Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back in the Studio

Remember how I used to actually create art?  The only studio time I've spent for quite a while is for jewelry, and not much of that. And of course the grand distraction of a canned ham, Miss Lil Stella, didn't help.  But I spent most of last weekend in the studio (too hot to go outside, that helped).  I gave myself a motivational kick in the butt by committing to participate in a Vintage show in November called Noel that I did a few years ago. I can sell vintage items, on their own or re-purposed, and vintage art. 

The piece above is the back half of an old studio reel box. I've had it for a long time, but it had never occurred to me until now that I can do something with the bottom and the top separately, that I didn't have to keep them together. I've never gotten myself to do anything with the top because it's covered in wonderful old stickers and stamps from being mailed around so I haven't had the heart to cover them with anything.  These are image transfers from copies of my originals, which I then repainted with the white glossy paint. I had a lot of fun with these.

The other items I finished I'm really excited about. I had found a couple of old metal receipt pad holders, I think that's what they are anyway. I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I just liked them. Once I finally figured out how to open them up (leverage and some muscle!) I immediately thought refillable art journals!  

I did an image transfer on the front and back of this one as the metal was really pitted, and added the rusty trim. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sell this one.

I filled it with really beautiful watercolor paper that I tore into pieces from a large sheet.

This is the back of it.

This one is larger and the metal was in better shape. And I really liked those raised ridges so I decided not to cover it. But I had this old rusty leaf that I've saved for years that fit it perfectly, and added some metal trim and doo dads at the side.

This is a necklace I made that I realized I had never posted a picture of. 

Earlier in August we took Lil Stella camping to Santa Cruz for 4 days. Here she is in action.

This is the famous tree at Big Sur, I've probably posted a picture of this before.

Hubby and Guinness at one of our favorite little restaurants in Bodega Bay.

 The view from a house we stayed at with family at Dillon Beach, later in the week. 

Looking at these pictures is making me long for those cool ocean breezes!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Final Canned Ham Post

I'm a terrible photographer, I forgot to take pictures while we were camping, except for this messy one. But you get the idea.... It was a lovely mountain spot, hotter than one wants to be while camping, but still fun. 

I took some inside shots after we got back, these'll be the last I subject you to!

Below is the French piece that was my color inspiration for the whole project.

My friend Val just made me some pillows for the trailer for my birthday, aren't they gorgeous?  The canvas fabric is made from the original hammocks that were used for she and her brother to sleep on when they were little. One was over the main bed and one over the table and they slid in and out. The fabric has aged wonderfully into a creamy yellow.

I needed to do something with the inside of the door, the wood had some water staining and I really didn't like the color. I was going to re-stain it and maybe stencil the same pattern from the pillows onto it somewhere, maybe in a bottom corner.

However Mario felt strongly that he would rather NOT have it stenciled, and we liked it so much better after it was just re-stained that I gave up that fight.

I did do some painting on the reclaimed wood step he'd made though, so that satisfied the urge to paint somewhat.

I also finished a couple of necklaces that I'd started a while back.

This one has a favorite picture of my Claymore, it's somehow comforting to wear him around my neck. I had done something to the picture in Photoshop called posterizing, and I loved how it came out.

 This one I made for my friend Val for HER birthday (we like to make each other gifts), from a copy of a painting I had made for her of her beloved dog that she had lost. I've made one of these for my Mom as well, I seem to be specializing in lost pet memorial necklaces lately.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Meet Lil Stella

Well, almost 6 weeks later, we got her back and it was worth the wait. They did such great work, made us a custom rock guard and some other things that were really above and beyond. Her name is Lil Stella, which is my two Grandmothers names, both of whom gave me such wonderful camping memories growing up. I thought I'd share a few pictures from my camping youth in dedication to them.

This is Grandma Stella fishing, which she loved so much (once my Grandpa managed to talk her into trying it!).  We usually camped at Eagle Lake, which has amazing trout. My younger brother and sister and I are below in our tent there.

 This is my Grandma Lil, with me and my sister Michelle in front of the Prowler.  So many happy memories camping all over California in that 5th Wheel with she and our Grandpa.

We're going camping next weekend, I'll post my final "after" pics then as I haven't had a chance to get the inside back in order. It's been well over a hundred degrees here for the last few days - it was like an oven in there.

I have almost no art to show for myself, although I did complete one necklace, below, and started more this past weekend. I used to make mosaics, and still have tubs of broken vintage dishes, and I had the idea to do a tiny mosaic inside of a bezel. 

We also were doing yard work in preparation for getting the trailer back, as our backyard had become a construction zone.

Here's the yard spruced up and ready for Lil Stella to come home.

And lastly, I'd been very focused on caring for our 11 year old Basset Hound Claymore, who most of you have seen before in prior posts.  He'd been rapidly declining for a while and we lost him a couple of weeks ago.  I don't need to say more about how hard it's been, any of you dog lovers out there understand, but I wanted to post a last picture of my precious boy, doing one of his favorite things.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ready or Not - Vintage Trailer Rally

We signed up for a vintage trailer rally months ago (you have to sign up right away to even get into them) and we assumed we'd be all done by then.  Well, unforeseen issues and a very wet winter meant that up until the last minute we weren't even sure we'd be able to pull her, much less have her completely done.  But we'd paid our money and weren't getting it back, and I'm a stubborn girl, so we went.  We had the rock guard in front taped down so it wouldn't rattle around, and there are bungee cords around the propane tank, and clearly she needs a paint job - hubby said we looked distinctly Beverley Hillbillies, but I was still excited to actually be camping in her (in spite of the fact that we hooked the water up and it began pouring out from under the sink - no running water for us!)

A Vintage Trailer Rally is essentially a bunch of vintage trailer owners camping together, touring each other's trailers, and having events like potlucks, and in our case a Mexican street party with a Mariachi band, Food Trucks and a Pinata making contest. Everyone was SO nice, and so happy to offer info, and knowledge and talk about their trailers.

Many people have vintage vehicles as well.

This event took place near Bodega Bay, so we spent one day at the beach.

Mario can't resist meeting new dogs - especially such a handsome bulldog.

This was an amazing lion we saw on the way, and had to stop and take pictures.

We're taking canned ham to be painted Saturday - not sure how long they have to have her, but once it's all done I'll take some final "after" pics - I can't wait!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Curtains and Faucet and Floor - Oh My!

It's been a productive couple of weekends on the Canned Ham front, at least in terms of work on the inside.  Electrical issues have prevented us from verifying we can actually pull it yet, however!  But - back to what I CAN control...  Last weekend curtains were finished and hung, and the new faucet installed. 

The curtains are all from old grain sacks, except the one over the sink, as it's too long, so I used the upholstery fabric there. The faucet - you wouldn't believe how exciting to have that installed!  The old one was a little nasty pitted thing that no longer turned, but we weren't sure we were going to be able to replace it. I had hopefully bought a replacement I loved, but was afraid I was dreaming. My poor hubby spent most of a weekend trying to remove the old one (crusted into place for more than 50 years) - by having to awkwardly reach underneath and around the sink where he couldn't see what he was doing, with his head shoved at a crazy angle against the counter. After multiple trips to Home Depot for different kinds of wrenches and lots of frustration, he finally got it off.  Then we had to figure out how to make the new one work.  When it was finally installed and water came out of it, I felt like crying with joy.

All that over this little thing, but I've never loved a faucet so much!  This last weekend, while my poor husband spent hours trying to figure out our electrical issue, I installed a new floor. Here's the original- pitted, cracked hideous old linoleum.

  And here's the after.  Not traditional for a vintage trailer, for sure, but then again that ship sailed long ago!  I love it, and it should hold up really well against dog nails etc.

During a rain break I was trying to get my studio a little organized, it was like a jewelry supply bomb went off in there.  I started thinking that it'd be nice to have a travel art kit to keep in the trailer, and I couldn't resist making it one with some character, as god knows I've got the supplies sitting around. I used the container from an old spice tin set - I just took out the little individual tins that I keep buttons and things in.  

  An old watercolor tin and a couple of old Lucky Strike cigarette tins fit perfectly.

It was fun to put together - we'll see if I actually use it!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Saga of the Seats

I think it was 2 posts ago that I said I was finally getting my seats from the trailer back from the upholsterer that day.  Then it was going to be the next day.  And then I couldn't get hold of him for over 3 WEEKS! He's been going through a lot of drama so at first I wasn't too worried, but then when he continued not returning calls I really started wondering if I'd ever see my seats again. I finally tracked down his home address and left a note on his door.  He called the next day and what a relief that was.  Another week of telling me every day that I'd get them the next day, he finally delivered them to my house last Friday.  What a relief, and he did such a good job too, I gotta say I was worried the right fabric would even be on them at that point!

Below is what they looked like before - I kept them the same style, with the combination of leather and fabric, but I can honestly say I don't miss that orange and brown!

We also replaced the paneling next to the seats in front (under the big window in the top picture) with one of the aluminum panels we replaced from the top of the trailer. We turned it around and used the back of it and I really like how it turned out.

From that same piece of old aluminum I had Mario cut out the original faded Aloha logo. That's the brand of this trailer - the company was originally located in Aloha Oregon. I decided to frame it along with the original receipt for the trailer from 1962 and a picture of my friend Val and her brother in front of the trailer and their old car when they were little - such a precious picture. I covered the frame in leftover wood from the inside paneling I did and will hang it in there. I just love having this history of our trailer.

Monday, February 27, 2017


I finally have something exciting to show you on the trailer!  One of the first things I knew I wanted to do was put reclaimed wood on at least part of the walls. I've had the wood for months and it's the part of the design that I've been most excited about doing - and it's done!  

We still need to put up trim at the top, but aside from that this part of the project is done - what a good feeling to make progress that is actually visually exciting.  As good as it felt to get the roof done, there was never this kind of moment where you step back and say "WHAT a difference".  Here's a "before" picture.

 This is the other side. I love these old porcelain lights we got on our trip to Murphy's last Fall - something else I've been really excited about having installed, and I just love them against the wood.

I've gotten a little jewelry made as well, still having fun with it. 

 And lastly, a couple of weeks ago I was visiting my parents a couple of hours North and we had a break in rain and took a drive to see a waterfall and the Shasta Dam, which fortunately isn't having any issues like the Oroville Dam is a few hours South. Thought I'd share a few pics.

Such a gorgeous valley, but not sure I'd want to live directly beneath the dam - standing in the same spot for these two pics - just taken at different angles!

The whole valley would be under water if it broke - but still, looking at it standing over you every day....  It's been a long time since water has needed to be released from the dam like this.

SO much water flowing down from the mountains, with all the rain we've had.