A family on the road living fulltime in an RV.

Thrifty Threads Thursday: Downtown Ventura Edition

This evening we wanted to say goodbye to our little downtown. Downtown Ventura is a special place.  Not only is it blocks from the ocean, it’s a perfect mixture of…

This evening we wanted to say goodbye to our little downtown.

Downtown Ventura is a special place.  Not only is it blocks from the ocean, it’s a perfect mixture of mom and pop sprinkled with a little cooperate.  A movie theatre, a library, restaurants, and small shops line Main Street.  It’s an afternoon thrifters dream with at least 4 thrift shops, antique stores, and a Buffalo Exchange all within blocks. And if all else fails there is a Urban Outfitters and American Apparel.

(That’s not my car.  Remember, I have a big old diesel truck.  I’m such a poser. ;-))

The afternoon heat was still lingering even as the sun set. The temperature to wear what may be my favorite dress before I pack it away for the year.  (Sniff.)

A treasure of a thrift store find, I’m wearing this dress even when I’m an eccentric old lady.

It’s black linen with embroidered flowers around the hem and on the back.

 

It makes me feel like twirling down the street and belting out “My Favorite Things”.

Goodbye dress.

Goodbye downtown.

You will both be missed.

love and laughter,
jenn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Couch Angel

Last week, I mentioned a great friend was coming over to help me reupholster the rv sleeper sofa frame. Well she’s not a great friend…          …

Last week, I mentioned a great friend was coming over to help me reupholster the rv sleeper sofa frame.

Well she’s not a great friend…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s a saint.
(If you could of seen me around 12:30 when I was hungry you would agree….A SAINT.)

Not only is she a saint but she is also one of the kindest, most creative, and thoughtful people I know.  She got to my house at 10:00 am and left at 9:30 pm.  That’s 11.5 hours (for those who are mathematically challenged like myself.)! ELEVEN and a HALF hours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the rv sofa before.  We thought about getting an entirely new sofa but not only was it expensive, it was hard to find one to efficiently fill the space.  We didn’t want to waste any space and we wanted to keep the sofa bed for the future when the boys want to bring along friends. I scoured Craigslist but nothing the right size with a bed was coming up and most of the sofas on Craigslist didn’t fit our style.

What to do….

We decided the most cost effective solution was to pay someone to reupholster the cushions (I can sew very simple things like pillows but cushions with piping and zippers are waaay out of my league.) and we would reupholster the frame.

I found someone to recover the cushions with buttons, piping, and zippers for $40 a cushion (and it only took him a day and a half!).  I have no idea what it costs in other parts of the country but for southern California this was a steal.  I know because I called, visited, or emailed pictures to nearly every upholstery shop in our area.  He did an exceptional job and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  If you are in the area the shop is Robert’s Upholstery and the number is 805-659-5600.

So I made two treks down to the LA fabric district and got some gorgeous wool fabric in the exact color we wanted for $2.99 a yard.  The problem was the fabric had a pattern every 3 or so feet and they only had 14 yards.  I bought it anyway because those are the type of irrational things I do assuming we could make it work.  As it turned out the fabric made us work.

This was around noon when I hungry and cranky nearly gave up and called Robert to ask him the cost to recover the sofa frame.  It was going to be more than we wanted to put into the sofa so we persevered into the dark.

See the southwest pattern?  Grrrrrrr!  After Robert had used 8 of my 14 yards for the cushions we only had 6 yards left.  Take out the pattern and it was less. (See my math is improving as I write this post.)

Still working into the night.

Is this still a sofa?

If you ever decide to reupholster a sofa frame, do one side first.  I don’t know what we would have done if we had not left one side intact.  I took pictures and notes of taking it apart to have for references but I might as well been looking at Monet painting from 2 inches away at 3 o’clock am.  They made no sense.  Being able to look at the original side was a sanity saver.

Almost done.  We still had not screwed the frame back together and the cushions are sitting on boxes which is why the cushions look like they need Botox but you get the idea.  The couch itself is ordinary so to add some character I decided to add buttons like this ridiculously overpriced settee from Anthropologie.   All in all, with fabric and labor (not counting our own) it cost about $200 to reupholster the sofa.

So if you ever want to reupholster your own rv sofa frame, here are some tips.

1. Make sure you have enough fabric.  A total no brainer and it worked out okay only because this is an rv sofa and 3 of the 4 sides are hidden.

2. Give yourself plenty of time especially is you don’t follow number 1.  Had we had enough fabric it wouldn’t have taken near as long.

3.  Do one side first so you can look back at how it was put together.  Also take notes of the pieces and the order you take them off.

4. Have the right tools.  I don’t know what the “proper” tools are but here are the tools we used: staple lifter, hammer, pry bar, electric staple gun, needle nose pliers, screw driver, and scissors.  We owned all of them except the staple lifter and the electric staple gun which I borrowed from a friend.

5. Find a saint to help you out.  Most important!

By shopping around for fabric and reupholstering the sofa frame ourself we saved about $300 since the least expensive place cost $500 to reupholster the entire sofa. More important than saving money, I have a new fun (now) memory saved in my heart.  Thank you, Diane.

We are thisclose to being done with the interior!  Brent is finishing the floor this weekend and I have to do the curtains but those are the last major things to do.  I can’t wait to show you pictures!

love and laughter,
jenn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thrifty Threads Thursday: Ventura Harbor Edition

Brent is sick.  It’s really putting a damper on things.  First of all, he feels terrible.  He has been in bed since Monday.  That, in and of itself, is bad…

Brent is sick.  It’s really putting a damper on things.  First of all, he feels terrible.  He has been in bed since Monday.  That, in and of itself, is bad enough.  Second, it’s putting a lot of extra strain on me trying to get ready to go by October 16th.

 

To take a break from the stress Thing 1 and I went down to the harbor to shoot some Thrifty Threads Thursday pictures.  The harbor is only a 5-10 minute drive, depending on traffic, from our house and one of my favorite places in Ventura.

My friend knew I loved this skirt and gave it to me after reading my first Thrifty Thread Thursday post.

It’s a handsewn wrap skirt with little felt and vintage fabric birds sewn on the hem.  The tay on the inside says “Lindsey Miller Handmade One of a Kind”.  I wondering if it’s this designer?

The sweater is from Tulle.  About twice a year they have a sample sale in LA and it’s so. much. fun.  That is ff you don’t mind digging, waiting in lines, trying on clothes in a parking lot and general chaos!  I don’t.  If you don’t live in LA they have really good sales every once in a while.

There is no such thing as too much ball fringe.  No. such. thing.

Glasses are from Warby Parker.  Love this company.  The glasses are high quality, the customer service is amazing, and for every pair of glasses sold they give a pair to someone in need.

 

 

Kenzie shoes.  I literally watched these for 6 months until they went on sale.  Thrifty or crazy?

I think Thing 1 did a great job taking the photos! Now, I have two personal photographers! 😉  Thank you, Thing 1!!!!

Best of all, we had so much fun despite the blustery weather!

Trying to take our photo!  My arm is just not long enough!

Ack!!  The wind!!!

I think I’m going to miss this town.

love and laughter,
jenn

 

 

 

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Fun Times in the LA Garment District

Fabric is one of the most important considerations when redecorating an rv.  After all there isn’t much wall space that doesn’t have at least some fabric on it and with…

Fabric is one of the most important considerations when redecorating an rv.  After all there isn’t much wall space that doesn’t have at least some fabric on it and with only a few pieces of furniture per room “the fabric” takes up a lot of the space. Redecorating our rv has “required” two trips to the LA garment district.  “Required” meaning –  you saw but didn’t buy the perfect aqua tweed because you were going to use “greens” but then changed your mind and couldn’t find “the perfect aqua tweed online” so you had to go back to “that one” shop on what’s that street called?

Oh darn.

Despite having to battle Los Angeles traffic the fabric district or properly called the LA Fashion District is one of my favorite places to visit in LA and I was so excited to show my boys my mad haggling skills.

Since I have two boys, the two trips seemed even more more appropriate.

Trip 1 with Thing 1

As per a friend’s recommendation, we started at Michael Levine’s “The Loft”.  As you can see by the picture all the fabric is only $2.50 a pound.  Yep, fabric by the pound.

The catch is you have to dig through boxes to find anything.  I had high hopes for this place but I left empty handed.

The purpose of this trip was to find upholstery fabric.  We walked up and down streets and in and out of crowded little shops looking for the perfect fabric at the perfect price. I wanted to spend $10 or less a yard and I accomplished my mission when I found a lovely wool in the exact color Brent and I wanted.   Almost.   I didn’t hit the streets of LA in search of a southwest pattern, not that there is anything wrong with a little southwest, it’s just not our style. But a high quality wool in the perfect shade of orange for $2.99 couldn’t be passed up.  I figured that pattern was nothing a pair of scissors couldn’t fix.  Oh boy….

Our last stop was Michael Levine.  It’s about the only shop that runs like a “standard” shop and not a foreign bazaar.  There are actually price tags and no haggling. Bummer.  I love haggling.  If you visit the LA fabric district Michael Levine is not. to. be. missed.

Rows of thread (just like paint chips) make me oddly happy.

You have no idea the restraint it took to not purchase everything on this wall as I imaged headbands of every size and color.

 

I spent over two hours texting images of fabric to Brent.

Thing 2 was such a trooper.

This is for my sister.

I thought that was going to be my final farewell to Los Angeles until we return to California next year…until…Brent and I changed our minds and decided to go with aquas on the couch side of the living room.  I told him about this lovely turquoise tweed I had spotted but didn’t buy.  After searching online for a similar fabric, I decided another trip was in order.

I’m not often always practical.

Trip Two with Thing Two.

First stop was to find “that one shop” with the aqua tweed and we did.  Guess what?  There were only 3.5 yards left…exactly, what we needed to cover the cushions.  I don’t think I impressed Thing 2 with my haggling skills.  He told me later I was “cheap” and “weird”.

 

Then it was back over to the Loft.  This time I left with a small scrap of fabric and some trim I’d like to use on lamp shades.

After accomplishing our mission, Thing 2 and I wandered around taking in the sights.  We looked at the small water turtles that were being sold by sharp eyed street vendors.  I told him about Clifford, the “street” turtle I bought downtown LA about 15 years ago who later retired in a turtle “sanctuary”.  Really.   We made our way over to Santee Alley where we looked at crazy shoes, knock off sunglasses, and cheap toys.

Finally, we stopped for a little refreshment and headed off to our car.

From the roof of the parking garage, I blew a kiss to the city I love and loath in equal parts.

Tips for visiting the LA Garment (Fabric or Fashion) District

1. Print a map.  You can print one here.

2. Bring cash and be prepared to haggle.  Some of the shops don’t take credit cards or will give you a better deal if you have cash.

3. Don’t be afraid to walk out.  One guy started at $26 a yard and by the time I reached the door he was at $10 a yard.

3. It can be really overwhelming so bring a list of what you really need and try to stick to it.  It would also be helpful to bring a notebook to jot down notes of stuff you see but don’t want to purchase right away.

4. You might was well start at The Loft.  At $2.50 a pound you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal and it’s a fun experience!

5. There is street or lot parking.  I prefer the lots because I don’t have to parallel park and I don’t  have to remember to feed the meter.  I paid $6 for all day parking my first trip and $4 dollars my second trip.  I noticed when I left later that afternoon the parking had changed to $2.

6. There aren’t a lot of places to eat so eat a big meal before you go, buy food from the street vendors, or go to one of the few nearby restaurants.

7. Bathrooms are also hard to come by.  There is a restroom at Michael Levine that cost a quarter.  It helps if you don’t drink a lot that day. 🙂

8. Give yourself plenty of time.  Not only is it a fun place to shop but it’s a fun place to people watch as well.

love and laughter,
Jenn

 

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Pinholes of Light

Some photos, a preview if you will, I snapped with my phone this week. Brent has been crazy busy finishing up the video and I’ve been painting, cleaning, and going through stuff at our…

Some photos, a preview if you will, I snapped with my phone this week.

Brent has been crazy busy finishing up the video and I’ve been painting, cleaning, and going through stuff at our house. Finally, some pinholes of light are making their way into this dark box of busyness.

It looks like we’ve moved our trip back a week.  I’m a little bummed because we wanted to leave on our official/unofficial (depends on how you look at it) anniversary.  It will be better because I’m nicer when I’m not stressed we won’t feel rushed and we will get to spend some time with some of the people we are going to dearly miss.

A good friend is coming over this morning to help me reupholster the couch frame today.  Clearly anyone brave enough to risk hanging out with me while I impatientlywield an electric staple gun, is not a good but a GREAT friend.

I’m *hoping* to get a Thrifty Threads Thursday post up today.  I found the cutest green vintage dress yesterday when I dropped off a load of stuff at the thrift store.  I also got a vintage Coach purse for $2.  TWO DOLLA can I hear a HOLLA!

Hope you are having a fantastic week!

with love,
Jenn

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“Go Wild”

                              Yesterday, this was my living room. Today it is slightly better. I am not proud. When Thing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, this was my living room.

Today it is slightly better.

I am not proud.

When Thing 2 decided to “go wild” I thought, why not?  It’s not like he’s going to mess anything up. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you know where the wild things are.

with love,
jenn

 

 

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Is there a forest around these trees?

Life may be a tad bit on the busy side right now but I still want to document it. This week we’ve been painting, sanding, painting, sanding. From how much…

Life may be a tad bit on the busy side right now but I still want to document it.

This week we’ve been painting, sanding, painting, sanding.

From how much we’ve I’ve been painting you would think that we are moving into a 3000 square foot house not a 300 square foot trailer.

I may or may not have had a breakdown in the bathroom last night over….

LINT.

Yes, there was lint in the polyeurathane and it nearly sent me over the edge.  Good times.  Good times.

I’ll just let you imagine how I felt today when Brent told me today after driving home from the LA fabric district that the polyurethane (I spent an entire day applying to the cabinets) didn’t dry clear and everything has to be re-sanded and re-painted.  I thought I was done with the kitchen cabinets and now I’m almost back at square one.  I basically wasted an entire weekend.

Except I didn’t because…

…I spent precious time with this guy.   His hard work blows me away.

I’m really trying to see the forest through the trees and remember what this trip is really about.

Family.
Adventure.
Memories.
Love.

Who cares about a little lint.

We are hoping to leave October 9th, our 12 year anniversary.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

But…there’s the to-do list.

RV
Finish paint and Hang Cabinet Doors (we took them off to paint)
Paint Living Room Walls
Install Wood Floor
Build Brent’s Desk
Sew Curtains
Find Upholster for Cushions
Upholster Couch Frame – We were going to take it somewhere but it won’t fit out the door!
Install Closet Organizer
Install hardware
Paint Fan
Paint (or Find New) Light Fixtures
Re-upholster headboard
Buy storage bins
Install and plumb new bathroom sink
Purchase various small items

House 
Sell, giveaway, or burn stuff we are not taking.  (This is a mile long list in and of itself.)
Sell Car
Pack RV
Clean and repair current house. (Another list as long as this list.)
Trim bushes at current house
Fix stuff at the rental house. (Our tenant just let us know there is an opossum living under it.  Awesome.)
Order a few more school books

Misc
See friends
Keep up with laundry

Oh and that video we shot in July?  The deadline is fast approaching. When I think I’m working hard, I remember how hard Brent is working.

How many days to October 9th?

Don’t remind me.

But I’m not complaining because it’s all going to be worth it.

I think.

I hope.

with love,
jenn

 

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Thrifty Threads Thursday

I’m going to do a regular little feature on this new blog of mine. Thrifty Threads Thursday Some of you may only know me from my health blog Girl Heroes….

I’m going to do a regular little feature on this new blog of mine.

Thrifty Threads Thursday

Some of you may only know me from my health blog Girl Heroes.  Those of you may be surprised to find out I’m interested in much more than food and fitness.

One of those interest is vintage and vintage inspired fashion.

LOVE.

Really, it’s a bit ridiculous how happy cute vintage dresses make me.  Especially dresses with buttons, bows, gathers, pins, tucks, lace, and piping.  Not all at once…well…maybe…

Not only do I have a “wee” obsession with vintage style clothing, I have a wee budget and a wee closet in our new rv home.

Sooooooo things are about to get interesting.

Here’s the plan.  I’m going to visit thrift and vintage shops all over the country.  I’ll also probably come across a good sale or two.  (Good thing I’ve been stashing some of my birthday and Christmas money in my sock drawer.) Then I’m going to post my finds here once a week.

In the meantime, I’m going to share some of my favorite thrifty threads.

Ironically, I got this little dress from a vintage shop in Seattle a few years ago.  I love it just as much today as the day I bought it.  The belt was found in a dollar bin at a little boutique downtown Ventura.

I’ve had my Saltwater Sandals for almost 15 years!  I’d call that a good investment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My hairstylist braided my hair.  I doubt I’ll ever be able to replicate it.  Oh well.  At least I have a picture.

So guys (Dad), please bear with the Thrifty Thread Thursday.  I promise there will diesel trucks  and be plenty of pictures from the places in the near future.

with love,
jenn

 

 

 

 

 

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Making a “house” a “home”.

Today was our first official work day on the trailer. It’s a family affair.  Almost.  Thing 2 pops in and out offering encouragement.  Sort of. However, Thing 1 is more…

Today was our first official work day on the trailer.

It’s a family affair.  Almost.  Thing 2 pops in and out offering encouragement.  Sort of.

However, Thing 1 is more than happy to get to use tools help as long as we don’t paint the kitchen cabinets green.  We won’t talk about the breakdown in Lowes when he and I mentioned Brent and I were “thinking” about a green kitchen.  You would have thought I told him we thinking about giving up electricity.

We started in the bunk room.

 

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Putting new handles on the cabinets.  Thing 1 doesn’t mess around.  He scoffed at me when I suggested a screwdriver

Off comes the border.

 

 

 

 

 

Prepping the wall for paint.

We also brought Meow Cow over so he can begin to adjust.   Seeing that he’s not hiding under the bed, I’ll assume he is adjusting rather nicely.  Oh wait, he can’t hide out under the bed.  Hmmmm…..

You may be wondering what was I doing?  I was sitting on the couch texting while my child worked.  Isn’t that why we have them?  Kidding, I was killing brain cells painting primer on the walls and at the rate I’m going that is all I’m going to be doing this week.

with love,
Jenn

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The Birthday Beast

When I was a little girl I used to tell my mom that someday I wanted to drive across the country in an “old junky convertible”. She always asked me…

When I was a little girl I used to tell my mom that someday I wanted to drive across the country in an “old junky convertible”.

She always asked me “Why does it need to be junky?”   That still makes me giggle.  At 10 years old, I already dreamed of being on the road.

Everyday that childhood dream gets a little bit closer.

Sunday was my birthday and I got a BEAST of a present.  It’s not junky.  It’s not a convertible.  It’s not really even all that old.

Our new to us 2007 Chevy Silverado diesel, long bed, crew cab truck.  (That’s a mouthful.)

I can’t believe I own a truck.
(It really belongs to Brent and I but since we got it on my birthday we are calling it “my birthday present”.)

Confession, it doesn’t feel like “me” and I’m terrified to drive this beast.

I have no clue why I decided to sit on it.

I’m trying to “own it” but it feels like playing make-believe.  Let’s see…I’ll pretend I’m a cowgirl working on a ranch.

 

 

 

 

I drove it once yesterday and ended up parking far far away so I had plenty of room to swing this bad boy around into a space.  Then it took me 10 minutes to back this beast out.  I’m going to have to take xanax every time I drive it.  Wait.  That would bad.  Very bad.

Now we are trying to decide if we should do a veggie oil conversion.  Brent’s all for it.  I’m on the fence.  It sounds fantastic but I’m wondering if the reality would be more trouble than it’s worth.  If anyone has any experience with “going veg” we are all ears!

love and laughter,
jenn

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