Our little Retro Camper ... See her in person this weekend at the Hob Nob Vintage Market in Danville, IL

The End Result!
(for updated views of how she looks in 2015... click here)

 Months of gathering ideas, planning, sanding, priming, painting, power washing and primping and we are finally finished.  What began as a 1970's something Sunliner camper, has become our little home away from home.  We will be taking her on the road this weekend to Danville, IL for the Hob Nob Vintage Market.  We can't wait to see you there!

 Mabel is her name.  That was the name of my husband's mother.  She LOVED to camp and was an RVer up until her last day.  In her honor, we hope to spend lots of time enjoying the road,  and one another, while taking some short road trips together.

It's been so much fun finding just the right things to put inside.  The little afghan was a cast off from the resale shop where I work,  it was actually put in the Salvation Army bag when I rescued it.  Several little holes in a knit afghan can be a quick fix with a little yarn and a crochet hook. And who knew that the chevron pattern would make a comeback!  I made the bird and chevron pillows along with the little banner garland.  (I made a larger one for outside when we set up.)  The original oil painting is one inspired by a spot in Door County and is an original I painted last year.

My friend Cindi spent three days with me sewing the vinyl cushion covers.  They will be easy to keep clean!  She was amazing and her husband Hank was very patient!

The curtains, were from a pair I purchased from Ikea (plain white). I had scoured resale shops for some to repurpose, but was unable to find the fabric that I was looking for.  I got one pair ($9.99/pr ) and cut them into the sizes I needed.  I added little cut pieces I picked up in the remnant racks at Jo-ann Fabrics. (HINT: if you have a smart phone, look up "joann coupon"... and get 40% off one item... I used it for 10 yards of the vinyl and saved a BUNCH!)  In an effort to create 'easy to make' curtains,  I removed the original racks that were meant for hooks, and mounted a rod that would fit into 2 little coated cup hooks...Cafe Style... it worked perfectly.  My rescued industrial machine powered through all of the sewing and made me oh so happy along the way!

The little hoop art you see below is my original design.  While having coffee Sunday, I decided to try my hand at it... I freehanded the little map of the U.S.A. and added some places that I am fond of and have had the good fortune to visit over the years.  I made the little "See the U.S.A." hoop to act as a companion.  The little Ralph Waldo Emerson saying is just a framed card from Trader Joes.  Add some vintage books, postcards, pennants, a little collection of white vases filled with fresh tulips, and you are ready for a road trip!

 As if there weren't enough cuteness going on. While at Ikea, I found this orange and white stripe canvas style fabric... I bought one yard and fashioned it into an awning for the little front window.  I repurposed some left over vinyl piping from the cushions inside to add a touch of yellow.  

Our original plan was to add a little orange stripe... I have yet to do that but think I may leave that to the pinstriping pros.  We will have it done one day.  I hope you can stop Opendoorstudio to see some of what we bring with us to Sell.. On the Vintage Road! (  maybe you will find something wonderful there for YOUR little vintage trailer!

oh... one more thing, Martha is a  proud member of Sisters on the Fly! After a successful solo voyage, she took the show on the road alone and can't wait to meet some sisters sometime next season!
Sister # 3968

The End


Hoop Art ... How to.

I have been gathering vintage muslin and old embroidery hoops now for a while, always with the intent that I would someday create something with them.  

Gathering my old embroidery floss, muslin pieces, embroidery needle, pen, hoops, backing and my own creative thoughts... I started my project.  

My intention was to recreate a small version of a larger piece I found years ago, tucked away in an old trunk.  It is a detailed map of the USA.  In fact, it is an educational map and oh so cute.  The problem: it is very large and will not fit in my little travel trailer with room for other wall hangings.  

First things first,  with a pen, draw your illustration or the words you would like to embroider... think about varying your lettering, some large, some bold, others small and using small broken stitches... be creative.

I chose to draw a map of the US... freehand.. I didn't refer to a map so I am sure the scale is not exact and the Great Lakes are not properly placed... but that's ok... In my opinion, that is what makes it charming.  I thought to make the little dotted lines and arrows to show some of my favorite locales... as a matter of fact, those that I chose are places I have spent with family over the years.

 I chose to add a heart where we live, next to Lake Michigan,
* I added a little arrow to our favorite spot up north... you guessed it, Door County, Wi.
* I added arrows to the shore in New Jersey (Ocean City)/ East Coast...where we have spent countless summers with cousins, grandmas, aunts and uncles and friends.
* Florida: (thinking of Grandma and Grandpa Cleary) and trips to Disney World with family. And where Grandma and Grandpa Smith spent their Winters as snowbirds.
* Arizona: where my father and mother had a summer home in Pinetop... and my mother lived in Scottsdale after my father passed away... and now my nephew lives in Phoenix.
* The Rocky Mountains: where I spent my summers at Camp St. Malo, it was a magical place,  I was thrilled to have a chance to and take my children there several years back.
* California: where I was born and took the children in 2007, traveled to a family wedding first to Northern California, where i lived for 7 years... and visited Aunt Elaine's old property in Sonoma on what is now... Ravenswood Winery (so I guess I truly can call it my old "stomping grounds") Meeting  family  in Southern California. Touring wine country there with Tony and staying with loved ones in Lajolla.
 I have traveled to almost every other state in the Union... but have not had the attachments I have in those mentioned above.
Here, I added the Golden Gate bridge in California, a beach umbrella by the shore.... and embroidered a black border around the little pink heart near home.
As a companion piece, to hang in our little travel trailer... I thought to create a "See the USA" hoop. Here you can see how I created the design with a pen... and used the floss on the needle to outline and fill in the lettering.
Above was the finished product... before adding the backing.  I decided to add the Florida Keys to the map.  A place I would love to visit someday!
 I thought the USA would look cute in the red, white and blue floss.  Hmm... to line it in black or not?

 A little close up of my work... ok, so it has been a while since I've worked on an embroidery project.

 Both complete, outlined USA and ready for the final step, adding a felt or fabric piece as a backing.

I used pinking shears to cut out the colorful printed felt ( Michaels... such cute things they are making now!)  I used tacky glue to adhere the backing.  I will hang them from the little springs that are used to hold the hoop together at the top.  

They will look so cute in my little camper.  I can't wait to add little vintage pennants from antiques shops and roadside sales along our travels... They will add some fun to our travel wall, just inside the door of our little get away on wheels.

Please add a link below to YOUR project.  Flickr, or instagram links work well!  For MORE "hoop art" inspiration... click here !

oh... and for more vintage finds and to see our  ongoing "Travels in Vintage" ... or some fun and creative things I am working on...  follow me on  instagram  with  your smartphone.  @Opendoorstudio