Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nothing to do with this thing

37. Primrose
Already knew: Perennials that are sold everywhere (grocery store, Home Depot, etc) in the spring. They come in many colors but usually have a yellow center. The leaves grow in a bushy cluster low to the ground and then the flowers sit right on top of that cluster.
Recently learned: Latin name; Primula vulgaris. How awesome is that? Picking of Primroses is illegal in many countries in Europe because over harvesting is leading to the dying out of the wild plant. The wild version is white, with the colored ones we get at garden centers resulting from cross breeding. So I guess I shouldn't be snarky about the fact that all the primroses in my garden are white. (Except one that hasn't bloomed yet, but looks red)
Skunk Cabbage
38. Skunk Cabbage
Already knew: This is an extremely, shall we say, fragrant plant, especially in summer when it is in full bloom. It smells exactly like skunk spray, hence the common name. I had never seen it in bud before I took this picture, since all my previous experience with it was at summer camp. I believe it's edible. It is a native plant that likes marshy forest.
Recently learned: There is a plant called false hellebore that closely resembles skunk cabbage and is deadly. Apparently what causes the stink is when the plant gets injured, it's not the pollen which is stinky which is what I had assumed. It blooms so early that sometimes it's still icy out when it blooms, but the plant puts off incredible amounts of heat, and can melt it's way through the ice.
Stinging Nettle
39. Stinging Nettle
Already knew: Stinging Nettle has small barbs on the under sides of the leaves and stems with a compound that causes a stinging sensation. If you must pick some, and you don't have gloves, pick the top side of the leaf and carefully fold it down so that all the stinging bit is on the inside. If you do get stung, horsetail juice or fern fuzz rubbed on the sting will make it feel better. By summer this plant will be waist high and all along the trails where it grows, which is why your Mom always told you to take long pants with you to summer camp. They are edible, when cooked the stinging compound goes away, and it is commonly used as a medicinal tea.
Recently learned: How the stinging works: the needles have tips which come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT or serotonin, and possibly formic acid. Nettles are the exclusive food of several butterflies and moths, including the Gothic moth. Nettle is put in shampoo to make hair glossy, and sometimes fed to cattle for the purpose of making their coats glossy too. Crushing and chopping will also disable the stinging hairs.
Weeping Willow
40. Weeping Willow
Already Knew: Willows are a deciduous tree, that have long skinny leaves. The Weeping Willow has long floppy branches that look like a maiden's hair falling over her face while crying, which is how the name got popularized in the Middle Ages. Willow bark is good for headaches. Aspirin is based on that. Willows love water, and you shouldn't plant them anywhere near your house, or they will burst your water pipes. Because they love water, they frequently root along streams.
Recently learned: Weeping Willow can grow up to 10 feet a year. Willows easily cross breed leading to lots of hybrids in the wild and cultivation. Weeping Willow itself is the crossbreeding of the Peking Willow and the White Willow (from China and Europe respectively). Roots will grow from cuttings of Willow really easily, and in fact, in the case of this plant, if the branches touche the ground while still attached to the parent tree, they can take root and become a big tangly mess.
Flowering Cherry
41. Flowering Cherry
Already knew: This is an ornamental cherry, which produces beautiful flowers, but no fruit to muddy up the sidewalks, or make tasty pies. Most cherry trees planted in North America are ornamental for that reason. Cherries are easily recognizable by their pretty pink flowers. This one has a simple double row of petals on the flower, not the fancier flowers from the Sakura Cherry. Cherry is a hardwood and makes beautiful furniture and floors. I should really look at the cut pieces from our trees that got cut down and see if there is anything salvageable.
Recently learned: Many flowering Cherries have the stamen and pistol replaced with an extra row of petals. The most common flowering Cherry variety is called Kazan.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Breaking news

Don't fall asleep
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira has can walk now. She took two steps from the coffee table to the couch.
I don't have a picture of that yet though, so instead, I present this tag from the onesie we bought her to wear when the gamers invade next week. It says:
"Not intended for use as sleepwear, 100% cotton, use as sleepwear"

Vintage Photo Friday

Emma Rinehart
I had this photo downloaded and ready for today and I still forgot to post this this morning.
This is Emma Rinehart, AP Holly's mother in law, as a girl. She's 16 in this picture, and I love her hair. How much work do you think that took? She lived for a very long time (at the time, she was 82 when she died) and she always had great hair. It stayed dark for a long time too. Her daughter was totally grey before she was.

For more vintage photos visit Paperdolls for Boys.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3 in a row! Jackpot!

Yay beads!
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira & I went to a friend's first birthday party yesterday. Most of the babies present were 10 months old, except the birthday girl, and one 8 month old. Mom hired a Kindermusic teacher to come and provide the entertainment, and while Moira enjoyed it, I think my brain would bleed out of my ears if I had to go on a regular basis. Plus, most of the point of Kindermusic is to teach babies signs, which Moira has shown completely zero interest in. She still doesn't wave on a regular basis. She started to wave, so I enthusiastically started waving at her more often, and she stopped doing it. Ah well.
Today we went to the Kelsey Creek Farm, a little farm run by the Bellevue parks department. That was good fun and I intend to go back. The pig was especially impressive to the babies, because sh snorted loudly the whole time.
After we were done looking at the few animals brave enough to face the rain, we decided to go walk the trails a bit. Unfortunately, the trails were up a hill, which we didn't realize until we were committed to them. Fortunately, the two of us with strollers had jogging strollers so we could make it over the hills. We were hiking for at least an hour. Then I came home and ate Walker's leftover cheesecake while Moira napped in the car.
In the woods I saw a lot of Skunk Cabbage in bloom and got all excited. I made everyone stop so I could take a picture. I missed it in the woods in California. Yay stinky plants!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ugly fabric challenge

My quilt group had our big reveal for the ugly quilt challenge. One person hadn't gotten even a block assembled, because she kept doubting her plan, but everyone else had at least a basted quilt. Hopefully, Julie will have something to show us next month.

Margaret's Ugly Quilt
It's really hard to see Margaret's ugly fabric in this picture, because she used the reverse side, and it's only the small strip around the center panel where the flower is. But then, she used the rest of the fabric as the backing, still reversed. And tea dyed. It was widely agreed that she had the worst combination of fabrics, even though everyone hated their own ugly fabric the most. I love how she continued the lattice from the border in the quilting.

Ruth's Ugly Quilt
I love how Ruth's turned out, and I'm completely in awe of her straight lines. It's very small, maybe doll quilt sized, so those black strips are only 1/2" wide. It's impressive how well her fabrics blend together. The border is made from little rectangles of all four fabrics, but it looks like a new pattern.

Leslie's Ugly Quilt
Leslie has actually been done since about 3 weeks after we swapped fabric, although she still says she has stuf left to do (fray check the ties I believe). Whatever. It's been hanging on her wall for 2 months, that's done enough for me. The little white flowers on the hanging banners are origami. You can't see the sashiko quilting she did on the whole thing but it's beautiful.

My ugly quilt
And mine. Very wonky. You can't tell in this picture since it's not hanging straight, but not a single line matches up. My sashing is also 1/2" wide, but not nearly as well done as Ruth's. But I decided two things 1)I was getting this thing DONE come heck or high water, so I just banged it out, and 2)I am a wonky person. I enjoy free form cutting and piecing, so why fight it? I'm at the point now where I can make things line up right, most of the time, but I have more fun when I don't have to worry about that.

I had a great time with this. Now we are starting our Round Robin, so I will have to be more careful with my corners. I'm starting out with Carol's a Storm at Sea blocks, but I'm only going to make the squares, and not the rectangle bits, so I have a chance of making something nice.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The flowers that bloom in the spring. TRA LA!

We took a walk today so that Moira could practice her outside voice outside, and I took pictures of people's plants.
We start off with two bushes whose real names I never remember because of strong childhood associations.
Banana peel tree
31. Banana peel tree
Already knew: This is a tree that blooms in the early spring and the little flowers look exactly like banana peels, so if your Barbie likes bananas, you have the perfect food source. I'm pretty sure these are flowers and not the leaves, since they fall off, making a cool yellow peel carpet for Barbie to slip on.
Recently learned: Did you know how hard it is to search for this? Apparently if you plant a banana peel (in the right climate) you will get a banana tree eventually. Because there are seeds in the peel. Weird. Also, you can shine your shoes and remove warts with banana peels. However, I can't find anything about the tree I'm actually looking for. And randomly flipping through my garden books isn't working. If you know what this is called, please tell me. UPDATE: It's called Forsythia. Thank you random picture on someone else's blog.
Barbie's bridal boquet
32. Barbie's Bridal Bouquet
Already knew: This is a bush whose flowers grow into clusters perfectly sized to give to Barbie to use as a bouquet for when she gets married to Han Solo on the lawn. With a banana buffet afterwords. The flowers are white, easy to pull off their stems and bloom in early spring.
Recently learned: This is called Pieris japonica, or Lily of the valley bush. That should be easy for me to remember. The first website I looked at had a picture of the bush in it's non flowered state. That was unhelpful. It is in the dame family as the Azalea, Rhododendron, Cranberry and Blueberry. This particular one is a Pieris floribunda, which is the variety native to the Western US. It needs sun, and you should trim it back after it flowers so that the dead flowers don't consume energy from the growing plant.
33. Pussy Willow
Already knew: It's been a long time since I've seen a Pussywillow in plant form, so I was happy and surprised when I saw this one. It is easy to identify by the fluffy catkins. You can cut the stems at this stage of growth and they will keep without water for a long time. They are popular in floral arrangements for that reason and are sold in bunches at craft stores. My Mom had a bunch in a vase when I was a teenager for years.
Recently learned: The catkin is the male part of the plant. Branches of Pussy Willow are used as replacements for the palms on Palm Sunday in England and Northern America in places where palms don't grow. You can grow your own from a fresh cutting from someone else's tree. They have invasive roots and should be planted far from your foundation.
Bell Hyacinth
I'm counting these as two entries because I can actually differentiate between the two, but they are basically the same thing, so they get one entry of what I know.
34. Hyacinth
35. Grape Hyacinth

Already knew: These are bulbs, that blah blah, do the same thing as every other bulb plant in existence. They come in many colors, mostly blues, pinks and white. They grow well on hills.

Grape Hyacinth
Recently learned (Hyacinth): The Hyacinth is part of the Lily family. They are sometimes associated with rebirth (as is most everything that blooms around Easter. The size of the Hyacinth bulb you plant directly correlates to the size of the flower you end up with. You should leave the leaves after the flower dies to give nutrition to the next generation.
Recently learned (Grape Hyacinth): Wikipedia says Grape Hyacinth is pickled and eaten in Greece and certain regions of Italy and that they are toxic, so I don't know what the story there is. Deer will not eat them. You plant the bulbs in the fall. They tolerate temperatures up to zero. They like to be planted in rocky soil.
36. Daffodils
Already knew: They are basically the same thing as Jonquils, although they come in different colors.
Recently learned: There is an entire society dedicated to Dafodils in the US. Scary.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Everyone Needs a Rock

pearl was kind enough to go with me to the Quilter's Anonymous quilt show on Friday. She even pushed the baby around so I could take pictures. Moira enjoyed all the attention while safely strapped in her stroller where not many people will touch her, and because she was showing off, she even figured out how to hold onto her cup with both hands and drink at the same time. Hopefully this will make Walker's life easier when he's watching her at Norwescon.
On our way back towards my house after the show, pearl and I were discussing the quilts and how I like to know what people like in quilts, just cause I find the information interesting.
"Just so you know," she says, "I don't want a quilt, so don't put me on the list."
"Okay, why not?"
"The quilt I like are covered in sparklies and things and the cats would kill them."
"Good reason."
A bit later pearl says, "Alton and I have been trying to find a lightweight blanket to go inbetween the comforter and the sheet that's not synthetic, and we can't."
"You want a quilt. You have cotton fabric and cotton batting and it's both lightweight and helps keep you warm well when it's colder. It's the only blanket we used for 80% of the time in California."
"No, but it wouldn't be showing at all and it would be a shame to cover up something pretty like that."
"So get two big pieces of plain cotton fabric and a layer of batting and sew them together. That's a quilt."
In conclusion. EVERYONE wants a quilt. They just may not know it yet.
Loudest baby in the world
We had lunch today with my parents and both my Grandmothers. At Applebees. At my Dad's suggestion. If you know my Dad, you know that this is a sure sign of the apocalypse. But he was right, it is a great place to bring a baby, one person in a wheelchair and two people with walkers. Whether or not it's a good place to bring Walker is up to him. This picture doesn't capture any of the cute things Moira did while we were there, because my camera ran out of batteries right before the cute stuff started happening (sitting on Grumpy's shoulders, playing with the hanging plants), and Dad hasn't uploaded his pictures yet. It does show you what she looks like while screeching. This is the look I see most of the day.

Nodding their heads in agreement


I should wait on this until I get a picture of the daffodils since they are virtually the same thing, but I want to get this done while I'm thinking about it.
30. Jonquils
Already knew: These are related to Daffodils, but smaller, and apparently, French. They are a member of the Narcissus family. They are bulbs the same as Crocuses and Lily of the Valley. They are yellow, and unlike Daffodils I've never seen them in a different color. They have a central trumpet shaped petal and then a bunch of pointy ones around the outside. Unlike with many other kinds of bulbs, you don't have to worry about wildlife digging up the bulbs and eating them because they are poisonous.
Recently learned: All member of the Narcissus contain the alkaloid poison lycorine, in the bulb and stem. I guess the flower is safe to eat. Traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo) and the ancient Romans used to use Narcissus plants a medicine. It is not listed as a medicine in current Kampo. In China, Narcissus plants are a symbol of wealth and good fortune. It is the national flower of Wales.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Holly & Alice Walpole
I love this hand colored picture. It was in a batch of photos I scanned for Walker's second cousin Holly (the girl with the bow on her head in this picture).
For more vintage photos visit Paper Dolls for Boys

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sorry Walker, we are going to need to refinish the floors

This has been a rough week, starting off with me being sick and continuing with Moira being bored. Toys are no good (even new toys) if they require you to sit down. Every minor inconvenience leads to major whining. And have I mentioned that she's exhausted but refusing to nap? Yeah. She likes to play with me when I try to put her to sleep. Because no matter how tired she is, mommy lying down is silly! This started this a month or so ago at night, and so Walker just took over bedtime and she goes to sleep pretty well, but now nap time is getting to be a major struggle and by the end of the day, I am at the end of my rope and she is exhausted.
This morning I gave up trying to entertain her and pulled a chair away from the table and let her push it in circles for half an hour. So fun! (except when she bumps into something and can't move it anymore) I think I should break down and pay full price for some sort of pushing toy for her entertainment, and my sanity. Maybe that's what we'll do today.
Yesterday pearl suggested we go to Southcenter, and I finally gave in. She enjoyed saying "I told you so!" after we visited the amazing family rooms (Nursing stalls! Baby toys! Many changing tables at actual proper height! Comfy chairs!) not to mention the family eating area with little chairs for Moira to push. She napped on the way there and the way back, so it must have been a good time. It's too bad Southcenter is so far from me, but we may be visiting again when we have particularly difficult days.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just one this week



Just one flower this time, because I'm bored of the pictures I still have from the end of fall (Moss! Lichen! Ferns!) and it's snowing again, but these are in bloom and it's such a nice burst of color.
29. Crocus
Already knew: These are bulbs that come in a variety of colors, mostly purples, yellows and white. They are one of the first bulbs to bloom in this area, beaten out by Snowdrops, but still blooming in the end of winter. They propagate the same way Snowdrops dropping seeds and growing in clumps. The spice Saffron is actually harvested from the stamens of certain crocuses, pulled by hand. That's why it's the most expensive spice.
Recently learned: This is the Dutch Crocus, and it's popular with gardeners specifically because of how early it blooms. There are some cultivars of the Crocus that bloom in the Autumn. The bulb of the Crocus is called a Corm.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Elizabeth,Mary & Lance Holly
This is Elizabeth, Mary and Lance Holly in 1912, on the porch of their house. I really want to know what game they were playing that required the baby to have a bucket on her head, but sadly, they all died before I met Walker, so I never got to ask.
For more vintage photo goodness, visit Paper Dolls for Boys.

Stop taking pictures and let him in!

Moira has started doing this adorable thing where she goes to the door when I let Stewie out and waits for him to come back. Then she bangs on the door to let me know that he's here. You know, so he doesn't have to go to the effort of pawing at the door himself. He seems to be happy that someone is there, and doesn't get nervous that he's forgotten outside all alone. Since it keeps them both happy so sometimes I let them do it or a little bit before I open the door.
Please forgive the smudgy door. I'm not cleaning it till one of them stops scratching at the door when they do this.

Pot holder recieved!

Pot holder recieved!
Originally uploaded by Maydela
I finally got the potholders from the swap organized by , and they are super cute. Finishing early made me really anxious to be able to send mine off, and then when it was finally time, it took me awhile to get organized enough to do it. Oh well. My favorite of these by far is the chicken. How cute is that? I also like the knit scrunchy one, but it's designed for pots with round knobby lids and I only have one of those, so I'm letting Moira play with it. It makes an excellent hat.
We ordered a clothesline a few weeks ago, and it's finally stopped raining so there are diapers hanging out to dry as we speak. It's a nice way to spend a few minutes in the morning. I'm so happy that spring is coming. There are crocuses peeping up on the corner, and buds on the trees, and soon Moira will be turning one.
Eventually I'll get pictures taken of the costumes I'm making for Norwescon. My fairy costume is done (except the wand), my witch skirt needs to be hemmed and then it's finished and I need to make the hood for Moira's Sackgirl costume. I was worried about having enough time to get everything done, but It doesn't seem to be as much work as I thought.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I found this on flickr and it made me laugh. Walker and his friends from college frequently talk about Rock Band and Guitar Hero over e-mail, but there is one who every time grumbles and tells them to get real guitars.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mandatory baby update

Originally uploaded by Maydela
Walker was asking me why I hadn't updated with the latest thing we wish Moira hadn't figured out. The answer? I'm lazy.
She opened the door in the TV room. Admittedly, it's the easiest door in the house to open, since it's a double door and only secured on one side by a latch that is half unattached but still. She can also climb up the stairs, but she doesn't do it when I'm trying to go up the stairs with her, because that would be too helpful.
I can't get over how funny she is lately. Everything is being explored in ways other then going into her mouth. not that she doesn't still like to do that, but you get the idea. She's incredibly loud too, squawking when she wants more food or when we take away what she's playing with.

Stewie can't keep up
I ge them myself

Friday, March 6, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

A P and F C Holly in the early 1900's
I feel vaguely guilty doing this because I have such a treasure trove of vintage photos to play with, and it's all the fault of this kid with the fake mutton chops. That is my husband's great grandfather, Alanson Parker (AP) Holly, shown here with his brother Forrest. These photos were taken in the early 1900's (probably 1901 or 1902). I guess he bought himself a camera around then and always had one from then on. He was not well off for much of his life, but he always had a camera.

A P Holly in the early 1900's
I ended up with all these pictures because Walker's mother's house was in a fire and I offered to take the photos that had survived and scan them in so he and his siblings would have photos of his childhood. When his aunts heard about this, they started to send me the boxes of old photos they had, and told the extended family, so they started sending photos. And documents. I've been working on preserving these things for more then three years, and it's a project that never ends. I have a box of stereoscopic slides waiting to be scanned right now, but I don't have a scanner that can handle them yet. I really need to set up a blog to share the documents too, but that's on my looong to-do list.
For more vintage photos visitPaperdolls For Boys

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring is on it's way, but these were in bloom in October

27. Pansies
Already knew: Pansies are related to violets. They grow low to the ground (usually seen in small clumps, unlike this huge bush. I wonder what it is about my neighborhood that all the plants are so overgrown. Do we have super soil, or are my neighbors just lazy gardeners? I hope it's the second thing, because we will fit in better that way.) I don't think you can eat pansies, although you can eat violets and geraniums so maybe you can. The classic pansy in my mind is violet blue just like these.
Recently learned: The common pansy is a cross breed from wild flowers in Europe (one of those flowers is the Johnny Jump Up and I once made my Dad's life miserable by planting them in the back yard where they then invaded the lawn causing him to yell at me to "Keep the damn flowers in the flower bed!" Good times.)
Pansies are cold hardy plants and can survive a frost after they have flowered. Pansies normally live for two years, seeding in the first year and then dying off in the second. The name pansy is derived from the French for thought because it looks like a face.
Black Eyed Susan
28. Black Eyed Susan
Already knew: These are related to sunflowers, but without the tasty seeds inside. They bloom in late fall. My first memory of them as a plant was while trick or treating with my friend Lisa who was dressed as a bunch of grapes.
Recently learned: There are a number of other plants that are called Black Eyed Susan, including one that is white with a purple center, which I suppose looks more like a black eye, but whatever. The roots of this version can be used like Echinacea, but not the seedheads. It is known to be poisonous to ruminants. It can tolerate any kind of soil and condition except maritime conditions. What a wimpy plant.