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Tag Archives: Thomas

Railfanning

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I first discovered this word a year ago, but I have actually been doing it all my life. It is kind of like when I discovered the word shipper.

All my life whenever I am near railroad tracks I hope that a train will come along so that I can watch it go by. It seldom happens. Unless you work for the railroad, you don’t have anyway to know when a train will arrive. I love to listen to the cars as they thunder by, their couplings creaking with each variance in the track. I was fortunate enough to live near railroad tracks for half my life. But it was not a busy track.

This, my friends, is not a problem in Fostoria, Ohio. It is known as the Iron Triangle because so many trains (around 200 per day, I have been told) travel through the city. Fostoria has built a great rail park within the triangle where you can just sit and watch the trains go by. I was really impressed with the facility. There was a small roof for shade/rain protection, speakers that played the latest scanner communications, and a very well-kept bathroom. We must have seen about ten trains pass by in the few hours we were there.

Here is a new video I uploaded on my YouTube channel of a Norfolk Southern double-header passing by.

If steam engines (and possibly ones from the island of Sodor) are more your thing, watch this video of mine that already has over 2,900 views. And please like or subscribe or whatever it is people do over there on the ‘Tube. I am old. I can’t keep up with the young whippersnappers anymore.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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Foto Phriday

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I haven’t done one of these in a long time. I didn’t have much to download here this week, but then luckily my dog did something cute.

My furry daughter Dave leads a challenging life. She wants to lay between the three outside doors on the first floor, so that she can protect us from every direction. But, well, there is the issue of my son and most of the Island Of Sodor in her way.

What is a girl to do?

She simply lays down in the middle of it, complete with her lip resting on a homemade buffer. She gets  a nap and achieves maximum cuteness at the same time.

Note the buffer at the end of the line, and the furry lip that rests atop it.

Note the buffer at the end of the line, and the furry lip that rests atop it.

Want details on my buffer-building adventures? Check out these links.

DIY Thomas & Friends Buffer

What I Learned This Week – 8/9/15

Extra points if you can spot the Barfey in the picture. (Don’t worry, that is a spare. The originals hang out on a very high shelf out of reach of the child.)

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Artsy Fartsy Pics: Greenfield Village Edition

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My family went up to see Thomas the tank engine at Greenfield Village this weekend. We all had fun even though the weather didn’t cooperate. I can’t call it a “typical Michigan spring day” because I only experienced rain, sun, clouds, and wind. I didn’t see any snow until the next day.

I had fun taking pictures. I had even more fun after I got home adding filters and effects to them and generally making a gloomy day appear a little brighter. Some might think this is overkill, but I love them.

GREENFIELD-Tractor

Steam Tractor

 

 Back in the days when anthropomorphic engines regularly crossed the countryside.

Back in the days when anthropomorphic engines regularly crossed the countryside.

 

The Depot

The Depot

 

The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse

 

The Workshop

The Workshop

 

Train Crane

Train Crane

 

The gnome that lives under the buffer.

The gnome that lives under the buffer.

 

I can picture this flickering as some sort of stop-motion movie you would pay a nickel to watch inside a machine.

I can picture this flickering as some sort of stop-motion movie you would pay a nickel to watch inside a machine.

 

You gotta have a caboose...

You gotta have a caboose…

 

Vibrant Thomas

Vibrant Thomas

 

An out-of-sight very orange engine, by request of my child.

An out-of-sight very orange engine, by request of my child.

 

Sir Topham Hat’s view, or as I like to remember it: Too dang cold to stand outside any longer.

Sir Topham Hat’s view, or as I like to remember it: Too dang cold to stand outside any longer.

Hope you enjoyed it!

 

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

 

DIY Thomas & Friends Buffer

The other day my son was begging for a buffer to put at the end of his track, so that the trains would not roll off.

My first thought was that SOMEONE must sell such a thing, but that by the time you added the cost together with the shipping, the price would be pretty cost-prohibitive. If you decide that you want to go this route, you can visit TrainsGalore.com, which is an awesome website with almost anything you can imagine for Thomas-type trains. Here is their link to order buffers: http://www.trainsgalore.com/Search.aspx?k=buffer

I once ordered unpainted Thomas wooden railroad cars from them and had kids decorate them as party favors at my son’s birthday.

The car I designed (that the dog promptly ate).

The car I designed (that the dog promptly ate).

I chose the cheap, crafty route and fashioned a buffer out of a spare piece of track that we already had and some popcicle sticks.  I also used an exacto knife to saw through the wood, and an engine to make sure the dimensions seemed appropriate.

Supplies I used to make a Thomas buffer

Supplies I used to make a Thomas buffer

I glued it all together with some wood glue and allowed to dry away from tiny, excited hands. I added two dots of red paint (any old paint you have laying around) to signify reflectors. Here are pictures of the finished product.

Finished buffer

Finished buffer

Close-up of finished buffer

Close-up of finished buffer

My son was so excited that he wanted to show the completed buffer to everyone. He even told me, “Mommy, you are the best mommy.” I don’t get that everyday. I actually get that never!

I will admit that this design may be best suited to use on a train table environment. My son plays trains on the floor, and the buffer tends to not handle being stepped on by humans or dogs very well. But, we just glue it back together again. You might also think about trying a more triangular design, which might have more stability.

The few minutes of crafting I did were worth this very happy boy.

Happy boy

Happy boy

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

What I Learned This Week – 9/7/14

Over the Labor Day weekend, my family and I took a vacation to Gettysburg. As early in our relationship as planning for our honeymoon, my husband had expressed interest in visiting Gettysburg. So, I figured maybe after 11 years of marriage I should let him go.

The first thing to know is that Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania. That is what YOU have now learned this week.

I saw many billboards for casino’s owned by Penn National Gaming, which is the company that also owns the Hollywood Casino, where I once had a job interview, and where my asbestos friend’s husband works. It dawned on me that maybe the “Penn” in the name means the company started in Pennsylvania. This made me feel smart.

Pennsylvania road signs

Pennsylvania road signs

As we drove on, through the great state of Pennsylvania, the interstate signs and license plates kept having a weird shape on them. At one point, I asked outloud, “Why does everything have that shape? It isn’t even the shape of the state! (Ohio signs have the shape of the state on them.)”

Then I realized the answer to my own question. Pennsylvania is “The Keystone State”. The shape must be a keystone.

And the only reason I even know what the hell a keystone is, is from a Thomas cartoon.

A scene from Thomas and Friends Blue Mountain Mystery, with the keystone missing

A scene from Thomas and Friends Blue Mountain Mystery, with the keystone missing

Then my husband and I wondered WHY it is called that. We had several theories. His was correct. He said because of Pennsylvania’s place in the creation of our country. Also, economically and geographically as well.

Our trip didn’t always go smoothly, but it was relaxing and memorable, including my son M’s first time camping. He did great…at that, anyway.

Here are a few of my artsy-fartsy pix to share with you today.

The "kids" in the backseat

The “kids” in the backseat

Monument for Jennie Wade. Super interesting story, look it up.

Monument for Jennie Wade. Super interesting story, look it up.

First night camping.

First night camping.

Meade's headquarters

Meade’s headquarters

Farm

Farm

The view from Little Round Top

The view from Little Round Top

I've never done one of these before, but I loved how it turned out...

I’ve never done one of these before, but I loved how it turned out…

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