Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trailer Talk Whatever Day: Table Top Makeover

It's Trailer Talk-Day!  I plan to have these up on Tuesdays, but life gets in the way sometimes.  Last week there wasn't much to report on Jolene, our 1967 PlayMor camper that we are renovating--just more goo-removal.  This week we're 99% done and ready to do some final clean up and paint.  To take a break from the monotony, I thought I would do one of the little interior projects and do a refresh on the dinette tabletop.

This is what we started with:

The formica was stained and scratched and the hinges were a little worse for wear, too.  We unscrewed it from the wall of the camper and removed the hinges.  They got a couple of coats of my favorite spray paint:  

Oil Rubbed Bronze

Then I got busy painting the table top.  I taped it off and applied several light layers of Sherwin Williams 6783-Amalfi.  This color is one I'm planning on using as an accent color on the exterior of the camper.

After the paint had dried and cured for a couple of days, I brought the table into the garage and started the fun part.

The Adventure print is a free printable I found at

Free art is the best!

The vintage looking postcards are from a set I bought from this cool online shop, Anderson Design.
Check out this cool store!

Mister and I chose our top 12 bucket list national parks that we want to visit and I arranged those cards around the adventure printable.

After I had them placed and tacked down with a little bit of glue, I got to work mixing up what will make this table top functional:  bar-top resin.

This is the part where I tell you how to not make the same mistakes I did.  
  • Plan for more resin than you think you will need.  I thought two boxes would be enough.  It wasn't.  
  • I thought the gloves were fine for the mixing part.  WEAR THEM THE WHOLE TIME.  Resin is crazy hard to get off your hands.  Trust me on this.  
  • Find a level place to do the pouring.  Don't trust your eyes--use a level before you start pouring.  It will make your project SO much easier if you do these three things.

If you want a great tutorial on mixing the resin and pouring it, this happy little gal has a good one:

After mixing the resin in my handy Rudy's BBQ cups and stirring them for the required time, I poured the resin over the cards and smoothed it out.  I turned the heat gun on low and passed it over the table top to make sure any bubbles popped.  

All looked great until I realized that my garage floor is not level--it slopes just a little.  Because the postcards weren't completely glued to the table, they started to float--swimming, as it were, in a pool of resin.  I used a popsicle stick to move them back into position, several times, and waited for the resin to set up enough so they wouldn't move anymore.  The cute gal in the video actually leveled her trailer and then poured her tabletop in place. That sounds like a good idea, but resin can run off the edges, so, you have to be ready for that, too.

Anyway, I thought all was good and ran over to watch little sis cheer at a football game.  When I came back two rogue cards had turned almost 90 degrees and were fairly stuck in place by that time.  I was able to move them, but it left a couple of low spots in the resin from where I had to scoot them back as close as I could to their original position, without tearing them.  

I love the glossiness of the table and I think one more coat to fill in the low spots will fix those problems.  The cards on the right side aren't in perfect alignment, but not much on Jolene is in perfect alignment, so, I'm okay with that.  While I was working on this tabletop, I was listening to the Cool Tools podcast and they were interviewing Adam Savage, host of Mythbusters.
cool tools podcast

At some point in the discussion, Adam brought up the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi, which sees beauty as "imperfect, impermanent and incomplete."  How freeing that would be to so many people, (including me) if we could see the beauty in what was already there.  Our goal should be to just try to make it as good as it can be and perfection gets in the way of all that.

This little tabletop is a prime example of that.  I've never used resin before but have always been curious about it.  I did a lot of research about it, but nothing I ever read said anything about paper floating in resin.  Live and learn!  I love trying new crafts and using new gadgets and this renovation of Jolene is tailor made for that.  The new tabletop brings in color that will tie in to the exterior paint job and also provides a place to display art.  There isn't much wall space in a little camper and I love that these beautiful postcards and Adventure printable are a part of the camper now. 

Renovating Jolene is an adventure--hope you're finding adventure in your world, too!

I'll leave you with this awesome youtube video.  Someone took Dolly's original recording of Jolene and slowed it down to 33 rpm.  It gives me chillbumps and even Dolly said it made her smile.

*Some affiliate links are used in this post at no extra cost to you. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Trailer Talk Tuesday: Community Edition

Hello!  It's Trailer Talk Tuesday again, where I share our progress on Jolene, our 1967 Play-Mor 140 camper.  I am proud to say (cue drumroll), that we have finally removed all the paint from her exterior and are almost done removing all the silicone, tar and various sticky stuff the previous owners used to prevent leaks.  The final process we came up with to get the tape and tar residue off is:
  • Cuss a little
  • Use the heat gun to heat up the vinyl and pull it off
  • Cuss a little more when you see how much sticky stuff there is.
  • Use the heat gun again to heat the residue and scrape off what you can.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Heat it up one more time and use a shop rag to wipe off the final bit.  
It really feels like it takes about 30 minutes per foot, so, it's been a slow go since we have limited time to work on it.  But we're in the final stages of this process and we've been checking out what to do about the trim.  Some of it looks a little rough, but we can't decide whether removing it will bring more trouble than it's worth. 

Here's where the community comes in.  There are so many cool vintage camper groups on Facebook. They freely share photos, tips, ideas, and advice for newbies like me.

  Here are some of my favorites:
PlayMor Vintage Campers
This group is very specific to PlayMor campers like Jolene.  It's been a great source for pictures of PlayMors, since there aren't that many of them out there on the internet.  I've had lots of questions answered and they've pointed me to different sources for vintage camper parts and trim.

Shasta Glampers in the Know
This group is for people who own the 2015 Shasta Airflyte Reissues, like our Sundance.  There were some warranty issues with these when they first came out and this group was absolutely the reason those problems have been dealt with by the manufacturer.  They are a fun group and share camping photos and tips, as well as different ways they've tricked out their darling Shastas.

Retro Shasta Airflyte

This facebook group is all about fun photos.  Some are Shastas, but there are lots of photos of Airstreams and other brands of vintage campers.

Canned Ham Vintage Trailers
This is a great page where people share photos of their "canned ham" vintage campers.

Vintage Camper Trailers

Vintage Camper Trailers  is a great source of information about rallies and vintage campers for sale.  I like these posts because a lot of the for sale photos show before and after shots.  Lots of good ideas!

Instagram is also a fun source of vintage camper eye candy!  Some of my favorite feeds are:

These are all just lovely feeds to read through when you're stuck at your desk and need a break from the indoors.  

Some of the great parts websites I've been pointed to by the vintage camper community are:
Tear Drop Fix-it-Shop
They have a wide variety of trim and mouldings, as well as great photos of these cool little tear-drop trailers.

National Serro Scotty Organization
Not a commerce site, but they have links to a lot of resource websites.  And cool pics.
This site is an absolute jewel.  Great resources on parts, information for DIYers, completely restored campers for sale and lots of lovely photographs.

Well, friends, next week, I hope to have some lovely photographs of my own.  Until then, have a great week and happy camping!

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Gift of Grace

Grace is the unearned, unmerited love of God 
that meets us where we are
and takes us where we need to be. 
And it is messy, thank God, because we are messy.

The flat plain of our everyday lives, the unchanging horizon of the plan we think is our purpose starts out straightforward.  But little by little, decisions made and actions taken and opportunities not seen reveal valleys and canyons that we didn’t know were there.  We stumble and fall and long to be back up on level ground, where we know what is around us and can see what lies ahead. 

God sees us in the low places and His grace will lead us back to a more level field.  Where we can catch our breath and reflect back on where we have been.  Where we can look around and thank Him for leading us out of that valley of shadows and back to greener pastures and still waters.  He restores our soul and through the messy road we’ve been traveling, He moves us to a path of righteousness, for His name’s sake.

But that’s not the end of the road.  He has met us there and is leading us to new heights.  The mountains and hills that burst into song for Him are waiting for us.  For His ways are higher than our ways and He will accomplish what He pleases and He will have mercy on those who return to His ways.  Though we were blind, now we see that this gift of grace is all that matters. 

Let us be quick to share that same grace with others.  Let us forgive and forget and remember our own stories of when God’s grace covered our lives and led us out of dark places.  Let us take someone’s hand and not say a word but just show that we love.  Because He first loved us—unearned, unmerited, undeserved, freely given Love.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Be Brave Saturday: Doubt and Dreams

The open road.  It will always call to me--the freedom from the everyday and the freedom for a new day of people and places never seen before.  With a map to our destination, we prepare for the trip and what we will find when we arrive.  But we always find the most important thing at the end of the road--ourselves.  Our true selves, with all the excess stripped away and just the bare requirements we need to live the adventure we dreamed of.

But back at home, we are not as free.  We hold our dreams so tightly, wanting to keep them close, in the light of today. We doubt tomorrow because we only trust the right now.  But it's in the dim haze ahead, on that open road, that those dreams flourish and grow. 

What are your dreams, friends? What map are you drawing that will lead you to your true self?  What brave thing will you do TODAY to make your dreams come true tomorrow?