Monday, January 31, 2011

Be My Stinky Valentine

First, thank you to all who voted for an impromptu V-Day card design a week or so ago. I must say I was surprised, as potty-humor won out!
I ordered 30 cards from Vistaprint, but somehow messed it up, because instead of folded cards, they are flat! Boo.

If flat cards aren't a deterrent, please let me know if you would like one! So far I have 12 reserved, and I don't want any leftovers please! I'll send these out ASAP so you'll receive them in time to give some stinky-love to someone else. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DIY Makeup Bag

Actually, I don't wear makeup on a daily basis. If it's hard enough for me to find the energy to brush my hair in the morning, why would I bother with makeup?

However, I do keep some cheap stuff on my person, in case I should have a business meeting or a date with my husband.

My method of storage is not so pretty.

Tired of toting around my crumply plastic bag, I whipped out some fabric, ribbon and elastic for an impromptu session with my sewing machine.
Isn't it a cute print? A $3 piece from my favorite store, Daiso, and I only used maybe a fourth of it for this project.

I should add a disclaimer here - it's not wise to do piece-meal construction without thinking everything through on paper first. Sloppiness abounds, to say the least - but in this case it's okay since it's one of those just-for-me projects.

I cut out two 9" x 15" rectangles (and yes, that's a totally arbitrary dimension). Iron out the wrinkles, and also cut out two 8.5" x 9" pieces for pockets.

I notched some 1" flaps from the pocket pieces.

Sew up your raw edges, then tack the pockets one at a time to the face-side of one rectangle. Sew the bottom and top lines, leaving a 1" closing flap, and the remaining 4" of pocket.

Now the tricky part, accordion-fold the side-flasp, using an iron to press the seams down. Sew the side-flaps down.

Repeat with the second pocket.

Next, I added a bit of elastic to the left side, to hold my brushes and pencils. There's probably a cleaner way to do it, but I just sewed lines straight down to divide the sections.

I did have to redo the lines a couple times to find the right size for each brush!
Finally, I added a big pocket to the right side, a simple one without an expanding pocket.

I tacked down a handle string to the top, and some ribbon for closing to the side.

Place the second rectangle on top, face-side down.

Sew around, leaving a small gap to turn the piece inside-out.
There we go!

Does everything fit?
I think so! Roll it up for easy transport!

Much cuter than the plastic bag, eh? Though in hindsight a sturdier fabric would have worked better. My thin stuff is a bit flimsy. And I probably shouldn't have been lazy by leaving the manufacturer's surge-ends showing. Ah well.

But wait! Did you notice? I don't have closures on my pockets. Fail!

I was going to use buttons, but my sewing machine is being a bum and not helping me make buttonholes. The easy solution would be to use velcro, but I hate how noisy it is. Any solutions? Snaps maybe? Zippers seem too cumbersome.

Do you have a makeup bag? Maybe one of those cute freebie ones that come with makeup purchases? I always see those ads and want the bag, but I'm never interested in buying the makeup.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Princess Swan?

It's driving me slightly batty that I haven't seen the Black Swan movie yet. I squeal loudly at every commercial for it, leaving Sak to chime down from his napping place upstairs, "Again?! Do you have to do that again?!"

Well, if someone would just take me to see it already...

Anyway, the reason I'm so interested is not because it's ballet (obviously I'm not the dancing type), and not just because it's Queen Amidala (though Natalie is probably one of my favorite actresses).

It's because the trailer seems to vibe so very well with one of my favorite anime series, Princess Tutu.

Watch this AMV (anime music video) and see if you don't agree:


Now, at first glance, Princess Tutu is just your run of the mill magical girl type show (think Sailor Moon). But as the story progresses, it turns into so much more. It gets darker, more intricate, and just all around fabulous (though the ending still makes me want to claw at the writer).

I have no idea what the plot of Black Swan is - but dark ballerina? It's been done before. And it's awesome.

Someone even did a mash-up with the Black Swan movie trailer - I'm definitely not the only one noting the potential for similarity!

So until I watch the highly-toted movie, I will continue to make noises at my television, and Sak will just have to live with it.

Have you seen Black Swan? Does it live up to the hype? Does it compare at all with Princess Tutu, assuming you've seen it? (And if you haven't seen it - go watch the series* on Youtube or something)

*In Japanese with subtitles, English dubs are the number 1 anime-watching no-no.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Urgent Vote: Your V-Day Card!

Okay folks, even though it's still January, I'm on a deadline for Valentine's Day cards!

My plan was simple - make a card that had a dual purpose. And then I got crafting-lazy, and thought of an idea! I'll give you a blank card.  You can give it to someone else! That counts as dual purpose, right?  Don't worry though - I'll still write you a loveau-loveau message.  On a Post-It note!  Which is actually quite fitting, since for the past several years, all the cards I've given Sak have been on scrap paper and Post-It's (both because I'm cheap, and he throws them away anyway).

So! First, help me pick a design.  I've got three really-rough sketches for you to vote on.

There's a poll on the bottom of the left sidebar for you to vote. Thanks in advance! Saturday morning, we'll see which is the winner.  I'll spruce up the sketch with some line art and color before ordering some cards, and then I'll mail them off to whoever wants one. All hopefully before V-Day actually rolls around!

So if you want a free card and a handwritten greeting from moi - go ahead and e-mail me at pengawenga(at)gmail(dot)com. I won't stalk, pinky promise!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gator-Get-Fresh Challenge: Pico de Gallo

This past weekend I was chatting with Gator (a.k.a. Hannah) via GChat, and she got on my case about not cooking or eating fresh foods. Yes, I admit we eat out a lot, and Sak has (on more than one occasion) complained of a scurvy onset.  So I took up the Gator-Get-Fresh challenge, with her recipe for pico de gallo

Below is the account of Tamama-Penga and Hello Gator:

Overall, it was very tasty, but pretty spicy for our weak-sauce tastebuds. Maybe next time I will cook the onions and use less hot pepper! Thanks Gator for the recipe and for challenging me to stop being lazy. And with a couple days of leftovers, Sak has no excuses for not eating his veggies!

Got a healthy (and easy!) recipe for Tamama-Penga to tackle? Link me to your blog, or send me an email!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gaia (again...)

In 2004 I joined an online forum called Gaia, because of the cute graphics and customizable avatars. I stopped playing after a year or so, but then started up again a year or so later. Like many things, I get really vested in the interest until I burn out, but I will typically return later.

The second time around, I met one of the coolest people ever. She was like my twin, really. One of the less-than-ten girls in my graduating engineering class, a power major as well. And what is the coincidence that she also liked anime? And also had an electrical engineering boyfriend? And also drew as a hobby? And ALSO played Gaia! Well, I shouldn't really say twin. She is most definitely cooler than me. Together, we dominated the boards and made a successful gaming business of selling art and winning art competitions.

But I burnt out again after a while, and quit. For three years.

Then my little sister showed me everything that had changed, since she now plays herself. And this Christmas I broke down and logged onto my decade-old account. Hooked again. I even messaged my friend.
I don't know whether this behavior is pathetic or just sweetly devoted. I prefer not to think about it.

What drew me back was that Gaia has an MMORPG now. Which gives it more interest than just talking in forums to people who are probably still in high school. Not that there's anything wrong with talking to high schoolers. Sak plays too, because who can't pass up a good RPG? It's simple, but has some strong points (like all your gold going straight to your forum account). Fight monsters (gnomes?), earn items and gold, level your skills and do quests and party quest bosses.
It's hard to get a screenshot without getting beat up in the process.
Here's the gist of Gaia:

You have an avatar. You can customize yourself by buying clothes, items, etc. with gold.

You earn gold by talking in the forum, doing polls, playing minigames (blackjack, puzzles, fishing, etc.), and playing the MMORPG called "ZOMG". That's basically it. But it's so addicting, trying to earn the avatar items!

And if I'm going to play mindless games like puzzles, I might as well "earn" something for it, right? Minesweeper does not give me anything. (Not that I won't sit there and play THAT for hours..)
Have I mentioned I love puzzles? 'Cause I do.
But not to discredit the site, I think the real intention is to make friends. I prefer not to talk to people usually, especially since yesterday some dumb noob in starter clothes said my avatar was dressed ugly. PSHHH. I am cute!

So instead of making new tweeny friends, I'll petition for you lovely folks to check Gaia out! Not that you don't have more useful and productive things to do, but if you ever get bored - instead of opening that solitaire game you could come do a puzzle with me? The name's penga. And Sak is .tachibana.tease. (He didn't choose the name, obviously. I named him after one of my manga crushes, poor man.)

(All screenshots from

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three Rivers

During Christmas break, my family drove down to a little place called Three Rivers by Visalia.
One of the three rivers!
The water was super high because of all the winter storms!

My Family and cousin-family! Brother was off with his college friends.
The wildlife was scarce, being winter, but we managed to find a few active fellows out!

Quail!!! SO CUTE. And the California state bird!
Back at the lodge, Sak had some wildlife of his own to fend off - Cousin E's 4 month old puppy, Gypsy!  She was a ball of energy, that's for sure.

We played a lot of Pictionary, of which Sak and I lost horribly.  He can't draw and I draw too slowly, a sure recipe for failure!

Back outside, we went on many a nature hike.  Both in Sequoia National Park and out!

Cute lil' mushy!

Walkin' by the water flume!

Snow, up on the top of the mountains!

We couldn't go all the way up to the snow since we didn't have chains for the car tires, but we went far enough (Hospital Rock) to get caught in a bit of a snow shower!
I really tried to get the snowflake, but the camera wasn't cooperating. :(  Each flake was so different and intricate and beautiful though! Fascinating!
Anyway, it was a literal breath of fresh air to get out in the woods for a few days.  Can't say it refreshed me enough to go back to work though, I developed a cold at the end of the trip and spent the next week in snot-city! Bah!

Did you go anywhere out of the normal for the holidays? Anyone going to the snow?

(Most photos by Penga-Mom)