‘Mindy’ the Panda

Posted in Sewing on February 28th, 2007 by Bec

Sewing lesson number 4….. well, I had planned to make something human to wear, but I just could not find a pattern or the material that I liked. So the hunt must go on.

So in adding to the toy collection I made a panda. Which I have to say is quite cute, and it’s a girl panda too. One observation if you make it, is to make sure you read the instructions clearly, it takes a bit to interpret them sometimes. Either that or we are just plain thick! Oh and make sure you line things up properly or you will have a crooked head…. and you’ll just have to unpick it and sew again! She’s looking pretty symmetrical to me though!


The Start of the Forest…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on February 24th, 2007 by Coffee

2 weeks on, and the first of the chilli plants to pop their heads up are going to need to be transplanted into some little pots tomorrow. They’re just about hitting the top of the seed lid cover! They are actually a lot bigger than they look in the photo below.

I’m really happy that I seem to have the knack of sprouting the seeds though. Some people seem to have all sorts of trouble, but they always seem to come up pretty quickly for me. I planted 12 (ish) of each of the 4 types, so I’ll have far, far too many plants for the window sills we’ve got if they all sprout! I suspect the hard part is going to be keeping track of which is which soon.

If you’re interested in which are doing what (and even if you’re not), it’s like this…

  • Riot: These are the most advanced. They were the first up, have the most up, and are the tallest so far, not surprisingly.
  • Ring of Fire: These are the next most advanced. Not quite so many up, but the ones that are are starting to overtake the Riots.
  • Zimbabwe Bird Pepper: These were fairly slow to get going, and the ones that have come up are a lot smaller than the first 2 types.
  • Prarie Fire: These have been the slowest of the lot to poke their heads up. In fact they haven’t really. Though I can see the start of the shoots appearing at ground level… Shouldn’t be long now!

So. There you have it! All the goss!

And yes. This is the most exciting thing that’s happened in the last week. Still, at least it’s more interesting than watching grass grow…


Spring Happened Overnight?

Posted in Plants and Gardens on February 21st, 2007 by Coffee

Last night just before I went to bed I checked the chilli seeds. No action visible. This morning when I checked them (yes, I do that, just don’t think I’m that obsessed OK?) most of them have popped their little heads up!


And when I walked out the front door, the first of the crocus bulbs has got a flower-to-be head thingee on it, again overnight!

Only thing is, I’d like just a little bit more snow, please, before we get rid of winter for the year? Please?!

Two Way Communication!

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on February 21st, 2007 by Coffee

Moving on from the Hello World stage, I now have 2 way comms between the PC and the mess of bits below! Now as well as saying Hello World, the little chip will listen for me to press keys on the PC and, um, turn lights on based on what key is pressed!

Amazing, riveting stuff, aye?!

But keeps me amused, entertained, and certainly taxes my brain a bit in problem solving. Just what I need after another day at the office…


Hello World!

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on February 19th, 2007 by Coffee

Right, enough of cutesy animals! Back to the geeky stuff for a minute!

Today I finally stopped reading electronic component datasheets etc. all the time and actually got around to putting together a bit of hardware to see if I’d actully learnt anything practical. I thought I’d see if I could get the little Microchip Pic microcontrollers to talk to the PC through a serial connection.

And it worked! When it’s turned on it prints out This is bought to you by a MIcrochip Pic and then Hello World! every 2 seconds in a terminal on the PC until I get sick of it and turn it off. Then turn it back on again to make sure it still works!

Oh, and of course it’s got a couple of flashing lights, just to show it’s actually working…

Bec wasn’t that impressed. She tried. But I was a lot more enthusiastic about her toys, I think. I’ll have to do something much more impressive, I suspect, before I’ll get more than a “that’s nice dear”. Oh well. We’ll see.

I’m just relieved it actaully worked!  Now to work out something useful for it to do.

They’re Breeding!

Posted in Sewing on February 18th, 2007 by Coffee

It must be the introduction of the rabbit to to the house, but the soft toys seem to be breeding! Today Fergus the Highland moo-cow appeared from nowhere!


He’s pretty cute too. George might have a bit of competition…

I guess one day soon some proper sewing might have to be done, but for now it’s actually quite a lot of fun to see all the pets appear. Though we’ve not really got the room for all of them,and we might need to find homes for them all soon. If we can bring ourselves to give them up. Though in the case of the bunny, that might be a bit difficult. It might scare people…

A Bunny Buddy for George

Posted in Sewing on February 17th, 2007 by Coffee

The sewing practice continued with another addition to the household menagerie appearing from a collection of bits of cloth (and an old pillow). Meet Bindy, a fat bunny of our own.


Not so big, but definitely fat! So fat, in fact, that we thought something had gone horribly wrong with our working out of which bits had to go where. Which was even harder than last time. And over the sounds of the sewing machine, towards the end, I heard this hysterical laughter coming from the sewing machine area and look over to find Bec with tears streaming down her face, saying ‘it looks like an owl’, between laughs. But now we think it looks a bit like a Pokemon from front on. But we’re pretty sure that we got it right and the picture they had on the front must have been a completely different pattern…

But I think she knows she’s a bit fat, and so has a bit of a grumpy, “why you looking at me”, indignant look on her face.

George is way cooler. But at least he’s got a friend to play with now….

Gardening Day – Part II

Posted in Plants and Gardens on February 11th, 2007 by Coffee

As it’s so mild lately, as we got so domesticated with the front garden this morning, and as I just want some early chillis to eat, I decided to plant this year’s batch of chilli seeds. It also gives me a good chance to plant some more in case these ones just don’t grow. Not that they would do that to me, of course!

This year’s choices are: Prarie Fire, Riot, Zimbabwe Bird Pepper, and some more Ring of Fire. So you can look forward (hopefully) to a lot more on them soon!

I know you’re looking forward to it! As if you have a choice!

A Puppy Called George

Posted in Sewing on February 11th, 2007 by Coffee

Bec’s Christmas present last year was a sewing machine, apparently needed so that she doesn’t keep having to pay to get all her new trousers taken up.

To learn how to use it she decided that some soft toys would be a good introduction. The fool! And after a fair bit of head scratching by both of us to work out just how all the bits fit together we end up with George the puppy! Why George? I haven’t been told a reason if there is one… But it filled in Bec’s Sunday, and I have to say I was very impressed with her dedication and lack of cursing!

And I like George. He’s actually quite cute, and I’ve told her she can’t give him away! Oh and the sewing looks good too!

George the Puppy

Gardening Day

Posted in Plants and Gardens on February 11th, 2007 by Coffee

In the last few days as I’ve been coming in the front door I’ve started to see some signs of life in the 9 plant pots sitting out there. Well, some life that isn’t weeds or grass clumps. A lot of bulbs and things that we put in there last year, along with a smattering of crocus bulbs that we inherited, have all seemed to decide it’s time to have a look at the new year. Which, given that all the other plants died last year in our drought, is a bit of a relief.

So we thought we’d better actually give them a bit of room to be able to see, as well as actually get some sunlight! Out came the big scissors and the gloves (the neghbourhood cats seem to think that our pots are a great place to poo when they’re empty of plants – partly why we’ve let all the weeds and dead trees and things sit there) and we were off.

Kind of! I suspect that there will be a fair bit of desensitisation needed for someone judging by the squeals as a big worm came from somewhere if we’re to look after a 10 acre plot! Mind you, it was a very, very big worm! How it ended up in a pot on our doorstep, I’m not quite sure. But I left it there. Hope it’s happy!

Now we just have to keep them free of cats and weeds for the next few months until we can let them all go again for another year…