So long, 2018. Helllooo, 2019!

I’m usually not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I really love the start of the new year any way. I love the feeling of a fresh start. I know it’s kind of cheesy too, but the winter time is such a natural time for quiet reflection. After the craziness of December, it’s nice to sit back and think about what I want for myself, and for my family. And so, I ended up with three “challenges” for the month of January anyway. I think just planning a month-long challenge is a more realistic approach to resolutions anyway. I look at these more as “resets” after how over-the-top December can be. So, here’s what I’m doing this January:

1) It’s no spend month! December is full of extra spending, from presents to traveling to see family, to extra groceries for special meals and events. It gets out of hand fast. So, Mike and I decided to do a no spend month to counteract the spending craze of December. So, it’s just the essentials: groceries, gas, bills, basics toiletries and household items. Any extraneous purchase needs to be approved by the other spouse, for accountability.

I listened to a show on public radio last year about Ann Patchett who did a no shopping year, and it was really interesting. One of the things that stood out to me was how when she thought she “needed” to buy something, she usually found a way to work around it. For example, running out of hairspray, and thinking she needed to buy more . . . when actuality, she had a boatload of cast-off hair products stashed away that she turned to first, even though they weren’t her favorite. Ie: Finding ways to make do with what you have instead of buying more. Or instead of buying an item that would get minimal use, borrow it from a friend. I don’t know if much will really come out of just no-spend month., but I really encourage you to lfind out more about Ann’s year of no spending. You can listen to same show I listened to here (from WBUR’s On Point), or here’s an opinion piece Ann wrote for the New York Times if you want a quick read!

2) No Facebook. This one has been a long time coming, my friends. I think social media, and Facebook specifically, is naturally very addicting, but as a stay at home mom, I think the problem is even worse for me. It turns into a major social outlet, during long days at home that otherwise wouldn’t have any adult contact. But the problem snowballs when it feels more like you’re living your life on Facebook instead of the real life that’s right in front of you. Soooo, I signed out and deleted the app. The only thing I miss at the moment (five days in, my friends!) is that FB is an easy way to find out what’s going on— my play group dates, events in the area, etc. Want to read more about the social media addiction? Here’s a fast read from the Guardian. I’ll also say that no Facebook helps me with the no-spend thing, haha. I spend too much time scrolling through the Buy, Sell, Trade pages, or Facebook Marketplace.

When I first told Mike I was going to be Facebook-free for January, he asked me what I was going to do with all my extra time. I said, “Good question. I’m going to be cooking.” Because . . .

3) I’m doing Whole 30 this month. Ha! I know “I’m going to eat healthy this year” is the most basic form of a new year’s resolution. Buuut, I failed Whole 30 this past November, so I needed redemption. Plus, I do feel strongly that Whole 30 is a GREAT reset for your body. And my January is all about resetting my life and realigning with my overall beliefs. And I do believe we’re in a health crisis. And I do believe that one of the biggest things I can do for my kids, to help them have a long and healthy life, is to give them healthy eating habits. Honestly, I think it’s one of the biggest impacts I can have on their lives in the long run. Love them, and feed them well. So, Whole 30 is a good reset for me to change my habits, and as the primary meal-planner and food-shopper, the good habits get passed down to everyone else as well (not that my kids are doing Whole 30 with me, but they are eating better in general). Whole 30 is not a diet, it’s not something you keep doing long term. It’s a 30 day reset, followed by a 15 day re-introduction period. I think it will help me curb my sweet tooth (just in time for my youngest’s 1st birthday party, which is taking place in a candy store, ha!). Related side note: watch the documentary Fed Up! It’s about sugar, and I found it to be excellent. And check out the Whole 30 book too!

So, those are my three goals for January! What about you? What are you doing this month? And if you’ve already done Whole 30, I’d LOVE to hear your favorite recipes!

I have crafty-sewing-bloggy plans too! I’ll be back soon to talk about those!

xoxo

Molly

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Fashion Week Take Two: Los Angeles

Earlier this month I went to Los Angeles to walk in Fashion Week (for a second time!) for my friend and favorite designer, Kristi Fitzpatrick of George + Ginger. If you missed my first post about walking in New York Fashion Week, check it out!

Talk about a whirlwind. New York was a great trip, but my weekend in Los Angeles was fast, sleepy, and absolutely crazy wonderful. I woke up at 1:30 am, drove to the shuttle in Duluth, shuttled on down to the airport in Minneapolis, flew out to LA, Lyft-ed to downtown, checked into my AirBnB, walked to the Grand Sheraton, and checked into the Society Fashion Week at 2:30. Did the whole getting ready, walk in a fashion show thing, and then crashed into my bed at the AirBnB at 11:30 PST, aka, 1:30 AM CST— as in, I managed to stay awake for a whole 24 hours. Which is no small feat once you’re 30 and the mother of three.

What a CRAZY 24 hours.

Ha!

I don’t know if it was my sleepy, just-getting-by state, or the fact that this was my second rodeo, but I was so much more relaxed and had so much more fun at the show!

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It was so fun getting to see some people for a second time, as well as meet new sewing people that I’ve known forever (cough, Rachelle from 5 out of Patterns, cough!).

Everyone popped right down and got to work helping out with make-up.

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Kristi’s collection for this show was totally on point. Absolutely blew it out of the water.

She used black and white fabric from a variety of custom fabric hosts, a lot of whom I’ve sewed sample fabrics for before. This fabric I’m wearing is from Fabric Anthropology.

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And then, she laced me up in the welded corset. What?!

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I love how the metal was incorporated into all the pieces. Hair, make-up, and then that whole hurry-up-and-wait thing. Haha!

It was a BIG show with 10 or 12 designers showing. My absolutely favorite designer at the show (besides G+G, of course!), was jus10h. Seriously, please go check him out. Not only was his collection amazing, but he was so stinkin’ nice when I was fan-girling all over his collection while we were waiting in line for the runway.

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I was so tired, and not at all nervous this time. It was a bummer because I feel like I could have done better, but I got thrown off because of how fast we were being sent out on the runway . . . but in true theatre style, you just go with it. Don’t tell Mike, but I should probably just do one more show so I can absolutely nail it. Third time is a charm, right?

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I’ll tell you, I shouldn’t be allowed to go last though. Stick me in the middle where I have to conform a little more. Because in truth, I ad libbed a little too much in the finale, haha. It was the theatre girl in me, I couldn’t help myself. The pictures make me look cool and collected, but I promise the video shows what an absolute dork I am, ha!

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This collection was absolutely amazing, and these photos don’t do it justice- the details of the metal were awesome. There’s a floral metal crown, and some welded handbags in there too!

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After that crazy, crazy day, I had a full day in LA all by myself to do whatever I wanted. So obviously, first I slept in. Ha! Then I headed to Pasadena to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I may or may not have teared up a little when I was walking in, I was just so happy. Legit flea markets are what my dreams are made of.

I was staying in downtown LA, so it was cool to take the drive up to Pasadena and check out more of the city besides just DTLA.

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I bought five dresses at the flea, including three from Carly here, who is an absolute gem (she has Twiggy eyes, my friends). She had such a great collection of vintage dresses, including a whole slew that were from the set of the Astronaut’s Wives Club. (My dress is from Apple Thief Vintage, one of my favorite vintage shops on Etsy.)

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I spent FOUR hours at that flea market. It is GIGANTIC. Afterwards, I went to the famed Santee Alley and the Fashion District. Santee is a whole lot of cheap fashion jammed into an alley. Definitely a cool walk around, but not quite what I was expecting.

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I couldn’t leave the fashion district without some fabric, so I stopped into Michael Levine. It is a great store (they also sell on-line). I went into the main retail store, but right across the street, thy have a Home Decor store, as well as the Loft, where you can buy fabric remnants by the pound.

The main store had a fantastic selection of designer remnants that were $5 a yard, and I picked out five cuts of fabric. Shout out to Lupe, who provided me with WONDERFUL customer service. It was a delight to talk to her and she was so helpful. Probably like fabric stores used to be ;)

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Here’s the part of the story where I lugged my flea market finds, 15 yards of fabric, and 12 spools of serger thread the 3/4 of a mile back to my AirBnB. It was heavy. It was a struggle. People looked at me.

After dropping the goods off, I headed to The Broad, a contemporary art museum. I LOVE sculptures, and I especially loved their collection of Andy Warhols. Here are some of my favorites.

If you’ve never traveled by yourself, I highly recommend it. It was a lot of fun to just do things on my own, at my own pace, whatever I wanted. I dare say, it was relaxing, haha. And I LOVED Los Angeles. To be honest, I was initially really only excited about my NY trip, and was feeling pretty ‘meh’ about LA. But I really enjoyed LA, the people, the slower pace than NYC, just the total vibe. And it was even cloudy and uncommonly cool the whole time I was there, so it wasn’t even like the sunshine and warmer temps swayed me, haha.

Overall, I left feeling just stupid, crazy blessed. To have the opportunity for some time away from real life, to get to be a part of something so cool and creative as fashion week, and to have a family that supports all that.

I also left wearing this ridiculously amazing vintage set. Ha! <3

xo- Molly

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Adding "Runway Model" to My Resume: New York Fashion Week

When Kristi from George + Ginger announced last spring that she would be participating in Fashion Week this fall I immediately started a plan to save my pennies so that I would be able to tag along. Over the course my pattern testing, I’ve done more with G+G than any other indie pattern designer, and I think it is ah-maz-ing that she’s taking her pattern line to the next level. I missed her debut at New York Fashion Week back in February, owing to the fact that, oh, you know, I was having a baby. So I was thrilled that she was going to be showing collections again this fall (thrilled for her, and for me, because I was dead set on getting to go see one of her shows!). She was actually signed to show collections in three places—New York, London, and Los Angeles!

In July, she gave me the official invite, not just to tag along and watch, but to actually model for her. Insert jaw drop here. I also got the official okay from Mike to go to both New York AND Los Angeles. Sneaking away for solo trips when you have three kids (three kids four and under at that) is seriously crazy, so I was so stinkin’ excited that we were able to talk it out and work it out so that I could do both (and shout out to my MIL for helping out with child care to make it happen!). Guys, I was literally bouncing around the house that day, I was so excited. I mean, I don’t even break 5’4”, I walk into to things on the daily, and I’m a mom of three living northern Wisconsin . . . getting to say I walked in the Fashion Week was never really an idea on my radar. And if you’ve seen pictures of me from high school, you’d also believe that I’ve never been one of those “I’ve always wanted to be model” girls, ha! But I was so excited to be a part of it— the art of it, the creative process, this piece of the world of fashion.

I was also really stinkin’ nervous in a weird way. So, I didn’t really tell people about it because I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. People were on a need-to-know-basis. I mean, my SIL was coming along with me to NY, and I didn’t even tell her what I was doing, haha.

September came, and I jetted off to NY, meeting my SIL in Minneapolis along the way. I’ve never been to New York, so we had some sight-seeing scheduled, along with a Broadway show. We did a bus tour, explored Chinatown and Little Italy, went to see Mean Girls on Broadway, went to Madame Tussaud’s, went to Top of the Rock, and spent a lot of time hanging out in the hotel lobby, watching the models from other shows (it was so fun to people watch!). We stayed right in Midtown. Next time, I’d much rather stay somewhere else . . . maybe Brooklyn? That’s probably more my vibe, haha.

I also sewed allllmost everything I packed (except for the 80s strapless dress I wore to see Mean Girls!), so if you’re interested in the sewing aspect, pop over to the George + Ginger blog, where I shared everything I sewed for the trip!

I was SO excited to meet Kristi. I’ve pattern tested for her for over 2.5 years now, and have come to know her pretty well over that time. I've loved getting to “work” for her, and after all that time, it was awesome getting to meet her. I definitely squealed.

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The day of the show, we checked in at the crack of dawn. The absolute worst part is that no food or beverage is allowed back stage. See that cup of coffee? I need about eight more to properly function.

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We had five hours to prep- hair, make-up, get dressed.

Most commonly used phrase to describe the morning: “Hurry up and wait.”

It was insanely cool being backstage. You’re not just with your designer and her models, you’re with everyone getting ready for that show (there were five designers in ours), so there are a ton of people getting ready in such a wide variety of designs. It’s really inspiring.

I loved that Kristi had such a variety of people walking for her. People from random sewing people like me, to inspiring models, to Victoria Henley who was on Cycle 19 of America’s Next Top Model. And a variety of shapes and sizes— this was not a one-size-fits-all show. <3

I thought for sure, with how much theatre experience I’ve had, that I wouldn’t be nervous about this. But I definitely was. I tried to reframe it a little. ‘Oh, that pit in your stomach, that’s just excitement! You’re not nervous, you’re excited,’ I said to myself as I waited in line to for my turn.

And it goes SO fast. All that hype, all those nerves, and really the actual runway walk goes so fast. You walk right towards a whole lot of camera flashes, strike a pose of two and then walk back. Five seconds of fame ;)

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It was pretty awesome getting to wear a Kristi original . . . and, bonus, it’s in my closet right now! We got to keep out outfits.

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Afterwards, press photos. That I can do, haha.

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Overall, it was a great trip. I gotta say though, I didn’t love New York as much as I thought I was going to . . . just the chaos of the city made me appreciate where I live. I sighed in relief when I got to MSP and saw a Caribou, haha.

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Read on about my trip to LA Fashion Week! <3

xoxo

Molly

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1972 Shasta Compact Renovation: Part Two

Today marks the two year anniversary of bringing our Shasta home! Most of that time has been spent alternatively storing it through the cold, long Wisconsin winter, and having it in shambles across my yard, garage, and driveway. After finishing it August, we have gotten to take it camping four times now (check out my post on Symco to see the highlight of our summer!) and we’re bona fide Shasta enthusiasts now (or, as my husband remarked to his brother this weekend: “vintage camper people are more our people than you guys are.” ha!).

If you missed my Part One post, that one showed off the interior renovation. Now I’m going to talk about what we did to spruce up the outside.

Here’s that original, bringing home baby picture:

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And here’s the finale:

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You might notice that the colors are awfully similar, haha! I have to say, we were SO indecisive on what color to paint the beast. It was ALMOST painted burgundy. Also, ALMOST like a navy blue. There was some semi-serious talk about both yellow and hunter green. And don’t even get me started on the stripe— to follow the original set-up or paint a Z stripe was a heated debate for a long time.

In the end, we decided to keep with the original lines. And we settled on the turquoise. It really is a great pop color. The original, official Shasta turquoise was a lighter color than this, and I wish our paint had ended up a little closer to that but oh well.

As far as original colors go, our particular Shasta was actually cream colored on top and bottom, with the stripe painted gold— pretty low key, nothing flashy about it (it seems like most of the early 70s Shastas were pretty drab in this regard).

Everything was repainted on the outside, top to bottom, including the hitch, hubcaps, and propane.

But, honestly, that was the last step. A whole lot of other exterior projects happened first. Most notably, this happening:

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Here’s a break down:

  • We took the windows, door, and all the j-channel off

  • Pealed the skin off

  • Rebuilt areas of the frame that needed to be reconstructed

  • Patched the siding on the inside of the pieces of skins using JB Weld and aluminum squares

  • Added flashing to the walls, so that they would underlap the roof skin (previously, the wall/roof seam allowed leaks in)

  • Reinforced the front wall where the kicker plate would be, and fabricated a new piece of aluminum. Previous owners had patched and replaced sections of this front wall (next to the hitch) and our local shop wasn’t able to recreate it for us, so Mike fabricated it, and scored a 4 inch break pattern on it.

  • Used an air stapler to staple skin to frame

  • Really cleaned up the j-channel and window, getting all the old putty, paint, and silicone using rubbing compound

  • Put the j-channel back on, using butyl putty and new stainless steel hew screws

  • Polyurethane sealant used to seal any area where rain could seep in (don’t use silicone, it shrinks over time. Vintage camper people hate silicone, ha!)

  • New carriage bolts

  • Repacked the bearings

At some point in the middle of all that, we rewired all the exterior lights. It was a giant pain. Honestly, one of Mike’s least favorite parts of the whole project, I think. We weren’t able to locate repro starburst lights (the manufacturer that Vintage Trailer Supply uses recently stopped making them, and the VTS crew was looking for a new manufacturer), so we ended up with cheaper lights from Menards.

As far as painting goes, first we wet sanded the whole thing— sanded it down using 220 sandpaper and a spray bottle, followed by a dish detergent scrub down, and a final rinse with the hose.

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For paint, we used Rustoleum Protective Enamel (here’s the metallic silver color we used for the center stripe and the wings— it looks great painted on). I think it’s an extremely good option for the DIY crowd; those who aren’t springing for a professional paint job. We didn’t prime it, and only did one coat, along with a little bit of touch ups (but we were also painting similar colors on top of similar colors). We used a combination of rolling and brushing.

Okay, here’s a mistake we made and then switched back again, haha. So, the center stripe (the one we painted silver): Why isn’t that stripe in the middle a straight, continuous line across all four sides? Why are the center stripe panels on the front and back higher up and wider than the stripes on the sides?! This drives me absolutely nuts! And I noticed some people ignore the paneling and paint whatever they want. Z stripes, triangles, etc. And some people paint it so there is one straight, continuous line across all four sides. I talked Mike into us doing it that way.

Taped to paint the silver straight across.

Taped to paint the silver straight across.

As soon as it was done, I said, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. We need to change it.” I hated it. It looked so dumb.

He said absolutely not, he just got done, no way. And he walked away. Only to come back five minutes later and say, “Want me to change it?”

So, yeah. We switched it back to painting it following the lines of the paneling. Much happier.

We picked up the awning from Vintage Trailer Supply (really happy with the quality of the product), and the black and white checked mat from Amazon.

If you didn’t see Part One, pop over and check out the interior!

What a project! If you’re looking at re-doing a vintage camper but haven’t taken the plunge yet, here’s Mike’s final words on it: “Way more work than flipping a house. We could have flipped a house made 30 thousand, bought a perfect 20 grand Shasta Airflyte and put 10k in the bank.”

But that said, we’re still always looking at buying another camper project . . . so . . . yeah. It’s addictive. Be careful out there.

Leave a comment and let me know where you’re at with your project camper, I’d love to hear about it! After all, you’re my kind of people ;)

-Molly

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The Sewciety Sewing Subscription Box

I am bursting with blog posts still in the draft stage, but I wanted to do a quick post on the new sewing subscription box from The Sewciety! I’m super excited about it! The ladies from The Sewciety put together a fantastic box— specially curated, including two sewing projects and a bunch of extra fun goodies. If you need a little inspiration, want to step outside your comfort zone, or just having a subscription box obsession, you’re going to love this.

I’ll be sewing my projects up next week to share with you guys, but in the meantime, here’s an unboxing video of my October box, so you can see all the goods! There’s fabric for the petite project, along with two full yards of that pretty blue fabric— plus if you order a box, use code MIDRIVERBONUS and you’ll get an extra yard for free ;)

Head over to The Sewciety to get all the details, plus don’t forget to use code MIDRIVERBONUS to get an extra yard of fabric for FREE!

Watch for upcoming posts on the Sewciety, the Shasta Beast renovation, Fashion Week, and some special new projects I have in the works! <3

Molly

1972 Shasta Compact Renovation: Part One

I've been so excited to share more about our 1972 Shasta Compact with you!  And this has been a long time coming.  We bought the Shasta back in fall of 2016, fresh faced and wide-eyed.  We finished her in summer of 2018, hard and jaded. 

Ha! Just kidding.  We love her.  But damn, we learned a lot.  

The day we brought her home!

The day we brought her home!

I'm just going to get one thing out of the way right away.  Whenever I talk about the Shasta renovation, I'm going to say, "we" a lot.  But it's more like, "we" as in, Mike . . .while I corralled two toddlers, and later (since the project took so long), a preschooler, a toddler and a baby.  It's safe to look at it like Chip and Joanna Gaines . . . We talked about all the aspects together, he did the heavy lifting , and then I came in at the end and made sure everything looked cute.   Fixer Upper: Travel Trailer Edition, anyone? 

Anyway, now that I have that off my chest. . . 

This is part one of all the details of the renovation: the interior. I'll have another post next week about the exterior projects.  

When we bought the sweet little thing, we knew there was some water damage on the roof (around the roof vent-- a common spot) as well as one of the back corners.  The previous owners fixed the water damage by putting up some nice sheets to cover it up. Ha!

Before the renovation, 1972 Shasta Compact

They had repainted everything white (covering the original dark fake wood paneling) and teal.  They had also been part way through covering up the original flooring with black and white laminate tiles when we bought it.  

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Shasta Compact Camper 1972 Renovation

There was no table, and instead, they left the benches pulled out all the time, with a mattress on top.  So, the cushions on top were extra ugly, since they were always covered up with a mattress.

All in all, she had a lot going for her.  After 45 plus years, a lot of things can get broken or lost, but a lot of the original materials were still there, which Mike and I appreciated-- the screen door, hub caps, door handle, stove, light fixtures, furnace, the wings.  

Of course, like basically every Shasta project camper that I have ever heard of, there was more water damage than what we realized.  Quite a lot in the back corner, actually, which effected both the back wall and the wall with the door.  Then, also below the window on the wall with the electric plug and the water intake.  Soooo, we ended up completely rebuilding the majority of the walls.  We like to call this picture "ground zero".  

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It's amazing how little actually held these little campers together.  Hopes, prayers, and a questionable frame of 1x2s. 

Soooo, here's what we did to complete the inside, in no particular order: 

  • Rebuild the walls, obviously, ha! Which included re-insulating and Shellac-ing them.

  • New floor-- vinyl planking

  • Build table (only half the original table bracket was still there, so we ended up ordering a set from Vintage Trailer Supply)

  • We removed the half cabinet that was attached to the closet, so we would have the full length of bench seating on each side

  • Paint stripped the stove, clean it and put in new lines to the propane tank.

  • Painted the cabinets.

  • New cabinet and drawer pulls

  • Recover the cushions

  • New shelf in the back wall (with the original light fixture installed in it)

  • Rewire everything--this included adding two new outlets and a new kitchen light

  • Installed new water pump

  • Took apart the furnace and cleaned it . . . replaced thermocouple wire . . . unreplaced thermocouple wire and rereplaced with the old one, haha

  • Sewed up new curtains

  • Added backsplash

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After the walls were rebuilt and re-insulated, we finished them with 3/16 inch birch paneling (which we got at Menards).  As a 70's model, our walls would have originally been the dark fake wood paneling.  We decided to go with the warmer look of the earlier models, with the birch and finishing it with Shellac.  We did 3 coats of amber and then one coat of clear.  

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I love the birch/Shellac walls.  It really brightens it up and makes it feel more open compared to the original paneling. 

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There are two faucets- one is if there is a hose hooked up directly, and the other is a pump faucet for the water tank.  

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I looooove having the original stove color! It has some nicks and dings, some spots where the enamel is worn, but it's all part of the charm, in my opinion.  The previous owners had painted it teal, and I was so happy with how efficiently the paint stripper took it off.

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With all the work we put in making this thing look cute, I just couldn't keep that ugly black fridge, so I ordered this orange one from Amazon (they also have a bunch of other fun colors if you want one for your camper!).  I think a fun colored fridge is an absolute must.  The original here would have been golden yellow, and propane.  

Shasta Compact Camper 1972 Travel Trailer

When it's bedtime, the table comes off, and the benches slide out, to have two beds.  The camper originally had a bunk as well.  There was a lot of talk about whether or not we should make a bunk, given the fact that we have three kids, but we decided to skip it . . . we were too nervous about it with our rowdy bunch.  

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So, there we have it, folks! An awful lot of work jam-packed into a 65 square foot space, ha!   

But, not too bad for our first camper renovation, in my opinion!   We aren't purists by any means, but we do aim to keep the vintage charm, while also making things practical and keeping in mind that we are DIYers, doing 100% of the work ourselves.  Vintage Trailer Supply was definitely a great help for so many of the projects!

Thanks so much for checking it out, and check out part two on all the exterior work! And do let me know if you have questions!  I'd love to hear about your vintage camper, so keep in touch and let me know what you think <3 

Molly

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Turning the Page: Sewing for the Seasons Blog Tour

Mornings here have been downright crisp this past week, which only means one thing: fall is a-comin'!  The Rebecca Page Turning the Page: Sewing for Seasons Blog Tour is all about sewing for the changing seasons, and on this side of the globe, that means cool air, crunchy leaves, and putting away the sandals.  

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Call me basic all you want, but I love fall and everything it brings.   Especially when it comes to getting dressed.  I'm always a little lost in the summertime when it comes to my wardrobe. But fall is totally my season.  Cute boots, layers, comfy cardigans, scarves-- you're talking my language! 

 This was my first time sewing for Rebecca Page and I went with the Cora Cocoon Cardigan and the Peggy Pencil Skirt. 

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This cardigan is awesome.  Slouchy, cozy, and soft.  I used a sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee and it was perfect.   And it is SO easy to make.  It's a perfect gift to sew too, since the sizing can be so flexible.  

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I haven't worn a pencil skirt in ages, but I'm loving this Liverpool one I made!  I'm totally hooked and already have plans to make one from a black quilted knit I have on hand-- talk about perfect for fall! 

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Remember Hancock Fabrics?  Remember their giant tables of random cuts of fabric at cheap prices?  Not just remnants from bolts in the store, but truly random cuts, no info on the fabric type.  It would be a giant mountain of fabric to dig through and you never knew what you'd find.  Sigh.  Obviously, I'm reminiscing.  I miss that mountain of mystery.  Anyway, the point is, that's where I found that Liverpool.  It was one of my last pieces of Hancock's fabrics. 

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I loved the Cora Cocoon so much, I had to make another one right away.  

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Again, I used a Sincerely Rylee sweater knit-- this one had a waffle texture.  It's light weight, soft, and perfect for layering.  

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Honestly, this cardigan just blew past my former favorite cardigan. I love how effortless it seems-- the whole slouchy, comfy thing, it's just perfect for fall! Just hand me a Pumpkin Spice latte, and I'm good to go ;) 

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And shout out to my jewelry makers!  Wandering Willow Designs made this awesome jade bracelet (the picture does not do the colors justice!), as well as my necklace I wore with my blue outfit. She has the most amazing boho pieces. This tassel necklace was made by CRAVE-- I pined over this necklace for months before I finally ordered one.  CRAVE specializes in upcycled leather, and I am seriously inspired by her on the regular. Shop small, friends! I love supporting other makers.  <3

Annnnnnd support the other bloggers too!  Hope on board the blog tour and check out everyone else's awesome outfits! 

Please visit all the stops on the Turning the Page: Sewing for the Changing Seasons Blog Tour with Rebecca Page. Don't forget to comment on the blogs each day and enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win some fantastic prizes from our fabric sponsors!
  1. August 20: Rebecca Page (Intro), Sewjourns, Soul fed on Thread
  2. August 21: Sarcastic Sewist, PatchWitch, Flaxfield Sewing by Anca
  3. August 22: Princesse et Tresors, Bellephant, The Scatty Sewer
  4. August 23: BigFlyNotions, Stitched by Jennie, Millie's Place Handmade
  5. August 24: Sweet Sprocket, Australian Sewing, Advice & Inspiration, The Sewing Unicorn
  6. August 25: LIVIALITY, Diskordia's Curvy Sewing, Simply Kyra
  7. August 26: Seams So Lo, Middle River Studio, Jot Designs
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Thanks for stopping! Annnnd, it can be fall now ;) 

Molly

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Keep Calm and Smile: My First Pin-Up Contest

When Mike and I signed up to bring our vintage camper to Symco Weekender (you can read more about the event in my last post), there was just one thing that got me even more excited than the prospect of showing off our sweet little Shasta Compact . . . just two words . . . 

Pin-up Contest.  

Now, I've never in my life actually seen a pin-up contest.  I wasn't even 100% sure what a pin-up contest entailed, to be honest.  But boy, was I enthralled at the prospect of participating.   

Mike caught me starring at the sign-up form multiple times.  "Just do it," he said, "You'll regret it if you don't."  

So, with Mike behind me, I took the leap and signed up! 

I'm pretty sure he regretted encouraging me . . . between the endless conversations of me obsessing over what I should wear,  the sweating in the blazing hot sun for an hour watching the show, and the number of times strangers stopped me to ask for a photo with me . . . the man put up with a lot for me to do the show, ha! 

Since I had never seen a show, I did a fair bit of research about pin-up contests prior to the event.  Here in the Northland, the car show culture doesn't prevail quite the same way as it does elsewhere, but down in the southern part of Wisconsin, and our neighboring states, it seems like every decent car show comes with a pin-up contest.  It's a crowd-draw and gets people to the event.  They're also not quite as scandalous as some people seem to think-- I mean, this isn't a burlesque show or anything!  Do things get a little saucy with innuendos? Well, sure.  But generally, these shows are considered family events.  

I had to pick a pin-up name, and after much brainstorming, I settled on Sweet Lucy LaBelle (a combination of some family names of Mike's and mine).  I wanted to keep Molly, but there were so many pin-ups that I already had Molly as their fake name, that I didn't feel like I could keep mine, ha! 

Guys.  I stressed so, so much about what to wear.  So much.  I sewed up an outfit or two.  I hated them.  I bought some outfits.  I returned them.  I did a fashion show for my husband on our deck.  He said everything looked nice (he had to say that).  

Finally, I was down to a red and white polka dotted dress, decked out with jewelry, gloves, and ah-mazing vintage shoes and then a red swim top with high-waisted shorts and t-strap shoes.  

I erred on the side of standing out, and went with the latter. 

Symco Weekender Pin-Up Contest Sweet Lucy LaBelle

I loved this outfit from the get-go, but just worried that it wasn't sweet enough.  Or dressy enough.  Or that everyone else would be full glam.  But I did a little chatting with people about the feel for this show-- I was told it's a little more rockabilly and fun in terms of dress.  Some shows are stricter about wanting you wearing true vintage dress.  Most say no lingerie, no burlesque, and no swim suits.  For this show, however, Annie (the organizer) was actually encouraging us to wear swim-- she said it was a great, supportive crowd and to go for it.  

Wisconsin Pin-Up Contest Sweet Lucy LaBelle

I picked up my outfit from Unique Vintage.  If I could just have one of everything on their site, I would have a happy closet.  These shorts are the absolute best; they fit like a dream and are majorly flattering.  The swim top came in a few colors, but I was sticking to a red, black, and white color palette for all my Symco outfits.  I even picked up some awesome nylons from Unique Vintage

Unique Vintage Pin-up Contest Outfit Sweet Lucy LaBelle

So, finally, after all the obsessing, all the reading, all the stressing, the day was finally here.  I got my hair done with the fabulous ladies with Bonnie Holly.  I got dressed in the camper.  I did the lashes, the make-up, the parasol.  I got these sweet t-strap heels from Amazon. 

1972 Shasta Compact Lucy LaBelle pin-up

If you've never been to a pin-up show either, here's how this one is set up:  There are 20 girls.  We each have a pre-written bio (who we are, where we're from, favorite classic car, three vices, favorite classic icon).  For round one, the emcee reads our bio while we do poses and play the crowd.  From there, it's narrowed down to the top 10.  The top ten each get asked a random question.  After the Q&A round, the winners are chosen.  Not bad, right? Pretty low-key.  

Miss Symco Pin-Up Contest Wisconsin 2018

I was contest 15.  I was dying backstage waiting for my turn for round one.  

I finally make it out there, and I'm shaking so bad, I'm so nervous.  Guys, I have done a TON of theatre over the course of my life.   I don't get stage-fright.  But I was dying, I was so nervous.  I was shaking so badly that I couldn't even hold my poses.   

Miss Symco Pin-Up Contest 2018 Wisconsin Pin-up Sweet Lucy LaBelle

But, I kept smiling.  And I didn't freeze.  I giggled when I fell over.  And I kept on smiling.  

Miss Symco 2018 Wisconsin Pin-Up Contest Sweet Lucy LaBelle

I thought for sure there was no stinking way that I made it in the the top ten.  But, miracle of miracles, I did!!! 

Miss Symco Pin-Up Contest 2018 Top Ten

Round 2, I wasn't nervous about at all.  The random question I got was, "If you could do anything with out consequence what would it be?" 

Remember how hot I said it was?  I felt so bad for the audience, they were baking.  So my answer was to go skinny dipping in the Little Wolf River, and I invited the crowd, ha!  

After that the winners were chosen.  I didn't win, but I was totally okay with that.  I'm thankful that I made it to the top ten, and got to have some stage time where I wasn't so nervous.  

After the show, I got to meet the Shannon Brooke, pin-up photographer extraordinaire (seriously, look at her work, she is amazing).  She was one of the judges for the contest and was so stinkin' sweet.

Sweet Lucy LaBelle and Shannon Brooke

Patti Pierogi was the emcee for the show.  It was fun getting to chat with her and get some advice (she's won only about a billion contests!).  

Sweet Lucy LaBelle and Patti Pierogi

And my dear friend, Shelby Cole was there to cheer me on!  She's a friend from the on-line sewing world, and she used to do pin-up contests too.  It was amazing getting to meet her in real life. 

Symco Pin-Up Contest with Shelby

Over all, I had a blast and I'm so glad I gave it a whirl.  I definitely want to do another one now that I know what the heck I'm doing.  Walking around afterwards, everyone was so nice and supportive.  I seriously can't wait to do another one! 

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The next day, Symco was over.  Yesterday's make-up, falling victory rolls, packing up the camper in my new Miss Symco tank.  I can officially say I'm a pin-up! <3 

Miss Symco Pin-up Contest

xoxo, 
Sweet Lucy LaBelle

P.S. Here are all those links one more time: 
Event: Symco Weekender
Outfit: Unique Vintage
Shoes: Amazon
Earrings: Birch in Lake Nebagamon, WI
Hair: Nichole from the Cutting Edge in Racine, WI
 

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