{Creative Juice #1.1} Pareidolia + Crochet Designs: Market Bag

fantastical blender

Welcome to the first segment of Molly’s Fantastical Blender! The idea behind this segment is to get a sample of the creative juice that’s happening in Molly Marmalade’s design kitchen.

Volume 1 | See Things, Learn a word

“It’s a horse galloping across Cotton Candy Land,” Holly the jellyfish said.
“Nono, it’s a mongoose chasing off a unicorn that’s wearing a box on its head!” Molly replied.
“Oh come on, everyone knows they’re just clouds,” Berry the giant jellyfish argued.

Pareidolia: noun par·ei·do·lia \ˌper-ˌī-ˈdōl-ē-ə, –ˈdōl-yə\
the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern  — compare apophenia

– Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

While the jellyfish argued about what they saw in the sky, I’ve been working on a few ideas that are loosely inspired by pareidolia. Whether you have heard of the term or not, it’s actually a fairly common psychological phenomenon with varying a degree of severity. Some of the more well-known pareidolia examples include the infamous Virgin Mary toast, Man in the Moon, Potato Chip Elvis, or “faces” that appears on day to day items like wall sockets.

According to a research from 2000, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, different combinations of brain regions are involved in various types of pareidolia: alphabetical perception would require a different combination than that from a facial perception. Furthermore in a 2014 publication from Cortext , researchers found that primary visual cortex and prefrontal cortex are mainly responsible for face pareidolia phenomenon.

Experience Pareidolia? Make it!

Photo by Flickr user nazzen9009

Simple inspiration can begin to flow for people who experience pareidolia. After all when one can see the outcome, why not make it so?  It takes just a bit of imagination to initiate a simple creative process.

Designer/Artist Matt Caliman had also made this process simple: His Etsy: Creative Outlet Shop offers stickers that can turn your wall socket into cartoon faces!

Molly’s Fantastical Blender

Creative Juice: Market Tote Bag Style #1

Instead of just seeing faces or letters from patterns, making a small stretch of imagination is pretty helpful when it comes to crochet designs. Most of the market tote bags available online are very nice: Great colours made from practical materials, and occasionally fancy crochet stitches. Other common methods include sewing on floral appliques, making colourful stripes and the like. On the other hand, it really doesn’t hurt to make something fun and simple!

Brainstorming Exercise using 3 free patterns below


Photos & Free Pattern from Lion Brand Market Tote

When you look at a crochet market tote, what do you see?

  • Consider its shape: What does it resemble?
  • Embellishments: If you were to add eyes to one angle, what would you do?
  • From different angles, the bag may have potentials to look quite different.

Geometric Breakdown

Let’s take a look at some of the possible items we can associate the shape with. For this segment, I’m only focusing on the “narrow side” as the front side. Next entry I’m going to be talking about using the “wide side” as the main side of the bag.

At a glance I can think of at least 7 possible items. Of course some are a bit of a stretch, like a bloated bowling pin. If you are into amigurumi and cutesy things, try adding facial features to them. You may end up making your own characters by changing the colours and adding simple details.

My Work in progress

WIPDroplet1a WIPdroplet1

Starting with the most straight forward one, I’ll be working my way through some of these ideas. Thanks once again for tuning into my first segment of Fantastical Blender! What do you think of the Creative Juice sample so far?

Coming up with ideas isn’t as difficult as you think! Are you inspired? It would be super uber duper nice of you if you can LINK BACK to my post here!  Share your work with me as I’ll be completing some of these designs as well.

Any thoughts, comment, or feedback? Constructive criticisms are always welcomed! Until next time *poof*

The Making of My Gnomies: For Project Gnome Diplomacy

IMG_20150407_083225 (1)I like gnomes. Not necessarily the super tacky kind, but they certainly did make an impression.

For one, I watched The World of David The Gnome religiously when I was a child. Another contributing factor must have been from early childhood brainwashing. My mother, Mrs. Taffy, used to conduct quirky show and tell sessions about art and literary works at home. Ok fine. It sounded odder than it really was, because I was genuinely fascinated by everything.  Regardless of the eccentric early education style that was conducted at my household, Gnomes by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet stuck out to me.

My dorky fascination with gnomes had remained secret until I saw this guy at a discount store. For some stupid reason, I had to muster up the courage to get a gnome… just to chill with it.

Instead of getting tanned, he’s now monochrome due to the constant sun exposure in the yard. Yes, this picture was from just month ago when I was chilling with him inside the flat.

Project Gnome Diplomacy

When I first saw Mochimochi Land’s work, I recall becoming absolutely enlightened and ecstatic. I am quite enamoured by Anna Hrachovec’s knitted gnomes and the colourful fantasy world. Mochimochi Land made a gnome call to knitters and crocheters to participate in Project Gnome Diplomacy in March.

Sending gnome diplomats as a part of Mochimochi Land installation in Seoul? Fantastic! I can’t procrastinate any more. I’m going to CROCHET my own gnomes!

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Jelly Adoption Edition: Barry’s Road Trip

pogo Dear Barry, 

I heard you end up staying with Molly and her sister. That must be fun! I was nervous at first, but my new family turns out to be awesome! They are a super sweet couple. 

Come visit me in California soon. My family said you can stay with me when you visit. I miss you bud!

Say hi to Molly and Holly for me!


 Story of Pogo and barry

When they were just polyps, Barry and Pogo knew they were different from other jellyfish. After all, imagination-powered jellyfish are not exactly common in the ocean. They travelled everywhere looking for adventures as kindred spirits until one day:


“Whoa! I’ve always wanted to do that, ” both jellyfish exclaimed and decided to make their way towards the Jelly Adoption Hub.  Unfortunately the waves were too strong and they were separated.

Arriving a year apart, Barry was thrilled to know that Pogo was adopted by a family in California. As for Barry? My partner was charmed by the blue jelly’s inquisitiveness, love for food, and easily excitable personality and took on the role as the adoptive parent.

road trip!!!!

Barry wouldn’t stop bothering my partner about the amazing road trip upon receiving Pogo’s letter. Finally a few months ago, my partner arranged for a road trip to California with his friends and took Barry with him:

Simon: A lesson in waiting, monster of encouragement

I have nearly forgotten about Simon, one of my personal favourites. Yet I haven’t bothered to give him arms and legs for years.

From the time I started to design Simon to subsequent years, I was undergoing what seemed to be a never-ending streak of loss: the termination of a long relationship, the passing of a well loved pet, the loss of a dear friend to terminal illness, and other not-so-good times.

I am finally willing to acknowledge that I’ve been putting Simon off. I haven’t been ready to be reminded of the tougher times.

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1st Tutorial: Free Penguin Coffee Cup Sleeve Pattern

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood morning everyone! If I had a choice of working during my personal peak hours, I am certain I wouldn’t be recognized as “a regular” in neighbourhood cafes.

I recall working near a series of great coffee shops several years ago. As a result, at least one staff and one manager knew me by my name from all 5 cafes within a quick walking distance. That’s bad.

I was really sluggish when I initially thought about what to do for my 1st tutorial. That’s when the idea came to me: Early birds!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPutting what bird on it?

Two of my close friends must have rubbed off on me. They often speak about the idea of running away to meet penguins whenever they are going through some rough patches. What better bird is there than a penguin to comfort me when I get out of bed, and brace the storm of the day?

Changing Colours & Crooked Edges

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo be honest, the pattern would have been a lot quicker & easier had I decide to use a simple “change colours” method for the belly. Because changing colours mid-way would most likely cause a wobbly edge, I prefer to crochet in partial rounds then sew the parts together.

Take a look at the picture on the left:

Front – Lilac & White
– Colour Changing Method
– Less aligned edges with light colour showing

Back – Fuchsia Pink & White
Crochet in ‘partial round’ and sewing method
– More even edges, less light colour showing

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The Incredible Halt: “Knot in my skein!”

Sooner or later, crocheters would experience this awful interruption.

Yes! I’m talking about that awful surprise that jumps out at you when you’re just happily weaving your hook back and forth: “yarn over, draw loops up, draw loops through”.

Suddenly this feeling overcomes you.

“WHAT IS THIS HORROR!” You look down, and there it is…..

The Incredible Halt

You drop your pattern while letting your hook fall to the ground.


You might even go as far as hunting down your cell phone, and swear to capture this obscene image. “Shame on you, yarn knot! I MUST share it with my friends. No, that’s not enough. I must spread this image on social media with a “BULLSH*T” hashtag!”

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Myths, Legends, and the Year of Caprinae

2015: Year of Caprinae

IMAG2525Year of the sheep, the ram, and the goat: I’m not going to debate, so I wish you happy year of Caprinae. According to South China Morning Post, scholars believe that it’s the year of the goat based ancient illustrations.

Today marks the 8th day out of the 15 days of Chinese New Year celebration. Why does it last this long? Just imagine celebrating Winter Solstice, Seasonal religious holiday, and Valentine’s day all in one. In fact, the final day of Chinese New Year is a version of Valentine’s day (元宵節)–the first full moon of the year.

The two-weeks celebration can also allow people to return home in time to meet with alllllll the relatives. After all, I remember hearing stories about how my Great-Grandfather sailed on a junk boat from Sydney, Australia all the way back to Canton, China.

Legend+Folklore Highlights

Speaking of stories, festivals aren’t complete without their legends and folklores. Even though there are multiple versions of these stories, here are some of the highlights from my childhood:

1) New Year Day 1: The Red, The Fire Crackers, and the “Passing of Year”
In case you haven’t noticed, Chinese New Year is usually bombarded with red and gold. Maybe you’ve learned from somewhere that red symbolizes good luck and happiness, while gold means wealth. It’s true…but there’s more.

CNY01Just like Green Lantern having a weakness to things that are coloured yellow, a horrifying beast called “year”  (年 – Nian) was terrified of the colour red. Each year, the beast would come out of its hiding place to terrorize villagers. Apparently the beast had hypersensitivity issues: In addition to the colour red, the beast really disliked loud noises.

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Drop that Y-Bomb: Yarnbomb Q&A Pt.1

So earlier in the week, someone on a crochet forum has sparked a conversation on how to go about yarnbombing and covering stuff. Before answering the questions on “How to Cover stuff”, I’m going to blab a bit.

What about Yarnbombing?

Through the years, I’ve noticed a few different categories of yarn street art (aka Yarnbombing). Hardcore fibre artists/gurus have probably addressed this already but here’s my attempt to categorize them:

  • Quilting, Cozies & Covering
  • Interactive
  • Combination

In the next couple of entries, I’m going to doodle and speak more about the other types of yarnbombing. For the purpose of the forum Q&A, I’m going to focus only on what I call “Quilting, Cozies & Covering”

Quilting, Cozies & Covering

Photo from yarn-bombing.com - Visit the site to see way more awesomeness!

Photo from yarn-bombing.com – Visit the site to see way more awesomeness!

This style seems to be particularly common form of yarnbombing. It’s relatively quick
and painless. They almost always look really awesome. Made up of granny squares and different crochet stitches, the yarnbombing pieces can provide artists with the flexibility of shaping their work. In some ways, it’s like a giant quilt cozy where you sew different parts together to keep the structures warm!

Left: Flexibility of Granny Square yarnbombing illustrated by Alessandra at Just Be Happy Life. She does awesome work and you should totally check out her site!

Above:Advanced Yarnbombing: Crocheting shapes that can fit perfectly around an existing structure/sculpture.

You now want to run around tow and cover things in yarn? Me too! All you need is a bit of planning and preparation. Click to read my poorly drawn yet informative guide 🙂

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“Drink Sloth Milk Today”

The thing about having roommates

IMAG2121_2is that we’re kind of ruthless to each other.  Just the other day, I was mentioning that we’re running low on milk while I emptied the last bit of Almond Breeze into my coffee. “Remind me to grab some milk when we head out,” I said to roommate #1.  Immediately she responded with “What kind?”

In my head, it was clear and self-explanatory.  Of course! Only almond milk that goes with coffee and cereal. Roommate #1 doesn’t even drink moo milk! For the rest of us, the good old glass bottle MOOOO milk belongs to baking, cooking and soup.

“Sloth” I said with a straight face, “Sloth milk”.

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Hey, looking good! Crochet Dapper Gear

boo_tie2I absolutely love Ties & Bow ties

Apart from my classic oxford shoes, they were possibly two of my favourite parts of my school uniform from when I was a child–ties for winter, and bow ties for summer.  Even years ago when I had a cat companion, I got some ribbons and made him a bow :3


Of course now bow ties have been back in style for a while now and Mr. C had been eyeing them for sometime. Over the holidays, Mr. C had grudgingly said he would go with me to a local craft show called Got Craft–which I highly recommend peeps to check it out if you’re in Vancouver. When we got in, Mr. C got quite excited when he saw the artists. Just like last time, he zipped here and there to examine all the fascinating booths oooing and ahhing at the amazing craftsmanship. It didn’t take long for us to locate Belevedere and we finally got him a handmade bow tie! Check out Barefoot Contessa’s article on Belvedere–Classy Goods for Classy Gents.
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