Tag Archives: photos

Jang the Careful (Cat Propaganda) — Storiform.com

“Oh, I’m such a stinky little cat. Stinky, stinky, stinky!”

Jang the Careful (Cat Propaganda) — Storiform.com

Just had to reblog this graphic story because it made me laugh OUT LOUD! It also cheered me up immensely. I defy you to read this and keep a straight face. You’re welcome. 🙂

Apricot cake & triple-choc-biscuits

I remembered to take some photos this time so here are our latest baking creations [recipes follow for those so inclined]:

First up, the apricot cake:

All the apricots in the cake came from our own harvest, which was quite spectacular. These are photos of what we picked five days ago:

and these:

The total haul has probably been twice that much, all of it with a sweetness you have to taste to believe. We literally have apricots coming out of our ears. This is a pic of the compote we preserved:

The instrument of torture in the foreground is for removing boiling hot bottles from the sterilizing water. Worth every penny!

And finally the biscuits [cookies to my US friends]:

The odd lumps in the middle are whole pieces of chocolate [some dark some dairy milk] that bake with the biscuits. Like my chocolate mousse cake, this is something we don’t make often because it, too, is death-by-chocolate. If you scroll down to the recipe you’ll see why. I may have to go on a starvation diet once the last of the indulgences are eaten. 🙂


Apricot Cake 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C [165 C if using fan forced] or 360 F.
  2. Lightly grease a 10″ [ 25 cm] diameter ringform cake tin and line the bottom with grease proof baking paper.
  3. Separate four large eggs. Place the yolks into a small bowl and the whites into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add 75 gm of caster sugar to the egg whites, plus a tiny pinch of salt, and beat on high until shiny and very stiff. Set aside in a cool place but not the fridge. You do not need to wash the beaters.
  5. In a second mixing bowl, place 200 gm of room temperature, unsalted butter and another 75 gm of caster sugar.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar until it’s pale and creamy.
  7. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  8. Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the creamed butter. Do not over mix.
  9. Sift 200 gm of self raising flour and fold into the butter/egg mix. The cake mix will be quite firm. Only fold until it’s just combined.
  10. Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and gently press to the edges.
  11. Lightly press fresh apricot halves all over the top of the cake mix. [I used about 3/4 of a kilo of fruit. If you want to use less, reduce the baking time a little to compensate].
  12. Place the cake in the middle of a preheated oven and bake for approx. 45 – 50 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking.
  13. As the cake cooks it will rise up around the fruit. The cake is cooked when it shrinks slightly from the sides of the baking dish and/or a skewer pressed into the middle comes out clean [i.e. not sticky-gooey].
  14. Take the cake out of the over and allow to stand, in the baking dish, for about 5 minutes.
  15. Remove the outer ringform and place the cake [still on the bottom of the pan] onto a wire rack.
  16. Using the baking paper, gentle ease the cake off the bottom of the pan and onto the rack.
  17. When the cake is a bit cooler, and firmer, you can finally ease it off the baking paper as well. I wait until the cake is cool and then ease it straight onto the serving platter I intend to use.
  18. Dust the top of the cake with a little icing sugar [optional] and serve on its own or with cream. Bon appetit!

Triple Choc Biscuits

The main ingredient of this recipe is chocolate. I kid you not, a total of 500 gms of chocolate! 😀

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C [375 F] or about 175 C if using fan forced.
  2. Prepare the baking trays you will use to bake the biscuits. We used an Avanti biscuit press to make the smaller biscuits and discovered it does NOT work on baking paper; the biscuit dough has to be pressed directly onto the baking tray. We also made large, manual ‘balls’ of dough. These we placed on baking paper.
  3. Chop approx. 450 gm of dark cooking chocolate or a mix of dark and milk chocolate. We used 1/2 and 1/2 of Plaistowe Dark and Dairy Milk Chocolate. Reserve approx. 50 gm for the choc chip ‘dots’.
  4. Gently melt the 450 gms of chocolate with 125 gms of unsalted butter. [In the past, I’ve also use Slightly Salted Butter and simply omitted the salt later on]. You can use a microwave or simply use a bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water on the stove.
  5. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in 1/2 a cup of caster sugar. It will look quite granular.
  6. Next, stir in 3 large, whole eggs, one at a time.
  7. Finally, sift 1 1/4 cups of plain flour with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a good pinch of salt. [If using slightly salted butter, omit the pinch of salt].
  8. Add the flour mix to the chocolate mix and stir until just combined.
  9. Cover the dough with cling wrap and place in the fridge for up to 1 hour [minimum of 10 minutes].
  10. Remove the dough from the the fridge and use a biscuit press to mould the biscuits.
  11. If you don’t have a biscuit press, scoop out a spoonful of dough with a spoon, very lightly roll into a ball and place the ball on the baking paper covered tray.
  12. Leave enough room on the tray for the biscuits to expand as they bake.
  13. When all the biscuits have been formed, gently press a small knob of chocolate into the middle of each biscuit and bake.
  14. For the Avanti biscuits, baking time should be no more that 6 minutes.
  15. For the hand-rolled balls, baking time should be around 10 minutes.
  16. The biscuits will still be a little soft when you take them out of the oven. Leave them on the baking tray until they firm up.
  17. Place biscuits on wire racks to finish cooling. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days [if they last that long]. 🙂

Oh, and…enjoy!




Baby kitten photos – my furbabies

All the blame for this post belongs to Marian Allen. 🙂

From top to bottom:




Snuggling up to Missy the dog is Golli.

A portrait of Buffa:

A portrait of Golli:


And this is Harry playing Mae West:

And finally, Pixie, who left us too soon:

My babies. 🙂


Beautiful photos of decaying buildings

I blame Esme-‘pon-Cloud for this post. She sent me a link to the most amazing photos. If you like wandering through ruins, trying to imagine what they might have looked like, you will love these pics!

Decadence in Decay - These spots are the best, lots of decay and everything left behind. Urbex gold !

I particularly love the ones where the buildings have lost their roofs and nature has marched straight in. It feels so right.

Click the photo above to be taken to the entire set. Be warned though, once you start, it’ll be very hard to stop. :p

Happy Sunday!



DIY silver foil photos [update]

My scrunched aluminium photos didn’t work terrible well, but Dawn sent me some pics of real silver:

Going to have a play with them tomorrow. Fingers crossed. 🙂

* * *

I was searching online for photos of silver foil to use as a texture in the Innerscape cover when I had a light bulb moment – why pay for someone else’s graphic when I have metres of aluminium foil in the draw?

This is a screenshot of the five photos I took in the kitchen:

I lightly crushed the foil before positioning it in various places to achieve different light effects and angles. I’m still a lousy photographer, but I hope these pics allow me to create a true metallic effect for the ‘wires’ on the circuit board. And the best part is, if it turns out to be an absymal failure, it won’t have cost me anything but time. 🙂



How to transfer photos from Samsung Galaxy SII to the PC – update Nov. 10, 2013

Since posting my little how-to back in March, 2013, I’ve had a number of people commenting that the instructions did not work for them. With help from other commenters, and a lot of time on the technical forums, I’ve seen a pattern emerge. Basically, most of the problems are not to do with the Samsung phone itself, but with the Android operating system the phone uses.

In simple terms, Android is to the Samsung what Windows is to the PC, except that there seem to be far more versions of the Android – even within the same model of Samsung phone.

The original how-to I wrote works for Android version 4.0.3. ONLY.

To find out what version of the Android software your phone uses, go to Applications, then Settings, then About Phone [down the bottom of the menu list].

Now, if your version of Android is earlier than 4.0.3 – say 2.0 or 3.0 – then there is a good chance the reason you cannot transfer photos to the PC is because your phone came with only 1 cable. In these earlier versions, this one cable was supposed to work for both charging the phone and transferring data.

Over time, this cable can become slightly damaged. It may still charge the phone, but it can no longer transfer data.

The solution we [other commenters and I] have found was to try a dedicated data transfer cable. They are relatively inexpensive so worth a try. If the new cable works then you know the problem was with the cable rather than the phone.

Another problem we discovered was that for some versions, the process works BUT apparently you have to try it THREE times in a row before it ‘clicks’. I have no idea why that should be, but more than one commenter has said it works.

Finally, we have the issue of people whose version is more recent than 4.0.3. In particular, those running Android version 4.0.4.

Apparently, this version of Android does not have the USB option at all.

“Samsung removed the USB mass storage option in the ICS update, instead moving entirely to MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) for file transfers.”


The ICS update mentioned in the quote above is the update to 4.0.4.

In searching for info on this Media Transfer Protocol [MTP] I stumbled across a workaround. Before people get too excited, however, this workaround is for the Samsung Galaxy S3 running the 4.0.4 software, not the S2. Moreover, the workaround is for transferring photos from the S3 to Linux, not Windows.

The core of the workaround seems to be to use the ‘Camera [PTP]’ option instead of MTP.

If you follow the link below, it will take you to a step-by-step guide [with screenshots] on using this workaround. The person who posted the guide is called Rocksockdoc, and the post is ‘permalink #12’, so you will have to scroll down a bit until you find it.


Unfortunately I can’t experiment with the workaround because my version doesn’t support it, so I cannot recommend that anyone tries it. However if someone does try it, could you please let us know whether it worked or not? If the workaround works it could save a lot of frustrated users.

And last but not least, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on the original post. The success stories all made my day, and the not so successful stories motivated me to learn more about smart phones than I otherwise might have done. Thank you so much for your support.



Samsung Galaxy SII – extra instructions

When I wrote the original guide – how-to transfer photos from the Samsung Galaxy SII mobile phone to the computer – I left out the steps that happen on your computer because there are now so many versions of Windows floating around.

Since then I’ve had a number of people emailing me for help on the Windows side of things. The following how-to is for Windows XP users.

Samsung Galaxy SII – the missing Windows XP steps

Important : the following steps can only happen once the Samsung Galaxy SII has been correctly attached to your computer –  i.e. your computer ‘sees’ your phone and can control it in the same way it controls the mouse or keyboard.

Step 1   If all has worked so far, this is the first screen you should see on your computer :

windows wizard

Click the Next button to continue.

Step 2   The computer should find the pictures on the Samsung and display them.

windows wizard 2

Note : The small green checkbox on the top right-hand corner of each individual photo contains a green tick. This indicates the photo has been selected for transfer to your computer. You can uncheck the pictures you don’t want to transfer by clicking the checkbox [it’s like a light switch, click once for on, click a second time for off]. When you are done, click Next.

Step 3   The next screen is to select the folder where you want the transferred photos to go on your computer. The important thing here is to take note of where that folder is so you can find your photos after you have transferred them.

windows wizard 3

Click OK to select the folder, and then Next to continue.

Step 4   This screen shows you the folder location on your computer AND it gives you the option to create a family name for all the photos being transferred. So for example, I chose to call them ‘Wedding photos’ so each individual photo will be called Wedding Photo 1, Wedding Photo 2, etc.

windows wizard 4

Click Next to continue.

Step 5   When your photos have finished being transferred, you will get the option to do some other task. Just click the ‘Nothing. I’m finished working with these pictures’ button, and then click Next.

windows wizard 5

You’ve now finished transferring your photos to your computer, but your Samsung Galaxy SII phone is still connected to your computer by the USB cable. You should now return to the original guide to safely disconnect your phone from the computer. Do NOT just yank the USB cable out!

I am currently using Windows 7 so if anyone is desperate, please email me via the Contacts page and I’ll write a quick post for Windows 7 users as well.

If there are any Windows 8 users out there who would be prepared to take screenshots, and write up a post for their systems, I’d be delighted to link to your posts.

As always, please let me know if you find any mistakes or have any problems. I’d also love to know if there have been any success stories!



How to use the USB cable to transfer photos from the Samsung Galaxy S II to Windows XP

I recently posted a very unhappy article about my Samsung Galaxy S II phone, and how I could not use the USB cable to upload photos from the phone to my pc. Well… now I know how to do it and I thought I’d share.  😀

Before I begin, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the girl at Virgin Mobile who took my call, and walked me through the process with understanding and patience. It took a while so… thank you!

Now, the very first thing you have to do is make sure the Galaxy S II’s USB cord is NOT connected to your pc. If it is, none of the following steps, or screenshots will make any sense. More importantly, the process will not work because there is a strict sequence of events that must happen before you plug in the USB cable. I’m serious. UNPLUG IT!

Step 1. Turn on your Galaxy SII and swipe the screen to unlock it. [I did warn you this would be basic].

Step 2. Tap the ‘Applications’ icon on the main screen

Step 3. Inside the ‘Applications’ menu, tap the ‘Settings’ icon

Step 4. You should now be looking at the Settings menu. Right at the top there should be a category called ‘Wireless and Network’. I have circled it in yellow.

galaxy 1

For some reason known only to Samsung, the name of the category is in very small type and easy to miss.

Under ‘Wireless and Network’ you will see options starting with ‘Wi-Fi’, and ending with ‘More’.  I have circled this in red. Tap ‘More’.

Step 5. Under the  ‘More’ menu you will see a new set of options, including ‘USB utilities’. Tap ‘USB utilities’.

Step 6. Under ‘USB utilities’ you will see just one option – ‘USB mass storage’.

Beneath that you will see an icon telling you to ‘Connect Storage to pc’.

Tap the ‘Connect Storage to pc’ icon as shown below.

galaxy 3

Step 7. Finally, you will see ‘USB utilities – Connect USB cable to use mass storage’.

galaxy 4

At last you can CONNECT THE CABLE!!!!

Once you connect the USB cable from the phone to the pc,  you will hear your pc make a noise to alert you to the fact you have connected a new device.

On the phone, you will see a new screen.

galaxy 5

Step 8. Tap the ‘Turn on USB storage’ icon and then tap the ‘OK’ icon as shown below.

galaxy 6

Step 9. From this point onwards, you will have to follow the Windows Wizard to transfer the photos to the folder of your choice.  These should be fairly easy to follow, however if anyone needs help I can send you the screenshots by email.

Step 10. When you have finished transferring your photos, you will see the following screen on your phone.

galaxy 7

To unmount [or eject] your phone from the pc, look on the taskbar of your pc for the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon [as shown in the following screenshot].

safely remove hardware 1

Step 11. Right click the icon and follow the Windows prompts.

When you see the following Windows message you are ready to go back to the phone for the last step.

safely remove hardware 2

Step 12. On your phone you can now tap the ‘Turn OFF USB storage’ icon as shown in the first graphic under Step 10. And finally, disconnect the USB cable.

Phew. We’re done. The whole process is a bit convoluted but once you get used to it it’s bearable. Just.



Alpacas and other friends

I’ve mentioned the alpacas in passing before, usually in connection with their role as lawnmowers, so as they seemed to steal the show I decided to dedicate a post to the weird four-legs who share this place with us. And I have photos!

Duh...you rang?

This bright fellow is Andy. He was born here and is still a cria [baby alpaca]. He is the most curious, and playful one of the herd but we’re  not quite sure whether that is a sign of intelligence or not as he really isn’t terribly smart in other ways. So far he’s wandered into the fish pond at least three times and still seems to have identity issues.


Can't you see I'm eating?

Allow me to introduce Andy’s mum. Like all three of the adult alpacas [2 females and 1 male] she is not a snuggly. They tolerate us humans, especially when we come bearing gifts of lucerne but none of them can understand why roses are off limits. Their penchant for snacking on roses, thorns and all, has forced me to fence off the special areas where I’ve actually managed to grow something other than grass.

In the two years we’ve had them the alpacas and I have forged an uneasy partnership. They eat the grass, poop and act as guard beasts and I bring out the lucerne or yell at them. What can I say? It works.

Damn paparazzi....

You’re going to have to look closely at this photo to see the echidna [porcupine] disappearing behind my neighbour’s chook shed [chicken coop?]. Despite being about the size of a small dog and not built for sprinting [s]he managed to avoid my camera with real style. You can see by the quills all over his back why this guy has managed to avoid being lunch for the local foxes and/or dogs. Cute but definitely not a snuggly!


And now for some photos of my very snuggly babies! And before everyone groans and clicks away they all have four legs and really are cute!

Mogi - our new baby

This tiny bundle of ears and fur is Mogi [short for Mogwai], the newest addition to our family. I’m including this photo because it shows just how very small she was at 3 months. It also shows the strange 3 colour fur she had back then. Black at the tips, pale in the middle and tan near the body. Perhaps it was mother nature advertising her chihuahua/maltese/shi tzu pedigree? She was an adorable but odd looking puppy that’s for sure.

3/4 profile?

This is Mogi at one. She is still tiny and won’t get any bigger but she thinks she’s a real dog and guards the cats [and us] with the dedication of a doberman pinzer. She even tries to herd the alpacas but they just ignore her, except for Andy who wants to play soccer with her. He hasn’t scored any goals yet – she’s much too quick!

And now to segue into the feline members of the household, I give you Pippi and Mogi, getting some well earned rest on my recliner.

Pippi and her pillow..ahem I mean her dog

Pippi is the matriarch of the cats and the mother of Buffa, Golly, Harry and Pixie [sadly no longer with us]. We got her as a scrawny, scruffy abandonned 5 week old kitten desperate for a home. She was so desperate for affection that she charmed our two old dogs into accepting her into their pack. That was one reason we allowed her to have a litter. The reason we kept the whole litter was that… bah never mind.

Pippi is still needy but as you can see she now has a dog to call her own again. 🙂

And now in alphabetical order are da boyz.

Buffa making a point

Meet Buffa. He is the smartest and most generous of all the cats. We call him the Momma Poppa with good reason. When he and Harry went off together to lose their crown jewels I asked that the vet put them in the same cage after the operation. Harry was traumatized and hid under a blanket. Buffa cuddled up to him and groomed him despite having just had the chop himself. And when Golly was knocked over by a car and suffered brain damage, Buffa was the first one to accept him, despite poor Golly’s ‘strange’ behaviour. Once Golly had learned to feed himself and walk in a straight line again it was Buffa who decided that he must be taught how to hunt, so that was when he began bringing live mice into the house and dropping them at Golly’s feet. It took quite a while and more scampering mice than I care to think about but now that brain damaged cat who is about 80% blind can catch mice himself.

The one bad moment we have had with Buffa was when we first introduced him to Mogi. Now you have to understand that Buffa is big enough and strong enough to catch [and eat] baby rabbits [only the wild kind!]. When he saw Mogi with her bats ears flattened against her head she must have looked just like a rabbit because he went into pounce mode. But just as we were about to dive to the rescue he sniffed her and relaxed. Since that inauspicious beginning they have become best buddies. Except when it comes to Mogi’s big fluffy pillow [seen to the right of the photo]. Buffa wants that pillow. He wants it bad and grabs it whenever he can, ignoring all of Mogi’s requests to ‘get the hell out of my bed!’. When I snapped this shot Mogi was in possession of the pillow and so Buffa shoe-horned himself into her old and very small basket to show how inappropriate their bedding arrangements were!

Come hither...

This is Harry. In some ways he has always been my favourite because he is so loving. Unfortunately when Golly came back after the accident Harry was just freaked out and he has stayed freaked out ever since.  The arrival of Mogi did not help. Harry loved our old dogs but they were slow and gentle. Mogi is as quick as a ferret and her idea of play is to chase the cats around the yard and chew on their whiskers. So now Harry only comes in at dinner time and is hard to catch with the camera which is why this photo is a shot from his teenage years.

Golly - doing what a cat's gotta do

And last but by no means least is Golly. A black cat half hidden by a black jacket on a black chair… I know, I know, I’m a lousy photographer but Golly seems to disappear into the background no matter where he is!

Golly is my miracle boy. He was hit by a car just outside our property at 10 o’clock one night. He was left there in the middle of the road. Then a true Good Samaritan came along with her daughter and they took him to the local vet. When the vet found the microchip he rang me. We got there in five minutes flat.

Despite having fractured hips and a nasty blow to the head Golly still knew me and that was all I needed to know. After losing so many of my furkids to that damn road I was not going to lose this one. So Golly had xrays and was put on a drip. He was given a special drug to help the swelling in his brain to go down. For a week he teetered on the brink and then he started to get better.

When I came to pick Golly up, Jen our lovely vet nurse joked that Golly was a child with special needs. Well he was that and more. For a month after he came home I had to push food into his mouth and give him water through a syringe. He could walk but only in circles. Yet through it all he snuggled whenever I picked him up, purring the whole time like a jet engine.

Now 18 months later Golly can jump up on things, run and even catch mice. He is a healthy, beautiful, incredibly loving boy with a fierce will to live. All of my furkids are special but Golly is unique. He may be brain-damaged and almost completely blind but you’d never know it just by looking at him. More importantly he is a happy chappie who proves the old adage that while there is life there is hope.  That’s a lesson I won’t forget.

Cheers All!


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