Restoration

Well, I guess we’ll eventually get around to the table part of this project, but first we need to make the benches for our future front dinette. Scamp gave us one challenge: a narrow space and curved walls. We’ve given ourselves another challenge by wanting a dinette that can convert to a bed.  After lots of measuring and drawing and cutting, the pieces were ready to be assembled.

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Each section was glued and then screwed together.  The shape seems somewhat odd, but it maximizes the available floor space without interfering with the curve of the walls.

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We paused part way through the assembly process to make sure that the first bench would fit through the door AND that it would fit in the space the way we wanted it to.

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After assuring ourselves that everything seemed okay (including the height), we finished adding all of the vertical support pieces (a total of 11 on each bench) and then took them in the house where we added more glue to the joints.

Next steps will involve screwing each bench to the floor, and adding paneling pieces to the outer (visible) sides.  Pieces of plywood will be cut to fit the shape of the curved walls to form the bench seats, and we’ll design them so that we have access to the storage area under each bench.

So funny–last year this time, I was learning how to sew in order to make curtains for the trailer.  As soon as we have the seats cut out, it will be time for me to figure out how to make (i.e. sew) the cushions for the dinette.  And in and around our various projects, we hope to go camping with it–as is–as soon as we can! 🙂

Late last summer, we started to install an air conditioner in the closet; it had one in there at some point in its early life. We thought we were on the right track last summer, but we weren’t. This time I think we’ve got it right.

To catch condensation, we’ve got a small plastic litter box in the bottom of the closet with a hole and a drainage tube in it that goes through a hole in the floor to the outside. (The hole in the floor was already there.) To help it drain correctly, the bottom of the pan has a small block of wood attached to the corner opposite the drain. This causes the pan to tilt slightly towards the drain tube.

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Wayne made a wooden support that rests on wood pieces that were in the closet for the previous A/C. Small “side rails” were attached to the supports to prevent the A/C unit from shifting from side to side, and then the support was screwed into place. (When testing the A/C on the supports, we seem to have the right amount of backward tilt for drainage.)

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Reflectix insulation was wrapped around the back of the A/C unit to channel hot exhaust air out of the closet through the large, louvered vent on the side of the trailer. A slit was cut in the bottom edge of the Reflectix to allow condensation to drip out into the pan below.

We used metal Reflectix tape to attach all four sides of the Reflectix insulation to the back wall of the closet. With plenty of space around the side and top intake vents on the air conditioner, cool air should be drawn in through the top louvered vent on the side of the trailer.

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Concerned about the “bounce” these trailers have–and the possible vertical movement of the air conditioner–we brainstormed for a bit before coming up with this plan: We put some flexible, heavy-gauge wire down one side of the A/C, under the wooden support, back up the other side and then twisted the ends of the wire together to secure it on the top of the A/C unit. We ran the wire through the narrow slits on each side of the air conditioner where window side panels are usually attached. It seems to be in there very securely now, with minimal movement in any direction.

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We still need to find a good way to seal around the front of the air conditioner. A previous owner had cut an overly-wide opening in the fiberglass, so we might have to put a piece of wood on the inside on each side, and screw that to a frame on the outside. This would sandwich the narrow edges of fiberglass between the inner wood and outer frame.

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However, if we have a free weekend for camping before we come up with a plan for the front frame, we’ll seal it up with Reflectix tape and take off! 🙂

Wayne made a lot of progress on installing an air conditioner into the closet…..

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…but then we were advised to NOT use the insulation and had to start over…..

We’ve got the stuff for Plan B, but we haven’t had the time to get started on it.

In the meantime, an apple tree at the end of the driveway was so loaded with apples that we couldn’t have gotten the trailer out if we’d wanted to, due to the low-hanging branches!

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Therefore, I had some more tree work done, which included pruning back the branches on the apple tree and also taking out the most likely threats for other branches that could hit the trailer.  Much better!

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So no new work on the trailer to report, but we had a great time on Sunday, September 6th when Wayne and his band played at a “Give Back Festival” to benefit a local early childhood learning center.  Hope you enjoy the video!

I FINALLY made a decision about how to make the curtain tie backs, and I also decided to use the green ribbon.  It seemed like a simple enough project–sew some Velcro onto the ribbons and then sew the ribbons onto the curtains–but it took forever.  I made the first ones (for the front window) on August 16th.

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I didn’t get the others done until August 23rd…

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The ribbon I used was only 7/8″ wide, which meant that I had to cut tiny little pieces of Velcro and then sew it into place.  I was surprised by how tough the “plastic” part of the Velcro was AND how hard it was to push a needle through it.  So no pictures of my progress; my hand sewing isn’t all that neat, but hey–they serve the purpose.  We both like the color because it adds a nice, bright contrast to all of our blue!

The next project was replacing the chains.  A couple of months ago Wayne  sawed off the old chains and the bolt holding them because they were horribly rusted.  Getting the new bolt in place and tightened was quite the challenge, though, since there wasn’t a lot of room to work in the space where it needed to go.  It took some doing, but he finally got them on securely.

The new chain is much heavier and longer than the old chain and so NOW we’re wondering if we’ll have to find a bolt cutter so we can shorten them.  We’re also not sure how much slack we need to leave–certainly enough to make sharp turns–but when does enough slack become too much slack?  Currently they’re about 5.5″ above the ground, which seems a little low….

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I thought I’d be able to let the extra chain hang down from the hitch, but it was too long.  I looped the end of it back into the hook, but I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not.

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Also, our “break away” cable is too long.  That shouldn’t be too difficult to shorten, and I guess we’ll need to because I doubt if we should just loop it all around on its hook….  (I’m waiting to hear back from Scamp experts about both the chains and cable.)

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After connecting everything, we checked to make sure that the lights and turn signals were working (yes), and then Wayne moved the trailer a few feet over in the driveway.  This will make it easier to get in and out of since we’ve been way too close to a flower bed on the side of the house.   It wasn’t an issue until just recently, and I guess that some of my Black Eyed Susans literally have black eyes since we’ve stepped on them!

On a very positive note, the past two weekends we’ve “camped” in our yard!  So cool!  The new Memory Foam mattress is very comfortable, and I’ve surprised myself by sleeping very soundly.  And so funny–the trailer seems really BIG when it’s dark inside and you look from the very back to the very front….

I can now fully understand why people sometimes use their trailers as “guest rooms,” and also why they just go hang out in them to read or to work.  I’m so glad that we’re finally able to use it–even if it IS in our driveway. 🙂

 

 

 

It’s been a good summer!  While our trailer isn’t quite ready for its first camping trip, we’ve gotten a lot done on it over the last few months, plus we’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the other fun things we’ve done, too.  If we can find the time–given our crazy school year schedules–maybe we’ll be able to do some fall camping.

Aside from building the doors for the front of the bed extension (and painting or staining it), Wayne has pretty well finished up this project.  It looks really good, it’s very strong and stable, and we’ll have lots of storage space underneath.

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Last spring we bought an air mattress, thinking it would be a fast and relatively inexpensive way to finish the bed, but when we measured the height of the platform a couple of weeks ago, we realized that it would be too tall!  We have outlets on the bed side of the cabinets and the air mattress would completely block them…. Well, darn….

A lot of folks with RVs–and especially with Scamps–have recommended Memory Foam, so I used the credit from the return of the air mattress and ordered a 6″ Memory Foam mattress.  I’d read that this type of mattress could be cut to fit the curved walls of the trailer, so that led to the search for a used electric knife.  I found one in the third thrift shop I visited. 🙂

On Friday, August 14th, we put a tarp out in the yard and removed the mattress from the box and packaging.  We unfolded it, and it immediately started to expand.  After waiting a little while, we unzipped the outer cover on the mattress and then cut and peeled back the inner liner to reveal the foam.  Using the curved plywood from the bed platform as a template, we traced the shape onto the foam.  We were so busy doing all of this that I neglected to take pictures!

After cutting the foam (actually very easy to do with the electric knife!), I pulled the inner liner back up over the newly-rounded corners.

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I stitched this back into place, then we zipped up the outer cover and took the mattress into the trailer to finish expanding.  SO COOL!  We have a bed!

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We also have a new spare tire (and cover), which fits on the bolts that I’d cleaned up on the back.

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The current project is the installation of an air conditioner in the closet.  We temporarily removed the upper “floor” of the closet in order to have better access to the space.

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There was an air conditioner in the closet at some point in the trailer’s history, so there is already an extra-large vent on the outside, some wooden support pieces, and a drain hole and tubing through the floor.  (We had an outlet for the A/C put in the closet when we had the other electrical work done.)

We bought a thin sheet of foil-lined Styrofoam insulation, as well as a small litter box.  Litter box?  We’ll modify and re-purpose it so that it will serve as a drip pan for condensation.  The insulation (and foil tape) will be used to create a sealed “box” within the closet so that the A/C will do all intake and exhaust through the vent, keeping it separate from the air inside of the trailer.

We are SO pleased with how pretty and how comfortable our little trailer is becoming!

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Oh, yeah…. This is going to be nice!

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Oh, my….  Summer is moving way too quickly now; we’ll both be back at school in a week or two!

We greatly enjoyed a short, mid-week trip to the beach, and we checked out a few campgrounds while we were there.  First Landing State Park has a nice campground, and our favorite sites were beach side in area “D”:

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We also visited Holiday Trav-L Park near the resort area–and it was HUGE.  While I’d prefer to stay at First Landing, this place is open year-round.  Might not be a bad option for a late fall or early spring camping weekend when state parks aren’t open….

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The last campground we toured was Virginia Beach KOA.  While I wasn’t overly impressed with the campsites, the cabins were really cute.

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But back to work on the home front, this weekend Wayne put up the cross piece supports in the bathroom, and everything is so very sturdy!  Aside from figuring out how we want to secure the “Luggable Loo” when the trailer is moving, this area is just about done.  Still no firm plan regarding a door (eventually) or a curtain (short-term), but it looks nice.

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He also finished framing in the bed extension–just a few more things to do to have that ready!

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It was getting warm in the trailer, so I plugged in the fan, turned it on–and nothing happened.  Wayne reminded me that we weren’t plugged up to the house, but I honestly thought that the battery would power the outlets.  Wrong.  So this was my introduction to the reality of 12-volt battery power: it works with the 12-volt lights in the trailer, but it doesn’t work with things that aren’t 12-volt.  I seriously had no idea….  Looks like we might need to purchase a 12-volt fan for times when we might not have electrical hook-ups….

THEN I realized that the air mattress we’d bought last spring was going to be too tall for the bed platform.  Not only would it block the outlets on the back wall of the cabinets, it would also increase the odds of accidentally kicking out a window at night!  Not good…  SO not good that we returned it to the store Sunday afternoon and started pricing Memory Foam mattresses.  We haven’t placed an order yet, but I think that will be our next semi-major expenditure.  (Last week I ordered a spare tire and tire cover for the trailer.)

On the positive side, after returning the air mattress, we wound up at Lowes again (what weekend is complete without a trip there?) where we bought more wood screws, some dark wood putty and wood for the future dinette frame.  We also went to Michael’s, and I was simply astounded by the selection of ribbon–WOW!  Standing in the ribbon aisle with the full range of colors in front of me was similar to the feeling I get when I go to a greenhouse in early spring; I literally bask in the splendor of color energy!  So many choices, so much to choose from! VERY impressed!

I’m still thinking that I’ll try to do tie-back “bands” for the curtains using pieces of ribbon.  If it doesn’t work, I can always make them out of the pieces of fabric I have left.  I couldn’t decide which color of ribbon would look best, though, so I bought 3 different rolls.  I’m kind of leaning towards the green, just for the “accent” feature.  What do you think?

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Saturday, July 25th, actually started out with the letters “A.D.D.” as we weren’t really sure which way to jump first!  I need to make some sort of curtain “band” (not really a tie-back) so that I can gather each panel when we have the curtains open, but I haven’t decided on the best way (okay, the *quickest* way) to do this.  Ribbons with spots of Velcro might be the solution…

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Being indecisive about the curtain bands, I decided to turn my attention to the badly rusted bolts that stick out from the back of the trailer on which the spare tire will be mounted.  The nuts were absolutely rust-fused to the bolts, and previous (repeated) uses of WD-40 hadn’t done a thing.

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The sun was up high and it was HOT on that end of the trailer when I started on this project, so there I was–with my bandanna and hat and hacksaw and chisel–bent on creative destruction…

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But lo and behold, it worked!  Between sawing, spraying with WD-40 and a little light tapping with a chisel, they finally came off.

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Next I taped around each bolt and then taped plastic bags to the end of the trailer to use a different and more powerful “rust buster” product.  After spraying that on, letting it work for a while and then using a wire brush, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to get a spare tired mounted and secured to the bolts.  Yay!

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In the meantime, Wayne had made two cross pieces of wood to connect the walls of the “bathroom” for extra support.  Ultimately all of the things that are built will be connected, back to front.  My job was to stain the pieces before he put them in place:

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The main project over the last several days, however, has been the bed extension.  Wayne has done a lot of creative engineering to figure out the best way to do this, so that it offers plenty of strength and support, while still allowing access to the storage areas underneath:

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It’s exciting to see how much progress he’s made!

By 2:00 pm on Sunday, however, it was 90 degrees in the trailer and definitely time to take a break.  We thought about going to Lowes (to get more materials for the bed extension project) and to Michael’s (to check about ribbon for the curtain bands).  But then we also thought about the kayaks that we’d loaded onto the 4Runner early in the day….  Hmmm…..

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Decision made, we spent the rest of the hot, summer afternoon paddling around beautiful Beaver Creek Reservoir Park  🙂

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With full summer upon us, we’re still holding on to the hope of being able to use the trailer before the school year starts up again in mid-August.   Anything we can do to get “ready enough” for camping is a good thing at this point, and while some work may appear to be simply “cosmetic,” each thing we do helps us move towards the goal of “usability.”

Recent work: We closed up the space under the “bathroom” extension, using scrap pieces of Masonite.

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Since the metal frame of the trailer (that looks like a “baseboard”) is black, I painted the Masonite black and also gave the rest of the “baseboard” a fresh coat of paint.

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On Saturday, July 18th, we cut a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet (like what’s under the bed) to go inside of the “bathroom”.

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The floor in the front “dinette” area is quite uneven, so we decided that carpet would be our best bet there, too, as well as in the little storage space below the dinette. Ultimately, we’ll have benches and a table in the front, so the carpet will really only be visible under the table.

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On Sunday, July 19th, Wayne installed the thresholds and trim pieces.

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Looks very nice; we were quite pleased with the way this turned out!

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As we were working in the trailer on Sunday when it was so ridiculously hot and humid, we realized that we should have gotten the A/C built into the closet BEFORE it got so hot!  Talk about 20/20 hindsight…. Even with two fans running in the trailer, it got very, very uncomfortable by 2:00 p.m.; 93 degrees according to a meat thermometer!  By the time the temp hit 95 inside, we decided we’d baked long enough; in fact, we were quite “well done.”

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An hour at a local lake–simply standing in neck-deep water–helped immensely!

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When we got home, it wasn’t much cooler, but there were still some things we hoped to accomplish.  Wayne wanted to get some measurements for the bed extension (to make it a full double), and when we put the plywood pieces back on the support frame, we were surprised to discover that they no longer fit!  The addition of the marine hull liner fabric had added just enough thickness to the walls to change how the plywood pieces fit onto the platform.  Well darn!  This led to more measuring, cutting, and sanding, but finally the plywood slipped into place.

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As you can see in the picture above, the back yard has totally gotten away from us this summer since we’ve been so busy with other things–including working on the trailer.  With the overgrown bushes, tall grass and weeds, my mother would have said that it just looks “snaky.”  Well, given that Wayne saw a big blacksnake just outside the basement door Sunday morning, I guess that “snaky” is a fair and accurate description!  Yikes!

While he continued to work on the bed platform, I decided it would be in our mutual best interest for me to mow–at least in the areas where we’re most likely to be. Before taking on that task, however, I put the “Luggable Loo” (a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat on top) into the “bathroom.”  We’ll still have to find a good way to secure it (I’m thinking two small hooks on the wooden back wall with a bungee cord to hold it in place when the trailer is moving), but at least we know that there’s enough space for it.

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But really, having a porta-potty as the first thing you see when you open the door of the camper probably isn’t the best design plan–especially since we have no bathroom door in the works yet!  Aesthetics aside though, it’s a good place for it, because if we’d moved this towards the back of the trailer, just in front of the bed, the wheel well would have interfered.  Eh, we’ll figure out something….

So by the end of the long, hot evening–when we were both about as tired, sweaty and “fragrant” as we’d ever been–I’d succeeded in mowing the front yard and part of the back yard, and Wayne had cut out finger holes in the plywood to make it easier to lift the panels to access the storage space under the bed, plus he’d roughed in the board for the extension.

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There’s still more work to be done, but it’s exciting to know that we’re getting much closer to being “done enough” for our first camping trip in the Scamp!

Our first project of the weekend involved putting in the flooring.  On Saturday morning I primed the floor with a product called Henry Bond Enhancer for self-stick tile.  I bought a quart of it at Home Depot and had PLENTY left.  It dried much more quickly than I expected, and it left the floor surprisingly shiny.

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Saturday evening we got a little more than half of the 6″ x 48″ vinyl plank-style tiles in place, and we finished up on Sunday morning.  The reddish tones of the cherry flooring really work well with the deeper chestnut color of the cabinets.  Although the picture doesn’t really show how “rich” the color is, we’re VERY pleased with how it turned out!  (By the way, the drooping edge of carpet under the bed platform will be supported by the extension Wayne will build to make the bed 54″ wide; a full double.)

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After the flooring was in, Wayne put in a piece of rubber door seal under the threshold.  There had been a gap there, and the seal helped to close it up much better.

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We have some scrap pieces of Masonite that will be used to finish the area under the bathroom “closet” (straight ahead in the picture above).  Once that’s up, it will be painted black to match the baseboard–the metal frame that’s visible in the rest of the trailer.  We also talked about how to finish the bathroom (which in reality will just house a porta-potty).  The original plan was to use a curtain on a tension rod, but now that everything else is looking so good, I’m wondering about the feasibility of putting in a real door.  That might come later….

After getting this far (and since the day was heating up and getting VERY humid) we made a trip to Lowes to buy some paint for the baseboard, as well as another small piece of indoor/outdoor carpet like we have under the bed.  The carpet will go on the raised future dinette area in the front, and another piece will go in the small open storage space under the dinette.  While we were there, we went on and bought a threshold to bridge the vinyl and carpet on the floor, and a trim piece to come over the edge of the dinette area.

As soon as we got home (when it was only marginally cooler–but even MORE humid–and when the air was filled with hundreds of bloodthirsty mosquitoes), we started in on another challenging project: putting up the curtain rods.  The trailer apparently had curtain rods–and curtains–at some point, because there were patched, filled-in holes around each of the windows.  Wayne used a very thin, awl-like screwdriver from outside of the trailer to push through the holes, through the caulk (or whatever), and then through the insulation and the marine hull liner fabric.  It was a slow process, but ultimately we were able to get all of the curtain rods mounted.

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Next, I hung up all of the curtains that I MADE (!!) last week.  I hadn’t hemmed them and needed to see them in place before deciding how much to take them up.  The 2- or 3-inch hem that I anticipated will just be 1″.  But too cool; so glad I’m finally learning how to sew. 🙂

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So all in all, it was a really productive weekend, with big, bold positive changes!  We’ve still got a lot to do, but being “finished enough” to use the camper before the end of the summer is certainly getting closer to being a reality!

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We still need to put up the fabric strip seam covers to give the interior a finished look, but we’re so pleased to be ALMOST finished installing the marine hull liner on the walls.  What a nice difference!  I love the bright silver/gray fabric, and it looks really nice with the dark cabinets.

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Front driver’s side.

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Driver’s side upper cabinet.  (We’re still thinking of some sort of back splash in the lower section.)

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Curb side upper cabinet and closet. (Back splash will probably go in the lower section on this side, too.)

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Ceiling and front wall, looking towards the door.

In preparation for putting down the flooring as soon as we can, last night I went out to the trailer to try to remove some very old (years old…) tape that had been stuck on the floor for some unknown purpose.   For the first time we decided to connect the power cord to “shore power” (i.e. our house), and when we started to take out the 25 ft cord, we only got about 10 ft before it stopped.  We weren’t sure if the rv guy who did the electrical work put in a shorter cord or if it was tangled.  We still don’t know for sure because we have no access to the area under the driver’s side cabinet where the cord is stored, and the rv guy is out of the country until July 20th.  Bummer.  For now we can connect the trailer’s power cord to a heavy gauge extension cord, but ultimately we’ll need to cut a hole in the cabinet and put in a door.  (Add that project to the list…)

At any rate, it was the first time I’d been in the trailer at night with the lights on and I LOVED it!  I could really “see” how much we’ll enjoy using this before too long.  So cool!  This was my view from the floor:

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I mentioned “skill building” because I’m in the process of making curtains.  This statement is almost laughable.  Okay, it IS laughable.  I don’t sew (with a sewing machine), I don’t iron, I didn’t even own an iron until a few days ago, but I’m absolutely determined to learn how to sew this summer AND to make curtains for the Scamp.  Could I find someone to make them for me?  Yes, probably–but what fun would that be? 😉

Last spring (with trailer curtains in mind), I bought a “vintage” used Singer sewing machine from a woman who listed it on Craigslist.  After buying it, I took it to my classroom at school.  In addition to wanting to acquire sewing skills for myself, I want to be proficient enough by the end of the summer to be able to offer some machine-sewing art or craft projects for my students.

Yesterday morning I went over to school for Sewing 101.  One of my co-workers graciously helped me get the machine set up with the right color of thread, and with her (patient) assistance, I was ultimately able to sew some relatively straight seams on scraps of fabric.  Yay!  I wanted to practice some more, and shortly after she left things started getting really messed up.  Like REALLY messed up. After untangling the needle thread and bobbin thread several times (with no clue as to why anything was happening), I came home to regroup….

I decided to print out the entire online manual and suddenly things started to make a bit of sense:  “OH–okay, I need to tighten this!”  “Oh, this should be on THIS setting…”  Armed with more knowledge and heavy laden with my newly-purchased sewing accessories (pins, pin cushion, seam ripper, seam gauge, iron, ironing board, decorative fabric, liner fabric, etc.) I went back this morning–and my co-worker came over for a while to help again.  This time after she left, things continued to go alright.  And even when they didn’t, I understood why the thread broke or the bobbin tangled.  Knowledge is a good thing.

I would like to say that I whipped up all of the curtains for the trailer this afternoon.  Truth told, I barely got beyond cutting out the two “decorative fabric” panels for the rear window, ironing them, and stitching a narrow seam on the raw sides of each one.  I am certainly building skills, but it’s a painfully slow process!  Tomorrow I’ll probably try to cut the fabric that I’ll use as a liner, and see if I can get one set of curtains finished before midnight! 🙂

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(BTW, I’m saving all of the “scrap” pieces of the decorative fabric–it would make a pretty quilt for the trailer!)