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Svala Checkerboard Table

July 22nd, 2008  · stk

IKEA Svala Checkerboard Table Project: Alex got an IKEA "Svala" table from her grandparents. Most IKEA furniture must be put together and a finish applied. This was no different. What was different, however, was that Scott turned it into a checkerboard. (Step-by-step instructions, tips and photos are included for other do-it-yourself project types).

DIY Project for an IKEA "Svala" Children's Table
(or any other unfinished table, for that matter)

I had the idea of doing something special with an IKEA TRIVIA: What Does IKEA Mean? ikea logo The popular Swedish home furnishings retailer - IKEA - has 282 stores in 36 countries (and plans on opening about 23 more stores during 2008). It was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad (17 at the time). The company name combines the first letters of the founder's name and the village in which he grew up (Elmtayrd Agunnaryd) ... hence: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd! happy boyNow you know! Just remember it for the next time you play Trivial Pursuit!  table that Alex got from her maternal grandparents, as a gift. Sure, I could have simply stained it, or applied polyurethane, but I wanted to try my hand at something slightly more fancy.

By adding a checkerboard playing surface, Alex could use the table for more than just tea parties and coloring sessions. The only question was, "What's the best way to add the checkerboard?"

The project languished, partly because of other chores and a busy schedule, but also because I was couldn't decide on the best way to proceed.

Ultimately, I flew by the seat of my pants, using a combination of spray paint, wood stain and polyurethane. I tried to add an 'antique touch' to the finished product and all-in-all, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

I thought I'd share the steps (plus a bit of what was learned along the way and things I'd do differently) in case someone else out there wants to take on a similar project. ;)

For step-by-step instructions and photos ... carry on brave DIYs!

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Updated: 4-Aug-2008
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Miss Marilyn Dyer

July 19th, 2008  · stk

See how searching for an EXIF program, led me to find a 50 year old photo of my mother on the Internet! (She was then "Miss Marilyn Dyer") SURPRISE MOM!!

The Things You Find on the Internet!

I didn't get much done today, as my nose led me tripping across the Internet. The bloody web, eh? It can be such a time waster.

During my travels however, I happened to dig up an old photograph of my mother (a certain Miss. Marilyn Dyer) taken in 1957! If it surprised me, my bet is that it will really surprise her!

When she met my father, she was working at Camp Wolters, just outside of Mineral Wells, Texas. (They were both living there, my dad as an army dude - not sure his rank or duty. Funny how little we actually know about our own parents.) Mom however, was the Assistant Director of the Camp Service Club. (I bet she had lots of guys asking her out on dates, because, being single and setting up all those social activities, you're just bound to meet lots of cute guys.) ;)

So my dad stood out from the crowd at Camp Wolters. They met there and married there too, at the little church that was on the base. The church is still there, but Camp Wolters (later called Fort Wolters) is no longer. An Army camp from 1925 to 1946 Camp Wolters was deactivated for a time. It became an Air Force base in 1951, but in 1956, it reverted to the Army to house the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School. Camp Wolters was renamed "Fort Wolter" in 1963, when it was designated as a "permanent" military base. The base was deactivated in 1973 and now the site is an industrial park, National Guard training center and a Weatherford College branch campus.

To find out what led me to discover my mom's old photo, to see the photo and a bit more about Camp Wolters ... trip on to the next page!

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Updated: 19-Jul-2008
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The Oop Catches a Rainbow

July 11th, 2008  · stk

Alex caught her first fish (a rainbow trout), at Nora Lake, while visiting her grandparents in California, during our mid-June holiday. She had great fun fishing and catching her first slippery trout!

Alex Catches Her First Fish at Nora Lake, in Northern California

There's something very special about a kid catching their first fish! Funny though, because the Oop probably won't remember the event, as she's only four and a half. Nope, it's more a memory for the parents and - if your lucky - a great photo opportunity! (Wonder how many family albums contain grinning kids and their prize catch?)

The Oop didn't disappoint, in the photo department. Sporting rather cool-looking purple shades and gripping a decent-sized rainbow trout, Alex proudly showed off her first fish. Grinning gamely, she's gripping it tightly with a washcloth, in order to gain some traction against her slippery catch!

Alex's first fish came during a recent trip to California, with her Dad, to visit her paternal grandparents. The fishing expedition was suggested by Bill and Kitty, friends of the family and it was a huge relief to drive out of the (hot) northern valley and into the hills that surround Mount Lassen.

The weather was cool and the smell of pine trees permeated the air, as we drove past Grace Lake, driving over to nearby Nora Lake. Alex was excited to go fishing and eager to get her mitts on some ' Power Bait What is Power Bait? powerbait Powerbait (Berkley Trout Bait) is a moldable fish bait that comes in a small jar. It's effective for catching fish, but boy does it stink! Powerbait comes in a variety of bright colors and also comes as pre-formed nuggets. ', which she wanted to buy when we got home, as she was pretty certain that Tuxedo, our cat, would find it a delicious snack!

To read more about Alex's first fish ... continue on ...

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Updated: 12-Jul-2008
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Rough First Time

July 7th, 2008  · stk

A trip to California with the Oop, a new hot-tub project and the normal run of web work ... things have been pretty thin at Randsco for a while. We recently took a family boat trip to the floating cabin . Read about the adventurous ordeal in this floating cabin log entry.

First Solo Trip to the Floating Cabin

Our first solo trip to the floating cabin was very memorable. Some of the memories will actually be GOOD ONES!

A flat tire, a bloody nose, getting hung up on the dock while launching, a rough-as-cobb trip (during which, we almost turned the boat around and headed for home), a four-hour boat ride, locked out of the cabin and running out of gas ... are some of the not-so-good ones.

We're new to the floating cabin and also to our boat. As a bunch of newbies, we're learned a BUNCH of valuable lessons during our ill-fated trip! HA!

There were some positive events. Despite pouring rain all Friday night and Saturday morning, it did - eventually - clear up and we had a rain-free (and sometimes sunny) Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. We spotted a couple of sea otters (a baby one on the back deck, which we watched from about five feet away). We also saw loads of bald eagles and a few bear (one of which we watched all morning, as it meandered along the beach, flipping rocks and eating various sea creatures). We met a few of our cabin neighbors. We also learned where we can get gas, along the way to the cabin.

To read the cabin log entry from our first solo trip to the floating cabin ...

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Updated: 1-Mar-2009
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Four Hundred Dollar Egg

February 21st, 2008  · stk

The first Egg! - On of our four ISA Brown laying hens had their first egg this morning. After raising them from day-old chicks, we're quite excited to see "our girls" grow up! It does mean, however, that Scott better get busy and finish building their nesting boxes!

"The Girls" Begin to Earn Their Keep

A few weeks ago, the woman who generously gave us four laying hens, came over with a dozen brown eggs. They were produced by the same batch from which ours were split. Ever since then, Rachel has been bemoaning the fact that our four chickens (AKA "the girls") have yet to lay an egg.

Scott built them comfortable and dry accommodations ($300 in materials), they have plenty of scratch to eat, room to fly and play in their run, laying pellets to eat, an endless supply of fresh water ... heck, they even have a 4-year old kid that plays with them occasionally. At last tally, they've consumed 4 sacks of feed ($10 each), a sack of #2 grit, countless tubs of kitchen scraps (dutifully diced up for them, I might add), God knows how much electricity to keep them warm, many water changes, hand-feeding, and people who let them out in the morning and put them to bed at night.

Materials for the chicken coop: $300
Having comfortable chickens: Priceless

For everything else, there's the grocery store.

They live in chicken heaven and the only thing they've produced is an ever-accumulating pile of chicken manure, under the chicken coop.

All that changed today. When Scott let them out this morning and gave them their day's supply of scratch - which is tossed out onto the ground, as they seem to enjoy "scratching" at it and picking up the bits ... go figure - he spied a lone brown egg, resting on the mesh floor of the coop.

To find out more about our four hundred dollar egg ... read on ...

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Updated: 21-Feb-2008
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