Monthly Archives: May 2012
Yesterday was Loki and Pixel’s third birthday. To celebrate the cats caught a lizard. Then it escaped in the patio garden and hid so they spent the rest of the evening trying to find it. Pretty awesome birthday if you are a cat!
They also got some snazzy new collars for the big day (Dragons for Loki and Cupcakes for Pixel).
So in celebration, here is a look back at their second year documented by their crazy cat guardians.
1. Feline Friday: Super Pixel, 2. How I woke up this morning #cats, 3. photo, 4. Loki looking, 5. Hiding Loki, 6. Final transformation, 7. Loki interrupts sanding on dining table, 8. Moth hunting team, 9. Siblings, 10. 021112_3287, 11. Christmas Pixel, 12. Je t’adore., 13. Handsome Loki, 14. Pixel yawning, 15. Our girl cat is very loud in the morning, 16. Cat Mountain Closeup, 17. Daredevil, 18. Hunting on the screen, 19. Feline Friday: You, me and the prey make three, 20. iphone-058, 21. Two cats in a window, 22. Pixel biting grass, 23. photo, 24. Sleeping terror, 25. photo, 26. photo, 27. Garden cat, 28. Candid Pixel, 29. 030912_iphone_5001, 30. 030912_iphone_4996, 31. 010112_2249, 32. 012912_2051, 33. Little emo Pixel, 34. Didn’t think our #tiny orange cat could squeeze through this tiny hole. I was so wrong.#photoadayapril, 35. Friday night, 36. Who was on the chair first?
I love taking photos with my iPhone 4. I am constantly taking photos (just ask Nate) so the convenience of using my phone plus all the tools at my disposal makes it one of my favorite cameras to use.
A few friends of mine recently got their first iPhone and asked what apps they should download. Here’s a mini review of the photo apps I use on a regular basis. Note: A lot of these apps go on sale, so keep checking back for deals. I got a few of the more expensive ones for free.
Here’s my second iphone screen. I have two folders set up with most of my photo apps, but I keep Hipstamatic and Instagram out because I use them a lot.
Apps for taking photos
I rarely use the standard iphone camera. Depending on what I am shooting, I will use a higher powered camera that gives me more functionality OR I use a fun camera that has funky, retro lenses and lighting.
A better camera
These are my two camera apps I use to take photos. I prefer them over the standard camera. They are both great in their own ways. You can go wrong with either one.
I use this for both photos and video. It has a couple nice features like rapid-fire and high-speed modes.
I love the grid feature, touch focus and photo flashlight.
Almost all the editing apps below have a camera with fun lenses, but I most often use Hipstamatic and Instagram for this purpose.
I really, really love hipstamatic. It’s got such cool filters and a great community. The retro viewfinder makes photo taking less precise and it’s fun to see what you get. Sometime you really luck out and get an amazing shot like this.
$1.99 plus additional lenses and flashes are extra
Apps for editing photos
Gone are the days where you have to download photos to your computer to edit them. I can fix contrast, white balance and saturation all on the phone. I can also crop, add lettering and combine photos into a mosaic. There are many apps, but here are some of my favorites.
I won’t lie – it took me some time to get Snapseed. But once I did, it became my go-to editing app. iTunes made it the photo app of the year for 2011 and I understand why. You can easily create amazing photos with a slide of the finger.
I use this app second the Snapseed. It’s interface is a little clunkier in comparison, but depending on the photo I love the editing features.
SwankoLab is from the makers of Hipstamatic. It’s a little dark room where you can experiment with different chemicals to achieve cool photo effects.
Halftone turns your photos into vintage comics. It can be fun to use this to tell a story through captions.
Another photo editor with a ton of features including meta tag viewer, special effects filters and a collage builder.
PicFrame is another app to build a mosaic of multiple photos. It has 60 fully adjustable frames, rounded corners, and photo effects.
Phonto is a simple application that allows you to add text on image. I use this for my photo of the day instagram photos. It has a great selection of type faces and other effects.
Picfx is another editor that has a bunch of effects and frames. I still need to play around with it more.
Apps to share
Many of the above apps also have sharing features, but I primarily use the following apps.
Instagram (shown above)
Instagram was iTunes app of the year and the interface has exploded since. This is my primary way of posting to social media. Most photos are posted to Twitter with the occasional one posted to FB. I also like that I can post directly to Flickr using the app. You can follow me on Instagram here.
Ok, this isn’t an app, but wanted to mention Flickr here since I have been using it since 2006 and have over 10,000 photos uploaded. I host all my blog photos there and just love the service for both organizing and sharing photos.
Free for an account, $44.59 for a two year Pro Account
This app has recently gotten a lot better. You can upload from the app to Flickr and download images to your phone.
I use this app to upload to Flickr from my camera in batches. I use this a lot for blog photos.
I use the Squaready app to get the photo ready for Instagram since it has to be an exact square. It’s easier to use than just cropping it in an editing app.
This app allows you to select one photo for each calendar day of the year to share. Again my need to document really loves this feature.
This app has a lot of issues, but the developers are constantly improving it. I like that I can upload photos to it on the go.
What photo apps do you use? I’d love to get some ideas of what to try next!
Beware! It’s a long post. I took copious notes for future projects! I showed you a little of what we did in the last post. Here I will go in greater detail. Read about the whole closet conversion (1, 2, 3, 4).
Tools and Materials
- Twelve 8′ 2x4s (We got premium wood because the difference in price was $0.02 from the regular)
- One 8′ Treated 2×4 (I would have bought a shorter length if it was available)
- One 8′ 2×6
- Box of 3″ deck screws
- Two boxes 2 1/2″ deck screws
- Box of concrete anchor screws
- Hexagon drill bit (for anchor screws)
- 1/8″, 5/32″ 1/4″ wood drill bits
- 1/8″, 5/32″, 1/4″ concrete drill bits
- Two 1/4- x 3 1/8″ sleeve anchors
- Cordless circular saw (I love this thing! It’s so light.)
- 7-inch carpenter’s square
- Measuring tape and pencil
- 6″ and 3′ Level
- Hammer, screwdrivers and other odds and ends from the toolbox
- Cordless drills (we used two alternately)
- Corded drill
- Tall pots used as saw horses (optional)
Putting together the frame
Our new door frame consisted of:
- 1 – 95″ 2×4 – for the left side of the frame
- 4 – 95″ 2x4s- to create the column on the right side of the frame
- 1 – 40″ 2×4 along the very top
- 2 – 36″ 2x4s- header support for the door
The doorway frame was built outside and then installed into the space. Here’s our workshop area with two tall pots as our saw horses.
The left side of frame would attach to the existing wall. Our hope was to secure it using concrete anchor screws. The right side of the frame was built as a column so it was nice and sturdy. We combined four 2×4′s together for the column.
The 2×4 column was installed with a pattern of one 2×4 on it’s side, then two 2×4′s stacked on top one on top of the other flat and the final 2×4 on its side. Again this pattern, gives the column more strength than having all four piece in the same direction.
The top of the frame secured all the supports together and then we had a header right above the door frame. The header consisted of two 36″ 2x4s placed head to head for maximum strength.
We also made sure to install the 36″ 2×4 header at 82″ from the bottom, so we had enough clearance for the pre-hung door (We needed clearance for the door, frame and gap under the door).
Once we had screwed all the pieces into place, the frame was brought inside to install it into the space.
Installing the frame
The left side of the frame needed to be attached to the concrete wall. We bought concrete anchor screws that were long enough to screw the 2×4 to the wall. Our worry was the concrete block wouldn’t hold the screw or chip off.
So we measured the thickest part of the block to drill into and tested it out.
The instructions for the anchor screws said we should pre-drill with a 5/32 drill bit. I think this is actually for solid concrete, not concrete block. We tried the 5/32 bit, but when we then screwed in the concrete anchor it had no traction at all so we switched up to a 1/8 drill bit which worked much better.
Unfortunately, drilling into the interior parts of the concrete block still didn’t work well. We split the block on our test run.
At this point the three of us were pretty flabbergasted at what to do. Nate was determined to push on, but my Dad and I convinced him to take a break and get back to work in the morning.
Regroup on Sunday
After an evening off, we were well rested and ready to start again. My dad came up with a great alternative plan, so Nate and I ran off to get an 8′ 2×6 before my parents arrived.
Instead of drilling into the side of the block we would attach a 2×6 to the interior face of the block. Then we would attach our frame to 2×6. We knew the face of the block could hold the screw since we do that all the time to hang photos.
Nate pre-drilled through the 2×6 with a our 1/8″ wood bit and then followed with the 1/8″ concrete bit. Then he drilled in the concrete anchors. We were all relieved to see that the concrete anchors went in easily and held.
Phew! We were so excited to get this wall in!
Closing off the closet
With the closet wall secured it was time to build out the new bathroom wall and attach everything together. I measured all the pieces and then went outside to our “workshop” to cut them to size.
Our new wall frame consisted of:
- 3 – 90″ 2x4s – for each side
- 1 – 36″ 2×4 – for the header
- 2 – approximately 15″ 2x4s – for interior support
- 1 – 36″ Treated 2×4 – for the footer
Before we screwed all the pieces together though, we wanted to pre-drill holes in the footer so we could attach it to the cement shower floor. (We decided not to remove the shower base since it wasn’t necessary and potentially a lot of work for a closet.)
For the footer we used treated lumber to prevent moisture issues in the future. Securing the footer was very similar to how we attached the 2×6 to the concrete blocks. The main difference was securing it with concrete anchors we used sleeve anchors. After pre-drilling a hole into the 2×4 and concrete, you hammer these guys in and then tighten the bolt to expand the base that secure the lumber to the concrete.
So, we brought in the cut piece of treated lumber. Then leveled it with a few handy shims because the shower floor slants to the drainage hole. (We will level the floor later.)
Then the next step was to drill a hole through the 2×4 and concrete for the anchor to fit into using both first a wood then concrete drill bit.
Our cordless drill didn’t have quite the umph! for drilling into the concrete so we switched to a corded model to finish drilling our holes.
Then with the holes done, we attached all the piece of the frame and brought it in. The anchors were hammered in and tightened.
The final part was securing the frame into place. We used more concrete anchors to attach it to the bathroom wall (behind me in the photo above) and then used our 2 1/2″ deck screws to attach it to the new column and above the door opening.
And with that our framing was done. Phew! It was one of those projects I was really excited to finish since we spent weeks thinking through all the possible ways to make this shower a closet. Nate and I were really happy with the end result. We both felt we came to the right decision to remove all the blocks above the doorway.
None of it would have been possible without the help of my Dad though. So thanks Dad for once again mentoring us one of our weekend projects. Your help and knowledge is invaluable.