Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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Posted November 04, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Toy stories

“I’m a flea market nut,” explains Dave Zaabel while gesturing to rows and rows of shelving in his Urbandale basement. “Flea markets, antique shops, garage sales… but everything was canceled this year.” Zaabel’s treasure trove contains a massive stockpile of toy farm machinery, replicas of bobcats, pickups, steam engines, jeeps

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Posted September 30, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Blood, sweat and stained glass

Diane Bacon keeps a box of Band-Aids at the ready. The skilled stained-glass artisan has had her hands bloodied more times than she can count while pursuing her passion. “Hundreds,” she estimates. “At least.” Once upon a time, Bacon was a small child who would sit in church and marvel

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Posted September 02, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Attack of the drones

Drone racing isn’t virtual reality, even though participants appear to be wearing VR goggles. And drone racing isn’t a video game, even though the hand-held controllers function in a similar manner to hand-held gaming devices. Chase Johannsen says decent racing aircraft can be bought for a couple of hundred bucks

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Posted August 05, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Holy cow… Urbandale basement hosts a royal rumble!

“This is the worst Christmas ever,” Kyle Peterson remembers thinking. The crushed 7-year-old awoke to find next to no presents waiting for him. “There were like two GI Joe guys under the tree for me,” he says. “My sister had a bunch of presents, but I’m like, ‘This is all?…I

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Posted July 01, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Chugga-chugga choo-choo!!!

Jon and Sharyl Engelhardt transformed their basement into a boxcar bonanza. What started as one couple’s vision of a toy train set looping their Christmas tree — they figured it would impress their grandkids — has grown into a two-room locomotive exhibition delighting onlookers from all walks of life. How

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Posted April 01, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Build nights for space robots

Snapping together models based on space robots, Iowa Gundam Builders has gone from zero to 300 members in two years. As a kid, Dylan Black didn’t care for putting models together. His experience with the hobby had been a tedious one, and it ended with a disappointing and gluey mess.

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Posted March 04, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

‘Do what you love; love what you do’

The planes buzzing by mesmerized the youthful eyes of the small girl perched atop the fence post of her family’s 1950s farm in rural southeast Iowa. During these formative years, Christine Stevenson frequently positioned herself in this spot to gaze at the horizon and imagine where the final destinations for

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Posted February 05, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

Norwalk man will compete to win $10,000 and a world championship

Matt Ouverson won last year’s Steak Cooking Association Points Championship and will vie for a world title later this year. Last year’s steak grilling national points championship cost Norwalk’s Matt Ouverson’s odometer 63,000 miles in a single calendar year. “I cooked 17 states this year,” says Ouverson, who entered out-of-town

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Posted January 01, 2020in Collections & Hobbies

19 years to go

A grandpa’s legacy: “The Moraine Collection” Mr. Harry Pittman, Jr. knew beans about baseball cards, but the bubblegum card collecting craze was peaking in 1988, and his 8-year-old grandson, Adam Moraine, needed a hobby. As such, along with his wife, Alberta, Pittman and his grandson began a grand bonding endeavor,

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Posted December 04, 2019in Collections & Hobbies

3-D printer makes flying saucers?

LaVerne Sanders enjoys the challenge of making things fly. Tucked in the basement of LaVerne Sanders’ Urbandale home are three unique looking machines. Sanders combines these apparatuses — a laser, a CNC machine and a 3-D printer — along with his computer and a steaming mug of coffee to make

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