Friday, December 18, 2015

Baby Joy's Tiny Room

dear santa love cathy auvil

Last year (2014) I had a goal to get all my paperwork, family photos, and memorabilia in order. I completely failed. So I have been working on it all 2015 and I am very close to being done. More on that later. In a box of memorabilia I found a "Dear Santa" letter that my Mom must have clipped from the Chewelah Independent - they printed every kid's letter every year (I wonder if they still do that?). I was curious about Boby Joy and her tiny room which turned out to be Baby Joy's Tiny Room. I found one on eBay.

I can see why I wanted it - it came in a suitcase! You could carry it anywhere you wanted and it had 1960s flower power designs. I can't remember if I actually got it. My Mom can't remember either. It's also interesting to me that it's a tiny room and I grew up to love tiny houses. 

I would have probably seen it in the Sears catalog. When we got the Sears catalog, Christmas edition, my sister and I would sit down and go through it and if I sat on the left of her I could have anything on the left side pages I wanted and she could have anything she wanted on the right side pages. I don't know who came up with that rule.

Finding this on eBay was fun and I have been thinking it might be a fun job to find things for people from their childhood. People who are too busy to find it on their own. Is their a toy from your past you have always wanted to find again?

Images courtesy of eBay seller connectibles. Used with permission.

Star Gazer

star gazer astrology by clay r pollan

Do you remember this astrology column in the newspaper? You had to match your numbers to the words so you would know what was going to happen to you that day. Mine: Distant affairs hold your attention perhaps vacation planning. The way that you had to work for it, with numbers, made it seem... scientific. Of course I thought it was ridiculous but we read the paper every day and if you saw in the corner of your eye a sad face for your star sign it was hard to ignore. What bad thing will happen to me today?! It was in the Spokane paper for years.

WeRelate Contest: Lillian Vernon

WeRelate contest this week is Lillian Vernon (businesswoman).

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Oprah's Favorites: Perfect tablet and smartphone bag

perfect tablet and smartphone travel bag and I saw this one on Oprah's Favorites list
Available at Amazon
I've been looking for the perfect tablet and smartphone travel bag and I saw this one on Oprah's Favorites list. It is 6" x 8.5 inches - so the right size for an iPad mini (8") or a 7" Kindle Fire. I like how it opens up like a notebook.

perfect tablet and smartphone travel bag and I saw this one on Oprah's Favorites list
The only problem is that it is leather and I try to avoid leather whenever I have a choice. So I am looking for a vegan alternative. Here is one in faux leather, which is good, but it doesn't open up like a notebook:
perfect tablet and smartphone travel bag and I saw this one on Oprah's Favorites list
Available at Amazon

Basically I can't find what I am looking for. I just spent an hour on Amazon and eBags. If I do find one I will post it here and if you know of a travel bag for 7" or 8" inch devices that also has a place for smartphones, opens like a notebook, not leather, faux leather is OK, somewhat stylish, under 100$ would be great, please comment here. Thanks!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Ann Bliss

This week's contest is Ann Bliss born 1 APR 1740 • Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Jane Clay from Kentucky to Idaho

This week's contest subject is Jane Clay who traveled from Kentucky and was listed in the Idaho Territory census of 1870.

How to play the game: if you create a WeRelate page for this person or you add sources to an existing page, let us know by commenting on this blog post. Person with the most edits wins.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Oprah's Favorite's T-Fal Optigrill & Kitchen Herb Kit

T-fal OptiGrill Stainless Steel Indoor Electric Grill

I was not surprised to see the T-fal grill on Oprah's favorites this year because we bought one about 6 months ago and we love it. I can't really cook and it is so hard for me to cook for other people. I never know how long to cook meat the way they like. My Grandma Jean was the same way - she would bake chicken for everyone when we all got together but she would always ask my grandfather to check if it was done. Mike like's everything rare and with this T-fal all I have to do is turn it on, choose what kind of meat, wait for it to beep signaling that it is pre-heated, place the meat and then wait for the first beep to know that it is rare. The second beep is medium rare. We cook hamburger, salmon, sausages, and bacon on the T-fal. It takes all the guess work out and it has been really great for me. Five stars.

Kitchen Herb Kit - Three Self-watering Indoor Planters with

 Organic Basil, Organic Parsley, and Non-gmo Mint Seeds.

Another cooking product on Oprah's list caught my eye - the kitchen herb kit. Fresh herbs are essential for good cooking and also to health but I have had the hardest time managing to keep fresh herbs on hand. I'm going to try these jars this winter. I haven't figured out how I will get light to them - but the whole jar set up with the wicking water seems so easy. I will grow cilantro, parsley and basil. My grandma Jean told me that they always had parsley growing in the kitchen window when she was a little girl in Newport, Washington.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Rest in Peace: Harriet Klausner Amazon Reviewer Hall of Fame

I just read about Harriet Klausner, an Amazon Reviews Hall of Famer. It was said she read 4 or 5 books every day. And that she only gave good reviews. That made some people skeptical of her opinion but I agree that a good policy is to only give reviews when you like something. You can read more about Harriet at The Wall Street Journal.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Currently Reading: A Story of the Swanson Family, "Montana Pioneers"

The Swanson Family Montana Pioneers deeAuvil blog
The Swanson Family "Montana Pioneers" at

Currently reading: a book I picked up (signed copy!) at the Elmira Store. It follows members of the Swanson family, Ruby, Myrtle, Florence and William as they travel the world teaching in Sweden, Japan, Hawaii and then return home to Troy, Montana to run a family lodge. Together they wrote the book about their adventures. Florence became a prominent child psychologist in New Jersey and when she passed she donated 100 acres adjacent to their lodge to the YMCA to be used for  recreational purposes. In 1940, Myrtle lived at the Barbizon Hotel for Women while teaching in New York City. (Read more about the hotel)

The Barbizon Hotel for Women in 1927 -- photo Library of Congress
The Barbizon Hotel for Women in 1927 -- photo Library of Congress

The original lodge, built in 1947 has been for sale on and off but is currently off the market. You can see it at Zillow.

The Swanson Family Montana Pioneers deeAuvil blog
The Swanson Lodge in Troy, Montana

The Swanson Family Montana Pioneers deeAuvil blog

In 1955 Ruby wrote a cookbook of their lodge recipes. (Favorite Recipes From Swansons Mountain View Lodge at Some of the recipes included were:

Home Baked Beans
Corn Fritters
Superb Swedish Meat Balls
Smothered Chicken
Salmon Loaf
Potato Souffle
Onion Shortcake
Macaroni Salad
Swedish Bread
Mrs. Truman’s Ozark Pudding
Cantaloupe Sauce for Ice Cream
Cinnamon Cookies
Swedish Spice Cookies
Chocolate Pie
Frozen Lemon Chiffon Pie
more recipes online:

Ruby Swanson's Peanut Butter Cookies

Have you ever been to the lodge? Do you have a favorite Scandinavian recipe? Please share in the comments!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Link List: Environmental Inspirations

This image is available with a Royalty-free license at

I created a link list of TV shows and sites with videos with inspiring environmental themes. (also some links with resources but no videos) We watch with our morning coffee to get inspired for the day. Subjects include renewable energy, organic gardening and agriculture, recycling. I am keeping the list in my Evernote account so I can easily update it. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Freebie Friday: Simple, Free Bill of Sale

I needed a bill of sale from the Internet and I don't want to register with a site, receive a newsletter or remember a password. Hard to find, so I ended up making my own and I want to share it with you to hopefully save you some aggravation. It is a .PDF sized to print out on 8.5x11 inch paper. When you click the links below it will take you directly to the document in my Google Drive. No run-around. You are welcome.

Vehicle Bill of Sale
Animal Bill of Sale (for dogs & horses etc.)
Bill of Sale (for everything else)

If you appreciate this freebie consider shopping through my Amazon link. Thanks!

Friday, October 9, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Sheriff Stephen Brown & Photographer Miss Solberg

c.1910 Cheyenne (Sheyenne) North Dakota Indian Sherriff eBay seller apple13

Found this image on eBay. I love vintage images with a juxtaposition of cultures - this man with his traditional hair pipe vest also has European spectacles and a sheriff's badge. He is the subject of our WeRelate contest this week. He has been identified by the eBay seller as Stephen Brown of Sheyenne, North Dakota. Can you find any information about Stephen?
I'm also interested in the photographer. A single woman photographer in the wild west?! I can only think of one other right now (Wrensted).  So this is a very important photograph in the history of women photographers. Can you find any information about Miss Solberg of Sheyenne, North Dakota?
Good Luck!
*Image used with permission of eBay seller.

Friday, October 2, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Miss Pansy Jarnagin

This weeks WeRelate contest is from a postcard I saw at eBay. It is a photo of Evan Enoch home in Deer Park, Washington. But the subject is Miss Pansy Jarnagin - the recipient of the postcard. Can you find her in records? Does she have a connection to Evan Enoch? Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vintage Publisher's Logos

I uploaded this vintage Simon and Schuster logo as an example for my Pinterest Branding board. Isn't it beautiful? Here are a couple more.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Amazon Push Button WiFi Enabled Reorder Buttons

Amazon Dash Buttons - this one is for re-ordering Tide with this WiFi enabled push button

So, apparently, Amazon has created these new WiFi enabled push buttons that will reorder your most often purchased brand items. I am always running out of laundry soap. But it's not just for laundry soap it's for cleaning supplies, groceries, pet food, baby supplies, health & beauty. I'm also always running out of dog food and dog treats. But the first one I'm going to try is the laundry soap button. What you need to do is download an app and then buy the button you want to use (4.99 but then you get a 4.99 coupon). It will be mailed to you. There is also a Mrs. Meyers Clean Day button.

If you like this you may want to follow my Laundry board at Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

My Laundry Board at Pinterest

Friday, September 25, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra - This weeks WeRelate Contest on the deeAuvil Blog

This week's WeRelate Contest is Yogi Berra. Born Lawrence Peter Berra in 1925 he is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.

Friday, September 18, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Lizzie Maron burned to death Dec. 10 1877

Normally I would try to avoid anything this gruesome but this image was in a box of vintage photos I bought at a flea market and I am really curious - can we find this woman in the census? Can we find any newspaper account of her tragedy? Can we find her sister Belle Sturgis?

Start a page for Lizzie at WeRelate to win points for today's contest. Good Luck.

Friday, September 4, 2015


BESPECKLED GIRL eBay theprimitivefold

BESPECKLED GIRL eBay theprimitivefold

I collect vintage photographs, mostly from eBay and I noticed this image and it really stood out to me so asked the seller if we could use it for this week's WeRelate contest. BTW there is a ton of really great African American vintage photos on eBay right now. I think that with some sleuthing we cold figure out what school this photograph was taken at and then maybe if we do more research we could find out the name of the bespeckled student. What became of her? Did she leave any written memories of her life? If you find her name create a WeRelate page for her and you will win this week's contest. Good luck!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Frank E. Petersen

Frank E. Petersen was the first black aviator and the first black general in the United States Marine Corps. He is the subject of the WeRelate contest this week.

Friday, August 21, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Emma "Big Mama" Didlake

President Barack Obama greets the nation’s oldest living veteran, Emma Didlake, in the Oval Office, July 17, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Emma Didlake joined the military in 1943 when she was 38 years old. She served as a private and driver during World War II. She later moved to Detroit and joined her local NAACP chapter and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Detroit in 1963.

Emma is the subject of this week's WeRelate Contest.

Friday, August 14, 2015

WeRelate Contest: thoroughbred horse trainer John Nerud

John Nerud's Website

This week's contest subject is thoroughbred horse trainer John Nerud who lived to be 102. I looked up his family back in Nebraska and census says his father was born in Bohemia. I'm not even sure where Bohemia is. Do you know? Can you find out more about Bohemia and contribute to WeRelate to win this contest?

Good Luck!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

President Warren G. Harding's Daughter with Nan Britton

So, yes, it has been determined through DNA that Warren Harding fathered a child with Nan Britton. Because no one believed her at the time and she received no child support she wrote a book, The President's Daughter, to try to raise some money. It was a best-seller. She writes about how he set her up in an apartment in Asbury Park, New Jersey and other intimate details about their life together. Going to be reading this book tonight on my Kindle.

Friday, August 7, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Agnes Fenton

This week's contest subject is Agnes Fenton of New Jersey. Born in 1905 she moved to Memphis with her cousin as a teenager and started one of the first black-owned businesses in that city. One of the habits she credits for her longevity is drinking Miller High Life beer.
We don't add living people to WeRelate for privacy reasons, but see if you can find her parents or her husband (is Fenton her married name?) and create a page for them on WeRelate.

Good Luck!

Friday, July 31, 2015

WeRelate Genealogy Contest - Flora MacDonald

Library and Archives Canada, Accession No. R10914-5 Copyright: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

From Canadian Flora MacDonald's Wikipedia page I learned that she worked as a bank teller at the Bank of Nova Scotia. She used her savings to travel to Britain in 1950 where she got involved with a group of Scottish nationalists who stole the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey and brought it to Scotland. After that she hitchhiked through Europe, came back to Canada and entered politics and devoted the last years of her life to international humanitarian work.
Flora MacDonald passed on July 26, 2015. She is the subject of this week's genealogy contest. If you would like to play find out if she already has a page at WeRelate. If not, create one or add to the existing page. Her family is also interesting - her grandfather had been a clipper ship captain who sailed around Africa and South America. Can you find out more about him?

Good luck!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Treat Day

delicious pomegranate lollipops from birch xylitol deeAuvil Blog
Re-ordering these delicious pomegranate lollipops made from birch Xylitol. I've tried LOTS of things to distract myself from eating too much. Gum does not work. But these really do taste good and the flavor lasts longer than gum and it is working to distract me. 25 calories.

Edited to add - they are a really pretty color so I thought I should read the ingredients so I don't recommend something with artificial color. The ingredients: Polyglucitol, Xylitol, Citric acid, Natural flavor, Malic acid, Purple Sweet Potato, Radish, Cherry

And a tip: I keep mine refrigerated or they will melt especially in the summer.

Blue Bones Natural Dental Chew for Dogs with Glucosamine & Chondroitin deeAuvil Blog
Blue Bones Dental Chews

Since I bought something for myself I had to also get something for my collie. One of his fans sent him these chews and he just goes crazy over them. And he is such a picky eater. A lot of chewy things he just ignores but he eats these up immediately. They have Glucosamine and Chondroitin in them which he seems to need (he is starting to have some aging issues). They are expensive so I am going to buy the regular size and snap them in half and give him half a day.

Friday, July 24, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Soterios Anargyros

Prints available at my website.

I've seen these gorgeous vintage advertisements - this is just one example - all over the Internet and I finally took some time to look into it. I wondered who was behind a company that produced such beautiful ads. The answer is a guy named Soterios Anargyros. Born in Greece he came to America and eventually got into the tobacco business. Importing tobacco from Turkey. Oddly enough there is no Wikipedia page for him. So if you would like to join this contest create a page for him at WeRelate (extra points if you create a page at Wikipedia!) and let us know what you find out about his interesting life. Good Luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Plywood Floor Experiment

Plywood Floor Experiment - deeAuvil Blog

When I decided to put a new floor in the first thing I did was to go to a hardware store and get samples of flooring. I was really shocked. There was one group of samples that were true hardwood and that was obvious and expensive (7.19 a square foot) and then there is a whole other group of flooring that is called "hardwood" but is actually a very thin veneer of wood over something that looks like MDF to me. It is probably not MDF and it may be more water-proof than MDF, but I am sure none of these so-called hardwoods would ever be able to be refinished. The small veneer would be removed and all you would have is the MDF-like middle section. Even the cork flooring was a tiny layer of cork and then the MDF-like stuff. Don't take my word for it go get samples yourself. As you can see from the picture below, one layer of plywood is thicker than the veneer on the mid-priced "hardwood".

Plywood Floor Experiment - deeAuvil Blog
From top to bottom: Hardwood flooring sample ($7.19 sq. ft.), cork flooring sample, mid-priced "hardwood" flooring sample, 1/2 inch plywood.

Plywood Floor Experiment - deeAuvil Blog

Plywood Floor Experiment - deeAuvil Blog

Plywood Floor Experiment - deeAuvil Blog

I needed 400 square feet of new flooring. I got estimates for wood floors from several places and for what I wanted it was going to be 4 or 5 thousand dollars. I absolutely hate carpet. There is some vinyl sheeting that looks just like wood floors and I like it but I wanted something a step up from that because I will probably Airbnb this place at least a few weeks in the summer. I decided to try plywood flooring.

A price break-down
Plywood: .75 cents a square foot - $300 for 400 square feet
Real Hardwood: $7.19 a sq. ft. = $2,876 for 400 sq. ft.
"Hardwood" veneer at $2.99 a sq. ft. = $1200
"$0.99 sq. ft." Internet bargains would be great but every place I looked wanted 6-700 dollars shipping

This will be the tenth floor that I have taken down to the subfloor and re-built. So I feel like I know what I'm doing at this point. That's why I decided to buy cheap vinyl flooring to use as a vapor barrier. And also to stabilize the whole thing. I could tell that the subfloor was made out of different grades of plywood. It was kind of a mish-mash of someone's old collection of wood. My idea was to use the vinyl flooring to tie everything together and make it all more stable. I was right. It does seem really stable. (As apposed to just laying the plywood planks onto the subfloor.) It cushions the planks and makes them quieter to walk on.

I bought the vinyl from Griffin's Furniture in Newport.

Now to buy the planks. I bought the planks from Albeni Falls Building Supply in Newport. I chose 1/2 inch plywood and I asked them if they could cut it in 6 8" planks 8' long. I drew a picture that i left with them just to be sure. They asked if they could do it the next day when they had time and I said I was in no hurry. They charged me a small fee per board to cut it. I was fine with that. They explained that it wouldn't be possible to make every cut EXACT. I said I was fine with that. There were just a few boards that were just slightly off and that's OK because it just adds character. In fact, when the floors were done I took a box cutter knife and trimmed a couple of boards that were so close together they looked like one board. I wanted to have some gap between boards. I did push all the boards right next to each other because although a large gap would have looked cool and farmhouse, I can't figure out how you would keep that clean. And I am all about low maintenance. Between a couple of planks there are huge gaps and I am going to put something artistic in there and then seal it (beads? sand?). 

Now to lay the boards down. I hired someone to nail the boards down because I knew that I had to rent an air compressor and rent a nail gun and I don't know how to use them and I don't want to learn. I rented all that for $90. Then I went to Home Depot to buy the nails. The guy at Home Depot said I had the wrong kind of nail gun for the job and that they had a CORDLESS stapler by Ryobi on the close-out shelf for $75! I returned the nail gun and compressor and bought the Ryobi. I had to buy a battery and charger for the Ryobi but now I am all over the One + bandwagon and I now have a One + Ryobi weed wacker and a One + camping lantern. Love them. I have used the nail gun for all sorts of things after using it for the floors. I did still have to pay my friend Christopher to nail the floors down because I had already arranged it with him but I could have done it myself with a cordless Ryobi.

Plywood Floor Experiment - deeAuvil Blog
Ryobi P360 18-Volt Airstrike Crown Stapler

Nails. The guys at Home Depot told me instead of finish nails (which is what I read on other plywood floor blog tutorials) I should use crown staples. That seemed odd to me but they have never steered me wrong at the Sandpoint Home Depot so I bought 1-1/4" "Narrow Crown Staples". They were easy to load in the Ryobi, they seem to really hold the planks down fine, and you really can't even see them. And I notice EVERYTHING.

Next I gave a light stain to the plywood, trying to make it look more Scandinavian because Mike loves Scandinavian style. I did this by mixing one gallon of Kilz water based primer with four gallons of water. First I just used one gallon of water that covered too much then I kept adding water because it was very difficult to see what I was doing. I wanted to get just a light stain. And I didn't know how it would dry. I probably could have gone with 3 gallons of water. It is not as white as I would like. This was the hardest part of the project - getting the right amount of white-washing. But in the end I was too tired to change it so I just went with it. The beauty of these wide plank plywood floors is if you don't like the look you could always paint them. Painted floors look great. Lots of Scandinavian painted-white wide-plank floors on Pinterest. I would use porch paint if I did that.

Then I sealed everything with Varathane Floor Finish High Traffic Satin Finish. At first I thought I would need to wear a gas mask and keep everyone out for 24 hours because of the fumes. But I guess that is for the old oil-based finish and these new water-based finishes are not so fume-y. First coat (which took one gallon for 400 square feet) I was fine until the end when I got my face up close to some plywood to see if I was getting in the cracks and some fumes got in my eyes and they were watery and a little sore for a couple hours. For the second coat I kept my eyes away from the floor and I was fine. I opened all the windows for air circulation. I ended up using two gallons - two coats and I have already spilled a latte on it and it cleaned up fine. I think I will put another coat or two on it in time because I want the floor to be very durable.

I plan to update this post in about a year to let you know how everything wears. Thanks for stopping by!