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 Little Bit Of Luck: Second Hand Roses Christmas Placemats Giveaway.

I was so pleased to learn that “On the Upcycle” was the lucky winner of two lovely vintage looking felt holiday placemats, courtesy of Deb and Kathy at “Second Hand Roses”

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Second Hand Roses is a blog that features the shopping adventures and sometimes misadventures of Kathy and Deb. Their wonderful sense of humor comes across in every post and the blog is an enjoyable read, so be sure and stop by and visit them! I was quite excited to receive a package with the placemats and this lovely vintage greeting card.

Vintage Christmas Card

The placemats are made of felt and are adorned with glittery decorations.  They feature Santa Clause and a reindeer. They are absolutely adorable and I am so grateful to have won their christmas giveaway!  I placed them on our vintage stereo cabinet and snapped this picture of our living room.

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Thanks again to Kathy and Deb for bringing some holiday cheer into our home this holiday season!

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If only we could live here….A Close Up Snapshot of our Christmas village on our mantle.

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Happy Holidays from “On The Upcycle” and Many Thanks to Kathy and Deb!

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Weekend Warriors: A Thrifting Revolution.

This past Saturday, My sister and I took a trip with the little one to Red Bank Battlefield in National Park NJ.  An important battle was fought here during the Revolutionary war, and the area is now part of the Gloucester County, NJ Park System.  My daughter loved the playground and refused to get off the swing (insert 2 year-old temper tantrum here) Despite this, it was a beautiful day to get out and enjoy nature, after weeks of torrential rain and heat waves!

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We also got to visit an awesome thrift store called Glassboro Thrift Village.  To say they had everything would be a understatment! I especially liked the “free” items they had out front.  They happened to have a chair marked free and I was very excited to see it! I have been for sometime, searching for a spare chair seat.  I have a great chair I have been wanting to restore with a broken seat.  I scooped up this “free chair” and was amazed at all the great items they had inside.  This would be a great place to get furniture for college students or people just starting out.  I picked up a few future crafting items and a magna doodle for my daughter for a dollar.  They also support local charities with a portion of their sales. I want to go back here sometime in the future to take a more thorough look around.  Can’t wait to get started on a few new projects this week!

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Living On The Upcycle: Money Saving Tips and More!

For those of you who have decided to follow my little DIY Blog, I can’t thank you enough.  It’s been about two months now since I started blogging, and I have really enjoyed the sense of online community here on Word Press.  Those of you who have been following me and my decoupage obsession have seen me use scrapbook paper on many of my projects.  I wanted to share with you the book of papers featured on my blog.  I purchased this scrapbook paper book at AC Moore for about $12.99 and it features damask and other patterns in mostly black and white.  I still have some sheets left, but have used many of the patterns featured inside.

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Recently, I had to purchase more Mod Podge Matte as I was in danger of running out.  We all know Mod Podge can be expensive.  When you restyle a lot of bigger projects such as furniture you can end up using a lot of the stuff.  I have been to a few craft stores locally, and so far the only one I have seen that sells Mod Podge by the gallon is AC Moore.  A gallon of Mod Podge is priced at $36.99!  Ouch!  The key is to wait until they feature the 50% off one regular priced item coupon. On a recent trip with the store coupon I saved over $18.00 off the price!  When the cashier keeps saying “Wow you saved a lot!” you know you got a great deal!  For current coupons and deals visit AC Moore Online

Mod Podge by the Gallon

Lastly, I have been working on an “On The Upcycle”  Logo.  I want to say thanks to Re:Retro for posting her blog entry Retro Office Stuff  featuring the retro Dymo label maker. I am a sucker for old, retro things and I just happened to have a Dymo label maker that I hadn’t used in a really long time.  Her blog entry inspired me to knock off the dust, have some fun, and use it again.  I came up with these logos.  To me it says what is old can be new again : )

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Sesame Street Birthday decorations made from construction paper

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As we get closer to our daughter’s 2nd birthday party this Saturday, I thought I would share some tips from last year’s party.  One of the more expensive elements of throwing a party, other than food is the party decorations.  My husband and I always try to follow a budget the best we can.  We plan, make lists and try to keep costs down, but in this current economy that can sometimes be difficult.  Our theme last year was Sesame Street and since my daughter is still obsessed with these characters, I didn’t stray too far this year from her 1st birthday theme.  Her theme this year is all her favorite Sprout channel characters with a patriotic twist in celebration of Memorial Day.  Stay tuned for more on this idea.

Last year, I created most of her decorations from construction paper and glue.  I searched the internet for all her favorite Sesame characters and used the more basic cartoon images as a guide for making the different characters.  Most of the characters are based on simple shapes, so I drew these shapes onto the construction paper, cut them out and glued together to form the individual characters.  Pretty simple, cost effective, and I think they turned out great and are unique in their own way. I also summoned my old elementary school days cutting out strips of construction paper and making paper chains.  I also used re-cycled gift bags and anything else I could get my hands on, cut out and make into a party decoration.  There are so many great ideas on Pinterest as well, much more than I could ever try myself.  Let your imagination run wild and in the process save a little money!

Elmo Birthday Decoration

Sesame Street sign made from construction paper

Bert and Ernie Birthday Decoration

Oscar Trash Can

Sesame Street Decorations