January 1, 2005

RunnerDuck Home


Well we made it into another year pretty much all in one piece. We had a great Christmas with our families and Santa was good to both of us. Ken got some great new tools for the wood shop and Marilyn got some new add-on's to her Kitchen Aid mixer. The grand kids loved the hand made toys we did this year and should be playing with them for years to come.

During the holiday break we got to see the Nutcracker at the new McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center. This was the first time we'd been to the newly remodeled hall and found it to be quite nice. We were a little worried that they'd take away the 1962 Worlds Fair feel with the remodel but it still has a great feel to it. The Nutcracker by the Pacific Northwest Ballet was wonderful. If you are ever in Seattle around the Christmas holidays you should make an effort to go see it. It's definitely one of the best in the country.

This past year found us spending a lot of time at our place in Sandy Point, Washington. For those of you that have been with us a while know that it's north west of Bellingham, Washington. We keep our boat tied up to our dock there and leave our 5th wheel trailer there during the summer. We did a lot of work on our boat this year but didn't get out on the water with it for any overnighters. Hopefully this year will find us more on the water and less on dry land.

Betty, one of our faithful readers, went into the hospital three days before Christmas for a total shoulder replacement. She is the Betty that wrote the fun travelogue on our web site about their trip across the country and back. If you haven't read it you should take a minute to do so, it's really fun. We wish Betty a speedy recovery and our prayers are with her and Doug.

If you haven't done so yet you should check out the contest to win a PT Cruiser from the Rockler Wood Store. We have the link on our web site right near the top of the home page. Check it out at www.runnerduck.com.

Hand Make Maple Kitchen Tools

Many of you purchased these fine hand made hard maple kitchen utensils for holiday gifts. We're sure that the recipients will enjoy them. Now it's time to get some for yourself! These hard maple tools are hand made right here in the USA in Montana. Go to www.runnerduck.com/woodnwares_gs.htm to check out all the different tools we have available.
While you are at the site check out the spoon oil for all your wooden kitchen products and butcher blocks.

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Thank you,
Ken and Marilyn

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What's New?   We thought it would be fun to share a little of our holidays with you. As we mentioned above we made our Christmas gifts this year. Ken did all the woodwork and Marilyn did the painting. Here is our one year old grandson Hudson with his new doggy.

He hasn't named it yet but so far it sort of sounds like "dahg". Remember he's only a year old :-)

Here's our older grandson Camden with his new Marble Pinball game. This months project shows you how to make this fun toy.

It's really fun to see how much enjoyment the grand kids get out of these mechanical toys in this day and age of electro-digital everything.

Just for grins we thought we'd throw in a photo of our new kitty on Christmas morning. She is protecting one of her new toys.

Now on to the New Year and all that it has to offer. We hope yours will be the best ever!


Did you get lots of neat digital goodies for Christmas? Chances are they run on batteries. Chances are those batteries will go dead about the time you are ready to take that classic picture or your favorite song has just started playing on your I-pod. While you are thinking about it run out and get an extra set of batteries for your electronic device. Charge the new set as soon as you get them home. This way you'll always have the power you need at that special moment. Don't forget to put the batteries you just changed out of your device on the charger so they are ready to go next time also.

If you got a digital camera for Christmas and you are new to them here are some tips. Go crazy! Take pictures of everything. It's a little hard to get use to but since you don't have to develop film there is no cost in shooting lots of pictures. The thing you really have to remember though is after you've downloaded them to your computer, DELETE the bad ones! Digital photos take up a lot of hard drive space and you will be surprised when all of a sudden you are out of storage space.

A couple of other tips on saving space are, reduce the size of the pictures that you want to keep that aren't that important. You can do this with many different graphic software programs. Just remember that once you've reduced the size of the picture the resolution will not be as good when you blow it back up. Also save your pictures to a CD. If you have a CD burner in your computer use it to copy your pictures to a CD. After you've done that delete the picture from your hard drive to free up some more space.


We found a fun site that we think you'll enjoy. We love photography and interesting photos. This site is sort of a "guess what it is" picture site. Each week they post pictures of some very different items and you get to guess what they are. The answers are posted a week after the photos are posted. We have to admit that we didn't do really good at guessing a lot of them.

While you are there be sure to check out the archives in the lower right corner and also go to "View my complete profile" under "About Me". There are many more fun and interesting things under Recent Posts.

Just got to http://puzzlephotos.blogspot.com/ and have a fun time.


Girl On A Swing

Break out your coping saw or scroll saw, it's time for a little wood cutting. This is really simple and fun to make. They look great hanging on the wall and make great gifts for kids rooms. Of course we know some adults that have them hanging in their dining room :-)

Here's what you'll need:

  • 5" X 7" X 1/2" wood
  • Acrylic paint
  • A few feet of twine
  • Scroll saw, coping saw or saber saw
  • 3/16" drill
Use this pattern for your cutting lines.

Click the picture for a full size pattern.

Drill two 3/16" holes in the swing seat, one on each end and one hole in each hand. Drill these from the top down not from the front!
This is the creative part, paint the girl and seat to suit your own fancy.
Feed the twine through each hole from the top and tie a big knot in the bottom.

That's it! Now make several as long as you have everything out.

     We hope you enjoy Marilyn's Corner and look forward to all the fun things she brings you each week. If you have a fun project that would be suitable for our newsletter we'd love to share it with our readers. Just contact marilyn@runnerduck.com and we'll do the rest.

Remember we have all of our past projects archived on our web site at www.runnerduck.com. Just click on the Projects or Kids Only Eggs.

Kids Stuff

The holidays are over so let the sale's begin! It's our Green Tag Clearance Sale! You won't believe the bargains, with savings of up to 70%, you'll find in our Toys Outlet.

The Tempos
News and CD of the Week

NEWS FLASH! The Tempos have put all the music from their "Swing Set" CD on line! That's right, you can listen to The Tempos anytime just by going to their web site. The music files are MP3's and some are as large as 9 MEG but we think they are well worth the download. It's sort of our late holiday gift to all of you. Just go to www.runnerduck.com/tempos_cd.htm and click on any song title.

Here's another musician joke from our friend Jeff F. in Texas.

A woman tells her husband that he is a hopeless drunkard and if he does not go to see a doctor for help she is going to leave him.

The man resists but after relentless nagging he gives in and goes to see a doctor.

The doctor gives him a complete examination and tells the man that he can't find anything wrong with him other than his being an alcoholic and if he doesn't stop drinking he should not come back to his office for any reason.

The man is at a loss as to what to tell his wife and staggers from saloon to saloon trying to find some strange illness that he could tell her that he has.

Staggering drunkenly on his way home he passes a music store and sees a sign in the window through his drunken stupor and reads out loud, "SYNCOPATION."

That's it! He will tell his wife that he has a bad case of syncopation.

Honey, he tells her I have syncopation. The wife says she never heard of it and goes to look it up in the dictionary and reads, SYNCOPATION: ERRATIC MOVEMENT FROM ONE BAR TO THE NEXT.

The Tempos big swing band is available for hire. If you have a special event that could use the wonderful music of a classic sixteen piece big band be sure to contact thetempos@runnerduck.com. We perform all over the Seattle area for all sorts of events.

Album Pick of the Week

"The Very Best of Artie Shaw"
By Artie Shaw

In case you hadn't heard Artie Shaw passed away this week at the age of 94. What a wonderful lifetime of beautiful music we have to remember him by. Launched into fame with his 1930's recording of "Begin The Beguine" on the clarinet he has been a top star ever since. We will miss him but through his music we'll always have him around.

Be sure and visit the RunnerDuck Music Store for great savings on just about anything.


Remember we now have a Joke of the Month but we have posted a bunch more on our web site. To see all the jokes for January go to www.runnerduck.com/jan05_jokes.htm and have fun!

This joke was sent to us by Rena R. It's one of those jokes I'd heard years ago but had forgotten. We think you'll like it, at least Ken did :-)

Froggy's Holiday

A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.

"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."

Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.

Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.

The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.

Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.

She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."

She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"

(you're gonna love this)

(its a real treat)

(a masterpiece)

(wait for it)

The bank manager looks back at her and says...

"It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."

Do you have any good jokes, or maybe not so good jokes? Please send them to us we love to get jokes! Send them to jokes@runnerduck.com with a subject of "RunnerDuck... Jokes".



Winter's here and what's more fun to make than Snowballs? This is a very old recipe from Ken's mom, we think you will like it a lot.


  • Vanilla Wafers
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Crushed Pineapple
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Nut Meats
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Whipped Cream
  • Coconut
Beat the eggs until well beaten.
Add the Sugar, Pineapple, Nuts and Salt and mix well.
Spread the mixture between the Vanilla Wafers.
Chill for a few hours or they can be fixed the day before you plan to server them.
Just before serving top with Whipped Cream and sprinkle with Coconut.

Now wouldn't that be a nice winter treat for your afternoon coffee clutch?

Remember, if you have a recipe you'd like to share please send it to marilyn@runnerduck.com. We'd be happy to post your favorite recipe on our Kitchen site or in our newsletter and give you credit. Just drop a line to marilyn@runnerduck.com.

     Every month we post a new recipe on our web page. Be sure and check out the New January recipe at the RunnerDuck Kitchen Store.


"Dessert University:
More Than 300 Spectacular Recipes and
Essential Lessons from White House
Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier"
by Roland Mesnier


As long as we are on the subject of deserts, how about a cookbook that not only has great recipes but is an education in the fine art of desserts as well? Jo-Anne Barnard of Washington, DC summed up this cookbook in her Amazon review as follows: "I must start by admitting that I have had the great pleasure to both study under and assist M. Messnier at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda (where I am a volunteer -- regular job is CFO of a federal agency). Having this book in your library is as close as you can get to having a pastry teacher standing at your side in the kitchen. M. Messnier explains how cooking is a practical craft and then shares the knowledge he has gained in his long and illustrious career. He is from the old school - use great ingredients; cook them as simply as you can; and present the final product with flair. Whether you prepare a simple apple tart or one of the glorious desserts he prepared for visitors to the White House in his 25 years as White House pastry chef, you will be thrilled with your results."

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Marble Pinball Game

Both Marilyn and myself grew up playing with pinball games similar to this one. We combined what we both remembered about them and came up with this design. We made it for our grandson Camden for Christmas and he was thrilled. There are some challenges to making this toy and it requires a little creativity on your part.

Here's a list of materials you'll need to buy.

1" X 6" X 3' Maple (full 1" stock)
1/2" X 12" X 4 1/2" Maple
14" X 22" X 1/2" Birch Plywood
1" X 1/2" X 14" Walnut
1/2" X 6" dowel
4" X 1/2" ID compression spring
A wooden knob that will fit on the dowel
(26) 1" #6 Zinc plated screws
1 1/4" finish nails
14" X 9" X 3/4" MDF for template

If you don't have a planer I suggest using a Glue Line Rip Blade for the following cuts. If you use this blade only for ripping it will last a long time without needing resharpening.
Freud Glue Line Rip Blade
Freud Glue Line Rip Blade

Cut two pieces of 1" maple 1/2" wide and 21" long.
Cut one piece of 1" maple 14" long.
Cut three pieces of 1" maple 7" long.
Glue the three pieces together so you have a piece 16 1/2" X 7".
Scrape the joints with a scraper to remove any glue and even them out. Here's a good scraper as part of a complete set.
Cabinet Scraper Set, Sandvik Scraper and Mill File
Cabinet Scraper Set, Sandvik Scraper and Mill File

Make a template for the top curve of the pinball using 14" X 9" X 3/4" MDF. Make a 6 1/2" radius arc centered left to right and 1/2" down from the top. I used a piece of scrap wood to make my arc. If I had received my Christmas present before this I would have used my Beam Compass. A very cool tool that I now use a lot!
Beam Compass
Beam Compass

For the complete instructions go to our project page at, www.runnerduck.com/pinball.htm.

We hope you liked this project. If you build it and your friends ask where you got such a clever idea, please tell them that you got it at RunnerDuck.com.

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If you have a project that you would like to share please send us an email and we'll help get it published in the RunnerDuck review. We are looking for woodworking, gardening, crafts and kids projects so send us your thoughts at projects@runnerduck.com.


Nothing like starting the year out with potty mouth but we're going to talk about toilets! If you have a toilet that was made before 1993 it uses three times the amount of water than new ones do. That means that if you were to replace it the average household would save about $100 per year! Of course there's the problem of what to do with your old toilet. Well, many water districts will take them for free and some water districts will even give you a credit when you purchase a new one and recycle the old one.

For some good information on what toilets are best to by visit www.savingwater.org. Not all toilets are created equal and some work a lot better than others. Check out their comprehensive toilet test report to see what the water districts recommend.

If you have a conservation tip please send it to conservation@runnerduck.com and we'll post it in our newsletter.

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