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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A Piece Of Americana: Upcycled Windsor Back Chair

Since I began upcycling, crafting, and decoupaging, I have wanted to make an Americana art piece.  I was uncertain as to what the object would be.  I was waiting to see what life, or thrifting was going to place in my path.  Then one day, I spotted this chair in a Goodwill Store.  The chair needed a bit of TLC, and had some issues.  Most of the finish was worn off the chair, and the spindles and legs were loose.  The chair passed “the sit test” I sat on it and I didn’t end up on the floor! Nothing I thought a little love and wood glue wouldn’t fix. Despite it’s problems, I knew this chair was something special.  The chair displayed several design elements I found intriguing, and the chair style looked very “American” to me.  I will be honest, I  didn’t actually know anything about this chair, but I knew one thing- I liked it.

A woman behind me saw me looking at it ,and said “That’s a Windsor Back Chair.”  She was from New England and these chairs are popular in that area. Then she simply walked away.  She was eyeing it up, but I had a tight grip on it.  By now the chair was in my cart and rolling with me out of the store.  The chair cost $5.99, but for this I think I would have paid a little more, so it was a great deal!

Windsor Chair

When I got home, I did some research on the chair and It had several of the Windsor Chair Design elements.  I found this great website for a company that makes these chairs Gummel Chair works and they feature an interesting history of these Windsor Chairs Beginning with their origins during the reign of King George in England to the shores of New England and the Early American Colonies.  It also states it became “preferred” in some circles to paint these chairs to bring out their unique design qualities.   This made me feel better about painting the chair, and since I did not have the space to keep the chair out year round, I thought it would be a nice to showcase the chair during the patriotic holidays.  Having a reproduction in need of some work seemed exciting and the “perfect” Americana project candidate,  It also happened to come along at the perfect time.  The July 4th holiday was quickly approaching, and I had to submit an original project for the new Green Crafting Book The Green Crafts Lifestyle .

Materials Used:

Red, White and Blue Acrylic paint

Decal, Print, Patriotic decorations for decoupage

Foam Brush to apply Mod Podge

Paint Brushes of various sizes

Scissors

I cleaned the chair before I got started with a damp cloth.

I primed the chair with two coats of a white latex primer.

Chair Materials

I applied the Mod Podge with a foam brush to the seat surface generously.  I took the patriotic image I was using and carefully glued the image to the seat.  I used my hand to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles.  If you have one available, you can also use the rubber Mod Podge, or roller tool to do this as well. Once dry, I applied a layer of Mod Podge with a foam brush over the image to seal it.  Now it was time to paint the chair.  I used a red white and blue color scheme and continued the pattern featured on the patriotic image for the chair seat.  Once the visible parts of the chair were dry, I flipped the chair over and painted underneath.  I then cut out some small white stars I wanted to decoupage to the top of the chair to add some additional flare.  I applied Mod Podge to the top of the chair with a smaller paint brush and applied the stars to the chair.

Once the chair was dry, I carefully inspected the chair for any painted areas that needed touching up, and added additional paint needed to these areas.  I allowed the chair to dry thoroughly overnight in front of a stand up fan. The next day,  I applied 2 coats of Mod Podge over the entire piece using the foam brush for larger surfaces, and a smaller paint brush on the smaller areas and chair legs.

An Upcycled Windsor Chair draped in Americana Decoupage:

Patriotic Windsor Style Chair:

Before and After:

Patriotic decopage Painted chair before and after