Monday, May 15, 2017

Our Custom Camper, Part 2

Update: DO NOT BUY from Paradise Coast RV aka Ted Simpson. At delivery in October 2015 (2 years AFTER the 10/13 promised delivery date), we received a non-insulated incomplete camper that was totalled by our insurance company and we have been completing ourselves ever since.

Well, our camper manufacturer didn't honor their committed timeframe...2 years later and we had a shell of a camper that leaked and had water damage to the interior woodwork, zero insulation to boot!

Fortunately, we've a very talented craftsman friend, Allen, who was up to the task with hubs Scott working alongside him. We've been at it since picking it up in the fall of 2015, and started the work in spring of 2016. We've worked from the belly up once the gentlemen made it airtight, starting with reconfiguring the dinette (it was too deep, dug into the backs of your knees and your back never touched the cushions), adding walls, completing the back bedroom and bath, figuring out EVERY SINGLE WIRE AND PLUMBING COMPONENT. Good thing Allen used to RV! The kitchen was built from scratch, Allen is currently building the cabinet fronts, our sink and stove are in! The laminate for the kitchen countertop and dinette table are going in this weekend, soooo excited! We still need to build a larger bath vanity which will hold a vessel sink and more storage space, as well as narrow overhead cabinets. Our last items will include recovering/reconfiguring the dinette and jackknife sofa cushions (can't decide on the naugahyde - stay with the cream, navy, aqua?)?? I've been working on creating decorative pillow covers, custom pillowcases for the kids, and curtains that are double-sided so that they can be viewed outside as well, lined with blackout fabric (photos coming soon).

Monday, July 6, 2015

Colorful Playground Upcycling Project

I wanted to share my playground upcycling project, and, if you've ever been afraid of color, here's an impetus...did you know Benjamin Moore will make up STAIN in ANY color? That's right, ANY color. Choose from one of their swatches, or color match another! I thought this was true JUST for PAINT! Thanks a ton to the helpful Solon Hardware paint expert!
We snapped up an older redwood Rainbow play system (guessing 12 years old) on Craigslist, disassembled in 3 pieces and carted it home with 2 trucks. We scrubbed it up, filled in the carpenter bee holes and a few cracks, and re-stained.We also spray painted the ropes and metal bars. The ropes are still in good, just badly faded condition, but can be replaced later.
 We went with Benjamin Moore's Arborcoat in strawberry shortcake (2000-40), tropicana cabana (2048-50), and snowcone green (2026-30)! 

I will also be adding huge vinyl polka dots with my Silhouette Cameo to the tire swing, and also planning to add red laminate short curtains, per little girl's request, on a tension rod right below the sunburst. We also painted Ikea stools to look like toadstools, as inspired by another Pinterest post.

Added a Glider and Swing

Little O requested a PINK swing, so considering this playground was her birthday gift, I started my usual relentless internet hunt to find it, and I did! has every imaginable accessory you might need for your playground update, including the pink swing and a  yellow glider. I bought ours with chains and clips, but they can also be purchased separately. Our playground came with a baby swing, perfect to bring out when a little one comes over to play. We haven't mulched under the playground yet, as we needed to first level the area as we have very little in the way of FLAT in our yard. We purposely looked for the fort style playground as it was designed for not so level yards, which definitely was a plus. Notice, too, that we have a downed tree; I called the power company in a panic as a windstorm took down that tree and it very politely landed in the fork of another tree. They immediately took it down (but left the mess for us to clear) much to our relief before it took out the playground. Whew! We also need to do some touchups with the pink stain. When we stained, it was during a very rainy period. Though we worked on it in the garage, there was lots of moisture in the air. So, not sure if if was that or the fact that the wood was very dried out as we don't believe the playground was ever restained. We did all the prep work of sanding and dusting, removed all the footholds, and did 3 coats of stain allowing it to dry 24 hours between coats. Fortunately, we have some pink left to do the job, no biggie.

Disassembly/Assembly Tips

When we picked up, we took an engineer friend with us to help us figure out how to take apart, plus a truck and an SUV pulling a small trailer. We needed both. 3-4 reasonably strong people lol. We could have had the retailer do all this disassembly/reassembly, but it is quite costly. So we did it ourselves as we have always been the DIY'ers, why change now? You will definitely want 4 for assembly to get that platform and roof back up there, trust me. Socket wrenches, 1/2" and 9/16" plus screwdrivers. Here is how we broke it down: (1) the roof was one piece we removed, (2) the swing arm/leg (which crosses over the platform and holds the chin up bar), (3) the slide, (4) the rock wall, (5) the rope ladder/arm, (6) double set of steps, and (7) the deck.

When we stained, we found the job easier having it in these pieces since we were doing multiple colors, and also opted to remove hardware such as the rocks and grab bars, and also the railings from the deck. These were easy to remove and put back on.

We also replaced a few of the large bolts easily at Home Depot, especially the bent bolt from my backing over the playground not once, but twice lol. The hubs has a bad habit of leaving things too close to the driveway, and, well, I tend to go over the driveway when backing up. Blame both of us...

For the assembly, my husband and I (yeah, just the 2 of us....more on that) (1) put the deck on its side and attached the rock wall. Doing it over, we should have first attached the double ladders, as they are lighter (and heavy was what we were trying to avoid, DUH). (2) Then we had to hold up the platform (we stuck a short stepladder under it to support it) while we attached the double ladder to the other side. Note: this is too difficult for 2 people...remember I mentioned 3-4? You need 3-4. Precisely why the hubs and I could not flip it into standing position, so we needed to wait to complete the assembly. Once we had the friends, flip the thing over, position the slide to make sure you have enough clearance, same for swing arm, and then check to make sure it's level. Plan to dig. (3) Reattached railings. (4) Attach swing arm/leg (had to dig this out to level). (5) Attached the roof. (6) Attached slide. (7) Attached rope ladder arm. (8) Added telescope and swings.

Save some stain as all the shifting into position will cause some scraping so I did some stain touch ups. Done! Woo hoo!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Custom Camper

Update: DO NOT BUY from Paradise Coast RV aka Ted Simpson. At delivery in October 2015 (2 years AFTER the 10/13 promised delivery date), we received a non-insulated incomplete camper that was totalled by our insurance company and we have been completing ourselves ever since.

As many of my family and friends know, we've been anticipating the arrival of our custom "canned ham" style camper, made by Paradise Coast RV in Benton Harbor, MI. She's nearly done! Each time we head to Michigan, we visit Silver Beach and it's carousel, the Silver Beach Carousel, which as  you can see, our little O greatly enjoys! We also have to fit in a visit to Silver Beach Pizza, right across from the carousel, as they have one of the yummiest thin crust pizzas out there. We love to stay at The Boulevard Inn, right on the bluff in St. Joseph, overlooking Silver Beach and Lake Michigan with its lovely view and lighthouse. The Boulevard Inn has a wonderful breakfast buffet in its dining room overlooking the lake, with a great staff. The rooms, many with a lake view which we prefer, all feature kitchenettes and the beds are very comfortable. For quaintness, visiting St. Joseph and Benton Harbor can't be beat.

Almost There

Our 24' Paradise Coast RV is almost there! Pretty, isn't she? We had a custom aqua stripe done, instead of the dove grey, which is also very elegant. My color scheme is aqua, poppy red, sand, and coral.

Here are closeups of a 17' foot model similar to ours, also featuring the aqua stripe with the same cream leatherette cushions we chose. Our daughter is peeking inside. I love the styling of the old-fashioned crank louvered windows, click here for an "open view," surrounding the u-dinette (5 surround our dinette). I'm also pleased with the door with its screen which can be separately closed and there is a bumper for the door on the camper. My one design challenge will be in deciding how to affix a curtain to the door should I decide to.


While the 17' shown here has the same cushions we've chosen to go with, our floor is the standard off-white mildew resistant flooring, with a silver-speckled laminate table, ledge, and kitchen countertop with the chrome surround. Unlike the cherry paneling shown here, for interest I chose to contrast hickory paneling with cherry-stained maple base cabinetry and natural maple cabinet fronts. Aren't the windows amazing?

The u-dinette area with its surround of upper cabinets, sleeps 2 with a jack-knife sofa flanking it that sleeps 1-2. We are the first to order a 24'. The rear bunkhouse (see our 24' floor plan here) features a mini-dinette that also sleeps 1, another jack-knife sofa sleeping 1-2, with single upper bunks each sleeping 1 above both, for a total sleeping area up to 9.

Across from the kitchen which includes a larger refrigerator topped with a microwave, sink, and pantry or closet lined with cedar, are two separate bathrooms, also a customization. One bathroom houses a toilet while the other houses the sink and mini tub/shower. With a family of 5, we hope to avoid hogging the bathroom when another family member needs the other facility.

The Color Scheme

Above is my color scheme, which I'm so excited about! I'm currently working on all the curtains, which will be hung from rustic and durable curtain rods made from plumbing pipe. The main fabric is the Ivon navy/aqua/white geometric cascade print with the Lalo poppy red/aqua/white overlapping "shells" for the curtain tiebacks (as well as the reverse for the bunkhouse privacy curtain). I will be making a bunch of pillows for the dinettes, sofas, and bunks, from all the other Premier Prints fabrics shown. Most of the fabrics are outdoor fabrics for extra durability and longevity; they are rated for 1,000 hours of direct sun exposure! Once we have the camper, I will be making "cushion wraps" in the coral Gotcha print, not available in an outdoor print, to protect the cushions some. They will cover approximately 2/3 in the center. I think it will be a striking accent as well. Our sand/white cabana stripe duvet is from Pottery Barn, as well as the kid's pool stripe duvets from Pottery Barn Teen (these were on sale at an awesome price). Our two oldest have surfboard themed sheets, one in brights, the other in girly pastels, while the youngest has a little girl playing in the sand theme, also from Pottery Barn Teen and Pottery Barn Kids. Our melamine nonbreakable dishes and acrylic cups are from the Rope outdoor dinnerware line from Pottery Barn. I especially love the fish platter and the starfish bowls! Love them! They are no longer available, so you will have to hunt on ebay! The clear-and smooth-handled, "sea glass look" Jelli flatware is from Crate and Barrel. One of my favorite finds that I collected were the six 1960s Hazel Atlas milk glass coffee cups - I found 2 pink, 2 aqua, 1 yellow, and 1 green. Not yet bought are the cabinet knobs, aren't these sea glass knobs darling? They are from an Etsy shop, the owner of which lives very close to me! Or, should I go with these milk glass 1960 reproductions? Choices! I'd also like to add "stick-on" mosaic tiles as a backsplash in the kitchen, they are gel-filled and lightweight.

I have much sewing to do between now and our road trip down to Florida to visit the grandparents during Winter Break! Stay tuned for more installments on our camper once we pick 'er up!

My Sources

If you'd like to take a look at my sources, visit my Pinterest boards called Glamping, Glamping Decor, Glamping Organization, and Glamping RV Resorts, Parks, and Campgrounds.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

La Rue Royale Apron, Size 3T

La Rue Royale Apron Pattern by Joy Stallard of Snazziedrawers, sewn by Hedy Laverdiere, Little O Joy's La Rue Royale Apron pattern is just darling! It is also very versatile and sure to delight any little girl that wears it!

Joy's patterns are all very thorough and detailed, with instructions that will please both the novice and experienced seamstress. The instructions are written for finished seams for a lovely result, no serger needed. Of course, the pattern directions can be modified to use a serger as well. Darling details include the lightly gathered halter straps and ruffles galore! The pattern can be purchased with an included applique, or add the lemonade graphics option, or for both, in a package. I embellised the bodice with some pre-done princess and frog appliques from JoAnn's, as well as floral and cupcake buttons. Fabrics used include white Kona cotton, red gingham, and Michael Miller lime dot, all from from Fabric.com I also added some specialty stitches and grosgrain ribbons in red/white and pink dot.

The photo below also shows the Sugar on Top Chef Hat, from Kelly at Sewing in No Man's Land
 Stay tuned for more sewing tutorials and reviews! Hope you've enjoyed viewing this darling La Rue Royale apron from Snazziedrawers!

Hedy Laverdiere

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bumblebee Dress Pattern Test, Size 3M

Pattern by Sewing Mama RaeAnna Goss, sewn by Hedy Laverdiere, Little O
Well, here I am. Finally. I have been wanting to start a sewing, crafting, decorating blog for quite some time now. As per my usual, I go full tilt and so, I am doing my very first blog post on a pattern test I did last week. And yes, I really do most of my sewing at midnight :)

First, a little about me. I am a wife to Scott and mom to 3 - Kayla (1994), Jakob (1997), and Olivia (2010). Yes, the dates are correct! Life is full of joyful surprises! I am a technology, reading, and library teacher by day, crafter by night, and creative through and through. It's how I roll. My mom always thought I'd be a writer, lol, so here I am, mom! I have a little shop named after our little muse, our daughter Olivia, Little O, as well. Years ago, when the other two were small, I had another shop, Whimzzz - Fun Coats for Kids. I have been sewing for more than 33 years and designing since I fashioned Barbie dresses from Kleenex and scarves since I was 7. I am Christian, and live in a quaint semi-rural town in Northeast Ohio. I hope you enjoy my first post and come back for many more tutorials! So, let's get this party started . . .

Bumblebee Dress Size 3M Pattern Test by Hedy Laverdiere, Little O
For fun, I signed on to do a pattern test of Sewing Mama RaeAnna's very first pattern. She is a lovely lady, so fun to work with! This pattern is amazingly versatile; the other pattern testers and I took such delight in viewing everyone's creations!

Pattern Cut changes
I laid the pattern out on 1 yard of pre-washed fabric (43/44”) with standard half fold. Fabric is Riley Blake Designs Remember Main Blue and the Navy Polka Medium Dot basic. My test dress used coordinating fabric for both the front bodice ruffle and sleeve ruffle, however, to test the yardage, I laid out all pieces (including hand-traced ruffle pieces per measurements) on the yard.

The sleeve can be cut in one of two ways, either cut on fold from remaining rectangle of fabric or traced out as 1 pattern piece to cut 2.

Sewing Steps
No changes for Steps 1-14 of the original pattern directions. Sewing order of operations process changed from Step 15 forward (follows industrial process I learned when learning to use my serger, and European methods from my experience sewing Burda and Ottobre children’s patterns). Benefits are that sewing is in the flat, easier to sew children’s small arm openings and precisely match seams. A complete front and back will be created, and then put together.

Step 12
Carefully pin the ruffle up to keep away from seam edges. Keeping front sides together of bodice and lining, sew side seams together.
Bodice front and lining

Step 19
Stitch armhole for each sleeve slowly ensuring curve of sleeve is sewn.

View of bodice. Sleeves and bottom will be sewn together later. Carefully pin the bottom edges of sleeve up on each side to avoid catching in the bodice seam. Looking cute!

Step 20
Sew a basting stitch at the top of the skirt for each skirt piece. Gather and the basting stitch to match the bodice front. With right sides together, pin and stich one skirt to the bodice front.
For the back of the dress, overlap one open edge over the other by 1” and pin. With right sides together, pin and stich the other skirt to the bodice back.

Step 21
Almost done! If desired, topstitch the skirt front, then topstitch the skirt back. 
Step 22
Flip the back of the dress over the front of the dress so that right sides are together. Pin the sleeves, armholes, and skirt, carefully matching seams.

Closeup of sleeve

Step 23
Stitch one side together (TIP: if using a serger, start at the skirt bottom to prevent shifting when sewing armhole and sleeve seams; this way, the fabric is nicely moving along under the serger foot). Repeat for the other side.

Step 24  (Optional)
If you stitched with a serger, to hide the serged sleeve edge, add a short line of stitching to the left of the serged seam for each sleeve.

Step 25
Fold the bottom of the hem up ¼” and press. Fold another ¼” and press. Sew close to the fold to hem the bottom of the skirt. Press the finished hem.

View of nearly complete dress 
A closure is needed for the back of the dress.
Now is also a great time to add any extra embellishing the dress is calling you to do: pockets, ric rac, trim or ribbon, decorative buttons. Since a little one starts putting everything in their little mouths, I opted to not go with any buttons on the front.

Step 26
Add a button or snap closure of your choice to the bodice back!
Here, 1” of decorative elastic and a small button. Add as many, or few, as you like! I did just one, to keep it simple for little one's mama!

Fold the elastic wrong sides together and stitch to lining approximately ½” in from edge. Stitch back and forth to secure.

On other side beginning 1” from edge, use buttonhole stitch to secure a button.

View of button closure

The Bumblebee Dress is complete!
And here it is, my version of the Bumblebee Dress modeled by my friend's little girl, just turned 3 months! Isn't she a doll baby!?  The pleated headband tutorial is by Craftiness is not Optional, just darling!
Make sure all your seams and creases are pressed and ironed out nicely! You can customize the skirt to be shorter for a tunic or top over some cute leggings or ruffle pants! Add a monogram to the bodice for stunning look! And maybe play around with contrasting fabrics! I would love to see your creations! Send your pictures or questions to the pattern designer, RaeAnna Goss at! 
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Come back for more!
Hedy Laverdiere
Little O