2 lake-inspired, thrifty DIY projects

Hello friends. Today I’d like to share with you two recent DIY projects I completed that are inexpensive and easy to do.

The first is this LAKE sign I added to my bathroom as part of the master bathroom renovation. This project cost me zero dollars because I already had all the supplies on hand. 🙂

Step 1: Cut a piece off of a weathered wooden pallet. I used a skill saw for this part.

Step 2: Sand and stain/finish your board of choice. I chose Varathane® Kona Metallic Polyurethane Finish.

Step 3: Print out letters in the font/size of your choice on a regular printer.

Step 4: Turn each letter over and run chalk over the whole back of the sheet of paper.

Step 5: Turn the paper back over, placing it where you want it on your piece of wood. Then use a pencil to trace the outline of the letter. This will transfer a chalk outline onto the wood.

Step 6: Using an artist’s brush or paint marker, fill in your letters with the paint color(s) of your choice. (I used Command Strips to hang the piece on the wall.) Done! 

Project No. 2: Lake-themed porch pillows

My front porch pillows were looking a little tired, so I decided to update them with new fabric.

I chose the lake-themed fabric on the bottom right of the photo. I found the fabric here.

This is indoor fabric, which I treated with a spray water repellent. So it works best on a covered porch. If your pillows will be exposed to the rain/weather, I would recommend choosing an outdoor fabric.

I cut four equal squares, then flipped the fabric over, sewing the pieces together at the edges.

When I got to the last 3-4 inches, I turned the piece right-side out, stuffed the old pillow inside, then sewed the last bit together. Voila!

So there you go … two quick and inexpensive DIY projects for summer.

Have you done any crafting/DIYing this summer yet? I’d love for you to share your project in the comments section.

Hot tub redo done! (How to make an old hot tub look new)

Hello friends! I hope you had a blessed holiday season. It was definitely one of my favorite Christmases ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with family and friends. The older I get, the more I cherish these moments together.

Today I wanted to share photos of our finished hot tub project! A few months ago, we purchased a used hot tub for $600 from a friend of a church friend.

We installed a paver patio for our “new” hot tub first. Then I stained the outside of the hot tub cabinet and did some landscaping to finish off our new backyard oasis. I chronicled the specific details of how we did these projects here:

Here’s what we started with:

leveling-hot-tub-base

hot-tub-base staining-hot-tub And here’s what we’ve got now:

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In addition to doing the paver patio ourselves, we also tried to keep the landscaping budget as low as possible. We’ll still need to bring in a little topsoil and seed in the spring to get the area looking its best. The cost breakdown to date is as follows (approx.):

  • 4-6-person California Cooperage® Hot Tub – $600 (purchased used from a homeowner and picked up)
  • Stain for hot tub cabinet – $12
  • Paver patio – $1,000 (We have extra pavers on hand to do some more hardscaping in the future.)
  • Landscape fabric (already had on hand)
  • Edging – $20
  • 2B (that’s the size) river rock – $60
  • Trees and shrubs – $300
  • Electrical supplies to hook up hot tub – $150
  • Stumps and large rock accents (already had on hand in our woods) 🙂

Total project cost = $2,142

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Below you can see where we decided to end the paver patio and allow some room for landscaping against the house.

hot-tub-landscaping-2 hot-tub-landscaping

While this project definitely cost us some significant time and money, we feel it was well worth the effort. Our family gets in the hot tub together nearly every evening. It’s a great time of bonding for us, and it sure beats watching TV! Plus we know we saved a ton of money purchasing a used hot tub and installing it ourselves. A new hot tub of this size would begin at about $5,000, not counting the cost of the patio, landscaping, electrical supplies, etc.

california-cooperage-hot-tub-4-person

What do you think of our “new” hot tub?

Hot tub on a budget (plus how to install a paver patio)

Hello friends! I wanted to pop in today to let you know what’s going on around this pad. Since the flip house sold last month, we’ve been going crazy knocking out projects around our own house.

I painted the living room and kitchen and also painted about half of our front porch railing. We also installed a new kitchen floor and organized the garage. But my favorite project right now is the hot tub and paver patio we’re putting in!

A sweet friend from church mentioned she knew someone who wanted to get rid of a hot tub, and she asked if we were interested in it. We’ve always discussed how much we’d like to have a hot tub, but we didn’t want to spend a fortune on one. Well … long story short, we checked out the hot tub and bought it for $600!

Here’s a picture of it when we went to check it out before we bought it. Our little guy calls it the “hot pool.” 🙂

california-cooperage-hot-tub

It’s a 6-person California Cooperage®. After we agreed to buy it, we had to figure out where in the world we were going to put it! Matt really wanted to create a paver patio for it, which I was reluctant to try because it seemed like a very labor-intensive project. I was leaning toward a poured concrete pad. We agreed to go with Matt’s idea and began preparing the backyard.

How to install a paver patio

We leveled about a 13’x13′ section with a rototiller, shovels and rakes. I say “we,” but mostly Matt tackled this part (praise God).

preparing-hot-tub-base

After Matt had everything fairly level and framed out, we added about an inch of sand, and Matt and Eva “dragged” it to ensure a completely level spot that would be ready for the paver base panels.

leveling-hot-tub-base

We chose these paver base panels instead of a stone base, simply for ease of installation. Matt said the price of the panels was comparable to using the crushed paver stone.

hot-tub-base

After laying out the panels in the framed area, the base was ready for the pavers. We chose Newlineâ„¢ English Cobbleâ„¢ stones. We mixed and matched the Riverbed Beige and Fieldstone colors, and set them in a random pattern. We were able to get the entire patio laid in one evening with me, Matt and the kids all helping.

english-cobble-riverbed english-cobble-fieldstone

After laying the stones, we filled in the cracks with polymeric sand from Lowe’s. We brushed that out, then wet the patio with a hose to set the sand.

Here’s the hot tub on its new patio base.

hot-tub-before-stain

Whew. After that, it was on to the beautification process. As you can see, the hot tub was a bit faded, so I decided to stain the exterior cabinet. After much research, I decided on a ZAR® wood stain in Moorish Teak. For some very helpful information on how to stain fiberglass, plastic or other non-wood surfaces, click here.

hot-tub-stain

staining-hot-tub

You can see the dramatic transformation in progress. I stained the whole tub, and now I’m letting it “cure” for about a week. After that, I’ll go over it with a exterior-rated polyurethane with UV protectant built in.

While the stain dries, I’m landscaping around the new patio.

hot-tub-landscaping

I’ve chosen all evergreen bushes and plants because I want the hot tub area to feel like a woodland oasis. I’m using 2B river stone around the plants.

I can’t wait to show you the “after” pictures when everything is done! Total, we’ll probably have about $2,500 invested in the hot tub, patio and landscaping. This is a chunk of change for sure, but nowhere near what we would have paid for a new hot tub, or for someone else to install the patio.

What do you think of our progress so far? Stay tuned for the final reveal coming soon.