Archive for June, 2012

More Stuff to take apart!

Today we got some more stuff to dismantle – a toaster, a computer keyboard and an old toy tank with remote control. I had thought that we’d do one today and save the others for other rainy days, but Sam was so into it, we spent all afternoon working through one after the other…

We have started saving the electrical bits, for example, we got three working motors out of the tank, and an on/off switch from the remote control. And we save any bits that could be recycled into little critters or anything else for that matter.

For example this rubber mat type thing came out of the keyboard…

…Sam’s idea was to cut it into a bath mat for his animals!

And this is the circuit board for the keyboard. I thought it was quite beautiful, I’ve stuck it up in the window! It makes me think of an Underground map for some futuristic city maybe, or a monochrome stained glass in a space cathedral…

And I’m planning some mosaic (watch this space), so these keys will come in nicely…


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Paris in the Spring

In April Jeremy was running the Paris marathon, so Sam and I tagged along for the ride! We didn’t actually get too involved with the marathon itself, in fact we headed for the other side of town and the Jardin de Plantes (outside the Natural History Museum), where we came upon this beautiful cherry blossom carpet.

And these glorious poppies!

We were excited to discover that one corner of the Jardin de Plantes is given over to the Menageries (the zoo), so off we went exploring…

Neither of us had actually seen real live giant tortoises before. As Sam pointed out, they were as big as sheep!

A lizard in the reptile house showing us his strange skin close-up.

Walking through the gardens toward the museum buildings, the afternoon light was beautiful.

And to top it all we found a new friend. Our very own (very adventurous) giant tortoise!

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A couple of months ago Sam got really into volcanoes. We visited the permanent volcano exhibition at the British Museum, and started reading lots about them, finding out about the different types, and looking them up on Google Earth (we found Etna in Sicily, and Kilauea in the Hawaiian Islands, among others). These are some of Sam’s pictures:

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Don’t throw it away, take it apart!!

Our old DVD player had given up the ghost…

So we decided to have a look inside…

It was like a whole new world!…

Sam got to work straight away with the pliers cutting out as many wires and bits as he could.

An hour later we had lots of little components which we weren’t quite sure what to do with…

Ah but then we got an idea… little creatures of course!

I’m so glad we didn’t just throw it away. Can’t wait for the next household appliance to break now! Just kidding đŸ˜‰

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Freezing Fire

Sam had the idea that he wanted to freeze fire. So this is what we came up with…

We made some cut out flames from thin card and pushed them onto cocktail sticks. We pushed the cocktail sticks into a piece of polystyrene that Sam wanted to include in the experiment. We sat that in a big pot of water, with some food coloring in it for effect. But of course it floated, and we wanted the flames and the polystyrene under the water…

…so we turned it upside down (the flames were now in the water), and put the pot lid on upside down, so that the handle held everything under the water. Then we put the whole thing in the freezer.

Next day we had this.

It was fascinating – some really beautiful patterns had formed in the ice.

We put the whole thing in warm water to loosen it out of the pot.

It looked like a big birthday cake! It was frozen onto the handle which now became a stand.

And here is the frozen fire!

And some details of the ice.

It really was worth taking the time to look at the details in the ice and the patterns which had formed.

Now we started t melt the ice on top

It was in essence a very simple experiment but it really was fascinating to watch how the ice behaved. We really did feel like in our own way we had frozen fire!

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