Sunday, 17 November 2013

Wrapping things up...

...for a while, at least. 

Makies are fun and fantastic and full of magic and awesome, but in the last few weeks I've just not had enough time for them as well as all the other things I need or want to do. Life is throwing many challenges in our path at the moment and unfortunately the thing that's gone boiiiiiiing is the time spent with the little printed people

In short, I've decided that updating this blog is not a priority for me right now, so it's a bit daft for me to pretend that I'm keeping it going. The existing posts aren't going anywhere and (who knows?!) there might even be the odd mini-scale musing, but I'm stating here firmly and for the record that I'm not going to be making any regular updates. 

That's not to say I'm not going to be blogging at all, oh no. There are plans afoot which mesh better with day-to-day Dr Duckie activities and I'm really looking forward to getting them off the ground. 

Anyway. You guys. Stay silly, stay bonkers, stay awesome. See you soon! 

                                     

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sausage Casserole

Adapted from the Hairy Biker's 'Special Cassoulet' diet recipe

Feeds 4ish dieting people or 2 normal people with a bit left over for lunch the next day. 
About 450-500 calories/portion

2-3 leftover rashers pancetta because they need using up
6 herby sausages, decent quality
1/2 an inadvisably purchased GIANT onion (or one medium one), sliced
2 cloves of garlic, walloped so's they split a bit
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 moderate leeks, topped and chopped
150ml red wine (drink the rest)
300ml and half a tomato tin of water
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Pepper, black, freshly ground if possible
1 tin-sized tin butter beans, drained and rinsed.

1. Pour relatively generous glass of wine. Read the original HB cassoulet recipe. Realise have forgotten to defrost chicken, neglected to purchase gammon and that the tin of canalli... cannol... camellini... Italian-sounding beans you thought were in the cupboard have metamorphosed into six tins of red kidney beans. 
2. Recall the ridiculous article in the Sun last week that stated 5 kidney beans can kill a man. Snort derisively. 
3. Get on with it. 

4. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees fan, gas mark work it out yourself)
5. In a fancy iron casserole dish, heat a little sunflower oil over a medium heat.
6. Twist the sausages in the middle and cut to make 12 sausagettes. Reflect that sausagettes is a better band name than (for example) "Wand Erection". Cut up pancetta into bits. 
7. Fry the sausagettes and pancetta for a few minutes until browning, then chuck in the onion. 
8. Add the garlic, carrot and leek, tin of tomatoes (swooshing out the tin with your 1/2 tin of water), wine, water, bay leaf, chilli flakes and sugar. Stir. 
9. Realise have forgotten to raid the thyme in the garden and it is now spookydark. Substitute dried thyme.
10. Chuck in some pepper. Stir again. 
11. Let it bubble, bung on lid shove into oven for 1/2 hour. Pour another glass of wine. Accept that today's calorie count may be a little forgetful. 
12. Remove from oven, stir in beans, shove back in oven for 1/2 hour. 



Serve with chunks of homemade sourdough and an air of domestic capability that you probably don't deserve. Fend cats off of leftovers so you have something to take for lunch. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Chocolate Sables

Recipe via Edd Kimber, @theboywhobakes

200g unsalted butter, softened
100g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar

275g plain flour
3/4tsp baking powder
40g cocoa powder
1tsp flaked sea salt (ESSENTIAL for an amazing head-on salt-sweet collision, but probably take down to 2/3tsp next time)

175g dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 65g of Green and Blacks Espresso chocolate, which was all I had but oh my, rawr)

Beat the butter and sugars together in a bowl until light and fluffy. You could do this with an electric mixer, I did just fine by hand.
Combine the cocoa, flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl, then mix this into the butter and sugar. You're aiming for a soil-like sandy texture, do not over mix. 
Add the chopped chocolate and briefly mix to combine. 
Turn the mixture out and press together into a ball, then divide in two and roll into 4cm diameter logs. 
Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the freezer for an hour; heat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan)
Once thoroughly chilled, cut the biccies about 1.5cm thick and bake for 10-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, place on a wire rack to cool. 


Take to work and be appallingly smug. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Evolution of the Sourdough

Sourdough is, I am convinced, mostly made by magic. 
You need to care for it. Feed it.  
Astonishing it's just flour, water and (most importantly) time and patience.

And alright, a bit of salt and a lot of heat at the end. 
It has been a very zen thing to create. 
It actually feels like real creation. From simple things, I have made another thing. 
And it has combined to absolute freaking yeasty perfection and I am a very smug baker. 



Sourdough starter made as per River Cottage instructions. Baked according to the Yumblog.co.uk method. Eaten mostly by me. Nomnomnom. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Things Achieved This Weekend

Aaah, a weekend of productivity! Excellent stuff, if you ask me. 

This weekend, I have: 

1) Made a good start of my medical education course. 1 task and the assignment to go for this module. 
2) Changed the beds.
3) Run my fastest 5K this year.
4) Mined the Laundry Heap and paired all the socks. 
5) Created Dilys, the Sourdough Starter... 


6) Hoovered EVERYTHING
7) Defragged the fridge
8) Made my first custard :) 
9) Made significant advances as Guardian H'minee of the Caretakers* with my mind worm army
10) Completely failed to do anything with my new fabrics
11) Nearly got to the bottom of the washing pile
12) Generally been a domestic Goddess. 

I shall count all of this as a WIN. 





* I suspect this will only make sense to a very small fraction of readers... If you are one of them, GET IN TOUCH. SMAC has to be the best turn-based-game ever made and I bloody love it. 


Sunday, 29 September 2013

More hedgehogs!


Happily not in the context of us finding them underweight this time.

This hog has spent a lovely summer in the care of City Wildlife and is ready to go back into the wild. She weighs about 1.4kg! 
We made her comfortable in the hedgehog box after picking her up last night.


I think I saw her a bit later, snuffling around the bird feeder, but the boxes were both empty this afternoon so she obviously sought out more interesting accommodation. We did have a big hog visit tonight... but one hedgehog looks very much like another ;) 




Saturday, 28 September 2013

Moshi Friday


Had a lovely time yesterday afternoon: left the cats and the long-suffering boyfriend to fend for themselves and went to meet up with the utterly lovely Hilary of the rather famous Moshi Moshi Blythe clothing range.

We went to Tredegar House, which is one of those places that I've lived rather close to for the last 5 years but I've never actually visited! It's a rather pretty place and does a very good National Trust cup of tea... It's also got a good collection of craft shops in the old stables so we had to go and have a look in Busy Bees, which sells a good range of patchwork cottons and other exciting trinkets. 

Of course, some of our small models came along too: 

I think Melchie felt rather underdressed! 

I managed to come home with some little bits of lovely fabric and a lot of tips on how to sew tiny clothing neatly. Given today is looking thoroughly rainy (although Fitbit dictates I *shall* go for a run at some point), I think I'll see what I can come up with... after a bit of Alpha Centauri, perhaps :) 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Wingnut

Finally got around to giving the 'nut a bit of colour.

Wingnut

Wingnut

Not entirely sure yet what I'm going to do with her body. I might decide to blue it up, in which case I'm going to give her Melchie's corpse (horribly stained in a sharpie-related incident). Decisions, decisions. 


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Crumble!

I love Autumn. You can keep your cold frosty winters, gradually unfolding springs and steamy summers, I'll take crackling leaves and golden evening light and morning dews any day. 

Today I had a bit of a wander and managed to come back with about a kilo of these beauties: 

After a bit of a bath and some time for the resident fauna to wander off... 

Mmmmm. I froze 3/4 of them, and the rest I turned into a glorious crumble. Which is completely against the diet, but meh and blah, I don't care :) 

Here's the recipe! 

Blackberry and Apple Crumble
Serves 4, approx 350 calories or one 2.5k run per portion (eeks)
Ingredients: 
250g blackberries
450g Bramley apples
50ml water
2tbsp granulated sugar
180g plain flour
90g golden caster sugar
90g unsalted butter, cold

1. Heat your oven up to 180 deg C/160 deg C fan
2. Core and slice the apples. No need to bother peeling them. 
3. Cook the apples in a pan with the water and granulated sugar over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Bung in the blackberries and let simmer over a low heat whilst you make the crumble. 
4. Mix flour and golden caster sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour and sugar using the tips of your fingers. Don't worry about lumps! All the better in crumble. 
5. Spread the fruit over the base of an ovenproof dish, then sprinkle the crumble mix evenly over the top. 
6. Bung in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden brown and the fruit bubbling up through. 

7. Add a dollop of your favourite naughty creamy adjunct and devour (low fat creme fraiche in this case, which works beautifully), whilst feeling very smug. 

Don't forget to tell the fitbit how bad you've been ;) 






Monday, 23 September 2013

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Wedding!

It's come and gone, and despite trials and tribulations, Lord and Lady Hedgehog were fully costumed and had a terrific time. Haven't found any photos specifically of us just yet, nor have I extracted my own shots from my camera, but here's one nicked from the book of face of the happy couple. 


Of course, I now have to clear the decks and tidy up the various bits of sewing detritus that have spread themselves most unaccountably all over the house.

The complicating factor is, as is natural for me, as soon as I clean down one project I can't help but start thinking of the next. Just so happens this year's Hogswatch is going to rather neatly fishtail with the 50th anniversary of Dr Who, I think it's safe to suggest that I might have a cunning plan... 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Progress?

I've got half an overdress. Now I just need the other half and the underdress... but at least there are hedgehogs :) 



Sunday, 15 September 2013

Aaaandbreathe...

...Pfoof.

Dad is out of the hospital.

I've managed to have a couple of productive evenings and have only got a small percentage of the necessary sewing for next weekend's wedding left to go.

The Long-Suffering Boyfriend continues to be amazing.

I've got 12 consecutive days off coming up as of Thursday.


:)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A bit of a bloggiday.

We've had a frantic time of it here recently with both of us having new jobs, taking various postgraduate courses, trying not to murder the neighbours, looking after demanding catdudes etc. and just as I was about to start to relax about the sewing for this wedding wot we is going to and take a big breath, my Dad got admitted to hospital rather unwell (and the disadvantage of being in my RealJob as Dr Duckie is that you know what all those big and scary-sounding words actually mean) last weekend. He's alright for a given value of alright, lots of tests on the go and a bit of improvement today, but it's still not ranking as one of the all-time best 48 hours ever!

So not a lot of time for Makies! Plink, Melchie and Wingnut are behaving themselves impeccably and looking after the Beastlies. We'll all be back on the blog as soon as this latest hair-tearing experience is over and I'm not having to spend weekends diving back and forwards to Wiltshire. In the meantime, feel free to make with the kitten photos to cheer us all up! 

Here's a cat photo for inspiration. 

We'll call it an indeterminate length bloggiday at the moment. I honestly don't know when I'll be back providing regular content for you all, but the focus has definitely shifted in the last few days and something had to go, albeit temporarily. 

Keep smiling, stay happy and give your family members the biggest hugs you can manage! 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cutting out...

Making a start on Lord Hedgehog's coat. 


Supervised by Sir Bagpuss, of course. 

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Faaaabric!

The fabric has arrived...
...and I'm working all weekend! Foo. 

Have an old picture of a grumpy Bagpuss. 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Progress?

I think I'm going with the cotte and overdress rather than the kimono style. 

And here are some embroidered hedgehogs! 


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lord and Lady Hedgehog

You might remember way back a while ago, I was getting excited by the prospect of,y friend's costume wedding. 

I've actually made some progress since then (gasp!) and have spend a good few hours staring at 14th century fashions with a hope of making some sense out of how they work and what I'm going to make. 

Lord Hedgehog is easy. 
Indigo linen coat, high necked, lots of fullness in the rear, pewter-coloured frog fastenings. 

My theory is he can wear whatever he likes under that and mostly fit in with the theme. I've based the pattern on the cassock pattern I purchased and we're already into preliminary muslin fittings, yay! 

My dress is still undecided. I'm not sure whether to go for the slightly more traditional: 
Chocolate brown, long sleeved underdress with tight fitted sleeves, ornamental buttons, probably back-lacing. ?Red/scarlet overdress with petal sleeves dividing at the elbow, ornamental front fastenings. 

Or for something slightly more original: 
Loosely based on one of Cersei's dresses in Game of Thrones, kimono-style wrap overdress with double wrap scarlet linen belt, red linen underskirt. 

Hmm. I've purchased 5m of a lovely drapey chocolate brown cotton satin, but it's quite a thin fabric. I think it would work much better for the kimono design than the form-fitting dress (and hoorah, that has the advantage of no lacings/hooks and eyes), but I'd have to draft that pattern up from scratch and I'm running out of time! The underskirt wouldn't be a problem. 

The slightly more authentic style dress is easier in that I've got the pattern on the way. It would look appropriate and be less brain power, but I'm planning on wearing my Victorian underwear underneath and am worried about the line of the dress looking wrong. The pattern also features a zipper and unless I'm tragically short of time, I'd like to avoid that. 

Looking at it now. I'm not even sure on the chocolate and scarlet combo! Maybe should go for a blue? Or an orange? Aaaaaargh! 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Saturday, 17 August 2013

What's small, green...

...and exceptionally judgemental?

I'm talking about the fitbit, not the Plink. 

Finally got one of these, ironically after watching one of those BBC pseudo-medical documentaries that I normally run screaming from. This one was talking about gadgets and monitoring and how we could improve our general health by keeping an eye on what we do. 

Hmm. Okay. So far, so pedometer. Alright then. But the other part of this little device is it tells you how many calories you've burned. There's an associated mobile app which lets you plug in how many calories you've consumed too, and the online 'dashboard' will figure out if you're in deficit or if that slice of delicious cheesecake was a bit too much for the moving around you've been doing and you need to get off of your fat butt now, mister.

Well, I have to say that my job is pretty active. I'm more or less on my feet all day, except for brief periods of perching on a chair to write in some notes before being inevitably moved on. I've often wondered how far I walk in a day, and I guess now I'm going to find out! My new hospital has some very long corridors and I'm spread over three floors a lot of the time. But I'm not as healthy as I'd like to be. I've got a tendency to come home and snack, then eat late, not go out for exercise at the slightest excuse (it's raining/I'm tired/my nose hurts), my hydration is crap and a rather nasty ankle injury about a month ago got me out of the habit of forcing myself on a run three times a week whether I liked it or not. I'm not putting on loads of weight; all my 'slim days' clothes still fit nicely, but I'm not feeling as good as I have done in the past. 

All in all, I think my judgemental green friend is going to work for me. Firstly, I'm a bit competitive and I respond well to goals. The daily 10,000 steps will be a good thing for me to try and achieve. Secondly, the concept of having to tell the fitbit when I've been a bit naughty and snacky is probably going to be enough incentive for me to put down the chocolate or not reach for a second glass of wine. Thirdly, the irritation of having to plug every mouthful of food into my phone will definitely put me off eating! 

Incidentally and completely by coincidence, the Long-Suffering Boyfriend ordered a copy of the Hairy Biker's second diet book, which arrived today. I am completely in love with all the recipes we've tried from the first one, (the 'fakeaways' section is SUPERB. Best curry I've ever tasted) so am looking forward to trying some more of their low calorie recipes. 

No panic. I'm not going to get all preachy. I'm a big fan of enjoying life and enjoy it I will, regardless of trying to be a slightly slimmer monster. I've set a goal of losing 8kg on the 'medium' setting (as opposed to the 'bloody hard' setting). Fitbit reckons we'll be there by the start of December. I'll let you know! Better get the trainers out... 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Meet Wingnut!

Then there were three.



She's far less sinister-looking in the flesh, honest.

She's currently named for her ears in reference to one of my favourite Terry Pratchett phrases, where he describes an imp as looking rather like a 'small malevolent wingnut'. Fans of the novels will agree that she looks a bit elvish, which is not necessarily a good thing (even if she does work down the chip shop).

The new joints are a dream. They look much tidier than the old-style hinges and add to the feeling that since the first generation of Makies, the overall quality of the product is much higher. Everything feels more polished and put together. I think (and someone from the lab correct me if I'm wrong) that the print resolution has changed too, so the body feels smoother. This is going to have a great effect on the joint durability over time. Only downside so far is that she's got rather obvious facial print lines, so I'm going to have do go a bit careful when applying any pigments. I think a gentle sanding will probably help here and I might go for an initial dye bath to even things out... but I can't decide on the colour at the moment!

Continuing plotting on what her final look is going to be.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Awkward.

Batson has a new buddy, Angus. 


So far they've just kind of been staring at one another and giggling a little bit, but I reckon they'll get to finally talking at some point in the next week or two. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

What looks for the Wingnut?

Good grief. No. 
AAAARGH!!!!!

YOU NO TAKE CANDLE

I rather think not.
Hrum. Green...? We'll have a think on it. 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Whooooo?

Hey hey hey all. 

Well, it's been a thoroughly hectic week. The long-suffering boyfriend started a new job on Monday, I started a new job on Wednesday (although technically it's back to one of my old jobs) and I was very glad for Friday evening when it appeared! 

Took a new bow out yesterday. It's about a 6 to 8 pound step up in draw from where I was before so was pretty hard work; had my worst round in weeks and hardly hit a thing... 

EXCEPT THE ELUSIVE OWL. 

Oh yes. No wonder he looks surprised :D 

Not sure how regularly I'll be posting for the next couple of weeks. I've got some on-call coming up and breaking in the new doctors tends to leave me a bit dead in the evenings. Still. Wingnut the Makie is on the way and oh, I've got plans for this one. 


The plans. They involve face ups. Ooooh. 

AAAAND finally... anyone seen Despicable Me? 

Ba-na-na, ba-ba-na-na! 


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cliffhanger!

After overpowering the deadly DALEK MOUSE using her wit and cunning, the Doctor and Melchie make their escape... but the lair is dark and winding, and the paths are many... and... and... the CLIFF IS HIGH!



WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

...you'll have to wait for next season to find out! ;)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The FOE revealed!

Egads! It is none other than the Doctor's enemy, DALEK MOUSE!



*Dalek Mouse by the House of Mouse.