Meetup Report: Cutie Mark Cookies

Meetup Report: Cutie Mark Cookies

Due to my interest in My Little Pony, particularly the new series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I got it into my head one day that I wanted to make sugar cookies decorated with Cutie Marks. (“Cutie Mark” is the term used by the brand for the symbol on a pony’s flank.) I had seen all sorts of adorable My Little Pony-related crafts, either from one of the message boards I frequent or featured on Equestria Daily, and it made me want to participate as well. I’m not a very craft-oriented person, generally, but I realized that decorated cookies–while certainly not something that would look professional–would be well within my capabilities. Decorating cookies is always more fun to do with a friend, so I invited a friend who likes the series as much as I do for a pony-tastic day in mid-June.

Before decorating cookies, we had lunch at one of my favourite cafés. I’ll take any excuse as a reason to go there, after all~ We enjoyed soup and a few tiny pastries, as usual. When the weather is warmer out, however, one of my favourite things to order at this café is Italian soda or flavoured iced tea. I doubt their soda fountain concoction is really Italian, but it is basically your choice of flavoured syrup combined with sparkling water. I usually opt for cherry, which is my favourite~ ♥

Summer Refreshments
My friend ordered citrus green tea, while I opted for a cherry soda~
We soon headed back and got to work. I had been up baking sugar cookies all morning, to ensure that they’d be cool enough to decorate and to try and let some of the heat dissipate from my home after using the oven. The weather hadn’t yet turned too warm, but things had been warming up. I was concerned that the heat from the oven would make things uncomfortable.

I also ran a few errands to gather decorating supplies. I wanted to keep things fairly simple–I bought tubes of decorating glitter gel. Icing or frosting would have been nice, too, but the gel was easier to use and required less cleanup. (I also really enjoy that it sparkles, obviously.) I had so much fun making these cookies that I’d definitely like to try again sometime, maybe for a party~ The one problem with decorating the cookies was that there were so many that even split between the two of us there were too many. In the days that followed I was eating sugar cookies until they were quite stale, haha~

Cutie Mark Cookies Setup
I set up the table with plates of cooled sugar cookies, the tubes of glitter gel, and we lined up ponies for reference and added cuteness!
We both took the decorating process very seriously, constantly referencing the right shape or placement from one of the ponies on the table, or contemplating the designs on pins. We tried to pay close attention so that we wouldn’t have to try to selectively “erase” icing from the cookies.

Honestly, though, we didn’t try to erase any of them. It worked out alright even if they weren’t perfect. I think I have made an error or two, but I’m pretty sure I just ate the offending cookie and thus removed the evidence entirely.

Cutie Mark Cookies
Even though they’re not perfect, we were both quite proud of the finished cookies!
We chose to do Cutie Marks for each of the six “mane cast” ponies, plus the princesses and a character who only appeared in one episode. The top row contains cookies based on Princess Luna, Princess Celestia, and Trixie. The second row has cookies decorated with the Cutie Marks of Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rarity. The bottom row cookies were made in the image of Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle.

I enjoyed this so much that now I’d like to do something similar with another theme. Decorating sugar cookies with popular lolita prints, perhaps? Or brand logos and emblems? There are so many themes that would be perfect for this sort of thing. And maybe next time I won’t over-bake some of the cookies, whoops~

Charming Activities: Friendship is Magic

Charming Activities: Friendship is Magic

Lately, my interest in My Little Pony has been rekindled. I had somewhat fallen out of collecting and the communities after the G3 ponies became Core 7 and then G3.5. The reduction of characters for Core 7 meant there were less interesting pony toys to collect, although my favourite, Pinkie Pie, was still featured. When the designs changed to the large-headed G3.5 style, I stopped paying attention. It just didn’t quite appeal to me. I enjoyed the collection that I had, but without the thrill of the hunt for new ponies I stopped keeping up with news and other information.

That changed with the redesign of the toys and release of the new cartoon series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
I was apprehensive at first. When I saw sketches of the new artwork style, designed by Lauren Faust, the only thing I noticed was how different it looked from the older artwork. It was angular and modern, not soft and dreamlike as the 80s artwork had been. In general, the My Little Pony community disliked it because it was so far from the vintage pony designs, but I couldn’t quite share their outrage. Although it lacked the charm of the old cartoon, it looked much more professional than the style of art used for the more recent My Little Pony packaging and films. My Little Pony: the Movie was one of my favourite childhood films and something I still watch, but the newer My Little Pony movies decreased in quality until the final “new” movie, Twinkle Wish Adventure, which was nearly unwatchable.

I also didn’t know what they were going to do to modernize the series. As much as I have nostalgic attachment to the My Little Pony cartoon, not every episode is great–some of them are filled with low-quality, glitchy animation, random unimpressive songs inserted in, and confusing or nonsense storylines. Even the less-impressive episodes have interesting moments, but the quality of writing had gotten substantially worse for the modern episodes and movies. More than wanting the new show to preserve the feeling of the vintage ponies, I wanted it to succeed. My Little Pony was getting dangerously close to dying out as brand altogether, and if they couldn’t revitalize it for this third recent attempt it was unlikely to continue.

So far, I’ve been thrilled with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I’ve gotten used to the new designs and don’t dislike them anymore–they have charm in their own way, even if it’s nothing like the vintage designs. The “slice of life” setup works well to keep the episodes connected. The season’s 2-part opening is amazing–very dramatic, with magic and a battle and all kinds of craziness. The rest of the show hasn’t followed that same direction, which is slightly unfortunate…but not too much, because the show as it stands is great. The writers are funny and the episode plots are interesting. The ponies have a refreshing depth of character–although they’re all good-natured and pure-hearted (they are, after all, little ponies), each have their own flaws or issues that they need to work through. They make a really cute little group of friends!

Post-Spa Ponies
Just a few of the new toys–the smaller ponies are the “normal” size and the larger pony is a “fashion style” pony that came with clothes and accessories. I style their hair.
Enjoying the new show has caused me to also enjoy the new toys. They’re much tinier than the ponies I used to collect, and their big ears are kinda silly, but they’re still quite cute. I remember fondly that most of the toys I loved as a child were very small–if I could have several of them in one small bag or fit them in my pocket, that was very appealing. Once I got over the shock of “wow, these are tiny ponies,” I started to feel more like, “wow, I like these tiny ponies.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what new things they’ll come out with as season 2 starts up. It’s fun to have something that I can actively collect again…although I’m definitely going to start running out of room to keep all these ponies. I feel like I need a separate house just for them to live in, haha~

Meetup Report: Pony Overload

Meetup Report: Pony Overload

In mid-August, I arranged for a friend who was developing an interest in My Little Pony to visit my mother’s house and see my collection. I have many ponies–it isn’t an exaggeration. However, I know there are collectors with collections even more vast–particularly because there were hundreds, if not thousands, of unique ponies produced in the first generation of toys. I only collect the third generation, which is much more condensed. She also focuses on that generation, so I was very excited to be able to share my madness with someone who didn’t think it was quite so crazy.

We planned for having tea, baking something sweet, watching My Little Pony: the Movie and perhaps some of the more recent films, picking up lunch, working on some pony-related craft projects, and shuffling through my collection. We didn’t quite get as much done as we originally expected because we had to run an important errand–picking up the guinea pig from the vet post-operation. The receptionist and other owners certainly didn’t know what to make of the two fluffy pink girls in their waiting room!

Post-Operation Pig
I already used this picture, but nothing better expresses his disagreement with whatever happened to him in the unfamiliar place. He was very glad to be at home with hay, pellets, basil, and treats instead of force-fed critical care.

After we collected our disgruntled charge and set him up to relax at home, we headed out for lunch. We stopped at the Japanese market and selected some sushi to take home. I really love sushi of all varieties, and growing up near a Japanese market with relatively inexpensive sushi really spoiled me! Now that I live in the city and can’t go to that market on a regular basis, I buy sushi elsewhere (usually for much higher prices) and expect it to be as good. I’m usually disappointed–so whenever I’m in town I always want to stop in.

We also peeked around in the bookstore. When I attended Bon festival in early August, the bookstore had just gotten a Rilakkuma-themed scratchcard game. Each scratchcard was $5, and every card was guaranteed a prize–at least a set of wash
cloths. Two giant plush were the grand prizes–one Rilakkuma and one Korilakkuma. I won a set of wash cloths and a pink mug that first day. When I visited with my friend, she bought us each scratch tickets–and I won another mug, this time in green! I’ve had to keep away from the bookstore since then because the scratch game is addicting. I’m not even hoping for the grand prize, but I do like mugs~

Ponies Ponies Ponies
I keep the ponies on two bookcases side-by-side, and a narrow bookcase between the closet doors. This isn’t enough room for every pony–there are more tucked away in storage bins.

Back from our adventure, we set up a picnic on the floor of the living room (the only room with a VHS player) and watched My Little Pony: the Movie. This was one of my favorite movies when I was a child, and the VHS I own is the one I always watched! The story is as can be expected from the My Little Pony brand–Ponyland is threatened by something and various ponies (plus Megan, Danny, and Molly) have to try and save it. The animation isn’t fantastic, but it’s very nostalgic! (Besides, I really like the little songs, even the terrible ones!)

Styling Times Again
Some of my favourite ponies are the very large “Styling” ponies. They’re mega-sized ponies, which I find fascinating! I wish they’d release more of these huge ponies~

After the movie, which thankfully isn’t very long, we headed upstairs. I’m sure my family would prefer to put the room to better use now that I no longer live at home, but currently the bedroom that was mine is still a shrine to all things pink, cheerful, glittery, and frilly. Until I am able to bring my pony collection to where I currently live I don’t really have any other option! It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to store.

It was a lot of fun to look through the different ponies on display. We even started sorting through the closets, which contain even more ponies–some in storage bins and some still in the original packaging. I rarely do anything halfway–if I’m passionate about something, I’m completely devoted to the cause. These piles of brightly-coloured vinyl horses are a testament to that! (And, in a similar way, so is my closet filled with ruffles and lace!)

Pinkie Pie Army
Regardless of generation, I collect Pinkie Pie. I try to keep those ponies clustered together, partially because I like seeing that much pink all in one space and partially because otherwise I tend to forget which ones I don’t have yet and buy duplicates!

By the end of the day we were going through negotiations–the room was like a stock exchange, if stocks were instead small toys. Loose ponies, boxed ponies, multi-packaged ponies–everywhere! It was absolutely ridiculous, but also so much fun~ ★ I’m really glad to know someone I can share my excitement with. I have many friends that share my interest in lolita fashion, some that enjoy the same sort of music that I do, others who are also fond of baking, yet more who like ball-jointed dolls, and still more who enjoy other little things that I’m fascinated with–but until very recently, I didn’t have a friend who was also interested in My Little Pony. I’m thrilled that I do now!

Smart Car Love
I had so much fun posing for this picture. I love my mother’s SMART. Whenever I’m visiting I drive it as much as possible.

When we finally parted ways it was quite late, but I think we were both in high spirits. I’m looking forward to having more fun in the future–particularly with the new television show debuting on October 10th! We’ve been joking about having a season premiere party, and maybe we will. If only the 10th wasn’t a Sunday!

Charming Activities: My Little Pony

Charming Activities: My Little Pony

My Little Pony was my first love. Before I started wearing lolita fashion, that was where my money went. The newest generation of the collectible plastic horses was released while I was in high school, and for years any spending money would be promptly converted into ponies at the nearest Target, Toys R Us, or Wal-Mart. Even when I wasn’t collecting, I still measured money in terms of the quantity of $5 ponies it will buy; this habit even rubbed off on my husband!

So Softs and Sundance
Several ponies from the first generation; the ponies with white bodies belonged to me when I was a little girl. I’m not very fond of this style of pony, but I love the So Softs because they’re fuzzy.

For a while, My Little Pony was my only hobby. My bedroom was like a shrine to the plastic toys, which peeked out of every nook and cranny. I collected related paraphernalia, as well, so my walls were occupied by My Little Pony posters, my desk filled with My Little Pony pens and notebooks, and my bed topped with My Little Pony plush toys. It really overwhelmed most visitors, but it made me very gleeful to see the brightness and glitter of so many things that I enjoyed.

The first release of My Little Pony occurred in the 1980s before I was born. The focus was on brightly-coloured toy horses released in sets that little girls would want to collect. As was the custom at the time, the toys were promoted with a cartoon. For years, Hasbro came up with new “types” of ponies to enchant little girls–from the rainbow-haired, glitter-symboled Rainbow Ponies to the jewel-eyed Twinkle Ponies to the scented, three-dimensional-symboled Sundae Best Ponies to the slender, iridescent-winged Flutter Ponies. Every year there was something new and special! Despite the updates, the production ended after 1992.

In 1997, the concept was redesigned and brought back into production. These ponies were smaller, slimmer, and came with lots of accessories. The line didn’t last long in the US, as these ponies were discontinued after 1999, but they continued to be sold in Europe for many years after.

In 2003, My Little Pony was redesigned yet again. These were the ponies that caught my eye. Although larger and less delicate than the second generation of ponies, they bear only slight resemblance to the first generation of My Little Pony toys from the 80s. Their releases, however, followed the protocol of the first generation–the ponies were released in sets, with few accessories, based on themes. As the years progressed, more ponies were introduced and playsets became more common. Although there were many duplicates, re-releases, or somewhat unimaginative ponies, I still loved them all and sought to find them.

The Pony Kingdom
My ponies aren’t terribly organized–I ran out of shelf space very quickly! Even when they’re in disarray, the cheerful colours make me smile~

My interest never waned, but my collecting died down when the toy line underwent more changes. In 2008, Hasbro stopped releasing new ponies and instead began “Core 7.” Focusing on seven ponies, in an attempt to form characters that children would recognize and identify with, these ponies were released and re-released in different sets with slight changes. At this point, I stopped paying too much attention. Although one of these ponies was my favourite pony, Pinkie Pie, the others didn’t interest me.

I focused instead on second-hand purchases of other ponies I had missed out on over the years, but as the gaps in my collection narrowed it became more and more difficult. At this time I my interest in lolita fashion was quite strong, so I was more willing to purchase a new jumperskirt than pay $50+ for one particularly hard-to-fine toy horse. I also didn’t have much spending money. Additionally, I was living away from home due to university, and I couldn’t bring my collection with me to the places I stayed. I no longer focused on my pony collection and constantly contemplated selling it off.

Despite my thoughts of exiting the hobby I had invested so much time and effort in, I couldn’t do it. As much as wearing lolita fashion made me very happy, seeing and fussing my collection made me happy, too. ♥ I started bringing a few ponies with me to the places I was living, and it reminded me why I had started collecting them in the first place: they were cute, small, inexpensive, and made me smile. ♥

Pinkie Ponies, Roll Out!
Pinkie Pie is my favourite pony–even in the “new” style, which I’m not terribly fond of. I collect all of her variations.

My heart even warmed to the newest redesign of the ponies, although their large heads and small bodies had initially confused and dismayed me. Another redesign looms on the horizon, to correspond with the upcoming My Little Pony cartoon “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” The new artwork and toys don’t look much at all like the ponies from my childhood, but I’m curious to see how the line continues to evolve. Best of all, I’ve found a friend who shares my pony-related passion; so I have someone to express my excitement (or outrage) with!

I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to set up my collection in my home–at least partially. I need to find space for the bookcases so that I can get the ponies into order. It’s fun to visit my mother’s house and walk into the pony-topia that is my former bedroom, but it would be even better to have that sort of atmosphere on a day-to-day basis. (Plus all of those colours make a really fun, vibrant background for lolita fashion!)

All of the things I like represent me in some way. I used to be worried about that kind of thing. “What will people think if they see my room is full of these toys?” “What will she say if she sees my closet is full of frills?” “What might he tell others if he sees my kitchen is full of teacups?” Those kinds of worries only make me unhappy with being myself. Rather than focus on something so negative, I want to enjoy being who I am. Even if collecting toys is childish, I should be allowed to make that choice for myself. I don’t want someone else to dictate how much fun I’m allowed to have! ♥