Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homemade Wooden Photo Backgrounds (And A Story)

Ever since I saw how easily Lori and Lindsay made their own wooden photo backgrounds, I’ve been begging my husband to help me make some too.  First let me say that I am not artistic.  I knew I would need Paul’s help on this; he’s definitely the artist of the two of us.  He loves woodworking and he has no problem spending hours upon hours in the garage.

Since we’ll soon be leaving our personal garage for a shared one in the city, he made these for me while cleaning out the garage.  He came across some white oak and pine scraps that he used for building a boat two years ago.  This leads me to a story that I’ve wanted to share on the blog for a long time; I talk about Paul so often here and thought it would be fitting to share how we met and how we got engaged, it’s a great story.  Actually, it’s the best story I have to tell!

Yes, he built a boat.  A beautiful nine-foot row boat, crafted, glued, stained and painted by hand.  He started it about three weeks after we met.

In January 2010, I started taking a class at my church in which I was in a group of young adults.  I had recently moved to Kansas City, started attending this church and really wanted to just meet people my age, with similar interests.

One of the leaders of that group (and also the music leader for the class) was a guy named Paul.  He had a guitar and a dry sense of humor that I couldn’t help but be drawn to.  I remember him telling the group about the boat that he was building.  Everyone jokingly called him “Noah.”  We went on our first date about 6 weeks after the class started.  There was BBQ and blues music involved and it’s safe to say I was knocked off my feet.

Paul continued to work on the boat during that winter, although I think that meeting me slowed down the progress.  It was an amazing process to watch.  It was nearing the finish line in late May.  Paul’s birthday is June 12 so he decided that we would launch it the following day at a lake near our house.  He worked tirelessly for those last couple of weeks to get it finished.  Fiberglass, sanding, stain and paint filled his hours but it was finally done.

I made a picnic of boiled shrimp (his favorite), hummus and pita chips, strawberries and wine.  We loaded everything up and launched the boat on a beautiful summer evening.  We rowed out to the middle of the lake, ate our picnic and watched the sun begin to set.  (I’m not kidding, typing all this out  As my wine glass got low, Paul asked if I needed more.  He took my wine glass, turned around, set it down, and then turned back around with a diamond ring.  He even got down on one knee, in the boat, as he asked me to marry him.


Obviously, I said yes.  The ring did not end up in the lake, as both our moms were concerned.  I was so surprised and telling the story still makes me weak in the knees.  I couldn’t have planned it out any better myself.

We are great partners, loving this life that we get to live.  My husband is so patient with me, supportive, loving and generous.  He’s my best friend and my other half.  I thank God, every-single-day for the blessing that Paul is in my life.

The specifics of the photo backgrounds:

The black one is made of pine planks.  Paul made “tongue and groove” cuts with a router and then we wood-glued the planks together  It’s painted with flat black paint.  Just after the paint was applied, I took a clean rag and lightly swept it across to allow some of the pine color to show through.

The stained one is made of white oak planks, routed as described above and wood-glued together.  It’s smaller than the pine background.  It’s stained with different wood stains on each side.  One stain is called “Golden Oak” and the other is called “Red Chestnut.”

If you’d like specific measurements or details on routing and/or wood glue, email me, and I’ll get the info from Paul.


39 Responses to “Homemade Wooden Photo Backgrounds (And A Story)”

  1. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — January 5, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    Such a sweet story! I’d have been worried about the ring going in the water too. 🙂 Beautiful job on the boat. I have supplies for photo boards in the basement, picked up easily a month ago at this point!

  2. #
    Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen. } — January 5, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    How sweet!

  3. #
    Julie @ Sugarfoot Eats — January 5, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

    Wow!! He’s talented & romantic! Quite the catch. 😉

  4. #
    Bev Weidner — January 5, 2012 @ 5:06 pm


    freaking. rad.

  5. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — January 5, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

    What an awesome story!

  6. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — January 5, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

    Awww that’s such a romantic/cute story. I love it! What a great engagement story to tell over and over again 🙂 I hope I have a good one to tell 😉 Haha, I can’t stop cheesing over this story! Ah, back to the boards — I must do this this summer when I have a larger place and a garage to paint it! Thanks for sharing this! Julie D. & Lindsay & some others were talking about this on twitter the other day and I was really confused and didn’t know what it was about lol

  7. #
    Liz — January 5, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

    Oh, I love it!!! What a romantic jewel you’re married to!! And he made you photo backgrounds? Bravo!

  8. #
    Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — January 5, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    What an amazingly beautiful story! I cannot believe your husband built a boat and what an adorable and creative way to ask you to be his wife.

  9. #
    Baker Street — January 5, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    What a lovely story!

  10. #
    sarah — January 5, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

    Loved this post! Such a sweet story and a man that can build a boat is a total keeper! Cool photo boards too : )

  11. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — January 5, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    Aw, what a beautiful story; so romantic!

  12. #
    Anna — January 5, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

    LOVE that you shared your story, you two sound so cute! And great idea with the backgrounds…definitely totally doable for my handy husband too, thanks for sharing!

  13. #
    Ann — January 6, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    *sigh* What a beautiful story! The wooden backgrounds is the perfect segue into the proposal….and I loved. every. word! Beautiful and Paul is a treasure! Thanks for sharing – it was just lovely!

  14. #
    Ramona — January 6, 2012 @ 5:48 am

    Now I’m the one with the butterflies…such a beautiful story. He built a boat for you… I mean WOW! The only thing my husband made for me was maybe a sandwich. 🙂 You’re a lucky girl to have such a handy and romantic man by your side. Of course he’s pretty lucky too to have such a great cook and sweet lady by his side. I say it’s a match made in heaven. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this story with us!! ~ Ramona

  15. #
    marla — January 6, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    Wow! You guys are quite the team & your hubs boat is a beauty. LOVE the boards & I need to do the same here 🙂

  16. #
    Deborah — January 6, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    What a sweet story! I always love hearing engagement stories. I want to make some of those boards – just waiting until I’m actually living in a house with my husband again!! 🙂

  17. #
    Victoria — January 6, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    LOVE! I’m slow to the google reader today but so glad I found this. See you Sunday!

  18. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — January 6, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    OMG this is so cool!!! How sweet!!

  19. #
    Charissa — January 6, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

    I love the idea of the wooden background! It’s something I really want to try now! Thanks girl!

  20. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — January 6, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    The boat is just gorgeous! And what an amazing story! So very, very sweet!

  21. #
    Nami | Just One Cookbook — January 7, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    Awww what a cute and romantic story! I can’t believe your husband made the boat… he’s impressive!!! I also asked my husband to make the wooden boards (white and dark brown). =P

  22. #
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef — January 7, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    what a precious husband!

  23. #
    Meghan — January 7, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    Aww I love the story! So glad you shared it! Love the boards!

  24. #
    Jill | Dulce Dough — January 7, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    Your story is one of the most romantic engagement stories I have ever read (or heard)! What a beautiful story! And the boards look great!

  25. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — January 7, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    Aw, Cassie. I loved reading your story! I was just telling my husband last month that I need to make some boards too!

  26. #
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart — January 9, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

    Oh my gosh…I got goosebumps just reading that story. How sweet and romantic and I think you got a keeper in Paul. It’s so wonderful that you support each other in all that you do. You make these boards seems so easy…I’m just not a crafty person. But I think I’m going to give this a try! : )

  27. #
    Maggie — January 10, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Oh Cassie, I loved hearing your engagement story! My husband and I still get all fluttery and googly eyed when we talk about the day we met and the day he proposed to me. I love hearing stories like this, makes me a little teary and lovey.

  28. #
    Liren — January 12, 2012 @ 1:27 am

    Oh, but of course you were swept off your feet! What a wonderful story – it was the bedtime story I needed to end my day 🙂

  29. #
    christina @ ovenadventures — January 20, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    this story got me all teary eyed. The boat is a work of art. I really need to make myself some wood photo backdrops.

  30. #
    Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray — June 13, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    Aaaah, just reading this makes me all fluttery (so glad you linked to it in today’s post!). What a sweet story (and guy!). 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — June 13th, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

      You are too sweet Tara!

  31. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — June 13, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

    So sweet, Cassie! Love hearing the beautiful pieces of your life – you always encourage!

    • Cassie replied: — June 13th, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

      Thanks for that sweet comment, Laura!

  32. #
    Rachel Cooks — June 13, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Came over from your Wednesday ramblings. Such a sweet story 🙂 Love it.

  33. #
    amy @ fearless homemaker — July 21, 2012 @ 11:38 am

    so, i googled ‘homemade photo boards’ this morning because i’m hoping to make some this weekend, + this popped up on the first page. i had never seen this post before so i’m so glad it did. what a wonderful, beautiful story, cassie!

  34. #
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — February 13, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    Oh, my stars! What a beautiful love story, Cassie! I’m so glad that I happened upon this page at your blog to read your moving story…just before St. Valentine’s Day! Your story gave me butterflies. Thanks for sharing & Happy Valentine’s Day to you and the sweetie-pie hubs! xo

  35. #
    Amanda — June 13, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

    I love it. And how much he loves you! And how well you compliment each other. And everything. Now if you could just write a whole book about it I think I would be smitten. 🙂


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