header-totoro-chocolate-2.jpg

This past PAX East I made some plushes for my favorite people like I always do. I only tweeted pictures but I never blogged or posted photos here, so here I go.

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat for Darren’s new baby, Milo!
created and stuffed: April 2014

I’ve been following & supporting Supergiant Games since PAX East 2011. I’m such a huge fan of them, I even made plushes of Plush Pyth & Ankle Gators from their first game, Bastion, for each staff member of the studio.

Right before PAX East this year, I just got  wonderful news from Darren Korb, the composer at Supergiant Games.

He and his wife Michelle had a baby boy!

I wanted to give them something but I didn’t have  time to go get anything cool (like Totoro related baby stuff). So, I decided to make something.

I found a free pattern for a baby fleece hat online (I can’t remember where I found the pattern.) And I used the pattern to make a Plush Pyth hat.

plush Pyth reference photo

Plush Pyth from Bastion

Plush Pyth ver.2

Plush Pyth I made & gave to Supergiant Games

I added the pink muzzle, eyes, horns, fake stitching, and my favorite, tail! It was for a newborn baby so everything was sewn on.

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

I visited the Supergiant Games booth on Friday morning when they were setting up, and luckily I got to meet Darren, Michelle and Milo.

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

You can’t see him but Michelle is holding baby Milo. He’s super tiny!

stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat

Logan (the voice actor for Bastion and Transistor) photobombing.

A few days later they sent me this picture.

YES, a tiny baby & French bulldog, Higgins! I died. (As I kind of expected it was HUGE on him. I don’t know why the top part was so roomy, but I guess he can grow into it…?)

Darren, Michelle, Milo and Higgins, I wish you all best and with lots of love! I’m so jealous that Milo gets free a live concert from Darren!

For more pictures of this plush, visit stuffed stuff: stuffed stuff: Plush Pyth hat for Milo! set!

You can also check out more stuffed stuff on my flickr.

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Today is my birthday!

July 3, 2014

in Blog

Today is my birthday!

I’m 40 years old! Wooooo!

I haven’t been blogging much this year. A lot has happened. Or should I say life happened.

Derek moved to L.A. with Uni & Ebi (the kittens we adopted & raised), and I wish him nothing but the very best. He’s very talented and I have no doubt that he’ll be successful wherever he goes. Good luck, Derek!

It probably isn’t necessary to write personal stuff here, but I used to make bento for him and now I don’t. And half of this blog was about bento. Also I feel like I owe an explanation to those who congratulated me when I got engaged & married about why he won’t be appearing in my blog posts anymore. It was a mutual decision and I want to thank our friends for the support!

As for me, I’m ready to take over the world.

In February I moved to downtown San Diego from my previous place, started living by myself, got some awesome freelance plush gigs and have been crazy busy.

My house guardian

Here’s the guardian for my new place

Toys from IKEA

I don’t care what Tyler Durden says, every time I move, it’s IKEA time.

But another reason for not blogging is that I have nothing blog-worthy to write about.

I decided to take some time off from sewing & typing on the keyboard in my free time. I still sew a lot but not until 3 in the morning like I used to. Working as a full-time & freelance plush maker has finally started to take its toll on the right side of my body. The doctor pretty much told me to “stop whatever you’re doing” (like that’s gonna happen). It’s an occupational hazard. I cut down my sewing time, and it’s already gotten so much better.

Oh but I’m still taking freelance jobs, just very limited openings due to my arm & shoulder. (By the way, this does NOT affect the freelance gigs I’ve already accepted.) So contact me at AnnaTheRed@gmail.com if you’re interested. Actually I’ve been working on some freelance stuff that I’m not allowed to talk about  yet, but hopefully I can write about it in the future.

As for bento, I don’t make bento or cute food like I used to because I don’t have anyone to make it for anymore. I still cook for myself, but cooking pretty food for myself is so boring and I’m lazy.

But just because I’m not blogging doesn’t mean nothing is happening in my life.

Soon after I started living by myself, I adopted a Polydactyl boy kitten (cat with extra toes). I named him Ikura. (Ikura means salmon roe in Japanese) He’s a gorgeous sweet kitten but also very shy. It took a while for him to finally open up to me.

He likes holding my hand.

I love when he holds my hand with his gigantic paws.

I think there's something wrong with my sewing machine.

He’s literally wherever I go.

Tongue & paws - the best part of waking up

This is my view when I wake up, every morning.

And very recently, I adopted another kitten. A one-eyed boy kitten.  A friend of a friend on Twitter was looking for a home for him, and I fell in love when I saw the pictures of him. Despite the fact that he only has one foggy eye (due to feline herpes), he’s extremely energetic and wants to play all the time. I named him Hirame the Pirate. (Hirame means halibut/fluke/flounder in Japanese.)

pirate kitty!

This was the picture posted on Twitter. Just look at him!!

Say "ARRR!!" to my new baby pirate boy! @ n ×

This was taken on the day I brought him home.

Just like his brother, he really likes dinosaurs.

Cat nap. They are very good at it.

Ikura and Hirame bonded almost immediately, and they became inseparable best friends!

Waking up with my boys in the bed is a great way to start Monday.

Saturday Caturday

B.F.F

You can see tons more pictures of them on my instagram.

Also, recently some of us at The Behemoth took an archery class at a local archery store/range. Archery is something I’ve always wanted to try and I had so much fun in the class. As a matter of fact, I liked it so much that I bought a recurve bow the day after the class.

After work archery!

Performance Archery in San Diego is an awesome archery store & range! They were extremely helpful.

My first recurve bow strung

My first recurve bow!

Ever since then, I’ve been going to the archery range/trail at the Balboa Park. I’m still a newbie but I’m loving it. It’s very calming and relaxing. It reminds me of calligraphy. Each shot is just like a brushstroke. And my arm doesn’t bother me when I shoot, so that’s good.

Work hard, shoot harder

I love this archery range at the Balboa Park! Half of the targets are closed but the range is like a hiking trail so each target is very unique. Also it’s only $2! (Honor system)

Booyah!

Just so you know, I only take a photo of my shot when I get a bull’s eye.

Work at the Behemoth is still awesome! I’ve been working on a lot of new projects, and you’ll get to see them pretty soon…

Pazzo the Hedgehog

This is the only thing I can post right now.

Anyway, I might not update this blog as often as I used to. I don’t consider myself a “blogger” and I don’t even like writing that much. But if I’m doing something cool I want to share, I’ll post it here.

I’m more active on Twitter blabbering about stuff, so if you’re interested you can follow me @TheAnnaTheRed on Twitter.

So yeah, I’m spending my birthday by myself this year for the 1st time in… 40 years! It is actually the very first time I’m alone on my birthday and I feel awesome.

BARFDAY

This is my birthday attire. No tiara for me.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m gonna go shoot some arrows now, and spend the day doing things I like. Being 40 is pretty great so far.

Later!

Anna

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A SLIGHT SPOILER 

 
This post contains images from the Last of Us DLC “Left Behind.”  No story spoilers but if you haven’t played Left Behind and want to play it completely spoiler free, do not scroll down.

ARE YOU SURE?

 

I WARNED YOU.

 

OKAY, HERE I GO.

 

 

stuffed stuff: Cool Bunny from the Last of Us DLC “Left Behind”

I played The Last of Us DLC “Left Behind” the day it came out which was Valentine’s Day. (Seriously, what’s a more perfect day to play video games?)

As I always do with any video games I like, I looked for anything plushable as I played it. And I encountered this.

By Alexandria Neonakis

If you’ve played The Last of Us, but have yet to play Left Behind, it’s probably hard to imagine where these ADORABLE images could from in Left Behind, but they do indeed exist in the game and I’m super happy that they do.

 
These illustrations are by Alexandria Neonakis, the awesome UI artist at Naughty Dog. She’s the one who drew the Valentine’s Day cards with the Naughty Dog characters which I liked so much and made a plush of before.

They also made the shirt with this Cool Bunny for PAX East. I bought it of course. As matter of a fact, I bought two Cool Bunny shirts in different sizes.

Each piece of the Cool Bunny is pretty simple but the hardest thing was getting the proportions correct. (I’ll probably write a post about how I do it someday.) Oh by the way, Math comes in VERY HANDY for stuff like this.

So remember kids, MATH IS COOL!

Anyway, here it is. Cool Bunny.

I put a pipe cleaner inside the sunglasses, so you can bend the frame.

 

I made this in one night! But that’s not an excuse for not being able to make the nose part raised. There’s always something…

Alex recently wrote a very interesting article about designing the UI (User Interface) for the Last of Us, so go check it out! The UI is something that most people don’t even realize just how much work & thoughts would go into. It was such an interesting read because these are the kind of things that people only complain about but rarely praise. And she explains it so well with before and after images.

Reading her post reminded me of the days I used to translate & subtitle Japanese movies and  anime. My goal was to make not only the translation & subtitles accurate but also natural to not distract the audience. Also, I would break up the translated sentence just like the Japanese sentence so when you read the translation & subtitles in your head, it’d have the same “flow” as the original sentence, like when to pause, etc… Just so you know, this was extremely hard. Not many people even notice or appreciate this. I’m sure people assume that they get a script translated and insert the translation in the film automatically. Well guess what. It’s usually done manually by a person. One line at a time. I probably have more than a couple of hundred episodes & films under my belt.

The sad thing was that if I did a really good job, no one will say anything about it, and that was what I aimed for. Every title I worked on, all I wished was “Please don’t say anything about the translation/subtitles in the reviews…” Because when they do, it’s usually a negative thing.  FUN TIMES. Oh and one more thing. THREE-LINE SUBTITLES SHOULD BE BANNED. ugh.

Anyway, I went off-topic here. But I had a lot of fun making Cool Bunny!

It was a quick but satisfying project. (Except that nose part…!) I was using the T-shirt as a reference while I was making it, but looking at the GIF file on Alex’s Tumblr makes me want to make the pink bunny… and even maybe the high-five frog!

EDIT:
I wanted to add something about Left Behind. Don’t worry, no story spoilers here either. It was more about how I played & why. Because I didn’t realize why I was playing the way I was until I was talking about it with my friend.

I loved “Left Behind.” I felt very natural playing like I’d usually do, taking my sweet time and being extremely stealthy. When I was playing as Ellie, I realized that I definitely feel more engaged if the character I’m playing has a similar body type (small frame) as me.

If I were in the post-apocalyptic world, how else would I survive but by being stealthy and hide until I’d get my chance? I’m tiny. Maybe slightly bigger than Ellie. There’s no way I could take down an adult man or infected by myself with a brick.

And if I used guns, I’d get spotted and I’d be surrounded. I’d be screwed if it were me in that world. So my methods were “stealth + smoke bombs + shiv” or “bow & arrows.” I was taking down one guy at a time, like a ninja. It was pretty satisfying. Joel probably wouldn’t fight this way since he’s a grown man who can physically take down someone.

A friend of mine said that he just used guns. I admit, I do suck at aiming, but to me the idea of a little girl quickly reloading & shooting multiple guys in the head didn’t seem convincing to me. So yeah, if I could I’d totally play the entire game as Ellie.

For more pictures of this plush, visit stuffed stuff: Cool Bunny from the Last of Us DLC “Left Behind” set!

You can also check out more stuffed stuff on my flickr.

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I know I’ve posted enough giraffe plushies to last a lifetime, but I promise this is the last time!

After giving the Naughty Dog guys the first giraffe plush, they said they would sign one for the Child’s Play Charity Dinner Auction. I was in awe when I got the giraffe back.

This pair of giraffes will be auctioned off at the Child’s Play Charity Dinner Auction tonight, December 5,  in Seattle.

During Desert Bus for Hope, my Pacific Rim plush raised $1850, and my Plush Pyth raised more than $900 for Child’s Play. Let’s do this for the children in hospitals!

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

I’m basically writing this post to put as many pictures as possible to show how awesome the people at Naughty Dog are. I mean, check out these autographs!!

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

Giraffe plushies for the Child's Play Dinner Auction

These are the last giraffes I’ll ever make. I’m sealing the patterns. So if you’re a fan of The Last of Us or Naughty Dog or huggable plushy giraffes, this giraffe will forever be with you long after the apocalypse!

There are tons more photos of the signed giraffe on the “Giraffe plushies for the Child’s Play Charity Auction Dinner” set on my flickr!

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After I made the giraffe plush and gave it to the good people of Naughty Dog at PAX, I asked them if they could sign another giraffe plush for the Child’s Play’s Charity Dinner Auction which takes place in December every year. Originally I was going to have them sign the same plush I gave them, but because of the spots on giraffe and its fuzzy fleece material I thought it’d be hard to sign and/or recognize the autographs. So I made a “blank” giraffe plush out of muslin.

Soon after I dropped off the blank giraffe to be signed, I started making something as a small thank you for the Naughty Dog team for signing it.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak and Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us
created and stuffed: November 2013

There’s some Naughty Dog related stuff scattered around in the Last of Us and these guys are one of them. They looked simple enough (as the most projects do at the beginning) Except the Jak’s spiky hair that defies gravity.

Jak & Daxter reference

To make his hair I didn’t want use flat layers of cloth like an anime plush, so I investigated my options. Yarn seemed to be the most common option but it took a while to find the right way to put the yarn on the head.

Unfortunately & not-so-surprisingly, most of the dolls with yarn hair are girls. Long strands of yarns, sewn onto the top of the head, so you can do pig tails, pony tails, or just let it down. But this wouldn’t work for Jak so I had to find a method so the hair could be planted on top like a human head.

I made a long braided string with a couple strands of yarn, and sewed it onto the head in a spiral pattern starting from the top. Then with a knitting needle, I’d pull a strand of yarn through the braid, put it through a loop and pull it tightly. Then repeated it hundreds of times. It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee explains this process very well with a lot of photos!

After I was done with the blond hair, I did the same with the green hair. And I weaved around the yarn with a thread at the bottom of Jak’s head to keep some hair up.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

All the clothes were supposed to be made with felt, so I wouldn’t have to do any hemming. But after making the hair, it didn’t look like felt would work quality/balance wise. So I got flannel and made the shirt and pants, with treated hems and collar.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

I made the headband, goggles, the cloth on the wrist, and shoes with the mixture of felt and flannel. The plush in-game had some details removed to simplify the character, so I added back some details that were noticeable and easy to make, such as the third strap on the backpack, gauntlet, and scopes on the goggle.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

I love making small accessories. I had fun making the tiny backpack, just like I did with Raz from Psychonauts and iota from Tearaway.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

I even made the Precursor Eggs!

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

Daxter was actually just as simple as I thought. A big relief. I also added some details like the gloves, and the stripes on the arms.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

Then there were the eyes…

I tried making the eyes just like the in-game plush but they looked waaaay too anime-like. Way too much that it didn’t look good with the rest of the plush anymore. So I made several different styles of eyes. But if one style looked good for either Jak or Daxter, it’d look weird on the other plush. In the end, to keep the consistency for Jak and Daxter as a pair, I had to go with solid blue round eyes. They could’ve been better but this was the best solution I could come up with. But I kind of like their soulless eyes now.

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

It took way too long for me to decide the eyes though. I’m good at copying but I really suck at making decisions by myself. :/

Anyway, here’s the comparison.

Jak & Daxter reference

stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us

Scale was a bit off, but close enough, eh?

A couple of weeks later, I got the signed giraffe back from Naughty Dog and I was blown away. I will post tons of photos of this giraffe later.

Giraffe plush from the Last of Us & Giraffe plush signed by Naughty Dog crew

Replica of the giraffe plush from the game & signed blank giraffe

They are HUGGING each other. Okay?

They are HUGGING. This was the only way to fit in the box I had.

Naughty Dog, damn you guys! <3

For more pictures of this plush, visit stuffed stuff: Jak & Daxter Easter Egg plush from the Last of Us set!

You can also check out more stuffed stuff on my flickr.

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