If you have never tried PIC microcontrollers, you can start with Microchip's 8-pin PICs. One of the most versatile type is PIC12F683. It is a 8-pin Flash based, 8bit RISC microcontroller from Microchip. This little PIC microcontroller offers up to 6 I/O pins (the remaining two are power supply pins). It needs no external oscillator, as it has an in-built oscillator with software selectable frequency from 8 MHz to 125 KHz. It also offers a feature that allows external signals to wake it upfrom the sleep state.
If you want to explore the feature of this microcontroller, here is a set of complete circuit diagrams and test projects. Visit this for more details.