I completed my first model in Blender. Yay. OK, so I was just following this tutorial, but I did end up in the weeds a few times which was mighty disconcerting.
It is hard to find Blender tutorial aimed at the true beginner. This one strikes a good balance but still had an optional section, which seemed pointless. Another problem is the UI has changed for Blender 2.50, so most of the tutorials are out of date. This tutoral is one of the few that uses the new interface.
When I rendered the scene, I discovered that the rendered texture did not match the mapped texture created in tutorial. The wood grain on the seat was still following the default mapping. The above tutorial does not cover rendering so I was off in the weeds again.
After some Googling and experimentation I was able to add the created mapping as follows: 1) in the "Texture" properties panel, open the "Mapping" sub-panel; 2) from the drop down list for the "Coordinates" property, select "UV".
Since I'm a newbie, I don't know if this is the correct solution, but it worked for me (tm). I was surprised that I figured this out, so I must be learning something about Blender. Still a long way from being proficient, though.