Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Building a daybed - halfway there

A few months back I saw this Ana White Plan for a storage daybed.

Photo from

I decided I wanted to try to build it for Babe Jr. as opposed to buying one. The bed she previously used was a platform, which I handed down to my niece, so we did not have a box spring for her mattress. I checked prices on a cheap frame and box spring in our area, and I couldn't have purchased those alone for less than the cost of my materials. 2 weeks ago I finally bought the lumber and got started.  So far I have about 80.00 invested. I already had tools, sandpaper and wood filler, so those didn't need to be purchased. I may have to buy a can of primer, but even so this is looking like its going to be a really smart project financially.

For Ana White's more popular projects, she provides a cut list and layout for how to get the most use out of your  lumber.  I sketched those out and had them cut the plywood sheets for me at Lowe's.  There are pros and cons to this.  The positive, I didn't have to do it and then I was able to fit the plywood in my car.  This meant I didn't have to take Mr. Backwoods truck and worry about the wood getting wet if it started raining on the way home.  The negative, they do not practice what I would call "precision cutting" at Lowe's.   I'm not going to go into huge detail about the issues this caused, or how I built it, because the tutorial on Ana's site is awesome and tons of other DIYers have already shared their experiences there as well.

Here's where we are currently.

I put the plywood boxes almost totally together the first day.  I had bought screws that were too short and didn't have enough longer ones on hand at home.  A few days later I got a handful from a friend that he had leftover from a project.  I finished the boxes an evening after that.  Then the following weekend we got the trim on - I had Mr. Backwoods help since I had never used a miter saw.  Now I'm in the midst of sanding and wood filling stages.  The lack of a garage or covered area outside is really slowing this process down.  I can't do a lot of sanding at once because of the mess it makes, and these things are too heavy for me to carry, so carting them in and out of the house frequently is not an option.  Also, wood filler takes time to dry, then it shrinks, so you have to sand and apply more in some areas.  My living room has had these sitting behind the couch in various stages for a while, and I've probably got at least another week before I'll get them to the paint/prime stage.

I'm thinking I'll probably wait a while to paint them.  I need to touch up Babe Jr's dresser and we have a desk that was given to her that needs something done.  My next 3 weekends are full of wedding and pre-wedding activities for our best couple friends' upcoming nuptials.  So, Babe Jr may just be stuck with mismatched furniture until Spring.  Or, rather than tackling it all in one nice weekend outside, I might try to work inside on one piece at a time throughout the winter.  It all depends on how ambitious/bored I get.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Make your own decorative letters

I had been wanting some stuff to put on the ledge created by my kitchen cabinets.  I came across a blog where the blogger had the word "EAT" sitting on top of hers and I thought it was really cute.  I tried to find the source, but since I originally saw this last Spring and didn't pin it or save it in my favorites, my search was fruitless.  Anyway, I really liked the idea of decorative letters over the cabinets rather than the typical baskets or platters, but I couldn't find them in any of our local stores.  One of the downfalls to living in the backwoods is limited shopping options.  Walmart had some wooden letters, but they were a childish font and not as large as I wanted.  Then I ran across this tutorial on Pinterest.  It was meant to make pinatas, but I figured I could make it work.  I gathered some old boxes and got started. 

Disclaimer:  Due to the length of time this project took, photos were taken at different times of day so the lighting and white balance are wonky.

I sketched out the letters on cardboard, using a ruler to make sure they were even and all the same size.  I cut out 2 of each, for front and back.  Then I cut strips for the sides.

I used packing tape to attach the strips to one side of the letter.

I  used the hot glue gun to attach the other side, then secure the taped side a bit better.

The corrugated cardboard left rough ugly edges, so I decided to paper mache the letters to smooth everything out.  Babe Jr helped, this was messy and took several coats, but it was fun.

If you look closely, you can see we used old math homework and study guides for the paper mache.  Who gets a newspaper anymore?  Once it was completely dry, I painted them black.

Here they are on top of my cabinet.  I obviously need more accessories up there and they hadn't been propped up well yet, but I'm happy with how they turned out.  I still haven't got this staged so that I'm satisfied, but I'm getting there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Lens!!

I finally got another lens for my camera.   A few months ago I did a maternity shoot for a friend and then the subsequent newborn photos.  My friends were really happy with them, so in exchange for doing more shoots for them, they are helping me acquire a bit of new equipment.  It works out great for everybody because they are getting pics they love and the benefit of the equipment, and I'm getting the equipment and have willing subjects to practice using it.  My first request was the 50mm 1.8. 

This was the first shot I snapped.  It's the side view mirror of my car.  I know, my car needs washed, sue me.  Its not the most interesting thing in the world, but I was waiting for Babe Jr to get out of cheer practice when I opened the package.  One of main reasons I wanted this lens is because it allows for a larger aperture which creates this great creamy blurred background.  I can take a portrait almost anywhere, as long as I'm far enough from anything in the background, and get this effect.

Here's another.  No, I don't smoke, but I did have a lighter in the console.  It's perched on my armrest here and you can't even make out all the bags piled in the passenger seat.  This lens also takes really crisp clear photos.  I can't wait to do some portraits and get some nice eyelash shots.

apothecary jar

And here's a shot of my new apothecary jar I just bought from Homegoods.  I took this one once I got home and didn't even try to straighten the kitchen.  You can't really tell that there are power tools on the counter in the background.  Of course I'm in the middle of another project.  By the way, the runner and place mats are also from Homegoods - I love that place.  I picked up the moss rocks from Dollar Tree a few months back with no real plan for them, I just liked them and they were only 1.00 per bag.

The Middle School homecoming is tomorrow.  Babe Jr's first school dance is right after the game and its semi-formal so she's pumped.  Hopefully she'll cooperate for some photos.  She told me tonight she didn't want to spend money on the ones they take at school since I can just do it, so that's a good sign.  Fingers crossed that there's decent lighting somewhere because the dance doesn't start until 9:30.

Maybe after the dance things will slow down in the Backwoods household and I can get a project post done.  I have photos from a few I've already done but I'm not totally satisfied with them and I made a new wreath that my friend would like to have a copy, so I need do that document the process.  Yes, I just blatantly left you with a teaser so you'll check back, haha.  :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Touch of Sun

My entry for this week's photo challenge on

Summer Recap

Since I was missing in action all summer, I bring you a quick recap.

My niece came to stay for a week. 

We had blackberries and raspberries growing everywhere.  The girls helped pick them.  I attempted a few times to make cobbler.

I went out a few times and got some nice nature shots.  Until I saw a huge rattlesnake, then I didn't go poking around in the weeds anymore.

This is the Drake.  My Dad calls him the luckiest dog in the world.

He was a stray my sister picked up on the side of the road.

Now she has gone away to college but he still sleeps on the porch and gets to run all over the property between their house and ours.  He also has their Jack Russel and my brother's coon dogs to hang out with.  The Terrible Terrier doesn't care much for him though.

Babe Jr. made the middle school cheer squad and went to camp, but I can't post pics of other peoples kids online, so you'll have to use your imagination there.

I've been helping a friend plan her wedding and bridal shower.  I'm sure I'll have a future post about both as the shower is in 2 weeks and the wedding is a month away.

And finally, another shot of the wild horses at the top of the mountain.

I'm back!!

I didn't give up on blogging, my computer just broke down. The trusty old laptop had been through a lot these past few years and finally choked out the near the beginning of summer. Since we had sunk all our savings into our new house and the setting up of said new house, I had to wait a while to allocate funds for replacement. Now I'm officially back up and running. Here's a few cool photos from this summer just so my come back post isn't totally boring.

This is Babe Jr with a sparkler.  I shot this using a long shutter speed and a tripod in case your wondering how I did it. It was a lot of fun taking these but you have to keep really tight patterns to make out the shape.  Only a few of them I took are obvious, its best to keep with something simple.

And here's a nice shot of Mr. Backwoods in his natural habitat.  This was taken the same day as my new header pic.  I'd begged him for a few weeks to get me back up to the top of the mountain in the evening so I could get some sunset pics.

And speaking of the new header, you may have noticed my little remodel.  I decided it would be more logical to have my blog title actually match the web address.  My posts have gravitated more towards projects I've done (which are often things I've made because I can't find them in stores in our super small town) or anecdotes about living in the backwoods, moving away from philosophical ramblings.  So the new title just made more sense all together.

I documented a few of my projects over the summer and still have tons of them in the works, so more crafty stuff will be coming soon.  And if you're reading this, thanks for not giving up on me.