December 31, 2007

Hey vatto!

L°VE and me in the garage studio sport our colors (i.e., bandanas). I started painting again today. Giraffes.

first fire

We've leveled the new kiln and set it to fire for the first time. Up to 1500 degrees, hold for 10 minutes and then cool. This is to burn off any dust that might contaminate a glass load and to make sure everything is working properly. Tomorrow we'll do the first glass load. We're making coasters--an easy first project.

December 28, 2007

Udvar-Hazy Museum

Here we are. Rosie and I visiting the Air & Space Museum in VA. (We just ran into Katia P. and the twins.) This place in huge. Worth a visit.

frolic and play, the Eskimo way

I found a cool make your own virtual snowflake applet this morning through a string of linkbacks on one of my favorite blogs, A Little Hut. She linked to How About Orange... and after snooping around awhile I quickly added "the orange" to my links. Among other things, Jessica, from How About Orange... (who strangely signs the J in her name exactly like I do), had an extremely useful post about wasting time (which relates back to the snowflake. If you're interested you can find mine. It's #5836046.). As such, I did some of that here and here and here.

And last night I did some time-wastin' here, thanks to Dinosaur Mom (who is looking snappy in her dino-bikini). In honor of all of this I'm adding a new label. See below. It only seems appropriate.

For quick, transparent reference to these time-wasters see here:

Create Your Own Snowflake
Snowball Fight
Elf Yourself (Here's our little family fully-elfed.)
Yeti/Penguin Baseball/Cricket
Scrooge Yourself (Lydia Violet as Scrooge)

December 26, 2007

LoVE loves... The American Art Museum

It turns out that LoVE loves art. And not just her Papa's art, which I need to blog about as well, but all kinds. Portraits especially. Today we visited the newly remodeled Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery with Rosie and Audrey. I've been wanting to go for awhile now and Rosie's visit from England was the perfect excuse to find the time. A few weeks ago I found Abbot Handerson Thayer's Angel on the SAAM Web site and was absolutely enthralled. It actually stunned me with its beauty. Well, I really wanted to see what Lydia Violet would think of it and folks, even at 5 months 13 days, she was enthralled too. We strolled into the gallery where the painting is hung (it's 10x more stunning in person) and I took her out of the snap n' go and held her up to see it. She studied it intently and then focused in on the eyes, which held her gaze for a good 10 or 20 seconds. Now, that might not sound like a long time, but in baby time that's an eternity. Just count it off and imagine an infant doing any one thing for that long of a stretch. Really... the only way to describe it is awesome.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the museum and it looks like she loves all varieties of paintings and art pieces. She liked other Thayer paintings as well. Virgin Enthroned especially. (Again with the eyes.) And a striking portrait of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan from the Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery.

Her reactions to everything she saw made me want to just jump into her brain and listen to what was going on in there. Having witnessed it, and how she reacted to the art in general over the rest of the afternoon, all I could think of was how much I look forward to raising her to appreciate experiences like that. I want to take her to museums all the time. I want her to be starved to learn.

I can't wait until she starts talking. Imagine the things she will say.

first trip to The American Art Museum

She loves the portraits, but not all of them. She's a girl that knows what she likes.


Daycare was closed this morning. So Lydia Violet came to the office with her Papa. Needless to say, very little gets accomplished with a 5 month old in your arms. Thankfully, Jen and Rosie came to the rescue around 10am.

December 20, 2007

Pick a Santa, any Santa!

You choose. Let us know in the poll below which Santa you prefer.

Santa A:

Santa B:

And the real question is, now that we've got Dima's Santa do we need to go spend another $31.99 to get the picture retaken? Or can we live with the fact that Lydia Violet's first Santa will be a PhotoShop figment? A false Santa?

Lydia Violet's First Visit with Santa

Santa's helpers said she was the best baby all day. How adorable and smiley she is. She's positively radiant. Santa on the other hand looks a bit shell shocked. Honestly, he really looks flat. And it's not just his flat hat. He looks like a dull cardboard cutout that Lydia is perched on. We bought the CD with a digital image on it so I think Dima is going to try to give his hat a little "lift" in PhotoShop, but I'm considering whether we should just go to a bigger mall to give it another shot. Maybe we got the low budget Santa at our local mall. Thoughts?

blogging withdrawal

I'm feeling behind. I have so many things to blog about and so little time...
  1. the garage studio project wrap-up post
  2. my new glass kiln, which is technically a Christmas present, so I guess I can wait to post on that until Christmas has arrived (but it's already in the newly finished garage studio folks! V. exciting!)
  3. wind-powered donuts (yes, wind-powered donuts AND espresso for that matter)
  4. a new recurring theme post "LoVE Loves..." where I detail Lydia Violet's latest obsession. Examples of posts that are waiting to be written: LoVE Loves... Papas paintings, her newly discovered feet, Lydia the Tattooed Lady, etc.
  5. Lydia Violet in general. The only regular blog time she's getting lately is over on Baby in a Carseat. I think she's actually going through withdrawal herself.
  6. I've been reading a great book, Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business and I have no time to say all the great things about it that I want to. Sigh.
Well, that's six things (a total of eight potential posts, one of which I've already begun writing), just six, out of the dozens that are swirling around in my head. I've got a break from work coming up over the holidays. Rosie Bee will be visiting from England for TWO WEEKS!!! Maybe I can get caught up then? Though, her visit I'm sure will generate all sorts of new potential topics. Sigh. I really need to figure out a way to get paid to keep up with this blog. Then all my problems would be solved.

Click on my ads people! That'll be a start. :^)

December 15, 2007


The garage is done. The stuff that has been in the backyard for the last month is now back in there. We are exhausted. I will do a final wrap-up post when I am less filthy and more energized.


December 10, 2007


Way back, when I used to work at The Nature Conservancy, I had a colleague who, while a dedicated conservation marketer by day, was starting her own jewelry business on the side. Well, she's since left her dot org day job and taken her jewelry dot com endeavor by the horns.

But that, by no means, means she left her altruism behind her. She and her friend Meredith now run Moonrise Jewelry full-time and her entrepreneurial efforts are to be admired. Not just because she's taken the brave step of starting her own businesss but because this is no regular, run-of-the-mill jewelry line. As they say for themselves, Moonrise is an "innovative jewelry brand blending artistic design with community development, ethical sourcing, and environmental stewardship."

And, to be guaranteed, this is no hippy-dippy, sculpey clay bead jewelry. Their line of necklaces, earrings and bracelets ranges from elegant to funky. (Well, these are what I consider elegant and funky. You'll have to make your own aesthetic judgments.) Essentially what I'm saying is, if you're still in the market for holiday gifts you're bound to find something for every fashion-forward environmentalist you know at

And, not only can you buy their jewelry confident that the product is making a positive impact on the communities where they does business (all their materials are ethically sourced and all of their designs are handmade by local artists who have been trained at the Moonrise Jewelry studio), but you can also take part in their philosophy by hosting a fundraising jewelry party in your home—a Moonrise Circle SoirĂ©e—where 15% of the total sales will be donated directly to the charity of your choice.

But don't take my word for it. Visit their online store yourself and listen to those that know: Meryl Streep or even the Lazy Environmentalist.

December 7, 2007

the bathroom that was and the bathroom that is

I realized I should show you how big of an improvement we've made in the bathroom.

This photo is from just after we bought the house and before we moved in. Granted it looks "nice" with that crisp sunlight filtering in through the window but the grey/maroon color scheme was getting O-L-D. Not to mention the medecine cabinet and that $20 light fixture from Home Depot. Ugh. But all that has changed. All we need to do now is get the sink and the toilet back in there and install the marble threshold... oh, and of course, I still need to decide on a cool shower curtain. I think I'm going to just have to make it myself.

December 3, 2007

I'm big enough to admit when I've been misinformed

my actual 1/2 teaspoon full of rice = 100 grains

So I got a comment today on my recent how many grains of rice in a cup? post:
Anonymous said...

Um... 100 grains of rice = LESS than HALF a TEAspoon.

Your estimate of 1000 in a cup is completely incorrect.

My original post said that there were "approximately 1,000" grains of rice in a cup. I found this "fact" on I'm not sure where the original editor found their info but it was clearly wrong, as my commenter pointed out. The original "answer" has since been updated (to 7,200 grains) and now includes a note about But, so as not to be led down the primrose path by yet another wiki, I did some actually counting and calculating of my own before making this post.
When I got home from work today I pulled out a bag of rice (specifically Tropico Extra Super Quality Jasmine Scented Rice) and scooped 1/2 teaspoon then proceeded to count approximately 100 grains of rice. Now let's do a little math:

3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon therefore 1 Tablespoon of rice = 600 grains

16 Tablespoons = 1 cup therefore 1 cup = 9,600 grains.

So it seems that even the updated answer on wiki. is questionable. I guess this might also vary on the type of rice grains you're counting or weighing, as they did. Basmati rice for example has larger grains than regular white rice.

So @ my commenter: Good on ya. You were approximately right. And right to point out my mistake. But how about a little less attitude next time? I mean really. I was just doing a good Samaritan deed here. Passing on the word. Feeding hungry people.

BTW, thanks for reading my blog. :^)

December 2, 2007

where have all the good looking shower curtains gone?

I ask this question because in my search over the last few weeks for a cool, non-generic candidate I have found .... nothing. Not a single shower curtain that didn't feel like a supreme concession in the battle that is my search. Ugly, mediocre, humdrum options abound. Anything cool? Anything worth the effort that Dima and I have put into remodeling the bathroom. No.

Another question. Does every, and I'll be generous here, does every, say, 25th bathroom in the United states look exactly the same? I'm mean you could probably vary it based on fixtures, lights, etc. But the one dominant element in every bathroom is the shower curtain and there's a 25 option pool that the entire country is purchasing from. Nothing interesting out there, people. Nada.

Of course I guess I could be missing out on some shower curtain shopping Mecca, though I doubt it. (Maybe, I'll try that: Nope.) I mean look at the canvas we have to work with. Our new bathroom looks great! (Minus the fact that we haven't reinstalled the sink and toilet, or rehung the door.) Do I want to saddle it with a pedestrian-looking shower curtain. Certainly not. Can you help me out people? Where do you buy a good looking shower curtain?

December 1, 2007

Universal Translator

It's like Star Trek, but better. Now you can read Grizzarkhov in almost any language you want. Granted, not in Klingon or anything, but still. How fun is this? Dima and I got a kick out of reading some of the latest posts in Russian this evening. I read out loud and he tried to understand what the heck I was saying. It was a slow process. But fun.

If you want to try, use the dropdown menu on the Google Translate tool to the left, select your preferred language and see if I'm as amusing (or as tiresome) in Arabic, German, Russian and Spanish as I am in English.