Thursday, May 31, 2018

Update Your Above Ground Pool

The lazy days of summer are upon us, and I am so excited! It's my very favorite time of year, and a great reason to embark on a fun outdoor project.

One of summer's greatest pleasures is splashing around in the cool waters of a swimming pool. We can't put in an in-ground pool, so instead we chose to go the "above ground" route.

Unfortunately because of the nature of their design, above ground pools can be a bit of an eyesore!

Not a pretty sight!

However, I was determined to enjoy the fun of having a pool, without the "ugly" factor. So, with a small budget and a creative vision, I was able to transform an ordinary plastic pool into a welcoming tropical oasis.

Here's how I did it:

Start with a framed above ground pool. I did a lot of research and decided on this one:

The price on this pool was great, and the reviews were quite good overall. Plus the size was right. I wanted something deep enough that my kids could still swim underwater, but not too large for our yard. Set up was pretty easy and the whole family had fun putting it together.

Here are the additional supplies I ordered for the pool. I also carefully researched all of these products and have been happy with them.

Start by setting up your pool on level ground. I opted to put a tarp under ours. We simply folded the corners of the tarp underneath the pool during set up so that it wouldn't show.

First things first... Cover up that ugly plastic side of your pool!

To disguise the sides, I wrapped our pool in inexpensive willow fencing. This is the kind I used:

I ordered it in the 4ft height. Don't be scared off by the reviews of this! Yes, it is true that it is pretty flimsy and see through. But that is easily solved!

First of 3 layers

To compensate for the quality, I ordered enough rolls to go around the circumference of my pool 3 times. When you layer this fencing it looks great! It was also easy to secure using brown zip ties. 

The fencing was a little taller than the edge of the pool, so I went around and trimmed off the top using a pair of garden sheers. But, any heavy duty scissors would work.


I decided to add some color and cheer with flower pots.
Because buying new glazed pots wasn't in my budget, I got creative. I gathered a group of large mismatched planters and decided to give them a colorful makeover.


First, I covered them completely (inside and out) with a layer of primer. The primer will help block moisture and aid in protecting the pot's color from the elements.


This project took just under two cans of primer. I applied thick layers and let them dry for a couple of hours.

Then I chose a variety of colors in a cheerful palette. I mixed and matched different brands of spray paint and was sure to select paints formulated for outdoors.

Then it was time to paint the pots! Most of them took at least two coasts of paint. Then for good measure I covered each one with an additional protective clear coat.  I was thrilled with how well they turned out!


Then it was time to add the fun stuff!

I LOVE flowers and plants, and I had a wonderful time selecting things to go in these pots. While shopping for plants I was careful to keep my color theme in mind.
I also wanted to add some plants that looked "tropical". Unfortunately were we live it can drop below freezing in the winter, so I can only use cold hardy plants. Luckily there are some tropical looking plants that can stand the cooler temperatures. Here are some ideas:

-Cold Hearty Banana Plants
-Cold Hearty Queen Palms

Don't forget to add a fun garden trinket or two! These worked perfectly for me:

For a soft landing and to help keep debris out of the pool, consider using a door mat on the ground at the entrance to your pool.

Add in a few more fun accessories and you'll be ready to swim! Here are a few more ideas:

Keep cute towels handy and dry with nearby hooks. I found both in my color scheme on Amazon.

Because the fencing can be a bit rough and because I wanted my kids to be able to get into the pool without help, I also added this small ladder.

It's super easy to take in and out as needed, and luckily it comes in a subtle gray color.

And don't forget to add some fun pool toys!

Lastly, I updated our old picnic table to match the rest of the decor. Please stay tuned for a "how to" tutorial post about this project soon!

Thanks for stopping by; I hope you summer is off to a great start!

Linking up to these fun parties:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Glue and Sand Bowl Craft

Make you own sand and glue bowl!

I LOVE Pinterest, and my guess is that you do too! If you are a fan, then chances are that you have probably seen this pin slide down your screen at least once:

Pinterest Perfection

The subtext promises that this elegant bowl is easily replicated, by simply by mixing sand and glue. Then according to pinterest you simply drip it over a bowl and let it dry.

However, as some have found this is much easier said than done! For fun see this "Pinterest Fail" Video.

Or not!

Still, I knew even after watching that video, that the original Pin had to exists somewhere. I figured that with a little tweaking and testing I might be able to get a similar result. 

In my experimenting I found that by using two different types of glue, I could get a pretty decent version of the sand bowl. For fun I used colored sand, but you could use regular beach sand too.

Here is how I made mine:


Traditional Elmers Glue

Quick Dry Tacky Glue

Plastic Cling Wrap

Colored Craft Sand

A Big Mixing Bowl

Medium size Cereal Bowl

Metal Spoon

Painter's Tape

Step One:

To protect your bowl, turn it upside down and cove it completely in plastic wrap. This will keep the glue and sand off of it, and will also create an interesting texture in the interior of your bowl. I used about two layers of plastic on the outside of the bowl.

I found that it helped to secure the plastic wrap to itself using blue painter's tape. Now your "mold" is prepped and ready!

Step 2

Now comes the secret part!

The instructions on the original pin will tell you to use Elmers glue. I tried that and did not have a good result. The glue dried too slowly and the sand did not sick together.
But, then I discovered that if I used one part Elmers to one part "Quick Dry Craft Glue" with the sand it worked well.

I didn't need to measure exactly. Rather I simply added a little at a time, alliterating between the two glues and stirring. This way, in the end I had about equal parts of both glues in the sand mixture.

Continue adding glue (and if needed, more sand until you reach a consistency that feels like think dough).

It should look and feel like a thick (grainy) play dough. I found that if the mixture is too thin and watery, then it won't hold together when dripped over the bowl. Rather, gravity will pull it apart into pieces. So, you want this to be pretty thick, and just past the point of being crumbly.

Step 3

It's time to start applying the sand mixture to the bottom of your bowl!

I found that it was the easiest to simply scrape the sand/ glue onto the very highest point on the bowl, and then use the back of a metal spoon to gently "coax it downward and toward the sides.

I used gentle pressure in a spiraling motion, form the center outwards to coax the moisture into place.

After about 5-10 minutes gravity will take it's course and pull the sand downwards.

Step 4

Continue adding layers.

If you want to have more control you can wait for each layer to dry before adding the next one. But, I didn't have the patience for that! So I just kept adding more and more!

You can even use your hands to encourage the sand to go in specific directions. Just gently press it in the direction you want it to go. I found this helpful for coving any gaps in the layer below.

For fun, I chose to add my colored sand in "rainbow order" layers. But you can chose any method you like. Or for a more modern and natural look, skip the color and just use plain sand.

Step 5

Allow several days for your bowl to sit and dry completely. The thickest layers take the longest.

Step 6

Once all parts of your bowl feel very hard to the touch, you can remove it from the mold.

Simply flip your bowl over, give it a little wiggle and it will easily come loose.

Next, just remove the plastic wrap to reveal your lovely creation!

This bowl made me think of a coral reef, and lovely things under the sea. So I chose to display it as summertime decoration. I added starfish, but you can use anything you want to fill it, or even just leave it empty!

I've also found that in the off-season this bowl is great for holding remote controls in the family room!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Grow Real Easter Grass!

Try growing your own Easter grass this year. Right now is the perfect time to get started!

For the tutorial I wrote about this click:


Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Garage Dance Party Spectacular!

Following on the heels of my most recent posts (about our rainbow party) today I'll be showing you how we transformed our ordinary garage into a rainbow wonderland all ready for a dance party!

Both kids and adults were captivated by this fun and easy to make space. You can make a "room" like this too!

This project was both inexpensive and simple!

Supplies you'll need:

-Rectangular colored plastic table cloths, about 8 of each color. I found most of mine at the Dollar Store.
You can also buy them inexpensively online:

-Packing tape, or duct tape

-A staple gun and staples

Disco ball (this is the one I used):

*Note: The disco ball doesn't run on batteries. It plugs in. So you may need an extension cord too.

-(Optional): Checkerboard floor tiles. These are peel and stick and easy to use. You can just put them right onto the cement in your garage. You'll likely need a scraper to get them off though (or just leave them there and have a neat garage floor!). For a floor about the size of mine (12'x12') you'll need 8 boxes.

It's time to start!

If you chose to make a checkerboard floor, install it first. We centered ours in the middle of the garage, leaving space around the edges for all the junk we keep stashed in there. If you have junk too (as most of us do!) Don't worry about it, we'll hide it later!

If you don't want to stick anything to your floor, you can also rent a checkerboard dance floor from a party/ wedding supply business.

Add lighting

If you have an electric garage door opener, it's possible that you also have an electrical outlet there too. Then you can easily plug in your disco ball. If you don't have one nearby that's okay. Just run an extension cord to your nearest power source. Attach it to the rafters or ceiling to hide it from sight. 

Note: at this point any kids in the household will be ready to dance. Have music ready!

Make a rainbow!

Using your tape, connect the narrow ends of two (same color) table cloths. This should give you enough length to drape it from the center of the ceiling, to close to the floor (of a two car sized garage).

Now it's time to start hanging the sheets of color! I attached one color at a time and worked my way around the room in a circle. 

First I gathered one end of the table cloth into a bundle and wrapped tape around it to secure it together. Then I attached that bunched end to the ceiling directly above the base of the disco ball. 

Leaving a little slack so that it would hang loosely,  then I flared each piece open wider and attached it to the rafters. I made sure it was secured directly above the edge of the dance floor. Then I let the rest of the length just hang down towards the floor. This way I created "walls" for the space.

If you are adhering the table cloths to a wall, or wooden rafters, it's easiest to use a staple gun. But, these are so lightweight that you could even just use tape too. 

Kids will start to get REALLY excited now! Take a break and bust a move!

Keep working your way around the room, creating a "tent" of color. Leave a few feet of empty space for an easy entranceway. And if any parts are too long, simple trim away the access with a pair of scissors. 

Then just add a playlist of fun dance music, turn on the disco lights and enjoy!

Thanks for stoping by, and happy dancing!

For MORE information about how to host your own rainbow party, see these posts:

Rainbow Party Goodie Bags 

DIY Hand Kite Favors

Linking up to these fun parties:

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