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1  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / How the Fire Started: Toasting Waffles on: April 12, 2010 01:48:47 PM
Last month, Mr. & Mrs. Tota of Florida began their morning with a craving for waffles but received a kitchen fire instead.

According to this article, Elizabeth & Nicholas Tota's toaster caught fire and caused smoke damage to their condominium. Thankfully, the Totas suffered only minor injuries.

To investigate, I traveled back in time & space to take these photos of the Tota toaster:

Minutes later—even though the toaster's lever had popped back up—the waffles remained stuck inside:

Then this happened:

Poor toaster. Ah well, it's gone to a better place and lives on as a familiar-looking screensaver:

Downloadable wallpaper:  1680x1050 1024x640 iPhone

On March 9, 2010, the Totas made waffles in a defective toaster...

And that's how the fire started.

Here's a behind-the-scenes video of how I started the fire:

2  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Japanese for All Occasions on: March 28, 2010 04:52:22 PM
Thanks so much for everyone who took the time to be so supportive of my attempts to learn Japanese! Smiley

Here are a few replies that might be interesting:

Bahahaha! That made me laugh, specially the part about a bowl of needles...  Grin
hahahaha... I like the bowl of needles.  Very cute.
Such a cute idea! Very funny!
Bowl of needles! Priceless!
So funny. The bowl of needles is hilarious.
Eira and redhead133 and KelseyLauren and Flia: I really thought the book mentioned needles until my mom asked me, "why needles"? I replied, "I think it's for acupuncture" but when I double-checked, the book said "bowl of noodles"! I guess that makes more sense haha

That is great racky--I was going to suggest that we feature it because I am laughing still!!  I love how his bow shows off his hair color--wowza!
alwaysinmyroom: I'll add domo arigato and sayonara to my encyclopedic knowledge of the Japanese language Wink Together, they mean "bowl of needles", right?

Anata wa watashi wo shiawase ni shite kureru
(If I remember, I think that's "you make me happy")
Lindsay517: Anata wa watashi wo shiawase ni shite kureru TOO! Smiley

Aw, just what I needed! Perfect way to learn these most useful expressions Grin Yes, I like the speech best as well, but they're all used in the best way! Thank you! Can you do more?
Edit: Congrats on the new hair color, looks cool!
Ruby Copperhead: hehe I should have made a few more. Maybe I could try different languages with equally curious examples Smiley

Glad you like the blue, thanks Smiley It almost passed for normal now!

Best use of Japanese in a Craftster post ever.
-zoma- That's a very specific honour, but I'll gladly take it, thanks! Cheesy

LOL that's hilarious! i think i'm going to buy that book... i'll check it out in mandarin since i'm learning how to speak it right now!
s0choice: Congratulations on your mandarin lessons! Since the post, I found out that "Japanese for All Occasions" also has a truncated-yet-viewable preview at Google Books Smiley

I always get a kick out of your posts! Thanks for sharing. I featured this thread today on Craftster's Facebook page.  Smiley
rackycoo: Thanks for featuring this thread on Craftster's Facebook page Smiley Everyone's comments on Facebook were just as nice as on Craftster!

Howie, you've done it again.  Amazingly funny post and creations.  I especially love the "uh"! 
DoodleLou: In retrospect, I should have hung the "uh" next to my head in those photos. So I'm extra glad you like the bubble!

Very funny!  The photographs are great quality too.  Which made them even more awesome. 
Unimatrix-0: I'll pass your kind words to my gf, MJ, who took those outdoor photos of me even though she had a cold at the time Smiley

You always crack me up.  I took a year of Japanese and the sample sentences in my book were truly strange!  I love that you icon-ized them.  How brilliant.  Grin
Sugoi! This is a wonderful post in every way...great crochet, great presentation, great photos.
I work for a Japanese company and I can attest to the ridiculous sayings in conversational Japanese language books. Who the heck is having these conversations about moldy cheese??
Thanks for the giggle Smiley.
javarose and LimeRiot: hehe Hmm, maybe these books realize that language is full of strange sayings in daily life! Cheesy Also, that cheese goes bad often.

If only I weren't happily married....
Howie, you seriously rock. Thank you for being so creative and brightening my day Smiley
lisaredd: If you weren't happily married, would you elope with that bowl of needles? Who wouldn't! Cheesy

Howie, as always you amaze and astound me... keep the crochet world on its toes.  Love The Fastener (K.T.C) x
tofty: Everyone on Craftster and Ravelry and the web are keeping us crocheters on our toes! Smiley Thanks Cheesy

Aye carumba, Howie! Honjitsu wa, tomadachi. The spelling is waaaay off I am sure, but I am trying to say "Gracias, mi amigo"!!! You brought una sonrisa a mi cara otra vez!!!

El queso verde is truly un trabajo del arte y "Bowl of Needles" Aye Dios mio!!! Yer killin' me!!!!

Howie, check out mi amigo Frank at:


Oye, como esta "el gato negro, Equador"?


 Smiley   Smiley   Smiley 
ecaudoriana: hehe Thank goodness for Google Translate Cheesy Gracias!

Ecuador the black Raindrop Cat is still hanging up there at last count. Only 10 of the original 14 remain hanging up there though, so I'm anxious to see who will be the last Survivor Cheesy

Hahaha - perfect delivery Smiley you are so animated! Smiley love it! Cheesy
cranberry2001: My secret to being animated is taking a zillion photos. On average, 1 in 20 photos has a suitable expression! Smiley

My fiance speaks Japanese and I'm totally sending this his way, he'll think it's as funny and awesome as I do!
papa justify: I've also found it handy to have a partner who knows a second language! After awhile, you just learn new words without taking any classes hee

I took Japanese for a few years back in high school.
all I remember is "I'm going to take a shower" and "I like going to the movie theater" + some animals and colors.
I love your moldy cheese
TheRobotSays: Those phrases will be handy for when you're preparing for festive day out at the movies and the zoo! Cheesy

I love your sense of humor and how you mix in with your crafting. 
photocinegirl: Making things from balls of string is already a whimsical activity, so it's fun to add a bit of extra humour to it, hopefully!


Thanks again for each word of encouragement! I hope these Japanese lessons come in handy for when you are in Japan to refund some cheese while ordering room-service while saving someone from choking while making a speech (and who hasn't?)

~ Howie
3  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Japanese for All Occasions on: March 25, 2010 05:37:29 PM

Konnichi wa.

That means "hello" in Japanese, and I learned it from this 1990 book, Japanese for All Occasions by Anne Kaneko:

I don't speak Japanese (nor do I fluently speak Cantonese, even though I'm Chinese), but it's always handy to know new words in new languages.

So here are some practical Japanese-to-English examples (with corresponding page numbers) that are useful for all occasions:

p.71 - Kono chiizu o kinō kattan' desu ga, furukute taberarenain' desu.

"I bought this cheese yesterday but it's so old that we can't eat it."

p.116 - Moshi-moshi. Sanbyaku-san gō-shitsu desu ga, rāmen o motte kite kudasai.

"Hello? This is room 303. Can you bring a bowl of needles." *

* (I misread "noodles" as "needles". Please do not eat!)

p.146 - Piinattsu ga nodo ni tsumatte iru.

"He's got a peanut stuck in his throat."

p.209 - Honjitsu wa, watashi no tsutanai hanashi o o-kiki itadaki, makoto ni arigatō gozaimashita.

"Thank you for listening to my poorly delivered speech."

p.21 - Dewa mata.

"See you./Bye!"
4  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Raining Cats and Dogs (...and lots of pix!) on: February 22, 2010 12:19:02 PM
I always loved how you reply to EVERY reply! Even the tiniest of "hehe's" Smiley
If you get famous, fans will love you all the more for loving them. So now you know the only thing that is left for you to do.
Start a band.
Since someone took time to write a comment, I think it's more than fair for me to take the time to reply Cheesy At least, as much as possible without missing all my deadlines haha
Yes, I shall start a band. It will be called: "Howie and the Woos"

You know, I have family in Victoria and Vancouver that I still visit whenever I can - so on my next ferry ride I'll go to the garden and give the raindrops a visit!
I will ask that the rain gods protect the Cat&Dog Raindrops till you visit! Thanks! Smiley

Hey!! I went down to see the torch and passed by to check out your raindrops too! They look great in real life too haha and I saw a bunch of tourists checking them out and taking pictures too (:
Wow, that is fantastic to hear! Thanks for marching through the crowds to say hi to the Cat&Dog Raindrops! They can sense fellow crafty people, so you may have heard a "ruff" or a "mew" when you were there? Smiley I haven't ventured downtown through the mass crowds yet, so it's wonderful to hear that they're being well-received at their garden home! Smiley
5  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Raining Cats and Dogs (...and lots of pix!) on: February 10, 2010 02:42:08 PM
Winged_Soul: hehe Yes, it would be fun it dancing-in-the-rain was a common sight!

Wayuki: Ah yes, we are soggy twin-cities! No one has taken the raindrops home yet, though a well-timed jump (or a ladder) would make that uncomfortably possible Wink

Chuggypig; I'm glad the rain delivered smiles!

Trekky: That's cool that you saw the knit wall when you were here Smiley It's a little worn now but still well-loved in the community, it seems. I hope you do some dancing in the Glasgow rainstorms Wink

ninjanator: Yes, we're sharing in the Olympic fever over here, along with a smidgen of anxiety. It feels like our province has planned a giant house party and we're not totally sure if our house can accommodate all the guests!

wawamommy: Even though you're in Vancouver, I'm happy that these raindrops could bring you cheer! Downtown Vancouver is about 30min away from where I live, but I'll be making some weekly visits to see how the cats&dogs are holding-up Smiley

alwaysinmyroom: hehe The city has plenty of fun-loving spirits or, at least, people who are generally accepting of others' eccentricities Cheesy I hope you crochet some snowdrops where you are!

Handmadekitty: Figure skating is a beautiful sport, I agree. I get so nervous when they jump though! I'll keep an eye on Jess, Nancy, Pixel and Sammi for you!

Rajawa: It would be super if these raindrops continues adding some cheer in the community! I'll be visiting downtown this week to observe some reactions Smiley

Belladune: Yes, a post-Olympics, less-frenetic Vancouver would be a fun place to revisit Smiley I'll leave the cats&dogs up there for as long as possible!

kjlutz: I'm glad you like the drops and the pix! My gf took half the pix--the ones with my silly poses--and she appreciates your nice sentiments too Smiley

seamlessgem: hehe You must be an awesome sight in your orange rain coat! We both know that it's fun to wear bright colours on soggy blue days Cheesy

DancingBoots: As a fellow Vancouverite, I'll make sure that the cats&dogs keep an eye out for you Cheesy

Retro_Rose: Teehee to your hehe!

teachingjonah: I'm smiling that you're smiling, thanks! Cheesy

Angry Angel: I'm following the superior lead of talented local yarn-bombers here and in the UK (like Deadlyknitshade and the Knit the City group)! It's such a joy to have seen some happy reactions passing this local garden Smiley

AprilDraven: I hope more people share the idea of yarnbombing (and amigurumi-bombing) to brighten up more unexpected places Smiley

RavingRosemary: Thanks! After holding on tightly to all I made, it was a new experience to make something to be set free. But after seeing the happy reactions in person and on-line, I finally understand the joy of letting go in that way! Smiley

amber555: Thanks for the Langley love, which is a beautiful city I associate with the annual Cranberry Festival and farm animal sightings Smiley

Onyxnox: If you were a visitor to Vancouver, It would be fun to imagine you taking snapshots of the raindrops! Would your two dogs get envious? Smiley Yes, it's been fun learning to crochet for the past 1.5 years, with many more to go!

Ruby Copperhead: I'm glad the raindrops made your fave list Wink Each crochet creation can feel like our lil crochet-children(?), so it's sometimes tricky to figure out our personal faves Cheesy

Solarwen: I'm in often-rainy Coquitlam too Cheesy We're a part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, so that qualifies us as Vancouverites, right? Coquitlamites? As you must know, the Olympic Torch will be passing our city on Feb11!

Tygermane: With the bustling art scene in Oregon, I'm sure your own yarnbombing wishes will eventually make an appearance, if not by others than by you! Wink

mudpuddles: If your mom doesn't mind crazy traffic into Vancouver, it would be wonderful to imagine you both visiting the cat&dog raindrops! By the way, Yarnbombing.com is a good Canadian site for more about yarn bombing!

humboldtcherry: The raindrops appreciate the love and smiley faces Cheesy

ConnieStieler: Thanks! I'm headed downtown with everyone to perform roll-call on the raindrops tomorrow. Yes, I'm also excited for Friday's opening ceremonies! No CGI sky-footprints for us, at least Wink

thequenmel: Yes, the original yarnbombers sure started something fun Smiley

millik: hehe Thanks for sharing the link on your Facebook! I think this raindrop blog post must've been following your cyber trail Smiley This is my first public yarn art, and I can understand why it can be addicting!

Burningrubber: I'm glad you like the video! My gf captured some great shots during that hour of stringin' up time!

sabrinalouisemiller: Thanks! If you were still in Victoria, I hope these yarn raindrops would have made the rollicking ferry-trip to Vancouver a little more worthwhile Cheesy

blackie.sage: The writers of "Frasier" also liked to promote the similarly-rainy reputation of Seattle to your Minnesotan friends, didn't they? Smiley

sgriffen: I didn't follow patterns, but I did borrow my niece's encyclopedia of dog species.  It's amazing how varied-in-appearance dogs can be, as you know. Continued good wishes to your kind-hearted crochet group! Smiley

elirhiannon: Texas? Three words: Amigurumi Cacti Bombing! Wink

Grave_13: Merci Smiley

spotnik: hehe David Duchovny was saying those things as part of a skit on Conan, so it was all in good fun Smiley I remember Vancouver being in a resulting fit of rage though! Happy 40th Smiley

TMommy: Another Vancouverite, wow Cheesy Each complete raindrop-with-cat/dog-head took about 4 hours to make, so selling plenty of them would be a lengthy challenge haha

iota1617: merci again!

crazycandy999: I was just in beautiful Chilliwack a few months ago, visiting the airport and its famous pies! Wow, Craftster is far more local than I realized! Cheesy
6  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Raining Cats and Dogs (...and lots of pix!) on: February 08, 2010 05:12:27 AM
In Vancouver, we're sensitive about our reputation as a rainy city. In 1998, many Vancouverites became enraged when actor David Duchovny joked, "Vancouver is a very nice place, if you like 400 inches of rainfall a day."

With the Olympic-sized attention arriving here soon, our rainy self-consciousness has resurfaced.

I thought it might be therapeutic to crochet some raindrops. So I made 14 of them, stitched cat & dog heads on each, gave them names, and felt well-adjusted again.

Raining Cats:

Raining Dogs:

To share this rain therapy, I searched for a public space to hang these raindrops. I chose the Davie Village Community Garden because it's the downtown site of a yarn-bombing from sunny last summer:

After some rainstorms, Jessica Glesby's knitted wall has seen sunnier days:

The wooden trellis above the garden, however, remained clear and that was where the Raining Cats and Dogs found their new home last week.

My girlfriend MJ was videotaping while her mom guided my installation of the raindrops. Here's a video of the stringin' up process!

The cat and dog faces are enjoying the sight of human faces looking up at them, for once.

(There are more photos on my Flickr. I'll update my blog post as the Raining Cats & Dogs installation inevitably evaporates.)

As all eyes focus on Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, I hope these raindrops show that we Vancouverites can be proud of the rain that makes our streets shiny and our lush trees grow.

If we remain a little insecure about our rain, our citizens can try repeating MJ's defiant catchphrase: "Yeah, it rains in Vancouver. So what?"

We're just dancin' and singin' in the rain!

7  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Cone Critters: Cat & Dog on: January 21, 2010 09:24:05 PM
This super cute ! ^_^ ..I was missing your cartoons !! do you use a pen tablet to draw or by hand ? .. sorry Im curious like a cat ! Smiley
Handmadekitty: I'm glad you like the toons! I usually sketch the drawing on paper, scan that drawing, then use a pen tablet for the final lines & colouring. Lately, I've tried sketching with the tablet too, to avoid that scanning step Smiley

So cool! I love your artwork, and the cone cat and dog are inspired.
Angry Angel: Thanks Smiley Some of the fun came from thinking of ways to make the gift more personalized Cheesy

loveandasandwich: Your avatar is fantastic!

love it!its wisted Smiley
aisy: Thanks! My first wist, I think Cheesy

too cool!
pixieval: Animals-in-ice-cream-cones are naturally cool!

Hehe, these make me giggle.  Cheesy  I love the looks on their faces-- surprised & slightly annoyed. Supercute! Smiley
howrainismade: I didn't notice the slightly-annoyed expression on the kitten until you mentioned it, haha The fur kinda formed a disapproving eyebrow Smiley

i bow to your crochet genius!  i LOVE LOVE LOVE your creations!!
smashergrl: You're so supportive, thanks! I hope to keep the amigurumi entertaining this year Cheesy

Cheesy  Haha love it!!  Poor Jim...
The artwork is great, is this an online magazine?
ConnieStieler: hehe Jim is surprisingly active with his cone-body! He's already rolling after squirrels, I hear.

YES Mag is a print-only magazine, at least for now. They have a few previews at their site though.  They're also available at Chapters Smiley

awwww.... I do love the dog cone. Super cute!
noooitaremybirthday: hehe I'm glad the dog cone is a fluffy favourite! Cheesy
8  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Cone Critters: Cat & Dog on: January 18, 2010 11:57:04 PM
When I'm not working on my WooWork blog, I'm saying yes to YES Mag: The Science Magazine for Adventurous Minds. Since 2006, the YES Mag team has kindly invited me to draw for each educational issue.

In the Nov/Dec 09 issue, I drew a piece titled "Urban Dining", about the eating habits of city animals:

An urban duo included a fox and a kitty-in-a-cone:

Last month, I crocheted an amigurumi version of this edible cat:

Another piece I drew (in the Mar/Apr 09 issue) was titled "Lost", which detailed the body language of dogs:

Jim the dog was the star:

I crocheted Jim too. He'll have to express his body language through a cone body:

Over the holidays, I mailed both Cone Critters to the YES Mag team as a gift. Everyone seemed to enjoy the fuzzy treats. I hope you enjoy ice-cream in the winter too!

Ruff Ruff! Meow Meow!*
(*translation: Yes to YES!)
9  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Hare-Cut Necklace on: January 16, 2010 07:03:18 PM
Thank you for all the kind feedback Smiley I'm glad there's some hope for (non-real) rabbits as morbid fashion accessories haha

BTW, the eyes are made with glow-in-the-dark yarn, so I hope Jeannie notices that eerie addition.

Connie: I'm going to mention to Jeannie that you said she looks too young to be celebrating her 25th anniversary as a hair stylist! She'll be happy, I'm sure Smiley
10  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: Golden Dragonet on: January 16, 2010 06:55:01 PM
Fiery Awesomeness! Your beautifully-crafted dragon sets the new standard for dragondom! Smiley
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