessary for this project, especially for stuff involving the utility knife and hot glue gun.

There are lots of instructions for homemade kaleidoscope, like this one. But I’ll show all the steps here, makes it easier if anyone’s going to try this.

So! From the recycling bin, I pulled:

- Two cardboard tubes. One is slightly larger than the other in diameter, i.e. a loo roll (aka TP tube) is usually larger in diameter than paper towel tube.

- Flyers with pictures of flowers, i.e. the gardening section.

- Bit of cardboard from a granola bar box.

- A stiff sheet of clear plastic from the packaging of a swiss roll. A sheet of clear plastic that’s large enough for this project may be hard to come across, so if you can’t find any, overhead transparencies or project covers work perfectly.

Then I used these tools:

- Clear packing tape

- Hot glue

- White glue

- Utility knife

- Scissors

- Ruler

- A bowl

To make the kaleidoscope:

First, make the prism by cutting out three pieces of clear plastic. It needs to fit snugly inside the smaller paper towel tube. To determine the length of the short side of each piece, I Googled “parameter of a triangle inscribed inside a circle”. I found this formula that someone really smart came up with and followed it.

The formula is: 3 x square root of 3 x radius.

The radius of the smaller paper towel tube is 2 cm. So following the formula I got 3.46.

I measured 3.4 cm on for each short side. It doesn’t really matter how long the long side is, as long as the three pieces are identical in measurement. I just harvested as much plastic from the packaging as possible.

Then I taped them together along the long sides with some packing tape, forming a prism.

Now for the kaleidoscope tube, I took the smaller cardboard tube and cut it to the same length as the prism.

To make the eye piece (i.e. the end where one looks in), I traced the end of the smaller cardboard tube on a piece of cardboard, print side up. I then drew a larger circle around it and cut it out. Then I cut out small triangles all around, and folded the notches up. Finally, I cut a small circle in the center with a utility knife.

This piece is then taped to one of the ends of the smaller cardboard tube with packing tape, like so (probably looks nicer if you glue the notches down with some white glue, but tape is quicker).

One could probably wrap/decorate the tube with some nice papers at this point, but I didn’t have anything in the recycling bin that I liked, and plus I like how it has the “recycling bin look” with the bare cardboard, so I just left it.

Then I took the prism and put some white glue all along the edge of one end…

Then I slid the prism inside the tube with the eye piece, with the glue side going in first.

I let it stood, eye piece down, to dry for a while…

Which made it a good time to make the interchangeable lenses, from these flyers!

I put a short length of packing tape on a picture of the flowers.

Then I scraped it with my thumbnail to get rid of any air bubbles, so the tape is in complete contact with the paper.

I cut out the taped areas of the pictures and immersed them in a bowl of water, letting them soak for a few minutes.

Then I took it out and started rubbing off the paper fiber on the back of the image (the side that’s not taped).

Remove as much fiber as possible, and you’ll get a transparent image! Pretty neat, huh?

While I let these dry completely, I took the larger cardboard tube and cut them into rings that are about 1 inch tall.

To attach the ring to the image, I put hot glue all around one end of the ring, and placed it on top of the image, tape side down (this is a bit tricky, an adult should do it). After the glue cooled down I trimmed the image around the ring.

While I was at it, I tried making lenses with a pressed flower by taping it on a piece of clear plastic. (the flowers didn’t come from the recycling bin… but I just wanted to see how it looks in the kaleidoscope :D)

And some some tissue paper dots made with a hole punch, also sandwiched between clear plastic and packing tape.

I attached both to cardboard rings the way I did with the flyer images.

So it’s done! Let’s put the lenses on the tube and test it out…

Mike found that the flyer image of the tulip worked the best, and I agreed with him.

The one with purple flower is also pretty.

The pressed flower was too centered to make any interesting illusions, I think.

And the tissue paper dots looked alright, but the shapes weren’t as interesting as the tulips.

I think pressed flowers would make cool illusions, just need to perhaps use more flowers so they cover the whole lens. I’ll be on the lookout for flowers to press this summer! :D

Kind of an odd project, but I’d love to see it if you do give this a go!

Have a great start to the week!

sunday video — jellyfish!

I’ve never really given serious thoughts to keeping a bucket list. But if I do keep one, visiting the jellyfish lake in the Republic of Palau would be my number one item. (First I would need to learn how to swim, though)

Can you imagine? Swimming with thousands of jellyfish!


The video’s creator Sarosh Jacob gives a fascinating background about the jellyfish lake:

Twelve thousand years ago these jellyfish became trapped in a natural basin on the island when the ocean receded. With no predators amongst them for thousands of years, they evolved into a new species that lost most of their stinging ability as they no longer had to protect themselves. They are pretty much harmless to humans although some people with very sensitive skin may get a minor sting from them…

These fascinating creatures survive by sharing a symbiotic relationship with algae that live inside of them. At night, the jellyfish go down to the depths of the lake where the algae feed on nutrients. During the day, the jellyfish come back to the surface and follow the sun across the lake in a massive migration. The algae convert the energy of the sun via photosynthesis into a sugar that feeds the jellyfish.

So magical… *sigh* Don’t know when I’ll be able to visit them in person, but for now, let’s enjoy the video.


p.s. if you’re interested in watching, here’s my attempt of making a jellyfish video while visiting Hong Kong :D

she looks at the rain as it pours…


The weather is so unpredictable these days. Here I am posting these photos I took yesterday under a cloudless sky and beaming sun, while the rain pours outside my window with thunder and lightning.

(Oooh! And I captured an escaping fly in the frame! Didn’t even noticed that :D)

We’re supposed to go to our church picnic at High Park today, but it looks like we’re just going to stay home.

And I’m listening to Her Morning Elegance as I write this (it’s a beautiful video, check it out if you haven’t seen it!), I thought one of the lines would make a fitting title for this post.

It took me a while to figure out that the tall, purple, globe-like flowers is Allium.


They are planted in the park near our apartment building. One of those buildings in the background is probably one we live in.


It’s bee a very busy couple of weeks, which is kind of unusual for me, but not necessarily a bad thing. Not bad at all. We’ve gotton together with a couple of friends from out of town (way far away, like across provinces and even continents!). I’ve gotten a few small design jobs (hurray! Mike is proud), a contract project in progress and a few more contract jobs to plan for, and still editing my thesis for journal submission. (I’ve been working on various aspects of that thesis for almost two years now… sigh…)

Small fry compared to people who have kids and full-time jobs, I know. I just get easily overwhelmed, I guess. So I don’t have kids. I wouldn’t mind a full-time job, though. I just need to carve out some time to craft.

Speaking of which, there are a couple of craft projects on my to-post list and they’re still not done… hopefully I’ll get to work on them more this coming week, before it gets busy again in the final weeks of June…

But for the rest of this afternoon I’m going to drink tea and crochet and watch CSI marathon on TV.