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!

Acupressure Foot Massager for Stroke and Foot Drop Recovery

Ucomfy Acupressure Foot Massager
We are thinking about putting together an ebook about all the things we are doing to help Mike recover from his stroke (Feb. 2012). I thought I would start to put that together with my main tip: try only one thing at a time so you know if it is working.

If you start two supplements at one time, let's say one is $100 a month and one is $90 a month, and you start to feel better, how will you know which supplement to continue? Plus it is expensive. So just try one thing at a time, I would give it a month. And keep a calendar!

Using my one thing at a time method and our assumption that you will not recover from a stroke unless you do SOMETHING, we believe that using the Ucomfy Acupressure Foot Massager has improved Mike's drop foot quite a bit. Plus it just feels good over-all. He does it for 45 minutes to one hour every day while he is having morning coffee.

Mike has gone from wearing a full-on AFO to a simple ankle brace. (more on AFOs and ankle braces in another post)

The little nubs move independently and they stimulate the nerves in the foot. So it makes sense that it would help with stroke recovery. The only thing I am not sure of is if it is OK for a person with diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you have diabetes and your doctor has approved your use of this machine I would appreciate it if you commented here. If you are a doctor please comment! Does anyone know of any studies about diabetes and foot acupressure?

Friday, July 17, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Jeralean Talley née Kurtz

Before Jeralean Talley passed away in 2015 she was the world's verified oldest living person. If you want to play the contest this week, check to see if she has an entry and if not create one and see if you can find anything else about her life and family.

Friday, July 10, 2015

WeRelate Contest: Susannah Mushatt Jones' Father Callie

I'm reading about the current oldest living person - Susannah Mushatt Jones who is 116. Since we should not create pages at WeRelate for living people (for privacy reasons) let's use her father for this weeks contest. Wikipedia says her father's name was Callie. Look to see if he has an entry at WeRelate and if not you can create a page for him to earn points in the contest.

I learned from this CNN article that she put three of her nieces through college and that she attributes not being married long to her longevity.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Teddy Roosevelt Portrait on the Blue Blood's Frank Reagan Office Set

Where can I get a Teddy Roosevelt portrait just like the one on Blue Bloods?

I love set design. And vintage images. We do watch Blue Bloods (we are Tom Selleck fans) so, yes, I did notice that spectacular portrait of Teddy Roosevelt in Police Commissioner Frank Reagan's office.

So I found the actual print and here is how to get one of your own.

teddy roosevelt blue bloods portrait


You can purchase a print of this image HERE in several sizes but I think the 16 x 20 is the closest size to the BB image. I went shopping for a frame. I hadn't ordered a frame online in years and, wow, it has not gotten any easier. I could not find a frame website I can recommend. I usually shop at Amazon for convenience so I went there next. Finding a frame and mat was not so easy. I couldn't find one exactly like BB but I did find this gold frame:

gold frame

And I did find mat in two color choices. I think the BB portrait has a creme colored mat but you could also use white.

You may want to purchase the print and take it to your local framer.

If you find a better frame or mat at Amazon please let me know. And if you can recommend an online frame shop please tell us!


For people who don't have time to roll their own head over to Imagekind where you can purchase the print already matted and framed. If you purchase from Imagekind, and if you have time, please let me know what your experience was like. Thanks! Catherine

Purchase a ready-made portrait at Imagekind

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Grand Duchess Olga of the Russian Royal Family

This week's contest (sorry it was delayed by 4th of July situations) was inspired by this 1903 news story about the Grand Duchess Olga of the Russian Royal Family. Who can't be moved by their tragic lives? I create this contest to encourage people to learn to edit at WeRelate, a free, collaborative genealogy site. After I saw this photo and caption I checked if this family is in WeRelate. They are. But there is one glaring error on Olga's page and there are no pictures. Fix the error and add some pictures and you will win this week's contest. Good Luck!