Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Building her cocoon

She's building her cocoon to sleep in all winter ... hopefully to emerge as a beautiful butterfly in the spring.

It's taken us almost a month to get to this point - between clearing out a flat spot in the yard, finding and getting the garage delivered and all the setup, we've gotten almost nothing else done. And, we can expect to get little to nothing else done until after the 1st of the year. December is just too busy to take on any tasks.

But I will be looking forward to having a workspace for the winter to start pulling off sides, inspecting and replacing wood, and the like. Hiatus for now...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cushions in progress

I'm not a seamstress, so I pay attention to quick-and-dirty methods of getting the job done right. Here is my box cushion cover method.

1) Cut pieces of fabric larger than each side of the cushion. I'm not picky on how much larger, as long as its at least 2" in both directions.

2) One side will have the zipper. That one should be extra wide - you will cut it in half and install the zipper before continuing. Once the zipper is in, treat it just like every other side.

3) Lay the top fabric piece on the cushion, right side facing in. Pin the side pieces to the cushion so they stay in place.

4) Now, start pinning the sides together along each seam. Be sure to pull the fabric taut as you go - that is what will give you a smooth finished cushion. Flip the cushion and put the bottom piece on what is now the top. Pin that all around the edges. Photo above shows the cushion with right sides pinned together just before flipping it.

5) Open the zipper and pull the cover off through the opening. While it's still inside-out, sew it shut all along your pinned seams.

6) Flip it right side out and try it on. You should have nice smooth seams along each edge. For some reason, my corners always seem to have a little extra sag - I think it's because I'm afraid to pull the fabric too tight.

7) Flip the cover inside out one more time - trim back the edges and serge them if you have a serger, or use fray-chek if you don't.

You need lots of pins, since they will be your only sewing guideline once you've pulled the cover off the cushion ... and a few of them will pop out in the process of getting the cover off the cushion.

Don't be afraid to pull the fabric nice and taut. I usually pin all the edges once, then go back around and adjust them all ... and I still seem to have a little wiggle room in my corners.

If you have trouble getting the zipper open (it should be inside-out when you try), use needlenose pliers to grab the head.

There you have it ... the non-seamstress way of covering a cushion :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Test Camp a Success!

Our test camp was at Taughannock State Park along Cayuga Lake. We picked a site off the map, not sure of what we would get but it turned out to be a huge site and have a nice pull-through so we didn't have to back in around the trees. (Site 34 ... 38 is smaller but better views for next time)

Good thing, since we didn't find our site until after dark. It was nice getting in and being able to get ready for bed in only about 10 minutes ... a far cry from tent camping!

We decided that the camper is plenty big enough, but needs a change in floor plan. We have the Compact with the longer banquette to make the longer bed - we need the floor plan with the shorter bed and slightly more floor space. It worked fine - except when getting ready for bed. We need the extra foot.

Bunk works fine, though. There is plenty of room for girlies to read at night - just no room for them to fool around in bed! That's okay with mom and dad.

She's a keeper ... time to start the renovations :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Bunk ... finally :)

Finally got the new bunk in ... thanks for the suggestion of bi-fold doors. That really did speed things up. Front rail is a piece of 1x8 poplar; I cut it down to 7" wide, notched an area for the ladder (to come), rounded over all the edges and stained it cinnamon.

I made the front rail extra tall because my kids have managed to fall out of their bunk beds before. Not sure what I'm going to do about the screw heads in the front - they're sunk in, just not covered. Haven't decided. Suggestions welcome :)

Here it is in the 'up' position. Very tight to the window, but it fits without rubbing against it. You can see the seam where I glued & screwed two of the bifold sections together if you look closely. The third section is hinged. The fourth section will probably become a shelf in my basement.

This is the color I want the whole interior when its finished. The whitewash should keep it nice and bright inside. I haven't done anything with the rest of the trailer yet and it shows ... but this is the quick-and-dirty fix needed to test camp next weekend.

Bumper-mount spare tire rack

You can see from the photo why I'm not sure that it's original to the camper. It is painted and rusted the same, but it is clamped onto the bumper using some extra long bolts and a couple of metal plates.

I meant to get some dimensions but forgot ... will try to get them soon.

I took a closeup of the bottom to show how it's connected to the bumper. Nothing fancy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

She's Legal!

Got the plates on Tuesday; inspection today. She's not pretty yet, but she's road-worthy. Or so they tell me ... we'll find out next weekend on a planned 'test camp' excursion.

Hopefully I'll have pictures of the new bunk up this weekend. Finished fabricating it out of three sections of bi-fold doors, whitewashed, spar urethaned and installed on piano hinges.

Still working on the poplar rail to go across the front and a small ladder that will hopefully double as additional guard rail. Stained the rail yesterday and boy, was I peeved! 'Red oak' stain that looks more like black walnut! Sanded most of it down and started again with cinnamon. Not exactly what I wanted, but what I had on hand. It works.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


There won't be any posts for a week or so while we take a planned family vacation to DisneyWorld (too bad we hadn't bought the trailer before we booked!), but there will be a lot of activity in the following two weeks as we get her ready for a test camp.

Monday, September 20, 2010

She ain't heavy...

That can't be right. Just took her out to get weighed today and she clocked in at 1,300# completely empty. And I mean completely - we removed anything that wasn't nailed down. NY says anything over 1,000# has to have trailer brakes, so now I'm nervous. I guess I'll find out the first week of October.

On a lighter note, I received another 2 purchase offers today at the weigh station ... and a sale offer of a 68 Ford pickup :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Canopy and Poles ... check!

New finds ... the canopy cleaned up nicely. There are still a couple of stains on the underside, but I think I'll take a magic eraser to those and they'll be done.

Dan found the poles, too. They were inside the rear bumper - he worked off the cap and three rusty but complete poles came out.

Good stuff :)

Today I pulled the upper bunk and started fabricating a new one from some bifold doors. Seems to be going pretty well so far ... here's a shot of the canopy poles. Behind them you can see pieces of the upper bunk, removed for measuring replacements. The original bunk will be tossed ... not sure if the pee stains on them are human or mouse and don't really want to find out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some Inside Pictures

Not many, but some. Today it was raining cats & dogs for a while, so I went out to check on her. Flashlight and all, no leaks that I could find. Dry as toast :)

Somebody painted most of the inside yellow to match the stove ... and I found ball pit balls, chalk, and plastic toys. I'm thinking this was a kids' play house for a bit.

The bunk is missing a 16" wide section, so it is only wide enough for one person right now. I'm going to replace the missing section with a bi-fold door on piano hinges. Quick, easy, and strong ... thanks to folks at T&TTT forums for the idea (you guys are awesome)!

Home Sweet Home

She's home and waiting to be cleaned out. Dunno WHY people have to put stickers on things - there's a big patch of adhesive on the front, next to the kitchen window. Struck at it a couple of times now with rubbing alcohol, but it's slow going.

I'm also confused why she has two Shasta logos up top. The lower one looks right; the one on the edge of the roof looks like the 70's logo for Shasta ... that'll have to be removed.

She looks to be well-cared-for until the previous owner. He left her out in a field for a year and she's full of mouse droppings and musty smell.

The exterior lights don't work, so there's a set of temporaries clamped to the bumper (came with the trailer). There's also an extra vent cut into the roof over the icebox and a big patch of sticker residue on the side. The ladder sits there while I rub at it.

But the wings are intact and there's no leaking inside, so this one's a keeper :)

Following me home...

Brought her home on Monday. She towed beautifully ... at one point I glanced in the rear-view mirror and did a double-take, thinking "who's following me THAT close???" I had completely forgotten she was back there!

Near Albany, I woke up from a brief nap to find a very excited gentleman and his wife asking questions about her. It was nice talking to someone who appreciates the old trailers ... and after talking for a while, he offered me $1,000 cash if I'd sell her right there. As tempting as that instant profit is, I couldn't do it and he understood. They wished me luck with the cleanup & restore.

After 21 hours of driving, it was nice to get home.