Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Animal Jenga

What will the Japanese think of next? I bet Foxy would have been good at this game.



I seem to remember Shianne hosting a similiar video. Ahh yes.. Here it is...



The disease spreads.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Auntie Ben's Famous Longon Jelly

It’s widely known that Uncle Ben serves up minute rice, but my Auntie Ben makes a killer Longon Jelly.

Thanks to technology I was able to siphon out the recipe over a facebook chat. Unfortunately, this recipe has been sworn to secrecy so no one gets this recipe here.

A warning to others, warm your glasses first, chill your milk or let your jelly cool a bit. I shattered a glass pudding dish in my hand because the mixture was too hot going into a cool glass. Don’t be like me and be forced to clean an explosion of glass/semi hard jelly from all over your fridge, food, pants, and floor.

I attempted her recipe…. And then feeling pretty ‘gay kiang’ (Chinese for foolish – but think you are ingenius) a variation of the recipe using fresh ingredients – like whole fresh milk and real fruit juice in lieu of sugar….

  • Recipe 1 : Auntie Ben’s and Nothing but.
  • Recipe 2: Ivy’s Fresh Ingredient Version
  • Recipe 3: Auntie Ben’s Plus Ivy’s Fresh Ingredient Version in 50/50 amounts.

Results:

  • Recipe 1: AMAZINGNESS. Sweet without cloying, comforting, delicious. YUM.
  • Recipe 2: OMG What happened… ack!!! The juice curdled the milk! Completely unappetizing. Resembles Baby spit up.
  • Recipe: Palatable, but looks digusting…

Verdict: Don’t mess with the recipe.

*sigh*

Whippet Babies - Deja vu

Not sure if I mentioned it.. but Jong and I are getting another whippet… I had planned on getting another eskie, but the way things worked out this is our best chance to get a great whippet from a fantastic breeder/friend in Squamish.

We went up to visit Friday, just to check them out and fell in love with the little red girls. 5 girls, 3 boys, all red sable except for one girl who is blue fawn like her grandma (the breeders dog). They are only 9 days old so don’t do much right now other than crawl around, sleep and eat. Their eyes are not yet open.

These are two different color babies. The blue fawn is the one the breeder is keeping. The red one is one of the many we are interested in. Waiting til they get a bit rambunctious before we find out which one is ours. I'd like a smart one. Jong wants a crazy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food at Red Chicken

Placeholder: It was spicy. Medium in price point. And delicious.

Red chicken at Bute X Robson

I think we’d go again.

 

 

Hello Kitty Wedding

The ideas just keep rolling in.. in tandem with my dream Hello Kitty Theme Park Honeymoon I could also have that dream hello kitty wedding.


Are you scared?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pepto Bismol Explosion Gingerbread House

The plan: Barbie's Chalet

The implementation: A Rustic Tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kicking it with Minker the Stinker

Contrary to J's belief, there are some moments when Minker the Stinker is actually still enough for me to take a photo... that being when she's sleeping, attempting to absorb my warmth or hopped up on tranquilizers (kidding).

Here's some pictures of me and my chum cuddling on the bed.





Yoggie - the inspiration for a line of Cuddle me Epic Bosses in Warcraft




It's done! After spending 6 hours on the first iteration of CuddleMeYoggie, I decided to take another crack at it immediately, this time aiming for something cuddlier and more true to Kelly's Aaron's original design.


I had to take some liberties, but this time I was able to create the new Yoggie in less than an hour. First thing, I commandeered (stole) one of Jong's soft blue shirts with a new modified template.


After cutting it out, I machine sewed it on my Singer 222k with a half inch seam allowance. Handstitched on the eyes, teeth and embroidered on a straight mouth as per Kelly's plans. To fill him out, Yogg was stuffed with some lentils and cotton to create that wonderful floppy drape of his arms and cuddly softness.


I will be offering a smaller version of Yoggie to my guild for our 6th anniversary... Those details I will post on our guild website. I plan to make one for Cadistra and if you leave a nice comment I may make one for you too!

As my photography skills are poor and J's are amazing. I've recruited her to snap photos for you.
Thanks for the excellent photography J! I love you and your fantastic insights into Yoggie the Misunderstood. How true! He's just cuddlywuddly on the inside, imarite?

My next challenge... C'thun!


_____________________________________

UPDATE:
After I posted the Yoggie Pics I tweeted it to @Cadistra

@Cadistra Check out my CuddleMeYoggie Blog post inspired from your art. http://ow.ly/3fcgE. Hope you like it. Want one?

and got a reply!

@ivyfong That's AMAZING! You should check out @greyseer's version as well!
@ivyfong I would be honored to have one, and I'll happily pay for it!

Sweetness! I'm totally pumped that the artist likes it too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Furoshiki - Wrapping your presents in a green way

The Japanese were onto something when they came up with wrapping presents with squares of fabric. In fact, I only want my presents wrapped in fantastic Japanese import fabric!

Now to learn.. a guide for specific folds.

Nerding Out: Craft Style


Considering using all my nerd paraphernilia and making gadget inspired crafts. This is just the start of it.. I have keys from a bunch of keyboards. Any ideas on how to use those?


Hello Kitty Theme Park Honeymoon



Well I've found where we're going for the Honeymoon - Oita Japan! LOVE IT! Let's pretend shall we?


It's pretty small.


Nothing tests a relationship like trapping a man in a small cage shaped like Hello Kitty with a person that suffers from Acrophobia, in addition to his man card revoked for complying in the first place. Course there probably needs to be a pledge that "What happens in Oita Stays in Oita".


And of course there's always the final test.. Will he eat octopus balls in mayonnaise? Looks like good times all around for me. Who needs a beach right?

Um yeah. I suspect I'm coming here alone ;)

Seattle's Harry Potter Exhibition



During our visit to Seattle, we were surprised to stumble upon the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Pacific Science Centre. I paid the $52 ticket fee for the two of us (with much grumbling from Jong over the prices nearing extortion) and we moseyed 'briskly (can't be letting those 8 year olds pass us!) up the stairs and through a passage to the exhibit line up.


The exhibit begins in small groups in a intimate, dark room where we meet the sorting hat and children can be sorted into their favourite Hogwart's schools. All the children wanted to belong to Gryffindor (of course).

After that, we were brought into another circular black room which had all the different movie posters backlit.. Once everyone was inside, the posters came to life and became a multimedia teaser of the Harry Potter Exhibit with each of the panels working together and sometimes as windows.It was about 5-10 minutes to refresh your memory of how Harry mets Ron, his adventures.. a highlights reel from all the movies… It was interesting and creative, The 5 split panels presenting it in a new manner.

Behind us a wall opens up.. and your eyes are hit hard by the lights of an approaching train. An usher in a hooded cloak and lantern guides the tour toward the rest of the exhibit - another richly lavish hallway full of animated photographs … moving photos just like the halls of Hogwards including the woman in the doorway protecting the entrance to the Griffindor house. I could understand how a Muggle raised Harry might be overwhelmed by the changes in his reality. It was disconcerting to see the moving pictures even knowing they were just small screens.

Each exhibit had a screen that showed scenes from the movie in which the props were seen.


We saw tons of props including...
  • Their tiny first year outfits.
  • Harry and Ron's Beds.
  • Uniforms for the quidditch teams, from the nationals, to the school teams, Cedric Diggory's uniform, and Oliver Wood.
  • Victor Krum, Cedric, Cho, and Hermoines outfits for the ball.
  • Dolores Umbridge's terrible pink and kitty room.
  • The bulletin board for Hogwarts including Ad for Wizarding tutoring
  • The conscription list for Dumbledore’s army
  • Books and newspapers created for the movie.
  • Hagrid's house including his pets.
  • The quidditch snitch.
  • A kiosk so you can try throwing quaffles at the hoop. They are supposed to be enchanted to be easily thrown with one hand, and they are (IRL, even without the enchantment ;) )
  • The Half Blood Prince's old text book.
  • Everyone’s wands
  • a recreation of the great hall including the food.

Nothing was in glass boxes. All behind velvet ropes but there were people in each chamber to make sure no one was touching anything. Also, ABSOLUTELY no photographs but I was sooo tempted a few times. There are many photographs on the exhibit's official website.


At the end of the exhibit is a store to buy Harry Potter Merchandise from house scarves or ties, to Xmas decorations.

It was just so mind boggling, We did the entire exhibit in around 1 hour but could have easily have spent 3 hours. My mind was humming for hours after… What an amazing experience. Highly recommend it. A lovely surprise.

Jong and Iffy's Trip to Seattle

Jong and I took a trip cross the border for my Singer Featherweight 221 Advanced Workshop with Dave and Sharon McCallum. I lugged both my old 221 and 222k into the Mini, a small night bag and we were off. Our plan was for me to be at the workshop while Jong kept himself busy, then we'd meet up later and go to Seattle to spend the night so we could have a few hours the next day in Washington before making the drive back home for our Naxxramas raid at 7.

We crossed the border with limited fanfare and drama, if that can be said when a gruff, tough-looking older man performing our cross border interrogation swoons like starry eyed romantic at the sight of my engagement ring. It's surprising that these American border guards are still surprised at seeing interacial couples when they are so plentiful in Vancouver. Perhaps they have check for mail order brides/illegal immigration. He made a point of making sure I spoke to him (maybe to access my english) and asked us our relationship to each other. As we declared we were engaged, I saw his gaze slip suspiciously to my bare hand on the steering wheel. He smiled slowly, warily... and asked to see the ring. I quickly slipped my hands down the front of my shirt to retrieve the ring where it lay nestled against my warm bosom, presenting it to him for viewing. He relaxed visibly and congratulated us on our engagement and then exclaimed his pleasure at seeing a sapphire instead of a diamond. Go figure. He spent such a long time raving about engagements that I had to slowly.... cautiously pull away to signal the end of the conversation, without offending him.


The workshop was educational and fun. What I enjoyed the most was the company of the other women. Many women my age don't trust a woman that doesn't have many women friends. I'm one of those women. I don't have many women friends because I find most of them banal, high maintenance, superficial, or vengeful. The only exception to this has been JennyWee and Carol. Guys are easy. Guys are tend to be more easygoing, simple, and don't hold grudges! Guys also do better DPS in Warcraft ;) Don't you know skillz in game are criteria to roll with me?

So my friends are guys... There was a time when I had quite a few female friends, but the relationships dwindled as we found our 'mates' and I moved into the black vortex of the world, aka Richmond. No one ever wants to visit Richmond for two reasons.

a.) Richmond has an extremely high asian population, some of whom BOUGHT their licenses with their big expensive houses when they moved here a decade ago. Unfortunately during that time, their driving skills have not improved.

b.) Anywhere else in Vancouver, you could orient yourself by the mountains. The mountains are north, and with that knowledge you could find your way anywhere... but in Richmond, there are no mountains. People get lost
(even with GPS, wtf!?), never to be seen again.... true story. (ok maybe not).

But I digress. So I took my workshop at the Quiltmakers Shop in Arlington. The old 222k machine that wouldn't sew I've been rehabilitating now sews like a dream. I love you Dave and Steve (his apprentice)!


A small charming shop on a small charming strip. The cloth selection was lovely and the service was like being served by your favourite aunt. They have a wonderful inclusive community there. I'm considering getting a nexus card, so I can make trips more often to visit since it's only an hour away but the potential for a wait at the border tends deter the trip. The ladies were ultra nice... all wishing me luck on my wedding and wanting pictures. I wished I lived near Arlington; while I don't really like women my age, I do like older ladies... It was funny when a 65 year old woman was talking about 'BLING'. Haha! My course ended at 4pm and I found Jong across the street at the local sweet spot with a cup of tea and a book as agreed upon earlier.

The local business association had plastered the area with wonderful wooden snowmen, and were having a weiner and smores roast right in the middle of the street they had closed down. Surprisingly, I was stopped by 4 people in 15 minutes asking me about the sewing machines in the cases I carried. "Are those Singer Featherweights? My mother had one..." A common story told online on the featherweight blogs I frequent, but rarely have I had anyone acknowledge it in the physical world. I'd smile shyly and answer questions about the machine, feeling quite proud that they, atleast, understood how awesome my machines were.

Drove straight to our accommodations in downtown seattle - Maxwell Hotel, which was surprisingly nice and right down near all the cultural activities like the museum, theatre, dance centre, etc. The hotel had complimentary mini pineapple cupcakes on a lovely white marble table for guests, lovely arrangement of callalilys tableside. You could tell it was a small boutiquey hotel that really works extra hard so you’ll stay there rather than the more expensive and more upscale Pan Pacific. Hardwood floors, contemporary design, fridge, microwave, and all the amenities. Strangely enough the hotel had this "Pineapple" theme that they'd whip out conveniently, like on their guest umbrellas, random room decor, and their parking signs. The hotel was clean, comfortable, and stylish in a bohemian chic meets IKEA explosion kinda way. Our room ended up being the same size and lay out as our room at home and also had a hardwood floor.


It was super clean. Flat screen TV, Cell phone charging station, and probably the best toiletries I’ve ever used from a hotel. I loved what they did to my skin and hair! No greasy residue! John was impressed that I packed so little. Just 4 pieces of clothing and a small make up bag. ;) (Hey I'm not so high maintenance that I can't leave shoes behind for an overnight trip.. I almost came close to bringing an extra pair but I quelled the urge.)

After settling in, we decided to break our tradition of going to Whole Foods for pre-dinner and went straight to a Vietnamese Restaurant down the street for dinner just a block down. It was a white washed establishment which meant things were a little safer. Cleaner. Neater, the daring items like Tripe taking off the menu, but still tastey. I had steak noodle soup and John had Grilled chicken on vermicelli. At one point, John dropped his chopsticks and before he could sit back up the waiter was already there holding a new set. I was super impressed. You know it’s not a real Vietnamese restaurant because a real one would watch you eat with your old chopsticks to keep you real and give you the real asian dining experience.


We finished dinner, then decided to go to Whole Foods to have a boo. Again, we would have liked to have purchased EVERYTHING. Missing Scenny (JennyWee + Scott) as there was an extensive liquor selection and we love sharing boozy experiences with Scott.

The next morning we brought a bag of yoghurt, and other assorted food items from Whole Foods over to the cultural district just a block away and ate breakfast beside a water fountain. A dome that looked martian.. until it steamed.. then eventually spouted water and classical music. strange.


The next post will be about the rest of the trip, which happened to be the Harry Potter Exhibit we stumbled upon during our exploration of this area.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Handmade all the way.



I'm planning on crafting all my presents this year for Christmas.. but I thought how cool would it be if I made these boxes for people's and filled it with a jar of shortbread? Totally awesome right? It's on the list now! WOo!

Vancouver Craft Fair Hit List 2010



Make It! – November 19, 20, 21 www.makeitproductions.com
Circle Craft Christmas Market – November 17 – 21 www.circlecraft.net
Dunbar Craft Fair – November 17 www.dunbarcentre.ca
Eastside Culture Crawl - November 26, 27 and 28 www.eastsideculturecrawl.com
Got Craft – December 5th www.gotcraft.com
One of a Kind – Dec 9 – 12 www.oneofakindvancouver.com
West End Holiday Craft Fair - November 20th – 21st- http://vancouver.ca/parks/cc/westend/website/specialevents.cfm

Are you ready for Crafting Season J?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Yoggsaron Stuffie - Handmade


After months and months in the depths of madness a guild "joke" manifested. Instigated by the perverse mastermind, Erelena, we had hatched the idea of a communal Yoggsaron Doll we'd pass around - mailing it to each member of the guild who would then be responsible for taking a picture with the doll in their home town before sending it on. (Erelena volunteered to have "sloppy 24ths"! That hussy!)

We've long departed from Ulduar but the desire to create this Yoggsaron doll remained deep seeded in the back of my mind...

This morning I woke with the realization that my guild would be celebrating our 6th anniversary on December 1st. And thus, I decided I would offer the prize of a hand made, one of a kind Yoggsaron Doll.



After being inspired by this post I decided to try my hand at creating my very own YoggSaron Doll.



It began with a simple pattern I created in illustrator. I knew some techniques to round out the ends of the tentacles and sew a larger circle onto a small oner that I could use on the fly... The teeth were to give the general proportion, where I would modify to give an uneven jaggedness by hand.




I think it was a pretty good first iteration. I hand felted his mouth on with some wool roving. This entire project was sewn on a Singer 222k with only a single straight stitch.

My next attempt will be to make something floppier and much cuddlier. Felt makes for a clean product wth lots of flexibility in the colors but I think this guy could look nappier.. I will also do some stitches with embroidery floss. My set is currently at J's house so we're naked today...

Here's a sneak peak at the almost finished product.


The fruits of my labour will be dispensed to poor unsuspecting victims who also happen to be fans of World of Warcraft.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A wedding project for Jong


In addition to not dressing like a clown, being on time, and working on our website. This is Jong's big project for the wedding...

I'm thinking it would make a pretty cool "take away"... The bottom two tiers come apart into pieces that people can take away and the top tier is a souvenir for the couple. Each piece of cake could go inside a hand sewn cloth bag (I'd make it) that says Ivy and Jong (or is it the man's name first? Hmmm. For some reason I thought it was the person with the largest testes.. and mine are massive :P).

Anyways. I love this. Get on it Jong.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Good bye Ficus

That bastard must pay.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Guu-d ~ Review for Guu Garden

Guu on Thurlow x Robson is our go to place. When its cold? We go to Guu. Tired? Need comfort? It's game on for Guu... We love the food, we love the crazy psycho izakaya ambiance, and we LOVE the pumpkin croquette. The best part tho? The frozen grape with your bill.

We were delighted to hear about Guu Garden, a Guu concept restaurant near Relish. We decided to check it out and see if it could live up to the original Guu's massive shoes.


As we walked up the steps from Hornby, we saw a serene Rock Garden and a large patio which would be great for the summer. I couldn't take a photo as it was dark so here's one I found on the net. Several vintage bikes and beach cruisers were parked by the entrance so I think the proximity to the bike lane will really work in it's favor. The clientele looked diverse - all ages and nationalities and while not packed, it was busy.


The first thing we noticed was how spacious the restaurant was by Guu standards. There are tables and chairs throughout the restaurant but we chose a traditional japanese dining table close to the entrance where we could remove our shoes. A selection of cutesy sandals were available for us to borrow should we have arrived sockless. Big band and jazz played in the background seemed at odds with the food and decor, but being swing dancers ourselves, we enjoyed the music. I'm sure those who rode up on their vintage bikes, also did as well.



The menu was smaller and different from the other Guu, but still had dishes that intrigued us. J felt the menu was more adventurous but with Japanese food and Guu's concepts, adventureous is relative imho.

We started off with soul warming Oden, which is a broth with bits of free range egg, tofu, fish cakes, daikon or meat simmered for hours. After raving about the joys of Oden to my japanese intern he explained that Oden is a winter dish that is often sold from food carts. I wish we'd get one of those somewhere closer to my work!

I had the light miso based Kanto-Daki Oden with egg, fried tofu, fluffy fish cake, chikuwa fishcake, and daikon. This is the same broth they serve at the Guu on Thurlow. I believe the white mass at the bottom left, to be the fluffy fish cake. It was soft, light, almost like Chawan Mushi - savory Japanese custard. It was a little soft for me, but I could definitely see how it could appeal to someone else. The tubular fish cake (to the right of the white triangle) I've had before and always enjoy eating it because it has a firm satisfying texture and absorbs the flavor from the oden broth well. The daikon, as usual, was perfectly cooked such that it was equally tender, with no mushy or hard bits. The deep fried tofu was as expected but given the choice I'd have had two daikon or another fish cake. I ended up being too full to eat the egg. Leave no drop of broth behind.


J - feeling brave, had the Miso Oden broth. It surprised me just how thick it was, but we were warned on the menu it would be a thick rich broth. It had a gravy-like texture similiar to the soy vinegar - star anise broth my mother makes to stew her pig legs. I found the flavor enjoyable but I didn't think I could eat more than two pieces in the broth due to it's richness. One of the offerings on the menu, but not available that night was Pork Belly, which I think would have been AMAZING in this broth. Despite my aversion to pig fat, I could imagine it melting in my mouth with the enhancement of this Miso Oden Broth.


This is the whole cajun grilled squid. It was cooked to perfection with the squid not being rubbery - a common fault in squid preparation. The only thing is, we had expected it by appearance to have a sweet soy flavor, but instead had a salty, burned soysauce flavor. I dubbed it ANGRY teriyaki - all the bitterness without the sweet. I feel it would have been better with a bit of sweetness, however, it wasn't unpleasant. Let's just say, it was interesting... Like drinking a glass of milk and tasting coke. J agreed but I ended up eating this all by myself.


Here's were we went a little crazy. This dish is the Tuna Melon. It's a tureen of Melon, Raw tuna, cilantro, topped with shaved melon and garnished with dashi jelly. Looking at it in the photo it doesn't look as intimidating as it does in person... but it certainly did take a bit of will to penetrate the fishy walls.

Why this cowardice you ask? Well we once had a dish at another Izakaya which was very similiar. I believe it was called Salmon and his 5 friends.. Which included raw salmon, fried wonton skins,green onion, egg and other ingredients. When it arrived it looked AMAZING... until the waitress cracked the raw egg into the mix and began to whip it aggressively until it was a fishy, foamy mess. After one bite, we dubbed it, Salmon and his 5 Frenemies and have been leery of all raw fish combinations since. True story.

I dug in first since Jenny had braved the thick oden gauntlet earlier.... Well. It was delicious. A surprising blend of flavors. The sweet melon was a lovely compliment to the tuna which I think is due to subtle but clever seasoning. I loved the sweet frozen melon shavings on the top and the dashi jelly was interesting just by itself but AMAZING when eaten with the fish and melon. Overall, Loved it! Would eat it again. In fact, I'm kinda craving it right now.



This is our beloved croquette.

J and I are great friends but there's an area of contention. A scuff in our otherwise perfect love... and that's when we have to share a croquette. Then it's throwdown time. For the sake of friendship we always get one for each of us.

They take a hard boiled egg, wrap it in pumpkin, roll it in pancho (I think) and deep fry til the delicious outer crust is crispy. It's pure heaven if you love hard boiled eggs. The pumpkin adds a crunchy, sweet, shell to the egg and while an unlikely pairing in western food, this is a perfect marriage of flavors. Just as good as Guu Thurlow, it was good to see that the quality carried over.


We also ordered the Ramen with duck and leek. The noodles were al dente and as far as noodles considered perfect in flavor and preparation. The duck was tender with the skin a little crispy - the breast having very little fat, and melting in your mouth as you enjoyed its succulent flavors. Interesting enough, orange zest was likely grated into the ramen to help cut the fat but also the orange oils from the rind flavored the broth and noodles subtly with each bite. J didn't notice it, but I did and I really enjoyed that attention to detail. Orange and Duck go really well together.

Despite not being a fan of leeks, I tried the leak which was grilled hard on one side only. As I bit down an gooey oniony goo injected it's full leeky flavor into my mouth. The remaining veg after the initial bite was sweet and tender. Leek lovers will LOVE how it's been prepared. Me, I felt a bit violated ;P



The chopsticks say it all. We enjoyed our visit and would return again. One thing Guu lovers will appreciate is, while Guu Garden doesn't have the chaos you've come to enjoy at other locations, the already good service is even better as they have more time to spend with you and to look after your needs.

Hope you enjoyed the review. Please leave comments.

Other reviews...
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