“Trailer Talk” Makeover Series: The Green Machine…Exterior Updates

Where were you two this past weekend? Here…  Here… And of course every dog friendly beach in between.   We were out exploring California’s north coast to Mendocino. If you follow us on IG you’ve probably seen some of the puppies living it up. (and then crashing…its a hard “dog” life for us) 

 We fell in love hard, (like with every California coastal community we’ve explored) Maybe it was the redwoods and multiple rivers merging with the sea, but the scenery is dramatic and breath taking. I think the hubs liked it better for lack of cell phone service and the solitude at times. (With our jobs we need that disconnect more often then not.) 

In the meantime we can’t wait to explore some more, which is why I kicked it into high gear on rehabbing our vintage Apache Pop up trailer yesterday.  First up removing all the rusted out screws of the exterior and replacing them with stainless steel. 

 Yet replacing the screws wasn’t hard, it was sanding away all the leftover rust stains, with steel wool by hand that made my arms feel like jello today.  

 

Here’s a perfect side by side to see the before and after: 

 

Second project up was grinding and wire brushing away years of rust from the trailer bumper, hitch and step… 

     

After a few hours, (and a metal shard embedded  into my shin- I never complete a project unscathed) I sprayed painted the areas with Rustoleum Rust Reformer in matte black. 

 I sprayed two coats and this stuff seemed to work like a champ, completely covering, and creating a pretty flawless finish. (I still don’t know if it is just a primer and an additional paint is needed? More to come after further research…) Here are some before and afters:  

       Quick FYI- I hurriedly snapped “after” photos before the paint cured, however once dried the finished product is pretty flawless.

Finally, around 9pm at night I made a first attempt to remove the old Apache decals with a heat gun and failed miserably… 

  I barely got 5cm of the decal removed, burned an inch of paint and called it quits. I belatedly realized I need to research this further and 1978 decals were made of stronger stuff than our whimpy modern day decals. 

We may even have to call in the professionals for the bodywork. However, since professional paint jobs are not in the budget I don’t know what we’re going to do?! I wish there was an auto body fairy who would magically grant me a $200 bid😉…More to come as the Green Machine saga continues…Happy Sunday everyone!

“Trailer Talk” Makeover Series: The Green Machine…Water Tanks, Refrigerators, Converters…Oh my!

  We’re back! Sorry we’ve been posting every other Sunday. Remember it’s summer, and we suffer from a severe condition called “wanderlust”. Truly it’s an addiction that requires heavy doses of camping, and the great outdoors…    Also the occasional good brewery or winery is mixed in…  

 We work desk jobs and thus need to unplug from the computer, phone etc, just for our sanity. The dogs are co-dependent of our wanderlust addiction as well…Can you tell?  If you follow us on Instagram you know they were some very happy pups this past weekend. Now all we need is a finished trailer for all our off season adventures… 

 Yuck! Ugh!😝 Yeah that’s where the old 3-way refrigerator and water tank used to be. To get to these items you have to fold over the sink and counter, then unscrew the plywood cover (or in our case drill out many rivets.) 

 Confusing to me is how these old trailers were designed with the water tanks and sink so close to your main power converter? (water + electricity…really?) 

Anyway here’s what we pulled out of little Green Machine… 

37 year old water tank (Um, yes new water tank please)    

Rusted out 3-way refrigerator 

   

Since we don’t  want to sink too much money or time into this project we may try to rehab the refrigerator (IF it still even works) this week I’m going to plug it in, see if it at least works in a standard 120, then on 12V battery, and then propane. If it works like a champ then maybe we’ll invest the time and energy to clean it up. 

Considering how pricey a new three way can be we’ve considered just installing a dorm room fridge. Remember we’re summer season tent campers, the trailer was bought to give us freedom for all season adventures. Since most places we intend to camp at during the off-season are on the California coast with full hook-ups, a dorm fridge may be the easiest and most reliable option. Which will leave more money in the budget for new wiring and converter. 

I wish we were further along, but each weekend we are still knee deep into cleaning and all the boring projects of trailer repairs. (Oh when, oh when can I start blogging about fabric and paint colors?! 😫) 

I give my dad and husband credit for reigning me in and remaining practical. As they’ve reminded me several times, you don’t want a beautiful interior, then come to find the roof leaks water or the trailer frame breaks while in transit. 

Therefore I will just let out a long yoga “OM”, and try to find good deals on new converters, water tanks, etc. However I’m not going to lie, with each dime I spend on boring replacement parts, instead of cute fabrics a little part of me dies inside😉 Hopefully we’ll be further along next weekend. Happy Sunday everyone! …”OMmmmm

“Trailer Talk” Makeover Series: The Green Machine…The Clean and Safe Machine

 

 Over the last couple weeks we learned some valuable lessons about buying a vintage trailer…(even one that was well loved, garaged, and in good condition)… 

1. Towing safety is top priority! 

2. Unless it was plastic wrapped for its entire existence, there will be road grime and deep cleaning to do. 

 

Bleh😝

We’ve been trying to check these two very important items off our list and lets just say progress has been slow going (partially in part to my right wrist being out of commission after a running accident)

Now towing safety first…Which can mean several checklist items; trailer frame, tail lights, wheels and bearings. 

We mentioned in our last post in the series that our little Green Machine was off to be “lifted”. Which turned out to be more important than we anticipated, and found out there were several cracks in the trailer frame. 😁

We originally needed the trailer lifted a few inches to clear our steeply angled driveway and to potentially add larger wheels in the future. 

However our family friend found several cracks in the trailer frame to which we innocently overlooked. He repaired all the cracks and Green Machine is sitting a good three inches higher! Whootwhoot!👍 

Next were wheels and bearings to check off the list. Big thanks to my pops, he taught us how to repack the wheel bearings and surprised us with newly painted wheels while at work one day! So pretty! 

Last up with safety, driving our little Green Machine home we noticed the right indicator light would blink at the same time as our left. Also the right brake light was out. (Luckily for us, in California you only need one working brake light to get home 😳) However after much fiddling, bulb replacement, and testing we’ve decided we’ll need to rewire the trailer.  

 This also means two brand new, matching tail lights. (Rather than one original and “Mickey moused” one) Tweetys RV and Trailer Supplies online had new (nearly identical, #342) to the original tail lights. These should be coming soon and we’ll be learning the ins and outs of rewiring a trailer. 

As for cleaning 37 years of road grime… (And mystery stains)

 

  
We’ve found cleaning not only is therapeutic, but necessary for figuring out the trailer’s anatomy. For example we had no idea the trailer had 4 beds, or how to get to the water tank from the inside?! We’ll be highlighting the different and newly discovered features in the coming weeks. All sorts of little quirks you discover on your hands and knees mopping floors😉. Speaking of which, back  to more scrubbing! Happy Sunday everyone!

“Trailer Talk” Makeover Series: Meet the Green Machine…Our Vintage Pop up Camper Trailer

We’re knee deep into spring, summer almost here, and we’re happily stuck at home. Wait?! What?! 

You two trailmix eating, take your dogs everywhere, wanderlust, camping addicts are not travelling?! What gives?! 

Well, one big reason we’re not brewing coffee on a campfire this morning is because we have this project to work on…   Ummm, what is that? Was the hubs famous words when I showed him the craigslist ad. 

 

That my dear husband is called “compromise”… 

For 6 long years I’ve wanted a vintage trailer. Airstreams were my first love, followed by Canned Hams, Shastas, Aristocrat Lo-liners, Casitas, the list can go on and on. Problem has been, so has everyone else. With TV shows like Flipping Rvs now, restoring vintage ️trailers is the new “thing”. Leaving only  the trailers (that met our minuscule budget), were the hopeless, rotted out, run-from-screaming kind of projects. 

Another obstacle in our search for a vintage trailer has been the size requirements. We literally have the perfect space for storing a trailer, but it had to be under 7.5 feet wide to get it through our gate. Nor did we want to pull some massive beast, guzzling up gas along the way. 

There were other issues to consider, when you chose to go small, and vintage. The creature comfort of space, and lack of future upgrades like refrigerator or AC (due to the aforementioned lack of space). Hubs and I went round and round over things he and I wanted: 

Hubs

1. Not a money pit (newer preferred)

2. Something I can see over/low profile while driving

3. Can I get a king bed? Or at least not squished together on a full size bed.

Me

1. Vintage project! (Who cares if it’s a money pit)

2. Umm who says you get to drive and haul it all the time?

3. Agree, but I’m thinking about where to put the pups?

Unfortunately as we researched and shopped, all signs were pointed towards a newer (1990s) trailer or pop up tent trailer. My dreams of vintage fixers were sadly fading away. 

It wasn’t until I saw a 1970s Apache hard sided pop up listed on Craigslist last month.  I was literally the fourth person to call the seller. Five minutes later the ad was taken down (apparently there was so much interest and potential buyers the poor guy had to remove the ad) he had three buyers lined up already for Monday morning.  

Well after some research the  solid state did get me…I sat for two weeks thinking I missed the opportunity of a lifetime; perfect price, met the  hubs wish list, and I’d still get my vintage fixer. I won’t lie I moped a little, and we continued shopping for those newer tent trailers…ugh😝

Then the same Apache trailer craigslist ad resurfaced (not lying) morning of my birthday. This time the price had been increased by almost $400. Originally the seller hadn’t realized the cult following of these solid state beauties. 

Luckily we drove 70 miles for an “as is” trailer, only to find out it was in better condition then expected. Garaged most of its existence, you could tell it was once well loved. Two owners only (including the seller), and a clean title, with all original manuals. The current owner had planned to rehab it as a side project, but realized he didn’t have the time for it. (He also admitted he was tired of the selling process and Craigslist “flakes”…I guess persistence pays off😉) In the end he sold it to us for the original listing price and threw in for free the $250 worth of replacement parts/materials he previously purchased. 

Now here she is our little Green Machine, or as a friend called it our “transformer”…Pop-ups in disguise…

         

We’ll be working on this project over the summer, ending with a “maiden voyage” camping trip in Santa Cruz. There is so much design potential, and we’ll also include important nuts and bolts of trailer repair. Luckily for us rookies, there is a plethora of websites and groups focused on rehabbing vintage Apache pop ups. Our goal is to condense these great resources down into bite size pieces and specific projects in this makeover series. Right now she’s  hanging out at the parents house waiting to be lifted. (More to come in the following weeks!) Happy Sunday everyone!

  

It’s the Little Fixes that Count

I wish we had some amazing before and afters this week but really we haven’t done anything DIY. (That will have to wait till next Sunday😉) We’re keeping this week’s post short and sweet. We have a big new summer project in store, and right now knee deep in the midst of it. Yet we did manage to complete a small project that has been bugging me for two years… 

 

Good bye two tone ugliness…How do you like the closed-off cat door? (At least we scraped off the duct tape around it before I took this pic) And it wasn’t just one back door but two… 

   One of the reasons we ignored this little project was because replacing all the doors has been on the “someday” list. Well, I couldn’t wait around for “someday” and just pulled out the leftover exterior trim paint. So here are now the afters…

Guest house…

 

 Back mud room… 
No duct tape, no chipping, and dirty light blue paint.#PaintForTheWin!😀 Closed off cat door is still there but less ugly. I love the windows in these original doors and now they just pop against the light blue exterior. We promise next weekend we’ll have an exciting new project. Yet these little fixes count in the long run  and sometimes a lot of satisfaction. Always one small step in the right direction. Happy Sunday everyone! 

Super Easy (and Cheap) Curtain Rod Hack: West Elm with Wood

For 6 months I was secretly watching these beautiful West Elm curtain rods, crossing fingers they’d drop in price… 

 

Um yeah no…Sorry West a Elm we just can’t drop a dime on curtain rods right now. (As pretty as they are😞) 

Instead we had these Martha Stewart “door knob” curtain rods, as free hand me downs… 

 

I guess these might be pretty but they aren’t the clean and simple lines of midcentury. West Elm seems to have captured that with their curtain rods. Darn them and their addicting product lines! Oh the decorating torture! 

After putting up our oversized map in the guest room I soon realized the existing curtain rods were too traditional and “knobby”. Also the “wood” frame of the map gave inspiration and would help tie the wood and metal together in the room. 

First we had some random dowels left over from our guest house cabinet project which I cut in 4 equal sizes. (I went with a longer 3inch length since I only have a hand saw and did not want to cut off a finger.) Then sanded each piece smooth. 

 

I found theses handy dandy curtain rod connector screws, and drilling pilot holes, screwed them into each piece.

     

Once done, I unscrewed each of the existing rod ends and replaced them with the new wooden dowel ends. 

 

Ridiculously easy way to change your existing curtain rods style without spending a mint. Hope you all have a safe and fun holiday weekend! Happy Sunday everyone! 

Framing Huge Art for $30

It’s that time of year again…Weather is perfect…Campsites are being reserved…And the last thing we want to do is be stuck at home…California is calling us…  

  

  

  

 Which is why it was kismet to find an enormous map of California at the Sacramento antique fair. I’ve been wanting one for our guest room/office for the past year. There are so many places to camp, enjoy, and discover in our home state that I wanted to mark off the travel bucket list. This map will be a visual tracker of our progress and very cool art piece. 

Plus maps seem to look fabulous against (already painted) baby blue walls… 

 (An example from the amazingly talented Emily Henderson’s guest room) Well, I’ve got blue walls too why doesn’t it look the same? Ours just looks sad?!

 I quickly realized the map needed a smooth backing and frame to finish it off. Yet to custom frame a map like this would cost me hundreds of dollars…So in the budget conscious style of LHBD we faked it. 

Here’s how we did it… (This is also super temporary should you be renting or just like to change your art around constantly)

  We bought some very thin cabinet backer board cut by Home Depot to the dimensions of the map. Then duct taped the two pieces together.   Command strips were our friend, lots and lots of them, all over the back of the boards. 

 Then stuck the boards to the wall. 

We hung the map using poster (light weight) command strips flattening it against the boards. 

 We then found pvc/faux wood baseboard at Home Depot.  

  Much cheaper than wood, lightweight, and very easy to cut the angles for the frame.    Next we used the scotch indoor mounting tape for the back of the frame pieces.  (Now if you’re renting we can’t guarantee this tape won’t take a bit of paint away. However a couple finishing nails at the corners and command strips may have the same results) 

Voila! Giant framed art for $30! 

 We can’t wait to start marking off the locations we’ve been, dog friendly places we’ve stayed and campsites to swoon over. Hopefully you have fun vacations planned for the summer and memories to make! Happy Sunday everyone!

What a BIG, DIY Sunburst Mirror for $15?! 

I’ve been hiding a diy project for months…(Well, not really) Rather it has been like a ninja, hiding out in the background, waiting for its chance on the blog. Some may have noticed it here:  

 

Then here: 

 

And like a ninja, it’s cloaked in mystery. .. Everyone  assumes we either bought it at some high end furniture store or its an authentic antique from the 1960s…   

  (When in reality, I had only $15 to spend and needed another diy decoration for our Mad Men party.)

This big, sunburst mirror had very humble beginnings, and started out like this: 

 

A huge $10 thrift store mirror (bought at half price), kabob sticks, some rustoleum gold metallic spray paint and my glue gun. 

One rainy, cold day, when the pups and us were trapped indoors, I thought I’d attempt this mind numbing project. I’d seen the diy sunburst mirror made from paint sticks and wood shims but really hesitant to try with kabob sticks. Maybe because this might have something to do with it… 

 

And this…(an hour later)…

 

The actual project is really simple and easy, but I recommend watching a marathon of your favorite TV show when attempting to hot glue hundreds of kabob sticks. 

As you can see I had traced out a star pattern on the back as a guide. Once all the glue had dried, Eric helped me spray paint it. We taped the actual mirror surface with painters tape to avoid spraying it gold. (Warning: large mirrors like this with pointed wooden sticks are incredibly awkward and somewhat heavy to try moving and hang by yourself– also one of the reasons we didn’t get a chance to take pictures) 

Now we have our big, diy, faux designer Sunburst mirror to go along with our big, diy, faux midcentury buffet😉

 

Honestly the mirror was intended as 1960s party decor but I think we’ll keep it up for awhile. (It’s grown on me) Plus it looks just elegant enough to be mistaken for a Z gallery or pier 1 design. (Not kabob sticks held together with hot glue) Happy Sunday everyone! 

Party Favors for Bachlorette/Bachelor, Weddings and Adult Birthday Parties—DIY “Hangover Kits” with Free Printable

Dont deny it, as kids one of the best things about parties was the party favor we got to take home at the end.

When we first decided on a Mad Men themed charity dinner, we knew we needed to pass out “thank you” favors for all the guests who donated. We had a prize raffle drawing, but needed a little “fun”  adult favor to show our appreciation.

Surfing pinterest for an upcoming Bachlorette party I discovered “hangover kits” were a  neat way to round out a long weekend. A scaled down, mini version would be perfect for our Mad Men party.  

As promised here is the little How-to for these adult party favors. As well as the free (and customizable) printables so you can recreate them for your event.

Firstly all the items were bought on Amazon and/or at our local grocery store.

The kit includes Advil, a packet of instant coffee, some life saver breath mints, and a box of matches with the label “At times like this what would Don Draper do?”

People asked me why matches? Well for one, they were just so fun to customize, and perfect for our Mad Men themed party. The second, (I will try to explain this as delicately as possible), did your old school grandpa ever tell you there is a box of matches in the bathroom?😉( a hold over from the depression and WWII, but still an effective technique) Just say’in, and just in case…

Either way customizing match boxes is one of the easiest projects for your themed party. Just print, cut and stick. Theses labels print perfectly on the Avery address labels 5162

Here is the free matchbox printable: MAD MEN Labels Don Draper

You will need to cut them to the size of your match boxes. However I just used my cricut straight cut, peeled them from the backing and stuck them on the match boxes.

  

The second printable for the favor bag, you will be able to customize your name and event, but these are also printed on Avery 5162 labels.  No cutting necessary but you may need to ensure your favor bags are large enough for these labels. (I had extra bags leftover from my wedding or I’d provide more details, but they can be purchased at most craft stores)

Here is the Hangover Kit Printable (minus our initials and events info)

  

Then we just packed them all full of “goodies” and were passed out at the party. You can also customize the favor goodies, such as attaching them to mini water bottles, adding starbucks gift cards, including cold packs and/or cheap sunglasses etc. (Anything that might help a hungover friend the next day😉)

 However for our little shindig these were perfect. Easy, simple, and budget friendly, we were glad to provide our friends with a little laugh and a big thank you. Hope your next adult event is amazing! Happy Sunday everyone!

“Mad” for a Cure…Hosting a Mad Men Party and Private Charity Dinner! 

This post has been pulling on my heart strings for the past week. I will admit there were tears, and definitely deep gratitude to our amazing friends and family. Five years ago we made a promise, during one of the hardest times of our lives, to pay it forward. We didn’t know how we would do it, but we just would. 

Four months ago I reminded the hubs of our “karmic” promise of paying it forward and asked him what we should do? Surprisingly my very private, anti-party, husband came up with the idea of hosting a charity dinner…[Gasp] Did the world just turn upside down?!...Not really, he called my love for party planning, my “evil super power“, and that it should be used for good deeds.

Challenge accepted! 😉

Hence our Mad Men Charity Dinner came to be!

We used our “secret” five year wedding anniversary as an excuse to party.

 As “gifts” we asked friends and family to donate to two of our favorite charities: The Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the SAMFund. Most are familiar with LLS, but very few know of the SAMFund, it’s one of the very few direct grant charities for cancer patients/survivors; financially assisting those with medical debt, medication expenses, utilities, etc. (Because getting to “cancer free”, isn’t free.) 

This is where our friends and family were amazing (and I tear up)…Just from our little “shindig” and, those who couldn’t attend, we raised $3000.00 of direct and indirect donations! (The post office clerk thought I was probably insane when I mailed all the checks this week…Mascara running down my cheeks and “ugly crying” from tears of gratitude) 

Now let me stop with the mushy stuff (or the water works will start all over again) and let’s get on to the fun party details, Mad Men decor and a little harmless “debauchery”, circa 1960s…





Thrift store entrance signs and  gold flamingos on the lawn. A “must” for any Mad Men party (found pink flamingos at Ross and spray painted all of them with Rustoleums gold metallic paint) 

First off, to those following our little blog, know I’m a Midcentury addict and lover of vinyl records. Any excuse to bring out my collection of vintage serving and barware, or play some records is my “bag” baby😉





We offered a sparkling gin punch, all the fixings for Manhattans, Mai Tais, Martinis and Lemon drops. Tony Bennett, and Brazil 66 played in the background. 



Beer, wine, sparkling apple cider, coke in bottles, and water were all outside. To  keep tummies from rumbling we filled two large jars full of peanuts and Chex mix. Our guests could fill paper trays and serve themselves snacks. 







Decorating was sooo much fun! I found tons of vintage ads, put them in dollar store frames and displayed them around each table. I scored a 1960s Betty Crocker “Dinner for Two” cookbook at a garage sale, for our guests to sign. 

 As a way to say thank you to our guests we had a raffle drawing. For every dollar donated guests received a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes. Also everyone received “gag” thank you gifts/party favors ~Hangover Kits (we’ll have the free printables and details for the kits next blog post)





Dinner” started as heavy on the appetizers; cheese plate, dips, and small bites. We were sure to stay true to the era and included, Swedish meatballs, a molded dip, relish trays, stuffed celery with pimentos, deviled eggs, rolled salami bites, Hawaiian rolls, ham, wedge salads, etc. By 9pm as our family tradition, we had pizzas delivered to help absorb the alcohol😉





Dessert was cupcakes I decorated with gummies rolled and skewered into “martini olives” and bubble gum cigarettes “stubbed out” with chocolate sprinkles



We offered bubble gum cigarettes displayed throughout the house, along with my collection of vintage books, magazines and vinyl records. 





I resurrected a 1960s Polaroid land camera. We found film and I was able to snap a few photos before the sun went down. 



Little brother hamming it up for the camera “Don Draper” style 😉



The party was mainly outside, (and where most of the fun happened). Thank  goodness for perfect weather, since our little house was at max capacity. However we tried not to disappoint by decorating the backyard. 





My friend who owns a thrift store lent us some vintage lamps which we used for accents and just to add ambience.



We created centerpieces from thrift store cocktail shakers, and green mums. 

 Now onto my favorite part…Our guests! One of my best friends has the most darling Etsy shop Lenore Loves where she sells hand made party and event items. She loaned us some fabulous photo booth props for the event and the swanky pictures speak for themselves!





Oh and the pics get even better…We have the most glamorous friends and family…





Seriously this is one of my favorite pictures of the night…





We are so, so, so thankful to our guests and all the generous giving! We hoped to provide them one outstanding party and a little inspiration to others. Maybe host your own charity event and “Party” Forward for a good cause?

When our houses are small or maybe not fully renovated, we are sometimes intimidated to host parties. Yet with a little kitsch, a whole lot of inspiration and good guests your party is bound to be a success! Happy Sunday everyone!