DIY: Fire Starter and a Rachel Roy Camera

Journey at Home Day 20


The weather forecast for my section of the mountain is for rain, temperatures dropping to the 30's, and possible snowflakes on Monday and Tuesday. It's highly unusual weather for April in California. It's weather that I am not prepared for, at least from the standpoint of keeping my wood-burning stove running. I'm running out of fatwood. (Fatwood is from the turpentine tree, so it makes a great fire starter.) What to do?


I found a recipe on the web for a wax-based fire starter made using an egg carton, dryer lint, and wax. Fortunately I had the ingredients. I also made a second type of fire starter using wax poured over barbecue cooking pellets. The six items on the left are dryer lint and wax in egg carton material. The yummy stuff on the right consists of pellets covered by wax. Let's hope they work.

My next DIY project today was to build a pinhole camera. Why would I do that when I have an amazing digital camera? It's part of my interest in the history of photography. This type of camera is easy enough to build. And even easier thanks to fashion designer Rachel Roy.


A few years ago, a personal shopper convinced me to purchase a pair of Rachel Roy shoes to go with a formal outfit. The shoes are okay, but the box they came in is awesome.

It's very sturdy and is really a drawer for the shoes, as you can see. A black inset pulls out to reveal the shoes. I dumped the shoes in the bottom of my closet and went to work on the box.


A pinhole camera must have a black interior to prevent reflections inside the box. The drawer part of the shoe box is already black inside and out, but the container is white. I used stove black paint inside the white part. I also sprayed the black insert on the inside to cut down on the reflective surface.

Next I drilled a one-inch hole in the end of the drawer. Then I taped aluminum foil over the hole and used a sewing needle to pierce a pinhole in the foil. The pink duct tape serves two purposes: as a handle to pull out the drawer and as a "lens cover" over the pinhole.

The clouds rolled in this morning and now the rain. I won't be able to try out my camera until the weather clears. I'm going to first try using sun paper as film because that's all I have. If I can't get an image to form, I might need to send away for more sensitive paper.

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