Tag Archives: DIY

DIY painted vases in stripes and polka dots - amerrymom.com

Add flair to flower arrangements with DIY painted vases

Flower arrangements always add a lovely touch to a room. I love to decorate with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers, like the roses I received recently.

To make sure I always have a vase handy for flowers, I stocked up with a few simple, inexpensive glass vases from a dollar store.  Although the flowers are the focus, I decided to paint the vases to add to the beauty of my flower arrangements.

These DIY painted vases are a fun way to display beautiful flowers!

DIY painted vases from amerrymom.comThe best part is that they are so simple to make!

Polka-dot vase

For one vase, I added silver sparkle in a polka-dot pattern.  The effect is easy to create with some circular yard-sale price stickers that remove easily.  I attached the stickers in a random pattern around the vase, then used two layers of silver craft paint.  DIY painted polka dot vase - in progress - amerrymom.comThe first layer was a metallic silver acrylic paint (Plaid Folk Art) that I applied with a paint sponge.  I tried using a paint brush first, but it left brush marks on the glass so I switched.  The sponge left a pattern as well; I decided it looked better than the brush marks.

The second layer was a silver glitter paint (Deco Art Glamour Dust) for some extra bling.  I removed the stickers before the paint dried so they wouldn’t pull off the paint.

It turned out lovely!DIY polka dot vase - amerrymom.com

Striped vase

For the second vase, I decided to try spray painting.  I attached blue painter’s tape in a vertical pattern, then sprayed with Krylon gold metallic paint in a few light layers.

DIY spray painted stiped vase in process - amerrymom.comI removed the tape before the paint dried so it wouldn’t pull off the paint.

Through this process, I realized I’m not super steady with the spray paint.   The stripes on my finished vase weren’t as perfect as I would have liked, but it still turned out nice!

Peonies in DIY striped painted vase - amerrymom.comThese vases are perfect to display the peonies from my flower garden that I brought inside to enjoy!

DIY painted vases are also a great way to add a thoughtful touch to a gift bouquet for any occasion.  At this time of the year, a hand-painted vase makes a nice hostess gift or teacher gift.  Starting with a dollar store vase, it’s a low cost project with big impact!

This project is linked to some of these link parties.

Made by mom: A DIY paver stone basketball court

The answer is “Yes!”

A well-meaning mom with no experience can build a basketball area in the backyard for her kids using paver stones.DIY paver stone backyard basketball court - AMerryMom.com

As the mom of two boys, I spend a lot of time on sports-related things.  I really never thought I’d build a small basketball court in the backyard for them, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!

When we moved to our house, it had a lot going for it.  What it didn’t have was a place for my boys to play basketball.  And they love to shoot basketball.

Since our driveway slopes down to the street in the front, the backyard was the only option for a basketball goal.  Some friends from church gave us an almost-new goal after their daughter left for college.  The kids were happy to have it, but it’s hard to dribble on grass!

We debated a solution for a while.  Pouring a concrete basketball court would be a big investment.  My husband was busy at work and didn’t have time to take on a DIY project.

Finally I decided I could build a basketball area myself by laying paver stones that would connect to the existing covered patio.  My hubby thought I was crazy for volunteering for that job, but I finally I convinced him I should give it a try.

After he agreed, I started clearing the sod from the area.  I recruited the kids to help some.  It was a good arm workout for all of us!  I thought that would come in handy for lifting the 16-inch square paver stones and setting them into place.

Little did I know how much more arm strength I really needed!  My trip to Home Depot to buy the materials made me realize that I needed a new deal with my hubby: if he would buy all of the paver stones and sand for the underlayment and transport them to the backyard, I would do the rest.

He was sure I would be asking for more help and he would be spending all of his time off work laying pavers for me, but I was determined to get that part of the project done all by myself.  Somehow I made it happen!DIY basketball court from paver stones - AMerryMom.comI’m not gonna lie.  It was hard work, and it took me a long time to get it done.  The project did not follow the fast pace of some of the done-in-a-weekend tutorials I had read.  (If you need a full how-to tutorial for installing paver stones, I liked the ones at The Handmade Home, Better Homes and Gardens, and Lowes.  Yep, I read a bunch of tutorials before I got started.)

To complete my project, I worked on it a little at a time for weeks.  I worked carefully to make sure the base sand under the pavers was really smooth so the pavers would lay flat. 

Besides the physical weight of the pavers, my biggest challenge was getting the sand layer smoothed out just right so the court was totally flat.  I definitely didn’t want anyone tripping over the stones!

I finally finished laying the stones and sweeping sand between them before the cold weather arrived last fall.  When I got that last paver done, I was a very merry mom!  

The last stone was hard to install with stones on two sides and the edge forms on the other two sides. I had to kinda drop it in, which messed up the sand layer on my first few attempts.  I had to re-level the sand and try again until finally I got it in right.  Whew!  Getting everything level was a lot harder for me than it sounded before I started on this little endeavor.

I did a happy dance that it was all done!  Then I couldn’t wait to usher my kids outside to try it out when they got home from school that day.  They were thrilled to squeeze in some basketball time in the backyard when it wasn’t too cold.

As much as I wanted to show off my little basketball court, I didn’t post anything about it here last fall.  Since my work was not a by-the-book installation, I wasn’t sure it would hold up.  I thought the cold weather might make the stones heave up out of place over the winter.

Now that spring has arrived after our especially cold, harsh winter, I’m happy to report that the basketball area made it through the last five months intact!  My boys have been playing basketball on it all spring.

Today I’m finally declaring success building a DIY backyard basketball court from paver stones.  And if I can do it, anyone can!  :)

2016 update – A few people have asked if the pavers are holding up well over time since I originally installed them.  The answer is yes!  After going through a few winters with freezing and thawing, the pavers are still looking good.  We have to do some weed control between the pavers from time to time, but this basketball court has been maintenance free otherwise.  We did have to buy a new basketball goal, because our original, free goal rusted.  We bought the Lifetime 1221 pro-height adjustable basketball system from Amazon (affiliate link) and have been very happy with it.  It came with free home delivery, which was handy.  The setup took some time, but it’s a nice goal.

Space planning details for our DIY backyard basketball court

Due to the space constraints in our yard, I loosely based our basketball area on a free throw lane. It’s 16 feet long and 8 feet wide.

My reasoning was that the NCAA free throw line is 15 feet from the backboard, so making our court 16 feet long gave us a foot of space for standing to shoot free throws. That worked out to exactly 12 of the 16″ paver stones for the length of the basketball court. I added a border of single bricks around the paver stones to make the final size correspond to our existing covered patio space – and to gain a little more room for standing to shoot free throws.DIY backyard basketball court - 3 points for success - AMerryMom.com

Although the regulation free throw lane is 12 feet wide, our court is just 8 feet wide.

For us, the size decisions were based on space and budget. With this size, my kids can practice free throws, layups, and inside shots.

Our basketball court definitely would be better if it was large enough to give my kids room to practice 3-point shots, but I keep reminding them (and myself) that it’s better than nothing!

You could really make a court any size that works for your yard.  I measured and sketched our backyard basketball court on paper with a couple of size options, then marked it off in the yard before getting started.

Using 16″ square paver stones, I needed 72 pavers for our court (6 rows of 12).  I used 16-inch square paver stones with a brick basketweave pattern stamped onto them. 

Before buying the basketweave-patterned paver stones, I checked to make sure the basketball would bounce OK on it – and it does.  The brick lines in the pavers don’t seem to affect the bounce of the basketball at all.

DIY paver stone basketball court

Are you planning a paver stone basketball court in your own yard?  I’d love to hear about your DIY project!

This DIY basketball court project is linked up at some of these link parties.

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Make a monogram shadowbox - AMerryMom.com

DIY decorating: Make a shadowbox monogram

Do you love monograms as much as I do?

I love decorating with monograms for a personal, homey touch. I have several of our last name initials scattered around our house. There’s a big “S” here and a little one there.  I try not to go overboard, but I really love them!

My daughter has picked up the same sense of style and loves to personalize things with an “E” for her first name.  So when we decided to add some decor to fill a corner in her room by her window, we knew she needed her initial on the wall.

We picked up all the supplies from Hobby Lobby – a white 12×12 shadowbox, a paperboard letter, a sheet of scrapbook paper, and some coordinating paint.  The materials were inexpensive, and it was an easy project that we could do together.

This was a great way for my daughter to be involved in decorating her own room.  She’s at that transition age when it’s time for some updates, and she wants to be hands-on with the decorating.  She got to pick the paint and paper (based on the options I gave her that would match her room), and then help put it all together.

First we painted the letter and let it dry.  She chose Anita’s Metallic Craft Paint in rose.  She did the first coat of paint, then I did the final coat to be sure the paint was even and wasn’t showing any brush strokes.Make a monogram shadowbox - AMerryMom.com

When it was dry, I used double-sided tape to attach the letter to the scrapbook paper, then placed it in the shadowbox.  Easy peasy!Make a monogram shadowbox - AMerryMom.com

When we hung it up, my daughter decided to add a little pink dragonfly above the shadowbox.  We had some mirrored butterflies that were waiting for the perfect spot, so I let her stick a few around it on her wall.  We love how it personalizes her room!

Finished monogram shadowbox

This was a fun, simple mother-daughter project – perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon!