Tuesday, December 29, 2015

DIY Awning

This is the awning we built in our backyard this last summer. Jake really wanted a shaded area to sit in our backyard. He planned and came up with this idea.

First he nailed some 2x4's to the house as support. And drilled nails into the cement to hold the 4 vertical beams.

We added the beams across the top. From the house to the first vertical, then the first vertical beam to the second. This was the sketchiest thing we have done in our remodeling experience. I stood on a ladder holding one end above my head as high as I could while Jake screwed in the other end with one hand, holding the beam up with the other. But we got it done.

We added lateral supports to keep it sturdy. Then came the paint.

After this was all done, it was on me to sew the fabric. We got an outdoor fabric, I sewed the sides and the ends. Then every 4-5 feet in the fabric, I sewed across to make it a little stronger and sewed on hooks on either end.
I think we calculated that I sewed around 150 feet of fabric in all.

The hooks in the fabric went through the carabiners that connected to the metal wires Jake added from each end of the awning. We attached the wires with hooks on each ends and the sides through the middle also to keep them steady under the weight of the fabric.

We take the fabric off over the winter, and if it rains we can just slide them closed if we want (though they have been rained on and it's no big deal. It is nice though because we did add light around the frame so even though we don't use it for shade in the winter, the outdoor lights are still beautiful and well used.

It made quite an impact from before!

In all we used
4- 4x4 poles that were drilled into the cement
4- very large screws and plates to hold the 4x4 poles
2- 2x4 poles across the top of the 4x4's as additional support
1- 2x4 across the house as an anchor
5- 2x6 poles around the outside of the poles; from the house to the first 4x4, from 4x4 to the next (each side) and one across the front two 4x4s

Around 50 feet of outdoor fabric (two strands), though we could have bought much less. 
metal wire- from the house to the end (4 stands- 2 for each strip of fabric across)
8- hooks to screw the wire into the wood
20- carabiners to hook the fabric to the metal wire

For more of our home makeover projects click here.

Monday, December 28, 2015


I'm finally backtracking quite a bit to our June vacation to Hawaii! I had gone through all of the pictures when we returned from Kauai and then put them on our external hard drive. Well along the way somewhere I lost the hard drive.

I'm so heartbroken because it had everything! All of my pictures from college, Peru, Africa, China, Honduras, even our Wedding! Everywhere we have gone, including Hawaii, ALL of Coopers puppy pictures. All gone.

So I've been holding out in hopes that it would show up. But it's now been almost half a year and it's still missing. I've pretty much given up hope.

I do still have the pictures I posted to facebook. So I will use those. Because it's been so long though, I don't remember specific days. I'll do my best though this may be inaccurate.

Day 1
How this all happened. Jake's parents rented a condo for the week and told us all that if we wanted a free place to stay, we could pay our way to get there. Of course we couldn't pass that up. Everyone else booked flights together. Jake and I waited a little longer to price check flights and ended up on a different flight. 

When we landed Jake's parents picked us up in our Jeep we got to drive for the week. It was so fun! We stopped by Costco for food and headed to the beautiful condo! We had a lovely room to ourselves. 

We took a drive around the island with everyone and just explored all together. The island of course was all beautiful.

We rented some snorkel gear and boogie boards and all headed to the beach. 

There also happened to be a beached seal which was pretty cool to see. 

Day 2
We all decided to head to a waterfall. We thought we'd be able to hike down but when we got there is was more a look out from above. It was beautiful though.

That didn't stop Jake and Preston though and then I followed along too. We hiked behind some fences. We didn't get down to the bottom of the waterfall, but instead on top of it. Still, it was awesome. I just almost got eaten alive in the meantime. 

We did some more beaching. And then Jake and Preston jumped off a cliff. Literally.

Day 3
"The kids" all went on the most beautiful hike in the world. No joke. The Napoli Coast. We did the first two miles into a little beach.

The next two miles took us to an incredible, huge, fresh water waterfall and lake. I've never experienced anything like this. 

We all had to swim behind the waterfall and jump in. It was so fun!

On the way back, Jake and Preston had to jump into every body of water we came across. 

8 miles later, we got back to the cars.

Day 4
More time at the beach. We had to rest our exhausted legs. (I also made Jake be cute for me)

That night, we all went to the Smith's Luau. Unfortunately, these are some of the pictures I lost. 

Late that night Jake, Preston, Maddy and I went to the beach after dark to look at the stars and hang out together. I loved this. 

Day 5
John, Preston, Dad, Jake and I went on the "get dirty" dune buggy tour. Seriously one of the funnest things I have done. Jake and I took turns driving, trying to get the other the muddiest. I won.
We had a lunch break at a little water hole and waterfall.
And then went back out for more riding. 

Day 6
Some of us, (Maddy, Preston, Mom, Jake and I) went on a zipline excursion with Outfitters Kauai. I include the name because it was kind of a sad last day all together. We sat around in line for probably 6 hours of the 6 1/2 hours we were out. We loved our zipline in Honduras, but this one took FOREVER!

Everyone but us left later this day. Jake and I still had another day before our flight out.

Day 7

Again I don't really have pictures from this day. But we went to the local farmers market. We walked around the beach some more and returned everyone's rentals. We shopped and just had a relaxing and romantic last day. 

This was SUCH an incredible vacation. I've never had such a fun "relaxing" trip. We loved every minute of it.