Hot Summer Nights: Paradise By The Back Porch Light

This past memorial day weekend, my husband and I were determined to get the yard ready for summer.  My daughter received an Easy Set Intex Pool from her Uncle and Aunt for Christmas and we could not wait to get the pool setup and operational.  My daughter’s 4th birthday this year will have a pool party theme, and the date for the party is quickly approaching.  My husband and I leveled out the ground in the area the pool would be placed.  We laid down a tarp and spread the pool out.  These inflatable Easy Set’s are great starter pools, and in our case the simpler the better since this is our first attempt at putting up a pool.

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We inflated the ring with a pump, and from the inside smoothed out the lining.  It took all day to fill.  The next day, we hooked up the filter, placed chlorine tabs in the floater, and assembled the ladder.  The water was very cold, so I hopped in to the pool for a test run.  For the most part everything went great and the set up was easy.  I was disappointed to find some parts in the lining that were not as smooth as we had wanted.  I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure the ground is clear of any debris and level.  Even after all our careful work, what seemed smooth at the surface was not always the case.  Once the weight of the water pressed the ground flat, some rocks and roots underground seemed to appear out of nowhere through the lining.  That being said the only way to remedy this would be to drain the pool and remove the debris from the area to smooth it out.  Until it is necessary to do so, we are going to take our chances.  I would feel guilty wasting all that water!  Luckily the pool came with plenty of patches if needed.

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We purchased a few fun summer signs from Dollar Tree and lined the fence with them for added decoration.

I  also accomplished a few smaller projects.  I had a decorative metal star that I picked up at Christmas Tree Shop.  It was on clearance and I was never happy with the tan color.  I surmised that this was most likely the reason why it was on clearance.

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Since it was Memorial day and the house was decorated in Americana….

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I had some extra Rust-Oleum red spray paint, and I sprayed on a quick coat.  I like the star better now that it is red and I purchased it for half the price!

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The other area I wanted to address was the corner of the yard by the pool. There is a rather large tree stump in this area.  Some time ago, I blogged about ideas here.

I struggled with what to do with this stump for some time.  This weekend that changed.  I decided to make it a fun project for my daughter and I to do together.  I had an old broken wooden TV tray.  I removed the table top from the legs and screwed it on to the tree stump surface.  My neighbor had given me some decorative, shells, glass pebbles and decorative rock. I thought it would be fun for us to create a mosaic table top for it.  I used some old tile grout and glue in one and spread it onto the table surface evenly.  The toddler apprentice and I then applied the rocks and glass pebbles.  We wiped off any excess grout and allowed it to dry overnight.  I used the unused legs of the TV tray as a garden trellis, another great re-purpose!  My goal was to use as much of the table as possible. Mission accomplished!

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I placed the shells around for decoration.   Now Mommy has a place to put “her” sippy cup and relax by the pool, while my daughter has fun exploring and playing with the various sea shells.

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Since this spring has been a bit sparse in the rain department, our grass took a hit and much of it died.  Once all the yard work was done, we raked the yard and spread out grass seed in the hopes of bringing our lawn back to life!  Once the grass grows under our feet, our little backyard oasis will be complete!

What do you have planned for your backyard oasis?  Do you have any summer projects you are eager to complete?  How do you like to kick off summer?

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Sultans of Swap: Flea Market Fun In The Sun

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in my first ever Flea Market.  The sale of spaces benefited my daughter’s school, so of course I jumped at the chance to get involved.  I was a bit nervous.  It was the first time I have attempted to sell my projects.  I also had some additional spring cleaning items to sell as well and anything I can do to create additional space in my overloaded craft room is a definite plus.

Let me start off by saying, I have been to a lot of swap meets, yard sales and flea markets as a buyer, but never as a seller.  It is hard work preparing, pricing and hauling your goods to the sale location.  I have a new respect for those who can make a living at it and participate in sales on a regular basis.

I am in no way an expert at this, but I thought I would share with you all what I learned from this experience.

So, How did the modern flea market get its name?

The first flea markets were in Paris and they were called marché aux puces which translates to ‘market with fleas’. Flea market first appeared in English in 1922 as a translation of the French market’s name.

When Preparing, Take Care of as much as you can the night before

Since most flea markets start bright and early, and I am a night owl by nature,  I loaded the car and any other items needed for my sale the previous night.  This allowed me to get a good night sleep and wake up and leave the next day without scrambling at the last-minute.

Show up on time or early for set up

This was the fun part.  Setting it all up so it is pleasing to the eye.  Leave yourself enough time so as to not feel rushed.

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Mark all prices clearly and have a backup plan

I devised a color coding system.  Also when marking your prices, keep a mental note of how low you are willing to go with price.  I marked my prices a little higher so that I had some “wiggle” room.

Plan for a long day in the hot sun

If you have a canopy or beach umbrella, it is a good idea to bring it.  Make sure to bring plenty of sun block, dress accordingly (avoid dark colors that attract the sun) Wear a hat and sunglasses and bring plenty of fluids and a snack.

Bring tables or other items to properly display your merchandise

I found that items more visible, and that didn’t require a lot of effort to look through sold better.  A clothes rack, table or even a sheet or mat placed on the ground is essential when displaying your items.  If people have too put a lot of effort in they will move on quickly to a competitor’s table.

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Don’t Just Sit There… Get up and Sell!!

I found I gained more interest in my items when I talked to people and said “Hi”  Sitting their idle watching people come and go doesn’t sell stuff, but being a social butterfly DOES even when the turn out is low.

Talk about what you do and PROMOTE

I created plenty of business cards, and even sign explaining what Upcycling is.  People’s curiosity would get the better of them and they would stop to read the sign.  It was a great conversation starter!

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Bring Singles and 5 dollar bills to make change and wear a fanny pack!

I brought about $40 dollars in cash.  I used 25 singles and four 5 dollar bills and found this to be enough to make change.  It is better to wear a fanny pack or apron to keep change, pens and tape in.  Leaving money unsupervised in a box even for a minute, creates a potential for theft.

Make Friends and Connections!

Even though the turn out was less than spectacular, I still managed to socialize with other vendors and make personal connections.  I met a really nice woman who runs a local consignment shop, and my flea market neighbor and I helped each other when the other had to take a bathroom break.  The nice lady next to me even helped complete a sale while I walked away for a moment!

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Oh and Don’t Forget to take a Flea Market Selfie!

What are you doing to prepare for this Flea Market Season? Do you have any tips for sellers not mentioned here?  Do you have willpower when it comes to buying things at a flea market when you are there to sell?