Easy Rustic Headboard Build

An important part of living a simple life is doing things yourself so you know it’s done right and the way you want it.  That was my approach while constructing our DIY rustic headboards for our queen size beds.  We love the look of stained wood and feel it really compliments the bedrooms where they reside.  Being this is a rustic look, don’t worry about the most expensive cuts of lumber. Pick wood that have some character. Constructing the headboard is quite easy and straightforward even for a beginner carpenter.  The same plan can be adjusted if you want to build this for other size bed frames. So, if you are ready, lets get started. 

DIY Headboard
Completed rustic stained and protected queen headboard

To build this headboard for your queen bed, you will need the following:

1 – 2 x 4 cut 65 inches long4 Carriage bolts, with nuts and washers (5/16”)
8 – 2 x 4’s cut 63 inches long1 drill bit for carriage bolts (3/8”)
2 – 2 x 6’s cut 53 inches longSandpaper (220 grit) or electric hand sander
1 – 1 x 3 cut 64 inches longDark Walnut MINWAX Stain or one of your choice
2 ½ inch wood screwsScrap cloth to apply and remove stain
1 drill bit slightly smaller than wood screwsMINWAX Fast drying Polyurethane Clear Satin
Cordless DrillCheap brush to apply Polyurethane
Carpenter Square, Speed or combo

Instructions:

To start off, cut all the wood needed for this project.  I personally use a Kobalt compound miter saw but any kind of saw would work. 

DIY Headboard

  • Use the sandpaper or an electric hand sander to clean up the cut edges from any splinters.
  • To assemble, lay face down your 2 x 6’s.  Place one of you 2 x 4’s cut at 63” across the top of the 2 x 6’s as shown:
  • Use your carpenter’s square to ensure 2 x 4 is squared up with 2 x 6’s.  Use wood screws to install 2 x 4 to 2 x 6’s.  Install the remaining 6 x 2 x 4’s. 
DIY Headboard
  • Now you are ready to install the top pieces.  Take you 1 x 3 board cut at 64 inches and place it so that it extends on the sides by ½ inch and even with the front of the 2 x 6.
  • Next, screw down the 2 x 4 cut at 65 inches long, lined up ½ inch over the sides of the 1 x 3, and 1 inch forward of the 1 x 3. Make sure you keep the screws back so you stay within the wood. If you locate the screw too much forward, it will go through the top 2 x 4, then the 1 x 3, but miss the 2 x 4 below it allowing the bottom of the screw to be seen from the front. Yes, I screwed this up on my first headboard, so go ahead and laugh.
DIY Headboard Sand Wood Filler
  • Next, apply wood filler to the holes where you screwed down the top. Once the wood filler dries, use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth off the wood filler to the wood surface. You won’t even notice it once you stain and polyurethane it.
DIY Headboard Sand Wood Filler

  • Before you apply the stain, brush on some “pre-stain” which allows the stain to be more consistent and helps bring out the character of the wood.
  • Our next step is to apply the stain.  Use a scrap rag like a cotton t-shirt.  Dip the cloth in stain and apply over the surface of the wood.  Don’t over apply but put adequate stain to cover all the wood.  You may need to work it in a bit more in areas of the wood like knots and in between boards. I typically work in sections covering the sides, top, then front.  You do not have to apply too much at a time.  Just make sure you get stain everywhere.  Apply it in sections and use a clean scrap rag to wipe off excess stain before it dries.  Let it dry 4 to 6 hours in between coats.
  • Apply another coat of stain and remove excess.  Apply as many coats of the stain until you get the desired color or stain your are trying to achieve.
DIY Headboard Stain
  • Next, use a cheap brush to apply the polyurethane.  Just make sure you are looking for any bristles that may come off and remove. Let dry for 4 – 6 hours.
DIY Headboard Polyurethane
  • Use 220 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the polyurethane to remove bubbles and ensure smooth application of the polyurethane.
DIY Headboard Polyurethane
  • Apply a second coat.  I usually stop here at 2 coats.
DIY Headboard Polyurethane
  • Next, take you headboard and stand next to the bedframe and measure out where to drill bolt holes in the 2 x 6 legs.  You can do this with a tape measure. The 2 x 6’s are 63″ from outside of one to the outside of the other. You would measure center of the bolt hole slots on the bed frame which in my case was 59″. So 63″ minus 59″ is 4″. Therefore, the holes would need to be drilled 2 inches from the outside of both 2 x 6’s. The slots were also 4 3/8″ and 7 3/8″ up so I mark the board there and drill. If not comfortable with using the measuring tape, place the headboard where it will go and mark on the wood where to drill the legs.
DIY Headboard Installation
Measuring the length to drill bolt holes
DIY Headboard Installation
Measuring the height for the bolt holes
  • Drill the holes
DIY Headboard Installation
Drilling the bolt holes
  • Insert carriage bolt into the drilled holes from the back of the headboard through the metal slots in the bed frame.  Put washer and nut on end of bolt and tighten.  An alternative method would be to use screws and sheetrock anchors to install the headboard directly to the wall.
DIY Headboard Installation
Bolting the headboard to the bed frame
DIY Headboard Complete
Headboard and bed moved into position

Now, tonight, you can lay down and go to sleep well knowing that you have built a quality headboard made with your own two hands and saved a couple hundred dollars.  Enjoy the simple life! Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts.

Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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“Real” Cajun Spaghetti Cook and Plate

Real Cajun Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Everybody knows to make traditional spaghetti you’ve got to use a lot of tomatoes in your sauce, and maybe even some italian sausage. Nope, I’m here to tell you there’s another way and its incredibly good and authentically Cajun. What’s the difference you say? The Cajun way is to first make a roux using flour and oil, and that forms the base for your sauce. Erin’s Grandmother, Nita Rivoire Davis (GG), from Breaux Bridge, LA, came up with the recipe a number of years back. GG is not with us anymore but her cooking and recipes sure live on.

Make sure you’ve got all the ingredients ready as once you start the roux you will be steady busy for a little while. The good thing is the ingredient list is not too long:

Again, the element that makes this authentic Cajun is the introduction of the roux. To make a roux, you will mix equal parts vegetable or canola oil with all-purpose flour. So, one cup of oil and one cup of flour. Add the oil to your cast iron pot and heat it up to medium or a little higher (6 or 7). Let it come up to temperature. Sprinkle just a bit of flour and see if it starts cooking/bubbling in the oil. If so, your oil is hot enough. Go ahead and pour in about a 1/4 cup at a time. Use your flat-side wooden utensil or a whisk and mix it up so that there are no lumps. Then add another 1/4 cup, until you mix it all in and there are no lumps. To avoid burning, continue stirring the roux so that it doesn’t stay in one spot for long.

Early in the roux cooking process

When making the roux, since it may take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how dark you want it, consider the following:

  • Use a wooden flat sided utensil to ensure you are moving all the flour around
  • Use a figure-8 movement while also scraping from one side to the other and repeat, over and over. Pay special attention to the corners where the flour can build up.
  • Don’t get in a hurry as you don’t want to burn the roux. Adjust the temperature as necessary. You will get a feel for how hot the oil is by the temperature, the sound, the way it sticks to the bottom of the pot and the smell. Use all your senses!
  • Don’t leave the pot and keep stirring until it’s at the color (see below) and consistency you are looking for.
  • Traditionalist would smack me around, but if you are in a hurry, you can substitute the homemade roux with pre-made from the grocery store like Savoie’s Light or Dark Roux. GG, please forgive me!
  • Hint: Get a snack and your favorite beverage before getting started.
Nice medium roux – needs to be just a bit darker

The next major steps involved the addition of the tomato sauce, the vegetables (or seasonings per GG Nita), then the ground meat. I used 85/15 ground meat but any type of ground meat will do.

Add the 2 small cans of tomato sauce to the roux and cook for 5 minutes

Add seasonings, mix, and cook until soft
Add ground meat and cook, spooning out grease as necessary
Cajun Sphagetti meat sauce

To finish the meat sauce, I add a little kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste. I like to plate the Cajun meat sauce over spaghetti pasta with fresh or frozen sweet peas and some garlic and/or cheese Texas Toast. I personally add a bit of “Slap Your Mama” Cajun Seasoning from Ville Platte, LA, and a little Sriracha if I’m in the mood for a little heat. You season it how you like it. Of course, don’t forget to add a bit of parmesan cheese to your Cajun Spaghetti!

There are a few alternatives you can try that will adjust the flavor and/or make it a bit more healthy.

  • Try some fried bacon or pancetta. I’ve even added some browned tasso. This adds to the depth of the flavor.
  • Italian sausage can be added in either links or bulk.
  • Meatballs can be added made from either ground beef, pork, or italian sausage.
  • Mushrooms can be added as well.
  • You can cook the ground meat first and drain the grease before adding to the sauce to make it a bit more healthy.
  • Serving it over spiral cut zucchini and do away with the Texas Toast will dramatically drop the carbs.

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Real Cajun Spaghetti Meat Sauce

“Real” Cajun Spaghetti Meat Sauce

An authentic cajun meat sauce created by my wive's Great Grandmother from Breaux Bridge, LA. The Cajun way is to first make a roux using flour and oil, and that forms the base for your sauce.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cajun, Italian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 small cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2 – 3 Onions, White
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Peppers, Bell
  • 3 lbs Ground Meat
  • Parsley for garnishment
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cajun Seasoning to taste

Instructions
 

  • Chop up your vegetables and put them in a bowl, cover and place them in the refrigerator. Hopefully you are using fresh vegetables from the garden.
  • Next, we need to make a roux. Put a cup of vegetable oil in your cast iron pot and bring up to medium-high temperature. Keep stirring the roux using a wooden flat edge spoon (preferably)so you keep moving the particle of flour around and so that it doesn't stay in the same place and possibly burn. This can take 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Add in the 2 small cans of tomato sauce. Mix it all together and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the cut up seasonings (vegetables). Cook until seasonings get soft.
  • Add in 3 lbs. of ground meat. Allow all the meat to brown spooning off the grease as you go (if needed).
  • Let cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add water to reach the desired thickness of the sauce.
  • Cook for 1 or more hours to really get the flavors all dancing in harmony with each other.
  • Boil spaghetti pasta.
  • You can serve the meat sauce over the spaghetti or mix the pasta with the sauce and serve together with some fresh or frozen sweet green peas and some garlic Texas toast.
Keyword Cajun, Meat Sauce, Roux, Spaghetti Sauce

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Now, enjoy the simple life by sitting with your family or friends, and eating some good Cajun Spaghetti.  Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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Explore Downtown Baton Rouge

A couple of weekends back, we took the opportunity to go downtown and visit a few of the attractions. It turned out to be a beautiful, but hot, morning. We got to get some walking in while spending time together taking some snapshots and videos of the sights. If you’ve never seen the Mississippi River or downtown Baton Rouge, then you are in far a treat.

Explore Baton Rouge

Our first stop was the old State Capitol which is across the road from the Mississippi River levee. The city of Baton Rouge donated the plot of land to the state for the new capitol building back in 1847. Work was initiated in July 1847 and the official groundbreaking was held in October. The Louisiana Legislature met for the first time in January 1850 under Gov. Isaac Johnson. This building was used as the State Capitol until the new State Capitol was opened in 1932. The architecture is unique and the staircase leading up to the stained-glass cathedral dome is beautiful.

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol – Grand Staircase
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol – Stained-glass cathedral dome

Our next visit was up on the Mississippi River Levee where we had a great view of the boat traffic, casinos, the old and new Mississippi River bridges, USS Kidd destroyer, Port of Greater Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge/Port Allen (other side of the river).

The Mississippi River is a major pathway to port and industry throughout Louisiana and beyond.  A 45-foot shipping channel to the mouth of the Mississippi River is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ships and tug boat traffic is a way of life on the great Mississippi river. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge ranks among the U.S. top ports in total tonnage.

Port of Greater Baton Rouge
Barge traffic on the mighty Mississippi River

The USS KIDD (DD-661) is a Fletcher-class destroyer. It was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. who was killed aboard his flagship, USS ARIZONA (BB-39) during the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

Today, USS KIDD is moored in the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the centerpiece of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. She rests in a docking system designed for the near forty foot rise and fall of the river each season. Half of the year, she rides the currents of the Mississippi; the other half, she sits dry-docked in a cradle where visitors can see her full dimensions. Restored to her August, 1945 configuration, the USS KIDD is one of the most authentic and accurate restorations in the Historic Fleet.

USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, LA
USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, LA

The old and new Mississippi River bridges span the East and West sides of the Mississippi river in central and North Baton Rouge. The new Mississippi River bridge, actually named the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, is a cantilever bridge carrying Interstate 10 in Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge Parish to Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish. It was opened on April 10, 1968 and has a total length of 4,550 feet.

A couple of points of interest on the new Bridge: First, you can actually feel the bridge shake as you drive across it. Secondly, you get a great view of the LSU Football stadium, affectionally called “Death Valley”, especially all lit up at night. Finally, a majority of traffic coming eastbound into Baton Rouge from Port Allen/West Baton Rouge on I-10 necks down to one lane which can be a real traffic problem at certain times of the day.

View of LSU Football and Basketball stadiums looking Southeast while going Eastbound on bridge

The Mississippi River originates at Lake Itasca in Minnesota with numerous other rivers and tributaries feeding it as it runs through or along 10 different states. As mentioned above, the Mississippi River sees close to a 40 foot swing in depth throughout the year. A tremendous amount of silt and debris float down the river as it runs through Baton Rouge and New Orleans and eventually feeds out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Entrance/Exit to the pier out over the Mississippi River and partial view of Raising Cane’s River Center
Walking pier on Mississippi Review (debris give an idea of how the river often gets)
Trees stuck on pier supports showing a previous higher water level
Silt deposit creating a small island

We got a special treat while on the levee when a train come from the direction of the old Mississippi River Bridge where Exxon’s Baton Rouge Refinery and other plants are located.

Train right beside the levee
Train right beside the levee

The new State Capital was built after 14 months and was opened back in 1932. The Governor of Louisiana at that time, Governor Huey P. Long, was instrumental is getting this project off the ground. It is the tallest capitol in the United States, standing 450 feet high and has 34 floor, along with an observation deck on the 27th floor. It stands taller than any other building in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately for Governor Huey P. Long, he was assassinated in 1935 in the building and is buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.

New Louisiana State Capitol

Of course, we decided to drive closer to the LSU campus to get a few more pictures of the LSU Football Stadium. We included a few below.

LSU Football Stadium
LSU Football Stadium
LSU Stadium from the inside versus Florida (Pre-game)

All in all, it was a great day. It’s always fun heading out of the house and doing stuff with the family after being somewhat cooped up in our house due to COVID-19. Come check out the sights yourself with your family and/or friends, make memories, and enjoy the simple life together.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

Please LIKE this post. If you have any COMMENTS or QUESTIONS, please post below. Please SUBSCRIBE to our BLOG for additional great content.

Louisiana Simple Living – Who we are

Hello from Louisiana Simple Living! My name is Darrell, along with my wife and much better half Erin, my son Ryan and daughter Amanda, welcome you to our BLOG. Our lives wouldn’t be complete without our two standard poodles named Croix and Roux. Together, we are a family from Baton Rouge, LA, living the simple life and want to share that with you. Along the way we will share some knowledge and inspiration while also getting much more back in return.

Croix (black) and Roux (apricot)

What are we about?

  • Family is everything. Family gives you the roots to stand tall and strong. We spend as much time together as we can with our entire family. We have family over for fun and food as often as we can.     
  • We want to be as self-sufficient and healthy as we can. We have a large backyard organic raised bed garden and herb planter.  We want to know where our food comes from and this helps us do just that.
  • We constantly strive to live a healthier lifestyle. The garden helps maintain a low carb lifestyle and we try to get plenty exercise whether that’s walking the dogs or working out at the gym.   
  • We love to cook and eat well, especially produce from the garden. We grill, roast, and cook on the stovetop. We love to boil crawfish, shrimp, and crabs. We love trying food and recipes we’ve never experienced. We feel that cooking is a way to explore new thoughts, cultures, and tastes.
  • We love to have fun with family and friends.  We love to laugh, have fun and believe that is important for our wellbeing. 
  • Louisiana is a great state and want to share our love of Louisiana and its culture, places, and people. Southeast Louisiana’s unique Cajun influence is indeed unique and special.
  • We are openly patriotic and proud to be living in the greatest country that’s ever existed. USA!  USA! USA!
  • We’ve had the opportunity to work and live in a few different places throughout the USA and the world.  We had great experiences at each of these places.  But, there’s no place like home!   Louisiana provides such a great culture with friendly people and warm weather. 
  • We believe in a higher power and our faith helps keep our family centered on the things that are truly important.

You will see posts on our BLOG covering topics such as::

  • Cooking: Salsa Verde – From the Garden to the Jar
  • Gardening: Specific educational posts talking about topics like soil science, organic gardening methods, related to growing your own produce from your backyard organic raised bed garden.
  • DIY/Home: Building a rustic headboard and squirrel picnic table.
  • Louisiana Heritage: Visit to Avery Island, where the tabasco peppers are grown and Tabasco is bottled (when COVID-19 allows us).
  • Travel/Outdoors: Surf fishing at the beach on family vacation.
  • Subscriber suggestions: We want your suggestions on upcoming posts.

Why BLOG:

It is a 2-part answer. First, these are things that we are doing now as we live our lives enjoying the simple life. We believe there is some power in documenting our journey, helping teach or inspire others, and along the way we expect to gain as much or more from you.

Please LIKE this post. If you have any COMMENTS, please post below. Please SUBSCRIBE to our BLOG for additional great content.