Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nerd Minny Farms

After Heather and Melissa experimented with a vegetable patch last year, my 18-month hiatus from gardening started ending. There I was, watering and weeding when Heather and Melissa weren't looking. Then, over the winter I read books such as The Urban Homestead and Independence Days. Now that the snow is off the yard (for now...) I went out and did some digging!

Mind you, I'm not following any of the books or websites to the letter, so don't follow me! I'm just improvising with the materials I have on hand. However, I seem to have planned ahead by spending the winter at Snap Fitness because I can't believe I did so much shoveling without getting tired. Yeah, weightlifting!



There was leftover chickenwire from last summer so I placed it at the bottom of the pit to deter some vermin...you know who you are...



I then added mulchy dead leaves and one kitty-litter bucketful of compost collected from Maison Faribault over the winter. It was frozen most of the time but I figure it will decompose faster now that it's in the pit.



Similar to Brown That Banana's charity work, here's a close-up of the compost that you can save and make for your computer's desktop image:


I added some more mulchy dead leaves and some of the dirt I dug up, minus all the rocks.


Now, for a raised bed in gardening you want some 2x4s, planks, nails, etc. But then, a friend said, 'Why? Just get a crappy old flat-pack bookcase off Craigslist and gut it!'

Genius! So Tuesday I found an odd sort of filing shelf with cardboard innards. It was conveniently discarded next to the dumpster by one of the buildings in my office complex. I carried it a few yards to my car and brought it home.



Yes, that is firewood in the box! I'm hoping it keeps the squirrels from stealing the compost before it's time to plant. We'll see...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Great Activision Decathlon Cross Stitch!

Growing up my brother loved playing Activision's 'Decathlon' on the Atari. I couldn't understand how he could just sit there and wiggle the joystick forever making a little man run around a track. Thrilling! He played it so much, keeping the top of the classic Atari joystick in the center of his palm, that when he got sick, a sort of fungus or whatever made a deep impression: a square with rounded corners...

So for his birthday I decided I'd make him a cross stitch image of this classic video game. I am a needlenerd so this part made sense...at the time. Now that I'm done, I feel like I've made the little man run around the track! At least to save my thumb from impressions I bought a thimble before it was too late.

To start I found a number of 'Decathlon' screenshots at AtariAge such as hurdles and high jump, two events that my brother competed in for high school and college.



The few-bit resolution of this game lends itself perfectly to counted cross stitch, so I simply counted out what I needed and plotted them in my Whitelines Wire A4 Squared Notebook. Yeah, that's right, I took a damaged sample from work. I couldn't help it! It's the perfect graphing paper for such projects!!!


After determining colors to use from my massive collection of cross stitch thread, I then took what I drew on the graphing paper and plugged them into a spreadsheet, allowing me to just copy and paste the parts that would be repetitive.

Months later, and months LATE (it was for my brother's birthday, after all), I stitched according to my printed pattern while watching TV or listening to The Archers or whatever. And behold!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Free Cross Stitch 4 U & Your Digital Devices & Digital Vices

Months late, I recently finished my brother's birthday gift and will blarg about it later. Meanwhile, I've made a free cross stitch pattern for anyone who finds this amusing enough to cross stitch on their own.

Instead of 'Think before you speak,' comes:



I obviously don't follow this advice myself, but it would be nice if I did.