This past Easter holiday weekend our family rented a car and drove seven hours down to Ronneby, Sweden to visit some of my relatives. I was very excited to see them again and have my husband and dog, Zoey, meet them too! We also stayed one night in Gothenburg, Sweden on the way down to break up some of the driving.
Because this was Zoey’s first official vacation, she thought it would be fun to write the post. Here goes nothing….
Hi there! My name is Zoey Pope. I am the furry one in the family (well, I guess my dad is kind of furry too but that is another story for another day). I am very excited to tell you about my vacation!
We started by getting in a car. I love car rides! Mom let me sit in her lap until I wanted to lay down… then I got sent to the backseat. It was great! So much room!
After a few sleeps we arrived at this thing floating in the water that mom says we were going to sleep in. I like ducks and they float in the water so I assume I will like this place too! It is like a really BIG duck that is not scared of me!
Once we were inside, we found a room with a bed. I got dinner and some of my toys were pulled out of our bag. Mom was so nice to bring them for me. My parents then left me in the room to guard our things. I overheard them talking about finding beer. Yuck! I don’t like beer! I am glad they left me behind!
After they returned we all fell asleep in the bed. This bed was very strange… it had a hole down the middle that I kept falling into. I ended up deciding mom’s feet were safer than the middle.
We woke up to ducks! They were just floating outside our window! It was very exciting!
I then took another sleep when mom and dad when for breakfast. They came back with BACON! It was so tasty! I love sleeping in the giant duck! I love bacon!
We then went to a park! I love parks! This park went by a funny name of Slottsskogen. I was walking my parents around when we came across a pond. It had these funny animals inside… and no they were not ducks…. I know ducks and these things were not ducks. They kept popping up and then disappearing again…. Must be some weird Swedish duck thing.
We then walked up the hill and guess what we found? DUCKS! More ducks then I have ever seen all in one place! If I were not walking my parents I would have chase every last one of those ducks! I must come back here again someday when I am not on walking duty!
We then came across a big dog my parents called horse. I wanted to go sniff it out and say hello but my parents kept saying I would be kicked in the head…. Must be an angry dog. I trusted them about this.
At the very top of the hill we stopped to see the pretty view.
Then we started to head back down.
We ran into another interesting duck. I wanted to play with it but the fence was in the way. I also didn’t trust this bird… it made very funny noises.
Next to the funny bird there where sheep! I have heard about these things called sheep. All I know is that they are all supposed to stand together. Phew these ones were together, the stories are true.
There was also some sheep with horns.
Mom got too close to them so I had to step in and protect her.
After that we found a large bird out if its cage. I wanted to go play with it but dad wouldn't let me. He never lets me have any fun. Mom wanted me to scare it so we could see its feathers…. whatever what means?
We then got to go on a hike through the forest! I LOVE hikes through the forest!
After we made it down the hill, we got to play ball! In leaves! OMG leaves are fun! They are the best for burying the ball!
Then we played more ball!
And a little more!
I got very tired. BEST DAY EVER!
Mom and dad let me drink out of an ice cold stream. I thought it tasted so good that it would be great to lay down in! Oh and it did feel good! Mom got really freaked out about me being wet and being in the car.
So we played some more ball! I LOVE playing ball!
After I was dry again we jumped back in the car for the second part of our adventure.
I helped dad drive. I am good at this!
Mom had us stop to take pictures of this church. I stayed watch with dad in the car.
After another long nap we arrived at a farm. This was my first time at a farm! It was really fun! Except for all the horses. Those things are not fun… one tried to eat me… but I got away. Mom kept insisting on going in their cages and petting them. I don’t understand why. I stood guard and yelled at any of them that got too close to her.
I made a new friend at the farm. His name is Jack. We played outside and inside.
When we came inside from playing we had to pass the fortress of cats! These cats did not like me! They really liked my mom though so I just stuck by her when going through. Jack and I did our best to chase the cats off but they always seemed to return.
There was only one cat inside. It was much different than the outdoor cats. This one didn't make funny noises at me.
Sometimes this indoor cat changed into a small person…. It was very strange.
Mom and dad ate a lot of food when we were at the farm. I also got a lot of food too! Mom really has to learn to make food like they do. They drop so much more on the floor at the farm. It was so good! Mom says I was being spoiled. Whatever spoiled is I LOVE it!
Mom and dad left me to play with Jack when they went to see some sheep. They told me that I might scare the sheep so I couldn't come. They told me stories of the sheep when they came back.
They saw both black and white sheep.
They saw puppy sheep (mom called these lambs).
And even one that was a day old.
Maybe someday I can see that many sheep!
Oh, I didn't tell you. Jack has his own couch outside! It was so cool! I must talk my parents into getting me one of those.
We celebrated a thing called Easter when we were at the farm. There was lots of food and people singing. Mom and dad got these funny shaped balls with treats inside! They were good, so I let them have all the treats.
After a few days we got back in the car and took a really long sleep. Did I tell you I love cars! When I woke up I was back at my house.
I LOVE vacations! I hope mom and dad take me with on every vacation! BALL…..
I hope you enjoyed Zoey's version of the vacation. We had a wonderful time seeing our Swedish relatives again and seeing the new little addition. In addition to what Zoey wrote, we also were lucky to find out more about our family tree. One of my relatives started doing research and had tracked the family back seven generations. I love being able to see the links in on a family tree and how everyone is related.
After last year’s Christmas gifts my brother made a request that I make gifts for him every year. This would be so much easier if I lived within driving distance. Trying to figure out a homemade gift that will travel well is hard.
I have wanted to try to make string art for a while now so I decided to combine that with staining pallet wood. I decided to try to stain my bother and sister-in-law’s wedding date in the center and weave a string art heart around it.
I still had pallet wood left from the pellet I used for the Robot in the Rain pellet art that I had made months before. I loved how the wood had weathered on the side of our house.
Heart String Pallet Art with Wedding Date
Start by cutting the pallet wood down to the desired size. I like cutting mine on the outside of the center nail holes. Lightly sand the pallet wood so it is not splintering. Layout the pallet wood with the good side down.
Cut down two scrap pieces of wood to use to attach the pallet wood together. Make them a little shorter than the height of the pallet wood when assembled. Install hooks to the inside tops of both wood piece (this will be used to sting wire to hang the art).
Lay the recently cut pieces on top of the bad side of the pallet wood with the hooks on the top facing inside. Pre drill pilot holes to cut down on the cracking of the wood. Using screws attach the pallet wood together. Make sure to use a proper length screw, it should be long enough to go into the pallet but not out the front. I recommend two screws in each side of each board. This makes it very sturdy.
Now it is time to start working on the staining of the pallet. Start with figuring out the size of the font for the wedding date. Using the silhouette studio software create the desired text and print onto adhesive vinyl. Weed the outsides of the text. With a ruler figure out the best alignment.
Use transfer paper to stick the text to the pallet. Make sure all edges are stuck down. Pull away the transfer paper.
Next, with a rag, lightly wipe wood stain onto the pallet wood and over the adhesive vinyl.
After a couple of minutes peel away the adhesive vinyl.
Let the stain dry overnight.
The next step is to make the heart stencil. First, measure the size you want the heart to be. Make the heart in the silhouette studio program to the correct size. Set to paper size to 12 by 12. The full heart will not fit onto the one sheet. What I did was print it in four sections. Load the 12 by 12 paper on a cutting mat into the machine and set the blade to number one. This will leave a mark but will not cut through the paper. After the four parts of the heart are cut, use a maker to trace over the mark to make it more visible (you could also you the pen or maker attachment if you have one). Using tape, panel together the four pieces of the heart. The stencil is then ready to be used.
Align the stencil over the stained side of the pallet. Tape down the sides to keep it in place.
Using a ruler mark off equal distance stops were the nails will be placed. Beware of the spaces between the wood pieces. Also make sure to make a mark the bottom point and the top dip point.
Next make a pilot hole for the nails. This will make it really easy the hammer the nails into place. Use a drill bit that has a little bit smaller diameter then the nails that are being used. Optional: Use electrical tape on the drill bit as a guide to help me keep a constant depth throughout the whole project.
Once the holes are made hammer the nails into place.
After all the nails are in rip away the stencil.
The last part is to create the string art. Start this by tying the end of the string to one of the nails. Put the string and loop it around another nail. Be careful to not cover up the wedding date in the center but to equally fill all of the heart.
After the heart is full of string tie off the end on a nail. The last and final step is to apply a few drops of super glue to both tied off knots and cut the tail.
This would also make a great wedding gift or wedding decor too.
The Adhesive Vinyl is sponsored by MyVinylDirect.com
Zoey had to give up her BarkBox subscription because of our move to Norway. We decided to pass it on to Casey, my parent’s black lab. Needless to say she did not object to the idea of getting a box full of treats and toys being sent to her.
Here is the review that my mom wrote up for January’s BarkBox:
This month's Bark Box was greeted with full excitement by Casey. I was so busy the day it arrived that I cut the box open and set it on our kitchen table. I had no time to show it to our Lab right away. While cooking in the kitchen I kept hearing her whining at the kitchen table. When I went to investigate I found Casey looking at the box and whining for the treats that were in the box. Grabbed my camera and took some pictures of her.
This box contained 3 treats and 1 toy. Below is a breakdown of all the products received with the cost, Barkbox's product description, and our reactions.
Break down of products in box:
January 2013 Overall BarkBox Review
Total value of products in box: Around $38
Overall impression: Over all impression was very good on this box. Casey loved it and is sill loving the toy which is holding up very good!
Would I buy this box again? Yes, I would buy this box again.
Do you want to order a BarkBox? Use this link and get $5 off you first order.
We've have had to adapt to the snow once again. Oslo is a very outdoorsy city in the winter weather. It seem like everyone owns cross country skis. Even the children at the school across the street bring their skis to school. I also find it amazing that the sidewalks and roads are almost always a sheet of ice and everyone seems to be able to walk on it without a problem. I am proud to say that I have only fell once... Alex on the other hand has lost count.
Zoey and I have taken countless walks over to Frogner Park. This park is famous for all its life size human statues all made from one artist. It was really funny the first time walk through the park with Zoey because she thought all the statues were real people and was afraid of them.
This park also has a large field dedicated as a dog park. It is so much different than dog parks in the US. There are no fences the dogs just run free and all the owner hope that they come back when called.
Zoey just loves being able to run free and roll in the snow!
This last weekend Alex and I went sledging (sledding) at Korketrekkeren (which translates to corkscrew). It was lots of fun. We took the metro to the last stop were we rented a sledge. From there we took the almost mile long course to the bottom where there is another metro stop where we hopped on and took it back up to the top to take more trips down.
The course has crazy turns and steep falls off the sides. The sleds had the ability to be steered but no way to slow the sled down and steer at the same time. I only spun out once and Alex almost hit a wall once. Overall I think we did pretty good.
This track was originally used for a bobsleigh and luge course. It was actually used in the 1952 Winter Olympics for bobsled.
I think our next snow adventure is going to be cross country skiing… stay tuned.
Our bags are unpacked and we are now settled into our temporary housing.
We are in a tiny one bedroom apartment through Frogner House Apartments. We are in a very nice area just a few blocks away from the palace in Oslo.
Here are some pictures of our temporary apartment before we received our air shipment.
We have made it through the trials of figuring out how to use of washing machine and dishwasher. Things we have learned til håndoppvask translates to hand washing soap not dishwasher shop. The ending result of this is in the picture below…
I have also had my struggles with the washing machine. The first few times running a cycle, I would wake up in the morning and the machine would still be running. We would force it to stop but our clothes would still be locked inside and when we could finally work our way in they were sitting in a puddle of water.
Other things learned about the washing machine
Now we have the fun of finding homes for all our stuff that came in our air shipment.
First of all I would like to apologize for the long break between posts. After the holiday season we had a whirlwind of activity with our move to Oslo, Norway! We are now getting settled in our temporary housing so that I have some free time to post about all the Christmas gifts I have made for friends and family. I will post more about our Norway move later this week.
A few weeks before Christmas I got the opportunity to be sponsored by MyVinylDirect.com. This was the perfect timing to so all the projects that I had planned on making for gifts. Over the next few weeks I am going to be posting about all of these projects. I will also be posting to My Vinyl Direct’s blog. I recommend going and checking out all the other great projects being posted there.
The first Vinyl project that I am going to share are the baby blocks I made for two of my cousins’ kids. This was a perfect way to use up some of the scrap wood from past projects.
When little Ben opened this gift he sat and took each one out one at a time. He seemed to really like them.
DIY Baby Blocks
Start this project by cutting and prepping your wooden blocks. Using a saw, cut the wood into 1—1/2” cubes. Sand the edges until they are completely smooth. If they are not smooth the vinyl will not stick properly. You can also buy pre-cut blocks for this project.
Find the letters, numbers, and shapes that you would like to use on the blocks. Put all of objects into Silhouette Studio software. I found the animal silhouettes by searching for free animal vector art / silhouettes. Size the objects so they will fit on the sides of the blocks.
Once the vinyl is cut, remove all the scraps from around the vinyl that you want to keep.
If the object vinyl object is a single piece you can remove this by hand and stick to the side of the block. If not use transfer paper to move to block.
Once all the vinyl objects are stuck onto the blocks coat all the sides with a clear coat. Wait until the clear coat is dry and then reapply until the surface becomes smooth.
I recently got the opportunity to be sponsored by My Vinyl Direct. I love working with vinyl and have used it on multiple Christmas gifts this season. I am going to have a flood of craft posts as soon as all these gifts are given.
Here is a quick and simple winter craft to hold you over.
We just started getting holiday card in the mail this week and have been in the hunt for a good spot to display them. I found it! I used some leftover vinyl from another Christmas gift and made some really cute snowflake stickers to hang them on our non-magnetic front of refrigerator.
Really who’s idea is it not to have a magnetic fridge?
Recently I got the honor of attending my cousin’s 1st birthday party. As soon as I got the invitation I set off to make this little princess something special for her big day. I ended up coming across a modern rocking horse design on Ana White’s website and decided this would be the perfect gift.
It was a big hit at the party! All the kids wanted to play on the rocker. The birthday girl would sit on the front when the other kids sat on the seat. I think she really likes it.
One big problem I had was the front stem of the rocker ended up cracking off about an hour into the party. It was sad because I had spent a lot of time making this! I wood glued it back together and I have gotten reports that it is still holding strong! If you are going to attempt this project make sure to use hard wood! I didn’t listen the warnings and regretted it.
All the instructions on how to make this moped rocker are on Ana White’s website. I will walk you through what I did. Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures, my camera battery died when I was doing the assembly part of the project. If you want more visuals for this project please check on Ana-White.com.
Ladybug Moped Rocker
To start this project, print off the tiled .pdf that can be found on AnaWhite.com. Fold the edges and use tape to tie together the template.
Place the template over the piece of wood that you want to cut the pieces out of.
Using a pen, trace over the lines on the template. This will not leave pen makes on the wood but it will make an indentation.
After the indentations are made go through and make the lines with pen.
Using a Jig-saw cut the rocker pieces out. On the main frame piece cut out a notch for the front piece to side into. I just estimated how deep to make the hole by putting the pieces up to each other. I recommend making the notch as snug as possible to prevent breaking.
Also cut out two 8in long 1x3 or 1x4 for the cross bean supports. Cut a piece of the dowel rod about 8 inches long.
This is where my camera died. Please refer to ana-white.com to get more pictures.
Next, sand all the edges down. Make sure there are not any edges that can harm a child. After all the surfaces and edges are sanded predrill and counter bore all the holes (see list below).
Holes needed (pilot hole and counter bore):
Using the ½” drill bit make the handle bar holder holes. I clamped the second holder to the first to get the holes to line up perfectly. All the rest of the holes I waited to drill.
The next step was to paint all the pieces. Add as many coats as need to get your desired color.
Once all the paint is dry, start the assembly process. I did this in two parts to make the finishing easier. First attached the cross beams to the flat part of the rockers. Fill the holes using wood filler. Let wood filer dry. Sand down the wood filler and paint over the top. After the touch up paint is dry start coating with clear coat. I put about 6 coats on the bottom to ensure it would not mark up the floor.
For the top part of the rocker, start by attaching the front plate to the main frame by sliding the two notched areas together. Attach the two through the predrilled holes using 1 1/4"screws. Then attach the seat to the main frame through predrilled holes using 2" Screws.
Next put the handle bar through the handlebar holder (I had to sand the inside to get it to fit, I then had to really knock it in using a rubber mallet). Clamp the handle bar assembly in place on the back of the front plate. Drill two pilot and counter boar holes into each holder through the front side of the front plate. Use 1 1/4" screws to attach the pieces together. This step was done a little different on ana-white.com so it will not look like the pictures.
Using 1 1/4" screws attach the fenders to both sides of the main frame.
Cover all the holes with wood filer. Sand when dry and touch up the paint.
The last part to attach to the top of the rocker is the little circle light with more counter bored screws. After it is attached use wood filler, sand and touch up paint. When the light paint was drying I added the lady bug spots to the rocker.
To finish up the assembly attach the main frame to the cross beams. First sand down the wheels so they sit flush on the cross beams. Then drill a pilot hole and then attach using 2" screws.
Clear coat the top of the rocker (at least 3 coats).
Tips and things to improve:
This past weekend I went on an adventure with a few friends to cut down Christmas trees. Did you know you can cut down a Christmas tree from a national forest? All you need to do is get a $10 permit from the ranger’s station before heading up into the forest.
After getting our permits we drove our cars up into the mountain snow. I am so glad I was not driving!
Once we reached the recommended stopping point (the snow got too deep for cars) we continued our trek by foot. After about a half a mile hike up the road we climbed off the road and up into the trees.
These are not your typical Christmas trees that you would get from a tree lot. Because of the steep slopes they are growing on so one side of the tree tends to be a little thin on one side.
I ended up getting a Charlie Brown sized tree. I didn’t want to deal with a full sized tree while we are starting to pack for our big move.
This tree ended up being perfect size! I used a circle vase and some river rocks (leftovers from our wedding) to hold the tree upright. I bought a tiny star and some ornaments from Target. I also used a few ornaments from both my husband and my childhoods.
I love my little tree. It might be because this is my first Christmas tree outside of my parents’ home.
This was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
After much thought and deliberation Alex and I have decided to move our family to Oslo, Norway! We are extremely excited for the opportunity to live abroad. I hope this blog post helps answer all your questions. I am also going to cover my new goals and vision for this blog while we are abroad.
Let’s get these answers going…
Alex recently got offered an opportunity to transfer within his current company. We love the idea of being emerged in another culture.
For How long?
Don’t worry, we are not leaving forever. Alex has a 2 year contact, so we will be there at least 2 years. We will have the option to extend if we really like it there. The great thing is the company will move all of our stuff back when we decide to move back to the States.
Where will we live?
For the first 2 months we will be given corporate housing. We will use this time to figure out exactly where we want to live. We are still deciding if we want to live in an apartment in downtown Oslo or a house a little outside of the city. Currently we are leaning more towards the apartment to get more of a European experience.
What is happening to our Seattle house?
We are planning on renting out our house. We will ship all the furniture and things we need over to Norway. Everything else will be sold, donated, or put into storage.
Zoey and Keagan will be making the trip with us. There is no quarantine period so we don’t have to worry about that. They will have to endure the 10 hour + plane ride but we are sure they will be okay in the end.
Moving Zoey into an apartment is going to be interesting. The good thing is Norway has many public parks with no leash laws for most of the year. Oslo allows dogs on their transit system for the fare of a child ticket so we will be able to bring her places with us. We will also look into getting her an EU pet passport so she can make weekend trip to other countries with her.
When is the move?
Alex will start his new job on January 21st. We will be moving sometime the week before.
What about my Job?
I am currently in the search for a Mechanical Engineering job in the Oslo area. I can apply for a work visa through my Alex’s company as soon as we get into Norway. From my job searches and talking to people it doesn’t seem like I will have too much of a problem finding work even though I don’t speak the language. Most of the job postings I have come across require fluent English and this is the langue most commonly used in the work place.
Future of this blog?
There will be a little bit of a shift to what is talked about on Domesticated Engineer. The big change is that I will be posting a lot more about travel and our experiences on Europe. As of right now I have a goal of posting a craft of some sort every other week. I am also going to start a photo of the week post because I am sure I am going to be taking tons of pictures. I am sad that I will have to put a lot of the woodworking to the side for now, unless we end up moving to a house or somewhere with a garage.
We will be selling our cars before leave and have no plans on buying cars in Norway. There are way too many taxes for that. We plan on using the public transit systems (trains, trams, and bus). We might rent a car if we have to go to areas these do not reach.
I hope this answers many of your questions. We will add to this post when others come up.
We are so excited about this adventure we are about to embark on. We hope to keep everyone updated through this blog. Follow Domesticated Engineer on Facebook to get all the updates. I hope to have an e-mail update system up soon as well.