The DIY journey of a California citygirl and a Montana farmboy

There is something about checking out your homegirls house and swooning over her creativity.  We get inspiration when we learn and grow from each other.  That’s exactly how I feel checking out Carla from OakHillFarms (check her insta page here).  Her dedication to family, her love for simple home decor, and passion for gardening makes me wish we were neighbors!  Then her growing business of all soy wax candles, goats milk soap, natural lip balms has me crushin – she’s amazing!  (And check out her etsy shop right here, you will love it!)

img_7303.png

Come stroll with me as we check out her home and get to know her better.  I am sure you will adore her as much as I do.

img_7308.png

I asked her some fun questions to see more into her life than just her home decor ideas. She is delightful.  First off – “What is your favorite time of the day?”

Dinner time she says.  “The girls help cooking and setting up the table, my husband leads us in prayer and we talk, we laugh…sometimes we even cry because life is not perfect but we are always there to listen to each other.”

img_7305.png

She just loves her family.  This is probably why she picked the kitchen as her most favorite room in the house too!

“It’s not white, it doesn’t have a farmhouse sink or subway tiles…but we all GATHER there.  I always loved home decor. My mom will take so much pride decorating our home while I was a child. I think I got it from her. We will always change decor seasonally.”

img_7307.png

What a sweet momma, she even comes to help Carla with the ironing (her least favorite chore).  We all would love that!  She tells me a funny store about ironing –  “My husband asked me to iron his shirt while we were dating and I replied: I don’t iron, I go “Abercrombie style” – (when Abercrombie back in he day was wrinkled and it was IN).”  We all loved Abercrombie too girl!

And speaking of stores, I had to know what 3 she can’t live without.  Target, Homegoods and Home Depot she tells me.  I whole heartedly agree girl!

She has grown her instagram account tremendously.  I wanted to know her advice to other accounts as well as feeds that have inspired her.

Her advice? “To be yourself. Don’t try to be like anyone else. People will love you for who you are. We all have an audience. Post the pictures that you are passionate about. Not the ones who you think will get likes. I always tell my daughter’s: Be YOUr own kind of beautiful.”

“There are so many accounts I adore for so many different reasons. Patrice (view here) from @sassafrashome is someone who has encouraged me since my beginnings in IG. She is filled with kind generous words for everyone. She is a believer and an amazing maker.  Other accounts who have inspired me are Katie @jarsofclay (here) , Jen @downshilohroad (here)  Kelly @thettateredpew (here) Daisy @daisyhomedesign (here) Lisa @homesweetcozyhome (here) Ashlee @thesassybarn (here).  Each of these home decor instagram accounts are sure to get your creative juices flowin.

img_7299.png

IMG_7297

And can I say how much I love her backyard?!?  Swooning!!  I just love everything about it.  Outside decor goals right here.

Before I let Carla go, I needed to know two more little details about her.  What she does to relax and what’s her sweet tooth craving!

“I never relax! They call me the energizer bunny around here! But if I do have time to relax I love to read a book at the beach, by the pool or simply watch a family movie all together on top of each other on the couch!  And Alfajores, it’s a Peruvian soft shortbread cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche and it melts in your mouth! I make it for every birthday party and holidays and it’s always a hit!”  (Us HomeGirls all want to try these!!)

img_7298.png

So grateful to get to know this homegirl better, thanks Carla for your amazing energy, we look forward to all your beautiful decor creations in the future!

Until next the next HomeGirls House,

IMG_7271

 

IMG_7142

I find myself getting giddy when we see old wood somewhere, it just sparks creativity all over me.  Old wood like that on Mr. Farmboys ranch in Montana.  The kind that has sat through every kind of weather, seen years of good use and has lots of memories sunk into its splinters.  It just makes me happy.  So when my dear friend called me up and said  “I have all this old barn wood that we salvaged from a cabin in Utah, you want some?”  I was like “Heck ya homegirl!”  Christmas time for this city girl!

There are so many uses for old wood, it’s a DIYer’s dream come true.  But we have to be extra careful bringing it into our homes to make sure it is clean and sanitized.  I got the itch for a project and needed my stuff all sparkling.  So I did lots of research and was amazed at the different ways to sanitize old wood.  Here I give you different options and resources to best clean the wood that you have.

First of all, what’s the story of your wood?  Was it from a deck, an old barn, or found by the river? What type of residue is left on it?  And finally, what is your purpose with it? All these questions will help you determine how you need to clean it.

For my purposes, I am using my old barn wood for crafting and DIY’s.  No one is eating on it, animals are not chewing on it, and kids are not playing on it.  But if these are your purposes, I would be very diligent in its cleaning – use all the methods you can to sanitize it.  (Check out here for details on cleaning for animal enclosures – you must make sure no bleach will leach out onto the animals.)  You want to be extremely careful that no bacteria or bugs are still living within its beautiful wood skin.

For a fast reference I am attaching my 60 second DIY video to teach this process.  For a more exact process follow along below!

 

Here is the pieces I started out with.

IMG_7118

I know they were used as a fence that horses rubbed on and chewed on – lots of character and lots of germs!  So I was extra vigilant with these pieces.  I have some other wood I gathered from my friends old deck, it will not require as much attention when I sanitize it.

Gather your supplies:

Bleach – Old Rag – Dish Soap – Scrub Brush – Small Bowl

Gather you tools:

Pressure Washer – Steamer – Oven (just leave it where it is!) – Large Bucket or Tub

Be prepared:

This will take a few days – I know, bummer.  UNLESS you only want to do the oven method, but this can only be for super small pieces.  But proper soaking is necessary.  Wear work clothes when its time to pressure wash – you will get DIRTY!  

 

Here we go!

1. Soak your wood in a bleach bath in a bucket or in the tub for 24 hours.  Use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup per gallon.  I actually used more because I was really worried about bugs and I knew the wood was going in a place where no one would touch it.  It’s important for it to soak for 24 hours to properly kill bacteria.  It also helps to loosen up the dirt for later removal.  Some sites say soak it for 5 days, others say 3 hours.  The 24 hours was the most common time for old wood – so this is what I used.  If you would like more information on bleach times check here and here.

I used Clorox Bleach, rubber gloves, and an old towel.  I filled the tub with enough water and then mixed the bleach in.  I used an old towel to lay down under the wood to protect the tub and then used a large rock to hold down the wood.  Let it be for 24 hours.

CAUTION:  Lock the door to the bathroom if small children are around.  And NEVER mix bleach with any other cleaning supplies.  Make sure to properly wash out tub with gloves when this part is complete.  

 

2.  Remove your wood and take it outside for further cleaning.  Place it in an area that is away from grass and close to the gutter for rinsing.  It will kill your grass if you have bleach run off into it.  Its Pressure Washer time!

We love our pressure washer.  Its so useful for so many things.

QUICK LESSON: We have a heavy duty commercial pressure washer that we use at the carwash we own, and what is show here.  But there are smaller models that are just as effective for this project.  They are rated by PSI:  Light Duty (1-1899 PSI), Medium Duty (1900-2799 PSI), Heavy Duty (2800 + PSI), and Commercial level is 3100+ PSI.  To remove mold and dirt you only need the Medium Duty Pressure Washer.  If you are interested in checking them out, Home Depot has lots of variety and options.  These are some great ones, different brands and different price points:

You can even rent one for around $27 for 4 hours – which is plenty of time to get the job done.  Click here to browse great deals on pressure washers at Home Depot!

You will power spray your wood to cleanse the bleach from inside.  Since mine is for non-touch decor, this is fine.  But if you want to use it for more human touch purposes you will need to rinse and soak it a few times to get all the bleach out so it doesn’t “leach” out.  More on that here.

IMG_7135 (1)

3. Second Cleaning – break out the suds.  You will need your dish soap mixed with warm water (use as much as you like), and a scrub brush.  This part takes off the outside dirt and grime.

Some people want the nails removed, but I like the look of them.  If you choose to leave them in for the look, USE CAUTION WHEN CLEANING – you must be careful to not cut yourself.  Rust is the process of metal oxidation.  It is not the rust that causes sickness, but the bacteria call Clostridium tetani that lives near it (also know as Tetanus.) Touching the rusted metal does not make you sick, it is through an open wound that you can become ill.  So JUST BE CAREFUL!  More on this topic here.  If you would like natural ways to clean the rust off of nails, check out this website for more help.

4.  Second round of pressure washing – get those suds off!

5.  After all the suds are gone and you feel like its rinsed well, leave it out in the sun to dry.  This also adds another protection of bacteria killing.

6.  Final Cleaning!  Extreme heat will kill bacteria, and I wanted to be extra sure.  Here you have two options.  Steam or Heat.  I chose steam because of the size of my pieces.  I used my clothes steamer and steamed the wood ALL OVER.  It took some time because I used a clothes steamer.  I have the SALAV brand and love it.  If you want a science lesson on the power of steam and ways to use it to clean click here.

You can also use a cleaning steamer.  Both can be found here at Home Depot.  Both are sanitizing temperatures, but have a different power level.  If you need to grab one for just this purpose, I would recommend the Soniclean Handheld Steamer – its light and inexspensive.

It is hard to see that hot steam, but you can tell from the photos when the steam started to come out of my steamer.  I pressed it to the wood and slowly moved down.  CAUTION:  It is so hot and can burn you badly.  Be oh so careful using a steamer.  My cute girl asked if she could touch the steam, she had no idea how hot it could be.  Of course I wouldn’t let her, it would have ended badly.

After this you are complete!  Let it dry again.  You can tell the difference in the color from the beginning to the end of the process.

Optional OVEN METHOD: If you would like to “cook” your wood in the oven, it’s a great way to kill germs.  I would not use this method until after you have cleaned all the dirt and grime off of it.  CAUTION: DO NOT LEAVE THE WOOD UNATTENDED.  Bake your wood at 200 – 300 degrees for 2-3 hours.

Now this wood is all clean and ready for my next DIY!  Message us with any questions you have, we hope you learned something new today!

Love,

IMG_7271

IMG_7146

Do It Yourself Mini Curtain Rods!  I have attached a DIY Video below for further help.

I have been wanting mini curtain rods for some time in this area.  I love my shutters that Mr. Farmboy installed from SelectBlinds – we have used them in our last 3 homes and absolutely love the product, the price point and the lifetime warranty.  Literally the best blinds out there for the cost, click right here to see the latest sale they are having.  I love them so much so I didn’t want curtains to cover them up, just a small addition to spruce up the room.  As I shopped I realized I could create my own look and spend very little.  I decided to put my ideas to fruition last weekend.  Here’s how I did it:

Start out with the curtain rods you would like to use.  I had leftover ones in the basement that were perfect.  You can find inexpensive ones on Ross Dress For Less or Walmart.  I chose to use metals rods, but plastic will work too.  I measured the length I needed and used my Dewalt 32 TPI (Teeth Per Inch) saw to make my cuts (Mr. Farmboy had to help me alittle):

 

This is how they turned out:

IMG_6836

Then I gathered the materials I would need for mounting.   My Ridgid 18 Volt Drill, drywall anchor and screws, stud finder, and mounting gear.  I always save leftover pieces that I do not use from other curtain rod projects, so these didn’t match the rods perfectly, but I knew they were be covered up so it didn’t matter.  Finally, I found the perfect curtains – on clearance at Kohls – plus I used my 30% off coupon.  Total for entire project was $10!

Here are my tools:

IMG_6893

I used my stud finder to locate where I would like to mount my hooks.  I try my best to mount in the studs.  If not I will use drywall anchors for more support:

The bars will show you when you are close to the stud, and the light will appear when you are exactly over it.  This is my go-to tool for everything I hang.

Next I take apart my curtain rod hooks.  They look confusing at first, but make sense once you play with them.  The first photo is how it will look completed.  The second photo is them taken apart as I prepare to mount them.  You will mount the back bracket first, then reattach the hook bracket.

Mounting the back bracket is simple.  If you are using the studs you will only need your wood screws to attach it into place.  If you are not using studs, I recommend this style of drywall achors – they are my favorite:

IMG_6842

Once the back bracket is installed, you will attach the hook bracket and use the screw to tighten it together:

IMG_6852

You will then add the hook screw and use it to hold the rod in place, screwing it in to tighten the hold:

IMG_6853

Now you will add your curtains to your shortened rod, and place it on the hooks.  I like to place the end of each curtain over the brackets so they are hidden:

IMG_6890

And there you have your first mini curtain rod!

IMG_6891

Finish the other side and you are complete.  PS – aren’t these shutters beautiful!?  Check them out here and see their current sale!

IMG_6888

We hope you learned something new – let us know what you think!

 

Love,

IMG_7271

Growing up in a busy California town with 9 people in an 1800 square foot home, living off of super healthy homemade food (dehydrated fruit leather all the way homies) and wearing clothes my momma hand made, was very normal for me.   We picked fruit to eat and bought our milk from the local dairy in huge 10 gallon buckets.  I still remember the day one bucket tipped over in the trunk – my poor mom spent all afternoon cleaning it out and it still stunk.  My nose still smells it…

Both my parents were such hard workers when us kids were growing up.  Momma taught herself how to sew and learned the piano.  These skills proved to be a Godsend when Dad was out of work years later.  I would stand for hours getting my dresses hemmed, she was very particular and each stitch had to be perfect.  In the afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays I would watch all my brothers upstairs, trying to keep them quiet while she taught piano lessons to all the neighborhood kids.  With very little technology back in the 80’s you can imagine how fun that was in the California hot summers, being stuck upstairs with 5 little brothers running around.  But we did it – it was a necessity.

Dad went back to college when there were 5 of us kids.  He finished his Masters Degree and Thesis in one year – absolute miracle.  He hardly slept and we rarely saw him.  We scrimped for the next 2 years while he looked for a job in his field.  Everyone told him he was “overqualified” – such an ironic statement that left us poor and living scarcely.

Nonetheless, we were happy.  We roamed the town with our friends, took the city bus anytime we needed a ride to the dollar theater, and walked up to the local Circle K and .99 Cents Store to buy a little treat.  We didn’t know how broke we were, my parents just carried on and lived the best they could.  The .49, .59, .69 cent deals at Taco Bell were exciting eating out dates we looked forward to.

This is were I learned how to do home decor on a budget.  My mother was the QUEEN of DIY.  Yet there was no Instagram to share it on.  But if there was I know she would have had a million followers.  She was that good. But no digital cameras to document the madness.  Getting film developed by putting it in the mailbox and hoping 1 of your 24 double photos would turn out deemed way to expensive for the outcome.

Momma stenciled everything.  Pink and Blue houses were so “IN” back then.  She would spend hours and hours taking her 3 house stencil and painting it on the top edge of our walls.  Her lines were perfect and her steady hand was constant.  She did this over and over until the entire kitchen was a stenciled masterpiece.  She saved money to buy the matching hand towel sets and flour jars.  Then at her local Church Relief Society Super Saturday craft days she would paint little blue houses to match our decor.  For being on such a small income – our house was darling.

And not to mention her sewing skills.  I remember when Cabbage Patch Dolls became the new hot ticket item for Christmas.  They were so expensive.  I laugh now when I see them at Ross Dress For Less for $20, with the signature on their little bottoms.  I still want to swipe them up and save them as if I was 10 and can’t believe I found such a treasure.

That Christmas, we woke up to the most amazing site.  All 5 of us kids (two brothers had yet to join our family) walked to the stairs to see five homemade Cabbage Patch Dolls relaxing on different steps, waiting for us to find them and be loved.  Each one had their own homemade outfit they were dressed in.  My girl had the long blonde hair in two pig tails, my baby brother Dallin’s was bald.  I literally could not believe it.  I was not angry one bit that it wasn’t brand name.  It was mine.  Made with an intense amount of love and endless hours of devotion.  That sweet gift remains in my special box over 30 years later and continues to be one of my post prized possessions.

Blue and Black Fleece checkered jackets also become popular.  I wanted one so bad. Everyone seemed to have them on during the “chilly” months of winter.  I laugh now about that as well because that was nothing compared to the Utah winters my children endure.  Nonetheless it was cold to us.  The day she brought all those matching jackets out for us kiddos to wear was one glorious day.  I was so proud to have that thing on, it kept me warm and happy.

The stories are endless of how my mommas DIY’s saved our family – my homemade prom dresses, the wood crafts for every holiday, and the meals she made up to keep us healthy (with no Pinterest to teach her).   She made our house a home, our bodies were clothed, our tummies fed, and our hearts were happy.

This is where is started for me.  My love for DIY.  High school was filled with hours upon hours of scrapbooking my life.  Eventually I would scrapbook each one of my brothers lives as well as my grandparents.  I loved doing things with my hands.

I left for college and told my mom I would love to meet a “farmboy” who drove a truck.  I had never met one before and it seemed so fascinating to me.  I packed my things up in my friends car and gave lots of hugs to the boys.  I was off on a new adventure in Idaho. Ricks College was my destination.

I arrived on the weekend and headed to an opening social outdoor dance that next Tuesday.  I saw this darling young man pushing around his friend in a wheelchair (who had a horrible cliff fall the prior weekend).  We crossed paths and he asked me to dance. I asked him where he was from.

“I’m a farmboy from Montana.”

I literally couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Could it be that I could meet one that quickly? I am in Idaho I guess. It was time for the next question then…

“So what do you drive?”

“A truck.”

No way.  Three days in and I already met him.  I wrote it down in my journal that night and then called my Momma to tell her the news.  Now, the rest is history…

 

 

I am doing this for them.  I want them to know what I love.  What I enjoy doing.  How I feel when I am creative. What motherhood means to me.  How the world is better when people do what they love.   That my world is better with them in it.

So here we go.  Citygirlmeetsfarmboy has started blogging.  Can’t wait to see where this leads.