Posts

Holy Moly! Model Train Shop In the Old LaudryMat Spot

Image
Via the Frankfort Station comes this news that there's a Lionel O Gauge Hobby Shop called Choo Choo Works that has sprung up in Frankfort.  That's cool and all.  But it is in the location of a place that was a big part of my childhood:  the (as I called it) Laundrymat. 

More photos here on Facebook via this guy and this guy who I believe are involved/own in the shop (and the custom car shop next door).

This is a weird collision of concepts and places that brings a HUGE smile to my face.  My Dad is smiling too, I bet.

Ready to Cut With The Rockwell Sonicrafter 4.2 Amp F80

Image
I've had one of these Rockwell Sonicrafters for a number of years and I've found it pretty useful from time-to-time.  It isn't something that I pull out every time I tackle a project, but have been a specific set of applications that required *just* this tool. 

This year at Christmas, I was upgraded to the new version of the F80 that has 4.2 Amps and comes with this nifty hard-sided case.  My original one came in a cloth carrying bag and I pushed it to it's max, so this upgraded version is a welcome addition to my shop lineup.

You might be wondering...what do you do with an oscillating tool?  Welp, the fine folks at Rockwell have created this handy list of 10 things you can do with a Sonicrafter.

The F80 comes with a nice light to shine on your project and has two 'degrees' - meaning one setting is a narrow oscillation and the other is a wider oscillation.  Also, note... this is a corded tool.  But, it is a 10 foot cord, so you get some pretty good reach.

This…

Simply Suet From Wild Birds Unlimited - In the Yard

Image
Still going through some of the new birding-related supplies (like this fruit and seed bell) I was gifted this Christmas season and that includes today's post showing this other suet cake.  Like the hot pepper one that I posted last week, this one is from Wild Birds Unlimited.  The premise is the same:  make something that the birds will like (and need!) that the squirrels aren't interested in devouring down.  The hot pepper suet version takes a proactive approach:  adding something like red pepper that bothers the squirrels.  This one, takes the opposite approach:  strip everything else away but the rendered fat and the squirrels won't be that interested in it.  You can find this Simply Suet on the WBU site here

I haven't gotten around to putting the hot pepper version out yet and that's because since about the first of the year, this Simply Suet cake has survived in our feeder.  Which....is a long time!  In fact, I found it on the ground one morning after the …

Lionel Tell-Tale Reindeer Christmas Car

Image
When the 2017 Lionel catalog came out early in the year, like most years, I ended up pre-ordering a few items from TrainWorld that I knew would trickle in throughout the year.  That's what most often happens - starting around Halloween, the cars start to arrive.  But, just like last year, a car that has Christmas theme'ing arrived in January...post-Christmas.

Here's the post from last February showing the Buddy the Elf boxcars that arrived late.  This year's late arrival is the car you can see above:  a Tell-Tale Reindeer Christmas Car.

If you look closely, you'll see that this is part of the "North Pole Central Lines" and is marked with "Reindeer Transport Express" on the sides along with some drawings of Christmas symbols like teddy bears, drums and a brass instrument.

So, you're probably wondering...what is a "Tell Tale" car?  Welp, it is a car with an animal inside that kind of 'ducks'.  In this case, it is a reindeer t…

Vintage Schlitz Mug - Antique Mall Find

Image
Last week, I posted about our trip to the MAGA Antique Mall up in Lake Geneva and how we came across those vintage "Made in Japan" Poinsettia candle holders that we passed on.  Before we were asked to leave by the MAGA guy who runs the place (because...gasp! the boy was playing with some vintage toys!), I spotted this Schlitz glass mug.  They were asking $6 and this thing was H - E - A - V - Y!

I've posted a lot over the years about vintage Schlitz stuff, but this mug is a dead ringer for the big Schlitz pitcher that we bought at a flea market last summer.  Seriously...click here for just a second.  And look at the bottom of that pitcher and the bottom of this glass.  Then look at the logo with the thin maroon line around the box.  And the white "The Beer that made Milwaukee Famous" font/mark.   This was totally released at the same time as that pitcher, right?  Had to be part of a set?  Like a tavern would place that pitcher on your table and four of these gl…

Plasticville Drug Store (Hardware and Pharmacy)

Image
I was packing up my train stuff for the year (btw....we finally got around to putting out our Christmas Train, yeah!) and I came across this Plasticville Pharmacy and Hardware Store that I picked up at the 2017 Christmas Train Show in Wheaton.  This is a piece that we bought for $1 and goes along with the other items that I've already posted here including the Plasticville Town Hall, the Schlitz beer billboard, the American Flyer Lackawanna girder bridge and Lionel flag pole.  According to the fine folks at Tandem Associates - who have chronicled Plasticville - this piece you see above is the 1853 Tan Version.  From their site, we find out when this was released: Bachmann introduced the No. 1853 in 1974 in a Bicentennial box, they had redesigned the front wall that was now TAN in color. As you can see in the version I bought, there are two big open windows up front.  Turns out, those are for little cardboard inserts.  Again....Tandem comes to the rescue:
So, as they state, those…

Welcome to Illinois Historical Marker in Hebron

Image
We took a drive one afternoon through the backroads to downtown Woodstock (or as Nat calls it 'Stars Hallow') and on Route 47 there were a series of signs that said "historical marker X Miles ahead" until we finally saw a sign that pointed to a turn-off where about 20 yards away, in the snow was this sign you see above.  You can see the little path that has been worn out to the sign and even footprints in the fresh snow, so I wasn't the first person to get out of their car to check out this sign/historical marker on this day. 

While Nat and the kids stayed in the car, I got out and walked closer.


Until I came to this:


The Historical Marker Database or HMDB (which is a pretty incredible site!), you can find all the details.  It was put up in 1982 but the sign calls out the fact that Nathaniel Pope fought for Illinois to have its northern border moved further north - which gave Illinois the City of Chicago and the 14 most northern counties (including Lake...which …