Saturday, 30 June 2012

Shoes and coffee...

...two things that make girls tick*, and it would appear that Makies are no different. Prof Plink has spent her Saturday morning trying on new shoes, fresh off of the plane from Hong Kong and stopping for a tasty caffeine-laden beverage.

Coffee and Shopping
Pink DMs and black converse! Woo!

Coffee and Shopping
Mmm coffee... yes, that is a tiny creamer and a tiny tiny packet of sugar. Whee!

I'm impressed with the Re-ment miniatures sets. Mine came from Amazon, ordered last week and arrived from Hong Kong today (surprisingly speedy, all things considered). They're a good scale for Makies and the detail is superb. The only slight snag is that they're sold blind-boxed, so you don't know what kit you're going to end up with (this is why I now have a washing-up set sat downstairs), but there are plenty of open sets available on the bay of E for your delight and perusal.

Not entirely sure what happens if you mix Makies with caffeine. Shall be finding out shortly, no doubt.

*yes, this girl too.

Friday, 29 June 2012

SCIENCE, yeah!

We can now reveal the focus of experiment one...

More science.
She wanted a laser pointer. I said NO.
Results are currently being analysed and typed up... more cups of tea are required.

Incidentally, if anyone is as bonkers as me (and has spare time on their hands), the Journal of Makie Science is accepting submissions of case reports, observational studies and original research. It'd be great if you can submit this in 'scientific paper' format, but given it's a bit of fun, panic not! Photographs of interesting research happily accepted. I'll dress it up and make it look pretty, then publish it online in a few weeks. Submissions to duckiemonster at gmail.com 

Accessories are important!

As a card-carrying speccy fours wearer, I'm delighted that Plink's glasses arrived. They're not just for making everything that little bit less blurry, they're essential face furniture for accessorising and creating a LOOK.

We've had some fun painting the glasses today; Plink was originally kicking up for purple, but given that we've got got any in at the moment, we decided on blue in the meantime. I'll hit up a Warhammer shop and grab something suitable violently violet in the near future.

The finish on these is apparently 'regal blue', with 'dwarven bronze' accents. Prof Plink is pleased.

Glasses and a ... sort of beehive thing.
Rocking a bit of a Mad Men look? 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Prof Plink

Today, there has been a lot of dressmaking for me. This afternoon, however, there was a short outbreak of SCIENCE, precipitated by the arrival of my nerd glasses and Makie bits.


We're doing SCIENCE
Staring wistfully into the middle distance, Professor Plink ponders
the exact wording of her Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
The project is cooking right now, but we'll bring you results hot off of the lab bench as and when they happen... assuming things don't get all explodey first. Always a risk with Makies.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

This morning, my quiet 'lie in bed and catch up with twitter before I get up' time was interrupted by what only can be described as a kerfuffle from downstairs. There were bangs. There was the odd clang. There were sounds of a distressed cat or two.


When I descended, this is what I found cowering in the windowsill. 
Superplink!
This is Pirate. He is not happy.
And this is what I found bouncing around my sewing kit on the dining room table. 
Superplink!
Oh ye gods. Where did she get that from? 
Yeah. I've got no idea either. Apparently, this is 'Superplink', and Superplink doesn't have to do things like listen to her human. Apparently, Superplink does things like stand on precipices and moodily survey her surroundings. 
Superplink!
Superplink moodily surveys the vegetable beds.
She likes to pose, hands on hips.
Superplink!
Superplink moodily surveys the decking. 
Then she likes to zoom off. Noisily. 
Superplink!
Ta-da-da-daaaaa! SUPERPLINK!
She's also fond of supervising blog posts.
Superplink!
No... there's a comma there. Not there, that's a semicolon. Type faster, dammit.
was thinking of getting a second Makie. Now I think one might be quite enough.
Superplink!
Oi! Gerroff! That is most definitely MY wine! Oi! 
  

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Eyeses!

Today has been frustrating for the Plink. First off, we went to Ikea and wouldn't let her come, then I've spent the afternoon sewing... But sewing for me, not impertinent Makies. I've got a wedding to go to in a week or so, and I need to look fab!

Anyway. Plink was mollified by my tidying her wardrobe and all my special Makie clothing-making bits into a couple of boxes.

Apparently, googly eyes make everything better.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Cooking with Plink

"HELLO and welcome to Cooking with Plink! Today I'll be teaching you how to make some delicious cheese scones!
Cooking with Plink
Yes yes. Wave at the camera. 

First, make sure you're wearing your prettiest apron and have your hair tied back. If you've been working on your rocket ship, you might like to wash your hands too. Have your human pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees centigrade (a bit hotter if it's not a fan oven... you can work out the flipping gas mark yourself).

Now gather your ingredients! You'll need...
Cooking with Plink
6 ounces butter, 12 ounces flour, a chunk of cheese, baking powder, salt, pepper, milk. 
The manky apple is not required. 

Put the butter in a bowl. Sieve in flour, a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix through the pepper.
Cooking with Plink
Pre-breadcrumb stage. At this point, I threw it in the food processor. 
Plink had not yet irritated me enough to meet a similar fate... 


Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. If you're lazy, like my human, you can whizz this step up in a food processor.

Now grate your cheese and stir through the mixture. You could add some more exciting ingredients at this point if you like! Cheese and ham works well. Cheese and Jellybabies is less of a success.
Cooking with Plink
Do be careful with that. No nylon in the food.

Carefully settle yourself out of falling-into-the-bowl distance whilst your human adds enough milk to bring the mixture together and make a dough. Remind them several times not to over-knead this; it's not bread, you know! Press the dough into a round and get ready to roll out.
Cooking with Plink
Rollin' rollin' rollin'


Cut out your scones; I like to use a tumbler for this, because my human is too cheap to buy proper metal biscuit cutters.
Cooking with Plink
Harrumph.

Place on your floured pizza rock, if you're middle-class enough to have one*, otherwise bung the scones on a greased baking tray. Brush each scone with a little milk and top with some grated cheese. Be sure not to irritate your human too much at this point, as you may find yourself baked.
Cooking with Plink
Apparently, I blurred the 'main photographic focus'. Diva.

Ask them nicely to put the scones AND NOT YOU in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they're a little brown on the top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Poking your human repeatedly in the head and asking if they're cooked yet is a great way to ensure they don't wander off and do something else in the meantime. 
Cooking with Plink
I wonder if she'd fit *in* the kettle?

Admire your work. Have a nice cup of tea. Dream about your TV show/cookery book offer that's inevitably just around the corner. Chastise your human."


*I WILL get around to teaching her some manners, honest.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Treasure!

It's always nice when something really cool attracts enough really cool people to make a little community. So far, the Makie forum has been a bouncing-ground for enthusiasts of all backgrounds, from slightly geeky people with a magpie complex to serious and dedicated doll collectors who've been purchasing tiny shoes since nearly before I was born.

One of the most knowledgeable people on all things doll is the splendid Poklfil. Millie, her Makie, has been keeping us all amused with her antics and access to a seemingly endless wardrobe...

Punk Millie is the coolest thing ever.

Fil generously offered to send me some Mr Muscle Magic Eraser to help remove a few blue bits from Plink, but we weren't expecting the epic box of wonders that arrived!

Treasure!
I love parcels! I really, really love parcels! Squeee!


Yup, that's a whole heap of stuff, including some summery patterned fabric, an excitingly fluffy wig (which we've not tried on yet!) and a handmade voodoo doll necklace. Even more exciting was a cast-off knitted jumper, which is the perfect size for Plink to wear as an achingly fashionable tunic dress, which accessorises perfectly with a snazzy blue poodle brooch  that was also in the box!

Treasure!
I'm quite jealous and may have to make a human-sized version. 


Thanks so much Fil... I'm having a lot of fun constructing a return package!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Goodness Gracious Gingham!

After making the trousers, I found that I had more than enough fabric left over from the 83p fat quarter I purchased to create some couture for the Plink. I decided that we'd go a little vintage this time with a prom-style dress and headband.

Makie
Not hemmed? Whatever do you mean... *whistles innocently*


The bodice started as two rectangles. After sewing the top and back edges together and turning, they were pinned around Plink's torso and the darting and waist shaping completed. This gives a figure-fitted finish. The skirt was then pleated onto the bodice to give the fullness in the skirt. I did try a gathered skirt first, but it ended up looking wonk-tastic.

Makie
Plink, you could at least look interested?

The belt is a length of satin bias tape, which fastens at the back with a popper, and the hairband is a length of the same tape with some flat elastic stitched on. It has a habit of pulling her wig off.

The whole thing is, of course, finished with bright red tiny buttons for contrast.

Makie
Alright. Gaze into middle-distance again. And mind how much boob you're flashing. 

Altogether, I'm pretty pleased with it!


Incidentally, this was entirely hand sewn in front of the Usual Suspects, of which the last 3 minutes is my favourite bit-of-a-film EVER.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

A sneaky peak...

Makie
Yup... stare into the distance... no. Don't pull a f ace... 



New outfit unveiled tomorrow, but here's a beauty shot to tide you over.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Trade secret

Makie
OK, FINE. I use it! But did you have to show everybody?

Since jamming the machine, I've become a lot more wary about hemming on such small allowances, especially as having the needle gobble up a nearly finished item is such a heart sink moment. This stuff is near-magical in its sticking abilities. The fabric doesn't end up stiff at all, it dries entirely invisible and the finish is really neat. I use an old paintbrush to apply it and I think the bottle (which cost £2.50 at Hobbycraft) will last for ages. Huzzah! 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Oh dear...

Looking wistfully at pattern drafting stuff, cuddling her scissors?

Makie
DO NOT attempt to wrestle the tape measure.


I think I'm about to be made to create something.

The times, they are a-changing

Saw this on one of my favourite sewing blogs today and just had to share. Of course, I am invariably perfectly lipsticked, powdered and with immaculate hair whilst creating my Makie Couture and not wearing my smelly pyjamas, oh noes.

Image snaffled from Did You Make That, via her friend via... well, we've no idea.


I must admit, there's a bit of me that would rather like to be sat serenely sewing with all of the housework done and a meal on the table when my hard-working husband comes through the door on the stroke of six. It's the same bit that rather enjoys waxing the dining table, baking, turning out cupboards and hoovering. 

Alas, it's not a terribly large bit, so it rather gets pushed aside by all the other bits, which are fond of faffing around and reading books, drinking wine, birdwatching, taking long baths and working twelve hour shifts on an alarmingly regular basis... but hey, I do wear powder and the occasional bit of lippy with the scrubs. And my hair is always imma... um... huh. Well, I have hair. That will have to do. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Chef Plink

When I volunteered to make Benoonbenoon's chef outfit, it was quite obvious that I was never going to get away without letting Plink try it on...

Makie
No, she didn't make this. She's just posing, as usual. 


So. The tunic is just my standard blouse pattern, with the left front extended and an extra cm on the length all the way around. Although I managed to construct most of the body on the (borrowed) sewing machine without jamming it this time, the collar and sleeves were set on by hand, as was the velcro. Really annoyed I couldn't find my stash of white velcro, but buggered if I was going to go and buy any more. Although currently covering Plink's... *ahem*... you knows... I think this should fit nicely on a boy Makie just as well.

The trousers are the first pair I've ever made for human or Makie. I could do with adding another cm onto the crotch-to-waist as these are rather hipsters, although I guess it doesn't matter if they're worn with a tunic... wouldn't go wearing them with a t-shirt unless you're partial to builder's bum.

The hat is rather a triumph, I think. Large enough to be ridiculous, but not too big to be completely insane. This was entirely hand-sewn and I'm a bit chuffed with it. Bandanna fastens behind with a popper, it was going to be red but I've got absolutely no red fabric. This is a bit of a surprise. Still, I think the check works quite well.

Makie
Prettier than Gordon Ramsay? 


Benoonbenoon, let me know your address and I'll get your outfit off of Plink the impostor and in the post! ...and if you're reading this, Polk, can you email me too? Ta!


Friday, 15 June 2012

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Finished blouse :)

To the accompaniment of a particularly nasty episode of CSI, I finally put the collar and snaps (and TINY BUTTONS) on Plink's blouse.

Quite pleased with the fit, but I think I could go even smaller in the back for a more fitted version. May have to start figuring out some darting at this rate, which will make my head hurt.

In other news, realjob is looking like it's going to be a hell of a week. Expect light levels of posting and occasional outbursts of swearyness.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

An Embuggerance

Having received the Makie, the next step was to check the fit of all the items that I've spent the last week or so drafting and making up in preparation. The messenger bags are fab, as are the skirt and the glitzy sequinned waistcoat (yet to be shown). The blouse needed a little more work, as in it was a little big across the back and not quite big enough across the front, so that was where I started.

Once the pattern was adjusted, it was time to cut it out...

Pattern bits.
Place those bits, yo.

And eventually, to check the fit on Plink... 

Trying on
Yes, you can help... no... put those scissors away, young lady. Please? 

Unfortunately, shortly after taking this photo, I was topstitich the front when the machine gobbled up some of the fabric and there was an ominous CLUNK. Having extracted the blouse from the machine, I surveyed the blouse and decided that the damage wasn't too bad, so hand sewed in the sleeves. 

On trying to sew the collar, there was an even more ominous... nay... a BODING volley of CLUNKing from the machine, and a refusal to do anything like, you know, sew. 

Having disassembled as much as I dare, I can share the news that the timing on my 2 month old, £300+ machine appears to be completely FUBAR'd, as does the computerised mechanism to move the needle. And I've just given my £99, 5 year old machine to my sister. 

Definitely an embuggerance.


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Unboxing the Makie

After the relative trauma of receiving the Makie, the next hour in her company was one of deep joy, attempting to take photos in the rain and dark and failing miserably. But hey! The blog needs feeding, so here we go...

Makies arrive in a very chic cardboard tube travelling case. These things are robust! The outer bag of the package looked like it had been thrown around a depot a couple of times but the tube didn't have a dent on it.

Tuuuuube
The TUBE OF AWESOME

Once you open your tube, you extract your Makie, who is attached to a sort of spinal board affair* by grosgrain ribbon. Mine was a sunny yellow colour. The Makie is in the nuddy (le gasp!), but modesty is preserved on extraction by the careful positioning of your chosen outfit, beautifully packaged. 

Spinal board?
Modesty preserved, wig sliding...

Also tucked into the Makie's tube-capsule is a guide to Makie care and maintenance, and your new-found friend's birth creation certificate. Mine has a pleasing 'divisible by 5 theme'. I'm a bit OCD like that.

25/05 65/100 :)
25/05 65/100. if it divides by 5 I'm a happy bunny.

Of course, the next step was to detach Plink from her board and let her try on some of my home-made Makie creations... the photos of which I've already posted. 

First thoughts? 

She feels so delicate, but I'm reassured after a day or so of forcing her through multiple contortions that she's not a lady to snap easily. Removing the hands and feet is easy, although I'm a little concerned that the joints will wear with repetitive removal. Things that do need repeated moving are the hip joints, which are very tight on Plink. I'm guessing these'll loosen up with a bit of use, but it's very difficult to pose her in a sitting position unless the thing she's sitting on is at exactly the right height and has a compensatory degree of head-tilt; I think the pelvis comes down slightly too low preventing the formation of a 90 degree angle with the lower limbs and that's causing the problems here.

Balancing her standing up is relatively easy, it's all in getting the ankle joint positioned. Pleased to say she stood on the dining table all night without falling over, despite probable attention from curious cats. The upper limbs are easy to pose. 

Most annoying thing? Keeping the wig attached to the head! The skull has a couple of bits of sticky goo attached to them, but they quickly got covered in fluff and became less effective. I seem to have the knack of it now though, today's haircut (a much needed fringe-trim) went off without a hitch! 

Posing
Yay, non-wonky fringe! Happily Makies don't wriggle.
Oh look! A custom silk/cotton jersey mix shirt?! How fab... 

Makie overall is excellent. I've not photographed the clothing here, but I'm really impressed (and wondering how in the hell they do it) with the jeans, lab coat and shirt I received as my costume; not an unfinished seam in sight. The face is flawless, the head opens really easily and the wig is of a good quality and easy to style. 

Have you unboxed your Makie yet? Drop a comment... or better yet, link to some photos! 

*Spending at least 80% of my time working in an environment where exposure to spinal boards is a daily possibility, I can happily say that they look far more comfortable and chic than the real thing.

Makie Couture is not affiliated with Makie Labs in any way, shape or form. I just think what they do is really cool. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Wheeeeeee!

My parcel was not only found, but hand-delivered by the area manager (who lives a couple of streets away) on his way home! Only had to email the CEO and inform him of my unchuffedness...

Anyway! Here's Plink modelling a couple of my pre-arrival creations. The light tonight isn't good enough for proper photos, but we'll have a full photoshoot tomorrow (probably after a bit of a haircut given she can't see out) and some first thoughts on her and her construction.

So chuffed she's here!

TINY BUTTONS

My Makie is still MIA, but looooook! Buttonses!

Am going to make a big effort to stop sulking and create something fab with these this evening. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

I am disappoint.

Tonight, I had hoped to bring you a lovely luscious unboxing shoot of my Makie. Or at the very least, an "I'm picking her up from the depot tomorrow!" post.

Unfortunately, although DHL's tracking states that she's been delivered, I've got no idea where or to whom... It's certainly not to myself or my immediate neighbours.

Anyway. Whilst I'm mentally preparing an atom bomb to drop on the godforsaken courier company tomorrow if they don't call with the exact location of my goods, you get to enjoy a picture of my cat.

This is Bagpuss. He is grumpy. Much like I am.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Why have fabric...

...when you can have Liberty Tana Lawn?

Well, given it's around £12-20 per metre is one excellent reason. But where the human has had a past (shall we say) indiscretion, the Makie shall profit. This glorious print featuring little acorns is called "delfie" and although it's not current, it still crops up on the bay of e.

Makie Me a Messenger Bag!

Aaand here we are with a rather demanding title for our first tutorial post. Of course, what self-respecting Makie wouldn't want one of these beauties?

bags


These bags are dead simple to make and very speedy. Best of all, they take a tiny amount of fabric; the bag on the right was made with a sample swatch from one of my favourite fabric stores. Although I'm hoping they'll be the perfect size for Makies, Blythe will probably also covet them (although you may need to lengthen the strap to go over her head... hehehe...)

To start with, you're going to need to gather some stuff together. Here is the stuff you need:

stuff
A gathering of STUFF

On the 'essential list', we have fabric scraps (a bit 4 by 6 inches or so should be large enough), a piece of ribbon or cotton twill tape about 10 inches long, sewing needles and thread, a pair of scissors and the bag templates, a PDF of which has been thoughtfully provided by your thoughtful author and designer, aren't I lovely? All you need to do is print out near-enough to A4 size and snip the shapes.

You might want to add a couple of things from the 'not essential but highly recommended' list: tiny buttons, a sewing machine and an iron, a wet Welsh bank holiday weekend, a cup of tea and some tasty snacks from graze.com. Honey and lemon oatcakes particularly highly recommended.

On with making the bag!

First, cut out your bag templates from the PDF, then cut out your fabric. You need one of the 'bag bit' and two of the 'flappy bit'. All of the pieces could be the same fabric, or different fabrics.

With the right sides of the fabric facing each other (elephants in, in this case), sew a 'u' shape around the edge of the bag flap about 1/4 of an inch away from the edge. Turn right side out and iron flat. If it's not too easy to get the flap to lie flat, you may need to notch the edges

bits flap sewn flappy bit


Once the flap is nicely flat, pin it with the open edge along one of the short ends of the bag bit. Doesn't matter which, as long as the right sides are together at this point. Sew the flap and bag together, 1/4" away from the edge. Then turn the other short end under 1/4" and stitch down so it is nice and neat. The easiest way to do this is to iron it first.

Next. turn the bag into a bag. This is dead easy. With the flap sticking out, fold the long piece in half, right side to right side, and stitch down either side with a 1/4" seam.

sides
Stitch down the sides to make your bag.

Before turning the bag inside out, we're going to 'box' the corners. This gives the bag more shape. With your crazy alien hand on the side seam, squish the bottom corner of the bag flat so you make a triangle shape. Stick a pin across it (see picture below left) and do the same with the other corner. Sew across the corners about 3/8ths of an inch away from the point. Your bag should look like it has 'ears, as in the photo on the right below.


cornerscorners 2













Now turn your bag inside out and admire its boxy-baggyness! Oh, and pause to make faces at the tiny robin that's peering at you from the fence...


tiny robin
Evil blighter of a robin juvenile. 

(As an aside, we have three of these little blighters in the garden and they're complete brutes, even at their tender young age. I blame the parents, who have incidentally been known to take on jackdaws. That's like you or I picking a fight with a cinema.)

Your bag is nearly done! Make another cup of tea in celebration, then attach the strap. Although you can do this using the sewing machine if you're a complete sadist, it's far easier to stitch them on by hand. Simply fold under the last half inch or so of the ribbon and secure with a few stitches. On the elebag, I decided that some embellishment with a tiny button was due at this point and indeed, the point on the opposite side of the bag. 

tiny button
Tiny buttons, whee! 

Now you can figure out how you're going to close your bag. I suggest using snaps (poppers to us UK folk) or velcro and NOT, as your humble author was moved to do, form a temporary closure with double-sided sticky tape*.

elebag

If you can't see the tape, I didn't use it, right? 

So there you have it. A bag fit for a fashionista. Or a geek. Or a scientist. Or  a teacher. Or an astronaut. Or a chef. Or a... well. Whatever you want your Makie to be! 


*it was cold, it was raining, I'd lost my velcro and I wanted to take photos. I'm not a *bad* maker-person, I'm just aware of my limitations when it's 4:00pm and I'm still in my pyjamas, alright?! 


As with anything free on t'internet, this pattern and tutorial are provided on the basis that you don't use them for personal gain or to further the causes of evil and that you're a courteous linker-back from any finished products. 

I have no affiliation with Makie Lab, I just think what they do is really cool.