Friday, 31 August 2012

Meet Melchett

After a lot of banging and swearing, I finally decided that it was time to let Melchett out of her cardboard tube and introduce her to Plink.
This is not a good photo of her! She is far less goofy. 
Apparently last night went rather well (at least evidence on twitter would suggest so), and work in the lab has gotten started rather late today.
Interestingly, "Lover" is the tiny village where I grew up. The place name signs keep getting nicked.
Irritatingly, it looks like they've found where I keep my credit card.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake!

HULLO and welcome to Cooking with Plink!

I guess you all missed me, huh? Well, I've been hard at work perfecting my latest recipes* and I'm ready to show you how to make an astonishing low fat taste-tastic carrot cake; perfect for when your humans are on the lardy side like mine. This week's challenge is technically bread, but that's on the 'naughty' list at the moment, so we're going to concoct a low-fat carrot cake. This comes in at about 250 calories a slice, assuming your human is prepared to divide it into 10 slices and not scoff the whole thing, the savage brute.

Make sure you're ready to cook; have your human make you a new apron and ensure that you wash the tuna guts off of your hands if you've just been feeding the giant squid.

Here are the things you'll need:
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
That's 250g of unpeeled carrot, 1 1/2  tsp baking powder, 3 large eggs, 100ml sunflower oil, 100g soft brown sugar, 200g self raising flour, 1 orange (well-scrubbed), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 100g sultanas.

Oh, and hand one of these to your human.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
Peel those carrots! 
First, peel and grate the carrots. This is hard work, so get your human to do it.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
She did NONE of the work.
Whilst they do that, line the base of a 23cm springform tin with greaseproof paper, brush some oil on the sides and heat that oven to around 180 degrees.

Next, crack your eggs into a bowl and prepare to beat the heck out of them.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
Once thoroughly beaten, add the sugar and oil and whisk whisk whisk!

Mix in the carrot and orange zest, then stir in the flour, sultanas, spices and baking powder. Make sure everything is evenly combined.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
Mix everything thoroughly.
Plop into the baking tin and smooth out.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
Remind your fat human at this point that she's not allowed to lick the bowl. 
Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the ferocity of your oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then take out, removing the greaseproof from the bottom. Pose with your sexy cake.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
Sexy, sexy cake. Notice how it's pretty thin? That's because my springform tin is 27cm. D'oh!
Once cool, you can either sift over a little icing sugar or make the cake even sexier by spreading half a tub of low fat cream cheese mixed with 2tbsp icing sugar and the rest of the orange zest on the top.
Cooking with Plink: Carrot Cake
Even sexier cake!
Feed to your humans to make them less grumpy about losing weight.

*stealing them from the Hairy Biker's "Love Food, Lose Weight" Cookbook... buy it! It's brill!

Monday, 27 August 2012

On-call week blues.

Eurgh. Yup, it's my week on call. This means I'll be working for 84 hours in the next 7 days, the rest of the time being spent driving, eating or asleep.

Happily, I'm not leaving you in the lurch. There'll be content on the blog (hoorah!) which is, as we speak, uploading and upsetting the boyfriend who is attempting to play Guild Wars 2.

Here's a bit of a clue as to what we'll be up to over the next week...

Cooking with Plink

Hope your week is better than mine!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

On the subject of face-ups.

In vanishing rapidly down the portal known as 'doll collecting' (which is, incidentally, not something I intend on doing. A couple of Makies is plenty!), I've noticed that as is always the case with something creative, the owners of the items just can't keep their hands off of 'em.

I have to say, I'm absolutely in awe of some of the work out there. A quick shuffle through the 'Blythe custom' group on Flickr and you can find examples of superb work from around the world.

There are eyelids with dainty paintings, piercings galore, a whole host of vampires and these gorgeous calavera designs.

m calavera 008
M Calavera, by Kittytoes with kind permission.
Click the photo to check out her flickr, it's epic!
Of course, we can't leave Makie too far behind, so I was completely delighted to find that the community has attracted a supremely talented artist on board, Sioux.

Mushroom, Sioux's Makie, helping out with the design process.
Apparently this isn't her best work and just a trial run, but look how delicately this enhances the features. The brush work around the eyes is astonishing.

The eyes! The lashes! The lips! THE HAT!

From Makie to MAGIC
Sioux, you can come and do your 'not best work' for me any day of the week!

All photos in this post by Sioux, reproduced with permission. Go to her flickr and tell her how awesome she is. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

We're hiring!

Which is to say, Plink's talked me into getting her a lab assistant from the shiny new 'cruel summer' Makie release.

Apparently she spent today making a list of essential and desirable qualifications.

Why do I think more mischief than science is going to be occurring in my home?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Fabric shopping online

Aaah, Sunday morning. Pyjamas, cup of tea and, naughtily, online fabric browsing time.

I purchase most of my fabrics online as my local choices are limited to Hobbycraft (dull) and John Lewis (overpriced and rubbish selection). Okay, there are a couple of independent shops in Cardiff, but they're away from the main shopping centres and rarely seem to have what I'm looking for.

People always seem surprised that I don't feel the need to fondle every fabric prior to purchase. My argument on this is that if you're reasonably aware what you're after and don't mind the odd surprise, then you might as well go for it. A good online shop will offer free samples if you're absolutely set on stroking (and often this scrap might be big enough for a Makie Make).

First up; Croft Mill. I bloody love this shop. A wide variety of fabrics of every kind, generally with a quirky name and description. Will send you up to 5 free samples: I normally add these to my existing order (visiting here is terrible for my bank balance) of loveliness. Their new Italian collection has some gorgeous lightweight lawns, two of which are on my shelf just waiting to be sewn up.

Yes... I own the shuttlecocks. Nom!
Next on the list has got to be the superb Ditto Fabrics. Based in Bristol, this shop has a great selection of quirky prints and sensible basics. Annoyingly, they look to have sold out of their elephant print. Boo!

Birds of Paradise cotton, available from Ditto Fabrics
Moving on to an eeevilBay seller this time, Favourite Fabrics. Although they've moved more towards the quilting market recently, this is still my go-to for simple cottons and basics at reasonable prices. Good news for Makie fashionistas is that they now offer a wide range of fabrics in fat quarters; more than enough for a miniature outfit.

Small-print floral available from Favourite Fabrics; perfect for Makie Couture
How's the bank balance doing?

We'll finish off then; this one is a bit of a mixed bag. Minerva Crafts and Fabrics appear to have recently moved off of eeeevilBay to a highly respectable online shop front. Inside it looks like nothing's changed and the site feels a bit like a jumble sale! Don't let that put you off though there are lots of listings for decent length end-of-rolls and remnants; I get a lot of outerwear weight fabric from here; trousers, skirts and wools for cloaks and coats, and I rarely pay more than a tenner for a couple of metres. Definitely one to browse with a cup of tea, but terrible for impulse buying.

Oooh. Tiger print cotton? £4.99/m? That's practically a neutral, yes? 
There you have it. That's where I tend to dispose of my dwindling disposable income. There are a couple of places that I've recently found and not really tried; Abakhan seems popular with you Northeners, and it looks like The Remnant House might be one to keep an eye on... especially if they keep stocking stuff like this bit of silky gorgeousness... I don't need it, right?

Leafy cotton lawn, £5.99/m. Mmmmm.... do not need? 

What are your favourite places to buy fabric online?

Garden Party Dress

So here's a little something for those hot afternoons when you've got a formal event to go to.
Garden party
This light Korean linen wrap dress features a tulip skirt and ribbon belt for that all-important waist definition.
Garden party
Cool and just that little bit sassy.
Okay, okay, so it's pinned at the back, again.
Garden party
Naughty pin!
But really, who wants to make an effort when the weather is so lovely? Might as well go outside and enjoy it!
Garden party
This is my photographer, hiding in the blueberry bush. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Sneaky Peek

Here's a little look at the outfit that's going to be unveiled tomorrow.

Garden party

Hope you have a nice evening, see you then! 

Glamping; behind the scenes...

Because not everything is as it seems, and I wanted to show you how I made the tent in case your Makies fancy a break...

It's basically a triangle of fabric I used to test overlocker tension on a blouse I was making with a wire hoop and a skirt stitched on. I put a length of black thread through the top and hung it off of my desk lamp, then draped some fancy fabric to disguise the desk detritus.

Still, it works :)

Monday, 13 August 2012


So sad that the Olympic games in London have finished. I could've happily watched sport all summer! Still, Paralympics in 16 days!

So you don't get withdrawal symptoms, Plink thought she's imitate a famous track star...

Sunday, 12 August 2012


"Ah, August! When the weather turns from cloudy, grey and miserable to... hrum. Well. Cloudy, grey and miserable, but with added muggy hotsweatyness at nights. Blech.

Definitely time to get away from it all, so I've packed up most of the lab (the Giant Squid can be trusted to feed the sharks) and decided to head out into the country for a couple of days.

Happily, us Makies don't have to make do with a muddy field and khaki-coloured Eurohikes. No no. We go Glamping, Shabby-chic style!
Scenic surroundings, naturally. 
This fabulous tent comes with full mod-cons.
Coffee! What more could a Makie need?
Delightful vintage linens...
Squidgy bedroll, mmmmm...
And most importantly, complementary champagne!
Perfectly chilled, hoorah!
Cheers! Have a superb summer!"

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The New Batch

Huzzah and hooray!

Today, MakieLab announced that batch 2 are being released in the next week!

Badge by the amazing Poklfil. Check out

But... who do I get to join Plink? She's been petitioning for a lab assistant (apparently the Giant Squid breaks too much valuable glassware) and there have been three applicants. So, dear readers...

Should it be Melchett?

Or perhaps Puck?

Or maybe the super-organised Jocasta? 

If I'm honest, I think it's probably going to be Melchett. She looks like the right mix of fun and mischief to get along with Plink like a house on fire, and quite frankly I'm a bit of a sucker for redheads. But Puck definitely has to join the crew at some point, perhaps once the green wig comes out?! Now. Off to persuade the bank balance that a second Makie is an investment...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Plinkography: Wildlife Edition 2

Well, the human is completely zoned out on anti-histamines*, so I stole her 70-300mm lens and went outside to track some hedgehogs!

Here's one:
Hrum. Hedgehogs are tricksy, and it would appear that most of my photos are blurry. I know! I'll do what the human does with mediocre photos and turn them black and white!
Bang and the blur is gone!
Oooh, classy.
Hey! This next one is in focus! We'll leave it in colour!

If you're a fan of hedgehogs, check out the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, who do cracking work in the areas of hedgehog welfare and research. They also sell fantastically cool hedgehog-themed merchandise. Woo, hedgehogs!"

*I have, at last count, 18 separate mosquito bites on my body, ranging from places ordinary (stomach, calf) to completely unmentionable (unmentionable) to utterly weird (back of ankle, right thumb). Chlorphenamine and I  do not get on well, I'm currently having difficulty both focussing my eyes and not falling asleep. Ahahahahahahaaaaaaaa... this Blog post is brought to you by modern pharmaceuticals and the letters 'z, o, n, k, e and d". It's quite frankly a miracle I got to the end of it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

3 days to go...

...until my first day off in just over two weeks! Cannot wait.

Apologies for the languishing blog; I'm on a 96 hours working week and my priorities in the evening are currently 1) Get home 2) Eat 3) Sleep.


Have a photo of some meerkats in silly costumes.