Friday, January 30, 2009

Quick before bed update

Tonight Moira's gonna rock you
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Willow has been visiting for the last week, and will be here for the next week while Walker is in London. Score!
I've been getting lots of sewing done, and may even get Walker's brother's quilt done before his birthday on the 4th. It will still be late, because it has to get to Michigan, but whatever.
Walker and I went out for our first solo date after the baby arrived. I got drunk on beer and rum. Yum.
I keep slicing my fingers while cooking/sewing.
Moira likes to shriek while we play Rock Band. I think she's got the right idea.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More snow

We just came back from picking up Willow in Canada where the snow is still in 2 foot high piles from all the shoveling and plowing, and now it's snowing here. That seemed like a perfect time to take a picture of the snowdrops I bought at the Arboretum.


21. Snowdrops
Already knew: These flowers are called Snowdrops partly because they are white and look like little drops of snow and partly because they show up in late January/ early February and you see them peeping through the snow. They are a bulb and self replicate in little clusters. If you want to transplant them, you can gently break the clusters apart. They like to be planted under trees because they like leaf mulch and shade.
Recently learned: Snowdrops are thought to be native to Brittan or brought there y the Romans. Some Snowdrops are threatened in their native habitats, and are illegal to collect bulbs in some countries. I'm guessing this isn't one of those countries, since I was allowed to buy them. If you want to spread the bulbs out, you should do that while they are dormant. Which means that if I want to spread them out next year, I have to do it when there are no leaves, so I probably won't. Snowdrop appears in Homer's Oddessy as the magical herb moly. It contains a substance called galantamine that Circe used as a poison, but that has shown to be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. The same substance is in Daffodils and Narcissus.


22. Algae
Already knew: Algae usually grows in still water, but sometimes the stupid things we do to the environment will cause a bloom of toxic algae in otherwise supposedly healthy water. Our algae looked really cool in the big snowstorm we had when it all iced over.
Recently learned: Algae lacks the structures of land plants, like roots and leaves. The word Algae means seaweed in Latin. Although some people think it's related to the Latin word for cold. Since I don't have any idea what kind of Algae this is, I can't really learn much more about it that's not mind numbingly scientific.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

State of the Moira

Mmmmm tasty
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira is officially in the stage where she is a handful. She has stopped falling over so often, which makes her more willing to wander all over the house and get into things. In the past few days I have; fished her out of the laundry closet, watched her try to open a drawer in the kitchen, picked up the books she pulls off the shelf 10 times and wandered around the kitchen twice before finding her. I could hear her and I knew she was in there somewhere, but I couldn't see her. She was over by the garage door.
She's also started to babble more. She likes to say "dadadadat!" when she's happy, and when she is fussy she cries and crawls over to me saying "maomaom." She is also trying to get the hang of "ta" sounds, because I like to say "Tada!" and raise her hands in the air when I'm showing her how to crawl off the bed safely. And also sometimes, just because it's fun.
Lastly, she's now into dinner. We give her chunks of food from our dinner (still mostly veggies and meat, sometimes rice or barley) and she actually puts in her mouth and chews and attempts to swallow, and when her piece is gone she gets annoyed and demands more. She's started to get fussy around dinner time now, a state that seems to only be fixed by sticking her in the high chair.
We got a new stroller (my first finished goal from my 101 things list!) that will actually go through the woods, so we tried that out to go to the store today. It seemed to be a hit (after the initial fussing because I was putting her in a strange object) after the second time we went bumping over tree roots.

Later then I expected

Stuffed blocks

I wanted to make a post about the presents I made for Christmas, but I only just got the last of them to the recipient (Hi pearl!) so I had to wait.
I made these 6 stuffed blocks for Moira. Each side is a different fabric, so there's lots of fun things to look at. I was originally going to make giant plushy dice, but I made the 6 sider too big, and I was intimidated by the 8 sider. I'll try to get them done for her birthday instead. They would be too big for her to play with right now anyway.

Mika & Andrew

This is the cross stitch I designed for my sister's 15th anniversary (Oct 07), obviously, I didn't get it done in time, but it was finished for Christmas this year. Now I need to make it into a pillow. The original art was drawn by my brother-in-law (See his other art here). We have a long and silly history of collaborations. I have a whole folder full of pictures he drew of a super hero comic Sika and I wrote back in Middle School. The wedding picture was originally for a autobiography I had to write for a women's studies class. We were allowed to do it in any style we wanted, so I did a picture book.
I also designed a book about Moira's first 6 months of life to give to the grandparents and great grandparents and etc. The service I used was Blurb, and I really liked their book creator. Plus, it lets you keep the book private or list it for sale (which I did, in case extra people wanted copies).

Pearl's bag

I went to a quilt store a few months ago with pearl and her daughter and the whole time, pearl was saying "I LOVE batiks!" So I figured she needed something. I tried to find cobalt blue to make things for her kitchen, but that's a ridiculously hard color to find. Instead I found this pretty purple and made her a tote bag and a reusable coffee sleeve. I was worried that the coffee sleeve would be too snug (mine is) but hers was perfect.

Reusable produce bags

I also made some reusable net produce bags (purple for pearl, green for me and white for my Mom) I meant to take a picture of a single white one, since that would have shown up better on the floor, but I guess I forgot. I like mine a lot, although I'm planning on chopping some of them in half. I made them really long, which is perfect for carrots with leafy tops or lettuce, but slight overkill for beans. Unless you want to buy 10 lbs of beans or something.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Foggy foggy day

fog needle
Originally uploaded by eyemage
Yesterday we had plans to take family photos with my parents and sister and brother in law at a park with a good view of the Space Needle. Too bad it was freezing cold and super foggy. I really have no idea how Andrew got this clear of a shot of the Needle. Moira was groggy and cranky from being woken up early and then missing her nap for the shoot, so I will be surprised if there are any pictures of her smiling. She made it through the session and breakfast at the Five Spot, and then crashed out in the car when we took Walker to the train station.
This February, I'm taking part in Crunchy Chicken's food waste reduction challenge. As I was reading her post I was sitting here with half a bowl of oatmeal and trying to decide if it was worth saving or I should just chuck it in the compost. I guess that answered my question.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pictures of sunlight

Today was such a grey day. At least it was in the morning, which is when I was out. Although when I had to stand around the car while we waited for Dad to come rescue us, I had plenty of time to stand around in the sunshine. But more on that later.
On to the flowers!


19. Gladiolus
Already knew: Glads are a bulb plant that form gigantic spiky stems with the flowers clustered on top. Florists love to use them for weddings, funerals and other formal flower arrangements because it's an easy way to get good height. They also last a really long time when cut and put in water, so they are ideal for the purpose.
Recently learned: They are related to Irises. Apparently they do not grow from bulbs but from corms (which is a bulb like structure, but I don't care enough to figure out the difference.) You should plant them in full sunlight, in well drained soil in mid May - mid June.

Purple Hydrangeas

20. Mophead Hydrangeas
Already knew: Hydrangeas are a shrub and the color of the flowers depends on the ph level of the soil they are planted in. On a probably not interesting note, the variety of colors that are here in my neighborhood is staggering. Usually I see two colors per 5 block radius, but on one walk, I saw 4 (blue, white, green and purple. There were even two colors of purple, dusky purple and oh mi god are you sure that's real? purple)

Green Hydrangeas

Recently learned: The latin name is Hydrangea Macrophylla. The color change caused by acidity is because the flower pigments react to Aluminum ions. Other plants in the Hydrangea genus don't do that. They don't do well in full shade, and in this climate we can plant them in a place where they get more then half a day's worth of sun. It is impossible to tell a lacecap and a mophead Hydrangea apart, unless they are in bloom. The Hydrangeas you find at the grocery store in a foil wrapper are usually root bound, but if you try hard enough, you can save them. But it's better to buy one from a reputable nursery instead

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wait, what?

I saw Bride Wars yesterday. It was pretty much as good as I expected (silly, but not great) but there was one line in it that was repeated a few times that annoyed me. "You don't alter a Vera to fit you, you alter you to fit Vera!" I have a few problems with that statement.

Lets start here. I'll admit that I'm a little out of the fashion loop now, but when Vera Wang started designing wedding dresses, she wanted to make simple uncomplicated designs that would flatter anyone. She was fighting against this. The predominate bridal fashion statement at the time. Yards of machine made lace, plastic pearls, mutton chop sleeves. You can pull off this look if you are 6 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds, but if you are built like the average woman it becomes overkill really quickly.

Now, compare that to the Vera Wang dress on the left. It's simple and refined, and the silhouette works for a wide variety of body types and sizes.
Next, a wedding dress is one of the only things the modern American woman buys that is designed to be fit specifically to her body. This is especially true of designer wedding gowns. If you are going to spend $18K or more on one dress, it should be fit to you, or it won't look it's best. No bridal designer worth their weight in lace wants their brides to look bad.
Except maybe Calvin Klein. Back when Milan tried to ban super skinny models from the catwalk, Calvin was quoted saying that he was against this plan because he didn't like women's bodies to ruin the lines of his clothing. I did a search for the article I originally read, but I couldn't find it because he's apparently grown! He had an ad campaign last summer for his new lingere line for plus sized women with notable plus sized model, Eva Mendes

Wow. What a porker. Actually, it seems that he's really trying to prove some point. Is Calvin Klein embracing a larger view of what constitutes beauty? Fat chance. I'm not sure what point he wants to make. Given his past tendency to pick ad campaigns based on shock value (Calvin Klein celebrates 40 years of scandals) I think I know what he's trying to say (Fat people are silly looking! Buy my clothes!)
Before I veer dangerously off topic. Let me just close with this. Clothes are made for people. They should fit you, not the other way around.Stacey and Clinton are always say that if the clothes don't fit you right, that's a sign that there's something wrong with the clothes. Please keep that in mind.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And then there were tears

Hi Mom
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira is so excited to be able to stand herself up. Unfortunately, she's not that good at it yet and is trying to do things like stand AND move, or stand by pushing herself up against the empty laundry basket, which then tips over. There have been more tears then I can count over the last few days, most of which seem to be more for anger at the universe then from pain.
The good news about this is when she does go down to sleep, she stays asleep for a good long while, because she finally does go to sleep, she is so tired. Actually, she is going to sleep for naps really fast right now. It's just that bedtime is a challenge right now. She likes to fall most of the way asleep for about an hour while she nurses and I read, but then when I try to sneak out of her bed to go to sleep myself, she wakes up right away, and usually she is ready for playing when she does. We are trying to put her to sleep later, but that is only working with marginal success. It's really not a big deal, especially since she's only waking up once during the night now (not counting the waking up after her little bedtime nap.)
I have a lot of crafty stuff that needs to get done, but it's too hard to sew with her current state of activity while she's awake, and I'm not confident that she will stay asleep if I am sewing in the next room during her nap. Fortunately, Willow is coming to stay for two weeks, because Walker is going to London for a week, so I will just throw the baby at her and see how much I can get done.
Walker is actually taking a Friday off so he and I can have our first date while Willow is here, and not be gone too late into the night. We haven't figured out what we want to do yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ugly fabric challenge

Ugly fabric challenge
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Monday was the December meeting of my new quilt group. Everyone who wanted to participate in the ugly fabric challenge brought a fat quarter of their ugly fabric, plus a fat quarter of a coordinating fabric in a wrapping you couldn't see through. One lady forgot to bring a bag, so she wrapped hers in her hat, and we all wanted to keep the hat, but she wouldn't let us.
This is what I have to work with. I think it looks fine, except for the fabric I picked (lower right hand corner) which I, of course, hate with a passion. I actually think the other ugly fabric (top right corner) is more classically ugly, but at least it's a nice color combination. The print is fine on mine, but the color selection is horrible. Brick red and hot pink? Plus, all the colors are the same shade, so it reads really muddy in person.
What was the best thing about swapping the fabric is that everyone was convinced they got the worst deal. Even the lady who ended up with all blue green colors. I actually think we all got an equally bad deal, since we have one fabric we legitimately hate, and most of the ugly fabrics people picked have something nice about them. Also, most of the pairings have accidental color harmony. There was one lady who ended up with a really bad combination, but she's one of the more experienced quilters, and it was the ugly fabric challenge was her idea. She seemed pretty excited about her fabrics too. We managed to keep it so that no one has the same two fabrics, which is excellent.
I have a bunch of white fabric that an ex roommate left behind, so I think I'm going to use that. I am also thinking I want to get some brown since both ugly fabrics have brown in them. I will probably fussy cut the pink flowers out of my fabric, so I don't really have to work on integrating the brick red.

Friday, January 9, 2009

More flowers

I keep thinking I should make a post where all these plant posts are linked. Then I think, "Isn't that what the tag is for?" Then I get distracted.


17. Heather
Already knew: Heather is a hearty shrub that is related to Lavender. It's not as fragrant as Lavender, but it still smells nice. It is hardy and likes to grown in rainy places.
Recently learned: It is a lime hating plant and thrives in an acid soil (making it perfect to plant if you rip out your ornamental Juniper, but that's something I knew about the Juniper bush, so I should save this tidbit.) Most of the plants in this family are native to South America.


18. Dandelion
Already knew: The dandelion is a weed that has many uses (including but not limited to: wine, food, medicine). Once it has gone to seed you can blow on it to make a wish. It is not related to the spiky dandelion looking plants I saw all over the Bay Area, those are Thistles. My Dad used to make me yank them out of the lawn, even though I liked them and didn't want them to go away.
Recently learned: Each of the petals on a dandelion is actually a separate flower, called a floret. It reproduces asexually. The dandelion flowers at the same time that honey bee season starts.

101 things in 1001 days

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

The Key:
Not Started
In Progress
Accomplished (with the date)

My end date is October 7, 2011

Quilt things:
1)Finish Sika's quilt 7/10
2)Make Batik quilt
3)Make Willow quilt
4)Finish Etienne's quilt
5)Finish Dillon's quilt 2/4/09
6)Put together birthday block quilt 6/14/09
7)Make Becca & Andrew's quilt
8)Mail quilts to Michigan family (6/10)
9)Make quilts for Charlie's kids
10)Make quilts for Aaron's kids 6/10
11)Make a design wall 7/10
12)Make Walker's t-shirt quilt
13)Finish road trip quilt

Other crafty things:
14)Finish Sarah's cross stitch
15)Design two more Xstitch patterns (0/2)
16)List patterns on Etsy or patternsonline
17)Make plushie dice
18)Knit or crochet 6 dishcloths (1/6)
19)Get antique machine working
20)Make six pieces of clothing for me(4/6)
21)Finish winding and sorting floss
22)Organize beads 5/10
23)Successfully participate in ten swaps (10/10) 9/10

24)Have a family outing 12 times (12/12) 9/10
25)Research and buy new stroller 1/19/09
26)Go on at least one baby free outing with Walker every two months for a year (5/6) 9/10
27)Make at least two mom friends with children close to Moira's age (2/2) 6/19/09
28)Go someplace new with Moira at least once a month for 6 months (6/6) 7/30/09
29)Go to a drive in movie

30)Decorate kitchen playroom
31)Replace high kitchen windows 2/10
32)Find out if insulation can be added to kitchen floor 10/13/09
33)Research solar panels for roof
34)Put bathroom in downstairs 2/10
35)Get curtains for living room 5/23/09
36)Refinish sewing table
37)Refinish Moira's dresser
38)Finish decorating Moira's room 6/10
39)Consolidate down to three sets of china
40)Clean out unfinished room in basement
41)Deep clean the house once a year (2/3)
42)Create a housekeeping schedule and stick to it for 6 months (0/6)
43)Get laundry area shelves
44)Kit out sewing room closet 4/21/09 (now to organize in there. Bleah)

45)Tame vegetable patch 2/10 (We decided it was better to move the vegetable area.)
46)Plant vegetables 5/28/09
47)Tame front yard
48)Plant at least one new fruit tree
49)Get filter for pond
50)Turn yard into meadow

51)Make at least two vegetarian meal a week for 2 months (4/8)
52)Walk at least 3 times a week for half an hour for 1 month (15/15) 9/10
53)Conquer fear of riding bike downhill
54)Spend at least one hour outdoors 2 times a week for a year (12/12) 4/24/09
55)Find a dentist and visit 3 times (0/3)
56)Floss every day for 2 weeks (0/14)

57)Learn to make yogurt
58)Learn to make cheese
59)Try making granola
60)Bake bread 5 times (2/5)
61)Cook 5 indian meals (Not pre made Tasty Bites) (3/5)
62)Make 10 different meals in crockpot (10/10) 6/10
63)Try 25 new recipies (25/25) 8/10
64)Go berry/fruit picking 2 times (2/2) 6/10
65)Don't get premade food for one month just because you are tired/sad/overwhelmed (30/30) 3/24/09
66)Have at least 2 home cooked meals ready in the freezer for 2 months (60/60)4/21/09
67)Plan what needs to go into pantry and start stocking it

68)Scan negatives & slides from Pickle (8/31/09)
69)Finish uploading photos 5/10
70)Read manual for camera and learn to set settings manually 5/10
71)Take 10 pictures with manual settings (10/10) 6/10
72)Take one picture a day for one year (123/365)
73)Comment 100 times on blogs/LJ (100/100) (7/17/09)
74)Start archiving Hillinger family photos (8/10/09)
75)Succeed in NaBloPoMo once
76)Get rid of Drizzle account (11/27/09)
77)Don't download a game demo for one month (31/31) (11/18/09)
78)Organize computer info onto one computer (I don't remember when we did this, but it was in March) 3/31/09
79)Make 5 playlists (0/5)
80)Contribute 150 pictures to flickr groups (150/150) 4/18/09
81)Finish 100 species challenge (100/100) 5/9/10

82)Find earth friendly feminine hygine product that I will actually use 5/30/09 (end of first period where I actually used the mooncup the WHOLE time)
83)Learn to make my own laundry soap
84)Buy nothing new for one month (excluding food and household necessities) (0/30)
85)Don't use wrapping paper for one year 12/09
86)Go one year without paper towels 4/10

87)Visit Canada twice at a time other then Halloween (2/2) 6/10
88)Go on a family trip abroad
89)Visit Portland 2/10
90)Take a road trip

91)Buy a proper fitting bathing suit 3/4/09
92)Find a volunteer opportunity where Moira is welcome (07/30/09)
93)Go through diaries, tear out the pages you wish to keep and throw out the rest
94)Make an inspiration journal
95)Go to the naked spa
96)Donate $5 for every finished item to a food bank
97)Get ear cartilage pierced
98)Try a new thing with my hair 24 times (4/24)
99)Get dressed every day for 6 months (180/180) 12/09
100)Organize road trip memorabilia
101)Get Anime haircut 2/10

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Please pause

Due to the excessive amount of picture taking at Christmas, I appear to be burned out. Moira however, is busy doing new things, possibly in an attempt to get the fun flashy toy back.
Just now, she successfully pulled herself into a standing position. She's tried a few times, but this time she was trying to get the power cord out of my hand, so she tried harder.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We got the most Horrible package in the mail today. Two copies of the DVD and one of the CD.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Moira and I went to the Arboretum today to meet up with some other moms and children for a walk. What I forgot when I left the house is that when the radio is talking about the high winds, that means that 520 is going to be really hard to drive on. I had a minor panic attack when I hit the bridge and it was moving in ways concrete really shouldn't. I managed to calm down and make it across by driving so slowly people got annoyed and passed me, and by repeatedly saying, "Everything is fine. You can do this." It really wasn't so bad once you hit the midspan, and when I saw the Miata in the lane next to me, I had a place to be glad I wasn't. I would like to point out that I was only going 3 miles slower then the person in front of me, but traffic was so backed up that the gap got wide pretty fast.
I bought a couple of plants from the leftovers at the Arboretum's plant sale (it ends at noon, I got there at 1). I have Snowdrops and a Camelia. Now to figure out how to plant them.
I decided to drive home through Seattle instead of heading east on 520, since that side was worse. This meant I drove by the Top Pot I didn't know was in Wedgewood! Yay! I am not impressed with the peppermint donut I just ate, so hopefully the pumpkin old fashioned is better.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Moira on call

Moira on call
Originally uploaded by Maydela
I left a development she conquered yesterday off my last post. Full scale crawling has now been achieved. We are so glad to have the baby gate up. Now to figure out how to keep her from chewing on the cable hanging out of the wall next to the fridge.
I can't get over how different she is lately. You can see her processing things when something new or unexpected happens. She's always craning her neck to try and see everything that's going. And, her hands? They are huge! They are real person hands now and not infant hands. When we are going to sleep she likes to hold my hand, so she can put whichever finger she wants into her mouth at any moment. And she can actually hold my hand now, not just get most of her hand around one finger.


This whole baby growing thing is crazy. This is what she looked like when she was still fresh baked and teeny. Now she's gigantic. And more scary to me is looking at the 18 month size clothes and they are even more gigantic. Of course, she's still smaller then one of my tank tops, so I suppose this her getting huge thing will just continue forever.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The year of the baby

I guess Moira's list of New Year's resolutions is long because she conquered two of them today. 1) Sitting up from a laying down position on her own and 2) picking up something with her thumb and fore finger. I guess this explains why she didn't nap today and doesn't want to stay asleep now. She got places to go and things to do.
The last few days have been hectic with Canadians and actually leaving the house and I'm feeling overwhelmed and exhausted now, so I can only imagine how she's feeling. Plus, yesterday, every time she woke up there were new people in the house. So why on earth would she want to fall asleep and miss the excitement. I'm trying to convince her that if she falls asleep more people will come over to play with her, but [info]galixie came over when she was awake today so that kind of ruined my credibility.
I hope 2009 is treating you well.