Saturday, April 30, 2011


In January 1992, a cargo ship in the eastern Pacific Ocean lost twelve containers overboard in a storm. Boxes of bathtub toys broke open and a fleet of 28,800 yellow ducks, green frogs, blue turtles and red beavers were set adrift.

Nineteen years later, this small story is still in the news. The Daily Mail wrote an article about it a few years ago and Wikipedia has an entry, calling the toys "Friendly Floatees".  I recently read a review in The Week about a new book, Moby-Duck.

These plastic toys have traveled far.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, Flotsam scientist

Chart from Wikipedia

I did a lot of wilderness rowing and kayaking in Alaska back in the mid-80's to mid-90's.  We would travel hundreds of miles each summer, picking our weather and camping on the beach. 

One year (it must have been 1993), there was the added attraction of looking for bathtub toys at each new campsite.  We found quite a few, but I only have one frog now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quilt Blogs

How does an internet derailment occur?

I can't quite remember how I went from my usual wanderings on blogs about knitting (and design, cooking, infertility, art, photography...well, mostly knitting) to being obsessed with quilt blogs and new lines of fabric.

Quilt Dad? I don't know how I got there, but there I was, looking at virtual quilting bees, online fabric stores, Etsy and blogs.  Lots of blogs.  My sister asked me which ones I liked and I couldn't say.  There were so many that they all blurred together.

My mind was fuzzy but I made it down to the local fabric stores and brought home a bag of new yardage.  It must be time to make a quilt.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mug Rugs

Mug rugs are all over the internet.  There are tutorials, Flickr groups and organized swaps.  There was even a blog-hosted event recently called Mug Rug Madness. I was late to the party, so there was no virtual hobnobbing for me.  Just a couple of quick projects.

Both "rugs" were made out of leftovers from baby quilts I made last year. The pink quilt found a home with Eastyn, my niece's sweet girl and the turquoise one is still sitting around. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tulip Festival

 I was out with the tourists yesterday.  The tulips are in full bloom, it was Saturday and it was sunny and warm.  There was traffic, which I expected, so I brought my bicycle and pedaled around the crowds.  I was not going for Photo of the Year so it was enjoyable to mill amongst the throng with their dogs and kids and cameras.  The Sheriff's Department was busy writing parking tickets and were on scene quickly when someone failed to yield at an intersection.  Crash!  Lights and sirens, ambulances and fire trucks.  It looked like the airbags deployed and hurt some chests.  Drive carefully!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Yesterday, the whole fam damily went to an open house event at the nearby PACCAR facility.  PACCAR is a large multi-national corporation that had its origins in Seattle in 1905 producing railroad and logging equipment.  It now designs and manufactures trucks, trucks and more trucks - Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF. 

The local plant is one of their facilities used for research and development and it is where the trucks are extensively tested.  We saw trucks in a freezer, trucks being shaken and truck parts being studied in an electron microscope.  They have a 3D printer out there.  It looked like a pretty interesting place to work, even for the non-engineers among us. 

 Photography was not allowed in most areas.  But some of the display trucks were willing to pose for a few shots.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The Skagit Valley is famous for tulip and daffodil bulb cultivation and up to a million visitors come every year to see acres and acres of colorful, blooming flowers.

The daffodils are peaking now and the tulips are not far behind.

 Crop rotation is necessary for disease management so each field will be used for tulips just once every five years. Agricultural workers walk through the rows during the early blooming stage to cull out the rogues, varieties of flowers that are different than the ones planted.

Shortly after full bloom, the plants are "topped" to prevent the spread of disease and to force the plant to store energy in the bulb.  Forty five days later, the bulbs are harvested and prepared for sale.  Gardeners around the world will plant them in the fall and enjoy Skagit Valley tulips in their gardens next spring.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Topknot Hat

This is how one hat becomes five.  Make a generic hat from the top down, holding two strands of sock yarn together.  Notice that there seems to be a fair amount of sock yarn leftovers in the drawer.  Weigh hat and other available materials and knit away. 

These hats only take a few hours to make and will fit a toddler sized head. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Johnny Cash

When I was just a baby
My mama told me son
Always be a good boy
Don't ever play with guns.

But my family went to Reno
Just to have some fun
And my crazy Uncle Jaime
Gave me my first gun.