Saturday, July 22, 2017

Camper Remodel: Part 2

First step for our Camper remodel was to remove all the musty, ugly valences and draperies. Aaaaaah. Better already! We have also discovered that several of the blinds will need to be replaced.

Also, new mattress. No way I'm gonna sleep on an old nasty mattress with an old nasty bedspread. This camper had a SHORT queen mattress (did you know there was such a thing?), so that's the size we bought for the replacement. And, I happened to have an unreturnable teal bedspread from IKEA that fit perfectly. Done and done.

Next step: Remove that odd trim under the cabinets. It was another instant improvement. Fortunately it was easy to just pull it down and rip it off without much damage left behind.


But now to really dig in. I decided to start in the smallest area first. The bathroom. I went to Sherwin Williams to seek expert advice about the best primer and paint for our situation. They recommended their Extreme Bond Primer (they nearly scoffed at Kilz) saying it could paint over wood, plastic, metals, etc., and it does have good reviews, so I went for it. Costs more, but I really want to do this right. I don't want to sell a camper to someone that is going to scratch off and look cheap after a couple of years. I like to do things right.
Here's the bathroom after some priming (taping off always takes the longest and is the least gratifying:



I wasn't sure what to do about the rubbery trim on the counter and cabinet edges. I tried to find replacement options at an RV shop with no luck. So then I figured I'd try painting it, because if it didn't work I wouldn't be out anything anyway. To my surprise, it worked! I actually sprayed it with a spray paint primer (that stuff seems pretty hardy, doesn't it?) and then painted on top, and so far so good. We'll see if it lasts. If it doesn't, then I have other ideas.

Now for paint! I've seen a lot of camper remodels with white cabinets. It just seems too impractical (and frankly stupid) to me. Our camper goes on dirt roads, to campgrounds, with dusty people coming and going. All of that would show up on the white cabinets in about 2 minutes. I wanted style plus practicality. So I went with a medium gray. Sherwin Williams recommended a Pro Industrial paint with a velour roller for doing cabinets. It's the most expensive paint I've ever bought (I'm usually a Home Depot kinda girl), but also it's the best I've ever used. It filled in so well, smoothed out so nicely. Where I used a high quality brush, there are no brush strokes (my pet peeve of DIY projects). Where it pooled a little in cracks, it smoothed out beautifully. I'm kind of meticulous about paint, so this makes me happy.

Progress shots:



I didn't paint the shelves where it could be avoided, because I think it's too likely to get scratched off with use. Most of the shelves are in fine condition anyway. I did paint the shelves inside the mirror cabinet because they seemed to need it. 

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Camper Remodel: Part 1

What's this? A post that isn't Halloween costumes? Miracle.
Since we got married 12 years ago, Ryan has dreamed of owning an RV or camper trailer. And I have adamantly refused to entertain the idea. I figured that for as much as we would use it, we could rent one for cheaper. And then it wouldn't be sitting hideously on our driveway the rest of the year, wasting our money.

But if Ryan is anything, he is persistent. He is also clever. And he know's me too well. He knows that I dream of remodeling an old home and making it fresh and stylish. I have always loved make-overs and remodels. I love HGTV. I love taking something plain, or old, or outdated, or ugly, and turning it into something beautiful. I love the idea of saving something that others saw little value in, finding the core beauty, seeing the potential that other's don't see. And that's how he got me.

He told me about a friend of his that bought a camper trailer, added solar panels and flipped the axels, then sold it a year later for a profit. He suggested that an old ugly camper would be much less overwhelming for a remodel than a whole entire house. So I could get my remodeling fix (he has construction skills for anything more intensive), and we could even make money off  it instead of wasting money. And he could get his dream of owning a camper without having a bitter wife.

So there it was. Once he got the go-ahead he jumped right into action before I could change my mind. He found a good deal on a used one and now it is ours.

Blah blah blah, now for the pictures, which is all anyone really cares about, am I right? The BEFORE'S:

The "Master Bedroom":

The fold-out sofa-bed:

 The kitchen:

Oak, brass, valences, border wallpaper... what a dream:

The bathroom:

The shower:

Kitchen again. Appliances all work, yay!


The dining table, which converts to a bed:

The thing about RV's and Campers is that they are a goldmine of remodeling potential. For some reason even the newer ones look like they came straight outta 1984. So throw on some new fabric and new paint, and it's like the only available option for sale that is actually decent looking. I'm excited about this! Pin It

Monday, November 7, 2016

Halloween 2016

I promise that Halloween isn't the only thing I do all year. I need to start photographing and posting a lot more again! But let's just get that rolling with Halloween.
You know I loooove making costumes. So when A said she wanted to be a snow leopard, I explained that this would probably mean just getting some snow leopard pajamas and wearing the shoes and matching hat that she already owns. She didn't like that idea (thank goodness). So after jumping around a bit, we settled on a Waffle Love Food Truck! Now, if you aren't local, let me just tell you that Waffle Love has my heart. I love good food. Really good food. It makes me happy. And they make the best waffles you've ever had. Plus, they have really great designs on their trucks! So it was a fun project. Looooong. But fun.
Blah blah blah, on with the photos!



If this had been it, it would have been a super quick costume. But wait, there's more. Their trucks are hand painted by the owner. And they are a work of art. A work of art that I got to copy!



See what I mean?
And of course we had to go see the real Waffle Love truck and get some waffles. They were so sweet. They took her picture, gave her a free waffle and a shirt and hat, made her feel like a celebrity. When we left she said, "This is turning into the best day of my life!"




I even copied their menu onto her costume, colors and all.



And the other side:



Now for the process:
The real beauty of this costume is how little it cost (in dollars, that is. It cost a whole lot in time!) The box was a bike box (we own a bike store so that was as easy as could be). I cut out the front corner and taped the pieces back in to make the hood and windshield, nothing too complicated. I also cut the box down a bit so it would be TOO big and heavy for her. Then it was just a single coat of household primer paint and onto the sketching. (We had gone for waffles and taken our own photos, so that's what I worked off of). I did have to buy about $7 worth of paint (it's all hand painted), but the rest I already had, left over from years past, and mostly college. The wheels are cardboard as well, I just spray painted them (had that on hand already too). So if you calculate in the materials plus the free waffles and shirt and hat she got, we actually came out ahead! Ha ha!

It was a lot of work, but it was worth it to see how much she loved it, and how much it made her day! And theirs too!


Next up: Dori.
R is a princess girl, through and through. But since she dresses up as a princess almost every single day, I wanted something else for her. When she saw the movie Finding Dori with her Nana, she couldn't stop talking about Dori. I can't walk through the grocery store without her asking for Dori fruit snack, and Dori noodle soup, and Dori stuffies, etc.

So I turned to my other favorite costume making material. Felt. It's not expensive, it's easy to work with, holds it's shape, no hemming edges required, and you can even glue it if you don't want to sew.





The eyeballs are fleece covered styrofoam (leftover from some picture frame packaging I had recently bought). The iris and pupil are felt, just glued on. I built a bit of internal structure framing for it using a bicycle helmet and some strips of left-over foam core I had on hand.

Oh, you're wondering how she see's? Details, details. Sometimes I almost forget to plan for those sort of things. But here it is.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea. Probably could have been better, but whatever. It worked. Sometimes you just have to say "good enough" (like when it's time to walk out the door for trick-or-treating!).

Happy Halloween once again! Pin It

Halloween 2015

Did I just totally forget to post these? Apparently I did. Well, 2015 was a rough year. The worst. But that's not what this post is about. So let's get to Halloween costumes and get caught up. For 2015 I had my girls in matching costumes. They were seahorses, and they were actually pretty easy to make (and inexpensive).
R is on the left (age 1) and was so stinkin' cute waddling around with that seahorse tail all night!
A is on the right and had fun at school and trick or treating!

 

The structure for the heads is their bike helmets and some simple cardboard taped into a snout.
Pink tights and leotards are the base.
I plan to make a pattern for this one in the near future.




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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014: Four Costumes

I have 3 kids but made 4 costumes this year. One was for my niece because my sister just had a baby and I wanted to help her out.
1. Cardboard Butterfly




So first is her morpho butterfly costume. This was one of the easiest costumes I've ever made, and it was completely FREE. Free cardboard box, leftover spray paint and acrylic paint, and some black marker. I made the lines on the front side lighter, and I think I prefer that, actually. Ribbon and elastic to strap it on, and voila! What I love it that it's free, light weight, and disposable. And FAST! P.S. my favorite way to cut cardboard boxes is not with a box-cutter (my blade is ALWAYS dull) but with a cheap serrated kitchen knife. It's so much easier, seriously.
2. The Witch


Next was the witch. For someone who loves making costumes, this was a little boring. But she really had her heart set on being a witch, and her best friend was a witch too, and they looked very cute together. I bought the plain hat for $3, the tights for $4 the tutu was free (traded for the butterfly costume), she already had the shirt, and then rounded up a bunch of scraps of ribbon and tulle  and plastic spiders and leftovers of stuff to put on the hat. And by the way, if you like tutus, this one was incredibly fluffy and huge! The pictures really don't do it justice. It's from 500 Babies.

3. The Swing Set



Ezra was next. When I asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween he threw out several ideas before I heard one that seemed feasible to me. A bit strange, yes, but do-able. So I ran with it. It's a swing set. Wrapping paper tubes painted silver, upcycled rope, some vinyl fabric for the seat, and the most expensive part were the grommets on the swing (I had to buy the whole kit for $10. And actually my dad bought it for me and wouldn't let me pay him back, so technically the whole cost was just a can of spray paint and $3 of vinyl). After trick-or-treating I promised him an easy-to-walk-in costume next year. It wasn't awful, it just didn't stay on very well because the hat was a little too small. (The hat was sewn to the silver frame). Had the frame been longer it might have been hard to walk up and down stairs, so this was just right.

4. Magic Rabbit in a Hat (on a table)




It's a shame the lighting was bad by the time I got her pictures, because she ended up being the star of the night. (And why is Blogger turning this picture yellow??) I got lucky with this costume too. I borrowed a red wagon, just happened to get a cardboard box the perfect size for the "table" a few weeks ago (cut a hole in the middle), and the black hat and bunny hat and bow tie were all made from leftover scraps. The only thing I bought was the red fabric for the table cloth ($3). That will probably turn into a cape or something next year. For the black hat I created a "frame" using cardboard and covered it with felt. Oh and the wand is just made from a dry cleaner hanger (you know that white tube for pants to hang on) wrapped with electrical tape. 
The key to this one is that there is a Bumbo seat inside the black hat, so she was able to ride comfortably the whole evening. Perfect for an 8-month old! And the fleece hat and long sleeve onesie kept her warm. What you don't see is her white tights and socks with pink pom-poms on them. She was pretty darn cute. Not that I'm biased or anything.

Happy Halloween!
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Girls DIY High-Low Skirt

Last summer when I went to Europe a saw a lot of these high-low skirts around. I remember the first time (at least in my lifetime) when they were in style and I didn't like them back then. But maybe having 20 years to get used to the idea has changed my heart and I really quite like the look now.

Since my daughter is so tall and skinny, it's hard to find dresses and skirts are narrow enough and long enough. So I decided to make one for her using some leftover fabric from a shirt I had made for myself. (I may post that later. Can't decide quite how I feel about it.)

Usually when I try to photograph her, she will only be silly and crazy, but this time she turned on her modeling charm!

I did a google search for how to make a high-low skirt and got a general idea of how to cut the fabric. That was the scariest part. The rest was easy. Just a serged the top, did a basting stitch around the top to gather it, and sewed it onto an elastic waistband using a zig zag stitch. Seriously so easy.





The best part? This fabric cost me $4 on clearance, and I got a shirt and a skirt out of it!


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Sunday, July 13, 2014

DIY Baby Drool Scarf

Baby R is now 5 months old and drooling up a storm. Her two front top teeth are just breaking through. I can't see them yet but I can sure feel them. And so can she, apparently, because she is soaking everything below the neckline in about 5 minutes.


See, by the time I snapped a shot, the scarf was half drenched in drool. So I'm going to be making a lot more of these. Here's the action shot. Nice big drool....


I have been using old shirts to make these. Great way to upcycle. They are super easy to make, great beginner project. It's just a triangle of fabric with snaps in the back. I'm already in the process of making 3 more, so I'll try to get a pattern and instructions made to share as well!



As a side note, I'm going to share some personal info for the sake of other mothers out there. You may or may not be able to see that she has a red rash on her forehead and around her eyes. That, my friends, is called neonatal lupus. It is rare, so your pediatrician or even your dermatologist may not recognize it for what it is. A pediatric dermatologist might, if they've seen it before. Two of my kids have had this. Babies will outgrow it around 6 months old, but you should have their heart and liver checked if your baby has this. Fortunately my 2 kids that have had it have been fine and just had to wait out the rash. And it doesn't seem to bother them, so that's also good news. Hopefully none of you will need this information, but since it's hard to get a good diagnosis from medical professionals, I wanted to share. Pin It