Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On the Road Again.....

We got on the road with our Shasta. It isn't finished, but we aren't too fancy (and we are very impatient), so we took it down to FL. We pulled it with our Subaru Forester, and it pulled well. It took us many more hours than usual, as we drove U.S. highways instead of interstates, but I prefer to drive the highways and admire the old houses, farmsteads, and towns along the way. We all slept surprisingly well considering I was in the bunk, the baby in her pack and play, and my hubby on the cot under the bunk.

We leave tomorrow, and I am hoping to do some rural thrifting on the way home- maybe pick up some fabulous, long forgotten sewing supplies for a pittance.

I griped about Florida the whole way here, and it has been miserably hot, but we have familial ties that bind us to the state (we still have a house here, but I don't see us ever living in it again). My family came from all the way up the east coast to be here for my younger sister's bridal shower. My elder sister and I were hostesses, and it went off without a hitch. This kind of party can be tricky, but I felt we managed a pretty good blend of camp and class. Here is the bride-to-be in the paper plate bow hat we tried to make her wear while she opened gifts. She wasn't having it, but I did manage to snap one photo. Even wearing a paper plate, my sister is beautiful!

We also had fun Saturday night when my husband got the chance to perform with the reggae band he played trumpet with for close to 10 years. They are excellent and have quite a following. Three of my sisters came along, and we got to catch up with a lot of people we haven't seen in a long while.

In fact, the catching up was for sure the best thing about our visit. That and the fact that the baby had so many family and friends to love and hug her. She met Great Grandma Rizzo for the first time, and I finished hemming and tacking on Great Grandma's blouse just in time to give it to her for her 88th birthday. I wish I had gotten a photo, but she says she will be wearing it to my sister's wedding in September, so I hope to snap some then.

Overall, this trip had me feeling really relaxed for the first time in forever. Who would have ever thought relaxation would come in the city! But it did, and although I am ready to head back to lovely western Carolina, I am already missing all of the excellent company. And the sunsets.....
Well, until next time Florida!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Little Sewing

I have done a few shorter projects as of late that I never posted and wanted to quickly share. Here is my second pair of shorts from McCall's 3132. I sewed the first pair over a year ago, and I see definite sewing improvement.

Yeah, sorry about the crappy pic. I have no excuses. I was happy that I made these using leftover fabric from my aborted Lady Grey Sew Along coat project. This khaki jacquard is some of the most expensive fabric I have purchased (which isn't saying much, only that I paid full price), and I didn't want to see any wasted. So, now I have used that fabric for my cape, these shorts (a little more practical and wearable than the cape), and also this purse.
This Buttercup Bag was actually made from the sleeves of what would have been my coat. I used piping along the bottom seam, made my own shoulder strap, and covered a button for the closure using a little plastic ring as described by Casey of Casey's Elegant Musings here. This Buttercup pattern is great (and there is a free version!) I bought the large pattern sometime last year, and whenever my bag gets a little dingy looking with use I just sew up a new one.

Finally, I am now in the process of sewing a Bow Blouse for my Grandma's birthday. Grandma is one of my favorite people on the planet Earth, and I am excited to be seeing her in about a week. It is the utmost of compliments, in my opinion, when she says that she and I are "cut from the same cloth."

Here we are together at my wedding four years ago

So, that's it for my little projects. Brian and I are making progress on the big project too, and I should have pics to post soon. Until then....

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Garden Knows What to do!

We have been grossly inattentive to our garden this summer. As I wrote in the last post, we have been preoccupied with our camper. Well, it appears that the plants know what to do, even without our help.
All this, and we didn't even make it all the way down the row! Now if we can come up with a dish that will incorporate the beans and some of our six dozen eggs.....

Rehabbing Our Home-On-Wheels

So, as I wrote about a month ago, my husband and I purchased a 1966 Shasta Compact trailer. This is why I have been totally MIA from my blog! I have been researching/obsessing over compact vintage campers for a while now, so when I saw the ad for this camper on Craigslist we decided to go check it out. The price was right for us, and this compact has stuff to work with- the original 3 burner stove, ice box, gas lantern, windows, and doors were all present, and no hole had been cut previously for an a/c unit. Also, the hitch, springs, wheels and tires are in good shape. There were (yaaaay! Past tense!) some major issues to contend with as well....the floor was rotted in three places, there was significant damage to half of the ceiling, which had been covered over, there was plenty of rotten framing wood, and the thing had been used as a hunting camper- picture unhemmed camoflauge curtains and a plastic cup holder screwed in where the table used to be. Nice. The guy we bought it from also threw in a propane tank, two boxes of laminate flooring, and a mini fridge. We hitched it up and drove away.

After that, we hatched a totally unrealistic two week and three day plan for renovation. I say renovation now and not restoration, as we will not actually be restoring this camper to original. It was just too far gone. In the first days we gutted it of cabinets, beds, etc., pulled out all of the wall paneling, and cut out half of the floor.

You don't have to be able to see his mouth to know he is scowling :(
We have been working day and night for about three weeks. No, really. 



See? We have now reframed the entire thing (it's so solid now, it will be a little tank when we are through!), we have replaced the sections of rotten flooring, we have sealed the entire exterior afresh, including all of the windows, we have insulated about 2/3 with new R-Max foam (woooh Lorraine! My MIL writes the building codes :)  Along the way we bought a very helpful tool that we learned about on some of the vintge camper forums- it's called a Kreg Jig and it is worth the money if you do any wood framing. 

So, finally we are in the rebuilding phase! We are contemplating what to put back in and how to make a practical set up for our family. I know I still want the vintage ice box and 3 burner stove/oven, so we have gotten new gas hoses.
The original Avocado Appliances in the original counter- pre gut

We'll likely just use a water cooler for our drinking water, so I don't think we will be replacing any built in water storage. We will probably just put in the hook ups for city water and the drain, so I can use the sink for light dishwashing, etc. My dream is to have a tin tile backsplash as well as new formica for the counter and table. I'm thinking we'll put in some sort of stand alone a/c unit too, but we may just end up using fans for now (like we have been at home! Love that $50 electric bill).  We will be putting the beds and table back similarly to the way they were- the original design is booth seating by day and two single beds at night. We're going to set it up so we have one large bed at night, but I do like the option of having a table, so we'll be sticking with the convertible. And, there was originally a fold down bunk above which we will be putting back in for when the baby gets a little bigger. I  LOVED our bunk beds when I was a kid, and I think she'll like having top bunk too!

We are confident it will all work out in the end, and I will keep posting photos and such as we get nearer the finish line. I hope to be painting the outside in another day or two ( please cast your vote in our poll in the right side bar!), and hubby is running all of the wiring for lights as we speak (It's 12 A.M. We are hard core!) If nothing else, we will have a nice box to put an air mattress in about a week from now, and then we will go camping come hell or high water! Who knows, we may even turn up in your driveway! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Working on the Shasta

When I was a kid growing up in Maine, it was never lost on me how
beautiful the place was. Walking home from a friends house, I would
take in the beauty of the night sky and breathe the clean, cool air,
and I felt happy to be alive. I feel the same way here in The
mountains of North Carolina- what a gorgeous backdrop for life! More
photos of the camper to come!