Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Numbers, Numbers Everywhere!

It's been awhile since I contributed to my colouring pages, so today I made this:

It'll be added to the rest of my colouring pages once I have another 2 completed (I like adding them in 3's so my formatting stays neat. Yes, I really am that pedantic).

Anyway, I'm also looking for ways to expand my illustration port folio, so I thought I'd also do a coloured version:

You know your life is probably not quite normal when you spend your day worrying: 'do these colours look right in this order??' I changed the colours of the balloons more times than I care to mention :P

I'm hoping to add more educational colouring pages to my collection, and tomorrow I'm tackling a farm animal scene (with the animals labelled, of course, and maybe in different sized groups for counting... Hmmm... Seriously, this is the stuff I spend my day thinking about).

For now, I'm eagerly awaiting the return of my husband, who's walked down to the shops to buy chocolate so we can make triple choc cookies! :D

Monday, 30 July 2012

Melbourne Zoo: The Weekend Refuge

Ok, so I'm sure the idea of going to a zoo filled with noisy, running children and incredible animal smells (anyone who's been near Melbourne Zoo's River Otter enclosure knows what I mean) may not sound like everyone's idea of a weekend refuge - but it does to me.

My husband and I are with FOTZ (Friends of the Zoo), which means we pay a yearly amount (around $80 each) and get unlimited entry to almost every zoo in Australia. Considering a normal adult entry fee is around $25, we only need to go 4 times a year to get our money's worth.

And we just happen to live a 10 minute walk away from Melbourne Zoo.

Which means we go about 4 times a month.

So yesterday we trekked up to Melbourne Zoo bursting at the seams with Zoo Adventure materials: camera, cheese and lettuce sandwiches, a thermos of hot chocolate, and the last remaining Pac-Man cookie.

The animals were out in force and I managed to take some interesting shots. Some worthy of further explanation and commentary, so I thought I'd share...

First, the Meerkats.

These little guys had babies not that long ago, and they're now old enough that they're running around play fighting and generally annoying their parents. 

*Sigh* "Think happy thoughts, Dear. They'll tire themselves out soon."

Or looking guilty.

"Maybe if I sit perfectly still Mum won't notice the mess in the kitchen."

Or getting smooshed by their siblings. 

"Hmph. I hate it when they do this. You're the only ones who think this is funny!"

Our other big location for photo ops yesterday was the Reptile House, where we met this guy, who gave us this perfect Blue Steel pose - before diving off the log and going for an impromptu swim. 

And finally, these guys.
The first thing we noticed and giggled about were the looks on their faces. While I was snapping photos Rob noticed that they were, perhaps accidentally (hence the expressions), touching tails.

"Oh God. Did he just touch my tail?"

"Oh God. I just touched his tail. Don't make eye contact..."

And that, in a nutshell, was yesterday's Zoo Adventure. Another highlight for both of us was getting to watch the Red Panda (Rob's favourite animal), who was walking about his enclosure - a very rare sight! Unfortunately for our camera he was far too spry to get any clear shots, but it was such a privilege to see him so active.

And now I think I need to go tend to my own zoo... On Zoo Tycoon 2.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pac-Man Cookies!!!

I finally sold out.

I caved in, and I'm not proud.

I bought a $5 piping bag from Coles.


It's just that I've been itching to try out some cookie ideas, and I needed a piping bag. And ok, I promised myself I wouldn't try anything until I could afford a proper piping bag that wouldn't give me homicidal tendencies the way the cheap ones do, but I might not be able to get a good piping bag in a really long time, and I want to try out cookie ideas now, dammit!

So last night I made these:


I wanted to start off with a simple design in case my newly acquired piping bag couldn't handle the basics (which was a very real possibility), but it handled the challenge just fine... After I started misusing it.

Trying to clean that thing for each colour change and getting the thicker icing piped through was disheartening enough for me to start making whimpering wailing noises that made my husband come over and cuddle me and ask what's wrong. To which I replied: 'Hmmserwerer Ehh Rrrr Grrargh!!!'

And then I had one of those headaches with pictures - you know, an idea.

Instead of using the piping bag in the normal, boring way, I stuffed a dollop-full of thick icing into the plastic tube, folded the plastic bag into a square, and then used my thumb to pipe out the icing. Like this:
And oh my God, it was so much easier and less time consuming than trying to use that horrible thing properly.

Anyway, to make your very own Pac-Man cookies (waka waka), simply 'follow' this cookie recipe found here from allrecipes.com.au. I say 'follow' in quotation marks because you can afford to be quite liberal in your interpretation of the recipe (hence why it's so perfect as a recipe base). Personally, I found I didn't need to add any milk and actually added more flour to make it nice and kneadable. I'll be using this recipe (or my own interpretation of it) for all my future iced cookie creations, of which there will be many. 

So, how to you make your Pac-Man cookies look like they have anything to do with Pac-Man?

Once you've rolled your dough out, cut a large circle with a sharp knife or scalpel.
I opted for scalpel and ended up using my jar of cocoa to cut around. 
Then simply make a few incisions - like cutting a slice of pie - to make your Pac-Man. 
For your ghosts - Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde - Use your circular cutter again, but only cut a half-circle. Remove the cutter, and slice directly down from your incisions. (I love how this sounds so deliciously medical-horror movie). 
Follow the marks or indents left from your cutter to know the size of your ghost. Work your way in at both sides... 
...And then do the middle to form a complete W. 
Now bake your Pac-Man cookies! Bake like you've never baked before! Bwahahaha!!!

I'm really getting into my evil doctor/maniacal baker role, here.

Once cooked, leave to cool completely, and then prepare yourself for getting everything you know and love covered in food colouring and icing sugar.

Side note: I made these cookies while watching Cliffhanger. And by watching I mean standing in the kitchen asking my husband 'what just happened?' every time I heard gunfire, a scuffle, or Stallone mutter something incoherent.

Anyway, to create 'flooding' - the technique used to make iced cookies look awesome (I seriously suggest you check out Sugary Flower's photostream on Flickr to see what I mean, that lady is amazing) - you're meant to use royal icing. Which I don't have, nor can I really budget for. Instead, I used good old fashioned icing sugar (powdered sugar to my American friends) and water. And it worked surprisingly well.

Just add a bit of food colouring to icing sugar and add water very slowly until it forms a thick paste.

Stuff into your piping bag and pipe around the edges of your cookie.

Let it harden a little, because that bad boy is going to act as your fence, through which no icing should pass and seep onto your work top. In theory. I may have been slightly too impatient and a little over-zealous with my flooding in my first attempt. You have been warned. 

Then simply add more water to the remaining coloured icing to make it runny, then use a teaspoon to dollop onto your cookie. Try and get as close to the edges as you can and work your way in. Use a toothpick (or knife, like I did, cos I don't have any toothpicks but wow would they have come in handy) to coax your icing to 'flood' and fill in the cookie. Leave to set and you're done! 

Now, for the Pac-Man ghosts, I actually had a bit of a method:

I coloured Pac-Man first, so I already had remnants of yellow in my icing bowl, so I added a bit of red food colouring and tackled Clyde, the orange ghost first.

Since Clyde left the bowl a little orange, I added red food colouring and tackled Blinky, the red ghost next.

Blinky left the bowl red, so I just added more icing to make Pinky.

...Then I had to get myself a new bowl to make Inky. But still, working this way = less cleaning and fuss. Which is always a good thing.

I made the Pac-Man ghosts like this:

Thick icing around the edges and eyes...
Then I used some of the thick icing from Inky to make eyes on all of them...
Then added some plain white icing to fill in the eyes.
And that's Jenga. 

Or more accurately, Pac-Man cookies :)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Cosplay! Cosplay! Cosplay!

... Cosplay!

Did I mention cosplay...?

Sorry, I've been playing way too much Zoo Tycoon 2 and I think my brain may be melting...

Anyhoo, I've been having an awesomely lazy couple of days, which for me means eating cookies, watching Criminal Minds, playing Zoo Tycoon 2, and looking for awesome cosplay ideas on the interwebs.

My husband and I have definitely decided that our next holiday destination will be San Diego Comic Con :)

Awww yeaaah.

Ok, so we may not actually be able to go for quite some time (I'm talking YEARS and YEARS), but that doesn't mean I can't start my research for awesome costume designs now, right? Right?!

I've been seriously thinking about us going as Stu and Didi from Rugrats... 

I don't know who these people are, but they are now my heroes.

I also couldn't help noticing they're wearing wigs... My plan was for Rob and I to grow our hair out, hairspray the crap out of it, and cover ourselves in those spray-on hair colour thingies.

Flawless logic, no?

I've also considered Mr. and Mrs. Incredible...

I'm so in love with The Incredibles, and I'm currently rocking Helen Parr hair... Ok, so in many years time I'm probably just as likely to have hair down to my hips or have shaved my head again as I am to still be rocking the Helen Parr look, and my husband definitely has much more of a Frozone physique over a Mr. Incredible one, but still...

Rob and I are also pretty obsessed with Always Sunny, but couldn't think how the hell to dress up in anything recognisable from the show (apart from Green Man, of course), until we remembered this:

Dennis and Dee as their serial killer costumes in Mac is a Serial Killer.

So simple! So random! So, so awesome. 

However, the costumes I think we're probably most naturally suited to aren't really costumes at all...

Oh, Flight of the Conchords, how I love you.

And oh Bret, how you are so definitely my husband's long lost brother...

See, here's some super sexy shots my husband posed for at Melbourne Zoo (please keep in mind he's a working man now, so his usual Bret McKenzie-esque hair is shorter than usual...)

I joke about it, but in all seriousness Rob's Dad did live in New Zealand for quite awhile before immigrating to Australia. Coincidence? Definitely yes. But I can dream. And cause scandal amongst the family. Bwahaha!

But Bret and Coco? What a super easy - and super effective - costume for Comic Con! We get my hubby a jumper (and boom, the illusion is complete! Comic Con goers, meet Bret McKenzie) and we hold a couple of hand-made signs. Done and done.

While these costumes will be literally years in the making, I'm having almost too much fun thinking about all the awesome characters we could go as. It's the perfect activity for a lazy Friday :)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tommy Pickles: The First Avenger


I am so in love with Rugrats. And I am so in love with The Avengers.

This picture was really only a matter of time.

Tommy Pickles, the bravest baby in the whole wild world, is also possibly the most adorable. I'd been itching to do an illustration of Tommy for yonkers, when the idea of creating the rugrats as the avengers came to me. This is my first illustration, but I intend on adding Phil, Lil, Chuckie, Angelica, and maybe even Dil, Stu and Didi to the mix to create one big Rugrats meets Avengers picture :)

We'll just have to see how I go for time...

Seriously though, my husband and I are so obsessed with Rugrats that we watch an episode every. Single. Night. And we regret nothing.

Tommy Pickles: The First Avenger is now available as t-shirts, baby clothes, stickers and iPhone cases on Redbubble. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


My husband and I have discovered the most amazing triple choc cookie recipe in the world. 

Ok, I'll admit it's just another re-vamp of my basic cookie recipe...

And triple choc cookie recipes have been around for years...

But how many triple choc cookie recipes involve bashing things with a hammer?


This recipe makes between 12 and 15 cookies, depending on how big you want them and how lazy you are. I've made this recipe about 3 times in the past fortnight (they're seriously that good), and if I'm feeling particularly lazy I make them bigger and smoosh them all on at once so I don't have to do 2 batches :P 

This also explains my photo. The 3 cookies pictured were the only ones left after I first made the recipe. We ate the others before I even got the camera out. And I regret nothing.

Now you could be boring and just buy white and milk chocolate chips to make this recipe, but my way is cheaper - and so much more satisfying.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012



Sorry about that. I'm fine now.


*Incoherent 'blub' noises*


Seriously though, RED FREAKING DWARF X!!!

I'm excited and giddy and oh so ready to eat Indian food, channel 80's grunge, grow myself some dreadlocks and start talking like a scouser.


All my excitement aside, I'm also slightly nervous... The original Red Dwarf was SO good, and to be honest, I thought the Back to Earth specials didn't come close to capturing the awesomeness of the original.

But watching this trailer, my inner geek was doing somersaults. And I can't wait to watch the new series!!!

If you are unfamiliar with Red Dwarf, you just haven't lived. There, I said it. So click here to see one of my favourite clips showcasing the greatest man who's ever lived - Ace Rimmer.

All this Red Dwarf love is making me think I need to make some Red Dwarf inspired cupcakes... Now I have a new mission for the week - huzaah!

Monday, 23 July 2012


I don't care how long it takes, or how much money it costs, as God as my witness I will have this in my house:

With the addition of the stair-slide, my life will be complete. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Disney Avengers!

I love The Avengers movie. I love anything Joss Whedon. And having been raised on Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, I also have a massive soft spot for all things Disney.

So you can imagine how much I squeed when I saw a friend had posted this on Facebook:

I LOVE this.

Though I have to admit I'm slightly confused about casting Emperor Kuzco as Iron Man. And if I'm being really pedantic if Scar is Loki (perfect casting choice, by the way) then technically Thor should be played by Mufasa...

I absolutely love Robin Hood as Hawkeye and Mulan as Black Widow - and the Beast as Hulk?? Forget about it! It's just too cool!

This picture is made of awesome :)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Damper with Seeds and Nuts

All Australians should know how to make damper. And then eat lots of it warmed up with butter. Yum...

For my non-Australian readers, damper is basically like a giant scone. That's the best definition I can think of, anyway... Kind of like a giant scone crossed with a loaf of bread. Yeah, that'll do.

So, here's how to make damper with seeds and nuts - the seeds and nuts just add a little something extra, but you can easily ditch them and make the damper plain:

Damper with Seeds and Nuts
What you need...
2 cups self raising flour
60g butter (say NO to palm oil!)
3/4 cup milk
1 cup mixed seeds and nuts

Make as you would a normal scone recipe: use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture is bread-crummy in texture. Make a well in the centre and add the milk, seeds and nuts, stirring through with a flat bladed knife. When just combined, gently knead to form a dough. Place on a floured oven tray and press down into a large, flat circle. Use the knife (dipped in flour) to score the top to make 8 equal sections, dust with flour and bung in the oven at 200c and bake for around 35 - 45 minutes.

And that's it! You'll know it's done when it's hard on top and sounds hollow when you tap it.

Simply break off a piece and enjoy! :)

Friday, 20 July 2012

My Husband, the Geek-Romantic

My husband and I tend to email each other through the day while he's at work. They're just silly little things usually, or me asking stuff like, 'what's that milk you buy again?' But yesterday Rob set the bar at a whole new level.

He emailed me a poem.

And it was so awesome, so sweet, so daggy and so perfectly him, I just had to share it with the interwebs:

Roses are red… except when they are white, or even yellow…
in fact the only colour they really can't be is blue, and now you can get genetically modified ones that are blue
find the details here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_rose
Violets are blue… except they really aren't, they are, well… Violet in colour, and actually some of them are white as well or even yellowy orange.

Well, this poem seems to have gotten out of hand,
but I suppose you wouldn't have liked it if it was too bland.
I guess what I am trying to say,
is that I love you every day!

Best. Poem. EVER :)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Whale of a Time

Apologies for the terrible joke, but I had no idea what else to call this little guy:

Whale-with-chimney-and-washing-on-wheels? Not really very catchy, is it?

But this little whale is the newest member of my illustration family, and I'm super proud with how he turned out. But the credit really goes to my husband, whose awesome-and-weird-as-hell brain came up with the concept :)

'A Whale of a Time' is now available to buy on Redbubble as a t-shirt design. Huzaah!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

San Diego Comic-Con 2012

For any geek the yearly San Diego Comic-Con is a dream come true. A homing beacon calling all those with a penchant for dress up, science fiction, cartoons and 80's movies. A haven for those that quote Disney films and know the back-story of every comic super hero. And a refuge for those that own plastic sonic screwdrivers and wish they were married to Joss Whedon. 

The 2012 Con has just passed, and the interwebs are awash with incredible cosplay photos, so I thought I would share some of my favourites :)
Note to self: save up money, fly to America and attend Comic-Con for next holiday destination. Good plan, self...

Tattooed Wolverine, anyone?

How about some Tony Stark action?

Or a super authentic Michelle Pfeiffer inspired Cat Woman?

NO Comic-Con is complete without a little Doctor Who.
(Or without pretty ladies in ridiculously revealing outfits!) :P

There are some truly incredible cosplay photos on the interwebs right now, the best of which can be found here at geekologie.com. 

The 2012 San Diego Comic-Con's panel line up was immensely drool worthy, and I am insanely jealous of all those that attended this year. 

Not just because of this guy...

But srsly, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG...

Or even these guys...


But because of THIS: The Firefly 10 year anniversary panel.


I have no words. None. This is... it... Oh my... WOW.

While I may be rendered tongue tied by the sheer awesomeness oozing out of every pixel of the above image, the Firefly panellists themselves had plenty to say. You can watch the clip here on youtube.

For any Comic-Con fanatics and lovers of all things geeky, I also thoroughly recommend checking out Epbot. It's by the wonderful lady from Cake Wrecks, and one of the best blogs on all the interwebs.

You also really need to read her post about this year's San Diego Comic-Con, as it includes some brilliant photos AND a very funny clip of Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin pashing Zachery Levi. It's something no geek should go without seeing.

But for me the greatest thing to come out of this year's Comic-Con is this one photo:

Who knew so much awesome could exist in one photo??!!

I seriously swooned so hard over this I nearly injured myself.

Actually you know what? Just looking at it again now is making me a little light-headed. I'm gonna go lie down.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Huzaah for Steampunk!

As any geek knows, steampunk is made of awesome. For those of you unfamiliar (because I'm told there are some of you that still exist), steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction; in laymen's terms basically meshing futuristic gadgets with Victorian fashion and science. There's a lot of gears, corsets, top hats, brass and copper in steampunk. 

Here's a pic I found on the interwebs of a couple of awesome geeks cosplaying it up (cosplaying = a verb now, btw) as steampunk X-Men:

Do you see how much steampunk is made of awesome??

Anyway, my love of steampunk led me to create this:

My very own steampunk inspired illustration!

Cos nothing says 'steampunk' quite like submarines, giant squids, copper pipes, and teddy bears in goggles.

And nothing quite says 'geek' like books, cats and steampunk. So I'm kinda covering all bases of geekdom here :) 


Monday, 16 July 2012

Double Choc Cookies!!!

Sleep has been evading me of late, so I ended up making double choc cookies at 6:30 this morning.

And WOW they're amazing. Even if I say so myself. 

I mean, cookies are good. Choc-chip cookies are better. Double choc cookies are best.

OMG, triple choc cookies could break the universe. And now I have to make them.

So anyway, I ended up baking double choc cookies in my pyjamas while listening to the Ricky Gervais podcasts at stupid o'clock this morning, and it was totally worth it. 

So, here's my super tasty double choc recipe for you to try (and Oh God, you have try try. They're so freaking good):

Double Choc Cookie Recipe!
150g butter (say NO to palm oil!)
1/2 cup compacted brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
Smidgen vanilla essence
1 free range egg
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup white chocolate melts

Melt the butter in the microwave (just makes it easier on your arms when stirring everything else in!) Add the sugars and essence and mix til combined. Throw in the egg and do the same, then bung in the cocoa, flour and chocolate melts (I had my hubby beat the crap out of the melts first to break them up so they'd spread through the mixture more evenly).

Spoon dollops of the mixture onto an oven tray a couple of inches apart and bake at 180c for around 15 - 20 minutes. When cooked they'll still feel soft but will firm up once cooled... On the outside, anyway. Inside they'll stay soft and chewy, like all good cookies should.

This recipe makes around 15 double choc cookies of amazing baked goodness.

I'm down to 13 now :P


Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Non-Post

Both hubby and I have been a bit crook this weekend so I haven't been my usual baking and creating self. As such, this is a non-post. A post specifically written to say I have nothing to post. Redundant? Yes, yes it is.

So until tomorrow - which will either consist of a Double Choc Cookie Recipe or Paper Picture Frame How To, depending on which I finish first, here's a photo we took while walking at our local park:

It's a bit hard to see due to the potato quality of the image, but the bottom right of the sign says: No alcohol between 11pm & 6am.

So presumably come 6:01am go get drunk at Gilpin Park! 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

My Google Husband

Last night my husband and I were typing random things into Google just to see what popped up. You know, as you do on a Friday night. Anyway, while we're busy wasting time Rob says, 'why don't people google things straight away when they think of them? Like, how come you ask me how to spell something instead of looking it up on Google?' I told him it's because he's a human, and he's there, and he says, 'yeah, but it's quicker typing it into Google and Google's there as well,' so I said, 'fine, well maybe I'll just google myself a husband and ask my Google Husband things!'

Cos this is how we argue.

A little later on Rob calls me over to his computer to show me something. He's made a little program on Java so that when you press enter a little window pops up that says 'LOVE YOU.' 'Can your Google Husband do that?' he asked.

A little while later still we're getting ready to do the dishes (cos that's just how we roll on Friday nights) when Rob says, 'don't worry sweetie, I got this. You go have a lie down.' At which point I thought to myself, I should have threatened Rob with a Google replacement years ago. But this thought was followed by the realisation that Google threat or not, my husband always offers to do the dishes, and is always making little programs to say he loves me. 

So I'm sorry, hypothetical Google Husband. Maybe if I was married to someone else we could have had a future together, but as it is you just don't stand a chance. My real-life husband is just too good.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Vegan Treats: Muesli Slice

Making vegan muesli slice is just a little bit sneaky...
A little bit devious...
A lot lazy...

Because in order to make super tasty, massively impressive vegan muesli slice you simply need to follow the recipe from my Muesli Biscuits post... And refrigerate instead of cook. 

It's that easy.

Bung all the ingredients together and press into a container, refrigerate til hard, then slice up. 

And the best part about using one recipe for two awesome vegan treats is everyone will be all like, 'wow, you're such a great cook, and you have such a variety of vegan recipes, by which I mean more than two,' and you'll be all like, 'yeah I know, I'm super awesome.'

You can't tell me it won't happen. 

So go enjoy and exploit the perks of a recipe that makes multiple vegan treats - you have my word I won't tell anyone :)

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