Lily amongst the crafted vision

ImageCreative process…and Lily (the Blue Heeler) amongst the vision.

I like taking something and making it my own, personalizing it, kicking it up a notch from ordinary to extraordinary. Sometimes that happens with paint, other times with hammers, glue guns or pliers, but this time it happened with sewing.

I am not the kind of highly trained seamstress that has a special room filled with everything in its place, sunlight and flat space framed with cabinets of storage abounding. I am the kind of seamstress that tries to remember a few pointers from 1974 when I was in Mrs. Smith’s 101 Home Ec class, then takes over the dining room table my great grandfather built for my grandmothers kitchen nook. I am the kind of seamstress who sweeps the kitchen floor before laying out the 50% off $24.99 a yard fabric on the floor for cutting. I am the kind of seamstress who has paper bags of fabric scraps to dig through and one organized sewing basket of sorts. I have great ideas, and YouTube videos to figure out how to make those ideas come to pass. I am not, I repeat NOT professional, and I am okay with that. What I am is creative and not afraid to work at a project until I consider it a success. What I am learning is,  I am not a group project kind of person. Here is how I know. When my 8 month old kitten and my 3 year old blue Heeler want to help my sewing, I think about making them into jerky instead of enjoying their company.  The jerky didn’t happen of course, I am just admitting to the thought.

Vintage Roving started out as a dream come true for a 50 year old, who was once a little girl at a summer picnic in the eastern Oregon mountains of Grant county. The first time I saw a small travel trailer it wasn’t vintage. It probably wasn’t five years old, but I knew I wanted one of my very own. I never told anyone, but the dream lingered with me. Fathers Day 2011, my husband I drove to Prineville and considered my first ownership. We towed it home and the work of cleaning it up to look like a dream, instead of a nightmare, and  a vision of  ‘what could be’ began. On that creative journey of cleaning and personalizing my playhouse, I had a mustard seed of an idea planted in me to share my trailer with those who wanted to share her unique ability to help folks relax. That would mean decorating with less of me in mind, and a theme a wider range of people could enjoy. Image

Thelma Lou’s dinette the day I brought her home to stay. The walls were sloppily painted a color a I labeled “Hot dog barf” and white, navy cotton fabric folded over the top of dirty canvas was the upholstery. 

I initially used some old fabric my mother had leftover from a loveseat she had recovered, because I had it. Now I am recovering those original dinette cushions with something more period correct, washable, durable, and less girly. Something a man won’t force his eyes to not to roll when he spies the cushions. Hence, my kitchen/dining room sewing project with Lily the Heeler and Reece the wildcat/kitten. It has been a challenge. Something akin to taking a 3 year old shopping with you for a formal dress, or rebuilding a carburetor with your 2 year old ‘helping’.

Apparently if you are a Heeler who never leaves her humans side for more than 5 minutes, and your best friend-enemy is a kitten who loves to provoke as much as to be chased, a sewing project on the floor is the best kind of project in the world. All the bonding you could ever hope for in one central spot in the house. So when you rent one of these rolling adventures, don’t forget someone with lots of love and patience made those cushion covers, with lots of help from my friends, who share this vision, a little more involved than perhaps I would like from time to time. This was one ‘Adventure, delivered’ I had not bargained for, but an adventure nonetheless. I will show you the before and after when I get this project all sewn up and in place.

Vacation Location. No Wrong Answer.

I came across a quote recently that made me think about vacations.

“Find what brings you joy and go there.”
— Jan Phillips

That seems to sum up a vacation to me. It isn’t the destination spot in itself. It isn’t having matching luggage, it isn’t wearing mouse ears or climbing rigging, or the perfect set of clubs; it isn’t anything specific, it’s how I feel when I get there.     It is…what brings you joy.

1970 people vacationing by Paul McDonough

Paul McDonough the great NYC photographer shared this nostalgic  peek into 1970 vacation time. He has a great exhibit showing now. More info here:

We all know the places that make us happy, and it is a fact those very specific things are not what pleases everyone. Vacations, adventure, or just time away to rest looks differently to each of us. Sometimes just finding a place to go can be the most difficult aspect of buggin’ out of the daily chore life. Our family dynamic proves out this challenge over and over again. I am happy just sitting creekside for days on end with a book, small fire, bucket for berry picking, good food and wines or new craft beer to explore. I don’t have to even leave camp to be happy. The further out of civilization the happier I am. My family refers to me as Pioneer Woman. My two teen boys are often opposites in their relaxation. One wants a slice of the city, a place to get pizza, a way to have internet and music access, and a good longboarding road or challenging road to push his bike to new limits.  The other son wants a quite, challenging road to bike, a hiking trail to conquer, a crawdad hole to discover or perhaps an endless clamming hole the size of Idaho and without question, water is somehow involved. My husband wants a place to journal, think about how to make things with his hands and sketch out the idea, drink nice coffee, paddle on some water, explore, visit with new folks along the way, yet never be far from some freshly baked treat I have created back at camp next to my small campfire.

Joy, is personal. Finding it is just as personal.


The thing I love about Vintage Roving is that the quaint little trailers allow you to use the space as a jumping off spot to adventure, or a perfect place to hole up in the environment that best speaks to you. If you have people with varied interest vacationing together the trailer you can give you a tool to divide and conquer. You can camp near a city and go urbanite by day and camper by night. You can go find a barista or a craft beer and come back and whip up a great campfire hobo stew from things you bought at the Farmers Market exploration and finish with a homemade (bought at the local bakery) blackberry pie. It’s all in the location.

I’m curious, where do you like to travel, explore and find joy in Oregon?

Mountains? Dessert? Ocean? City? I think it would be fun to know more about what that looks like.

Where is your idea of the perfect spot for  a Vintage Roving -Adventure?

Adventure, delivered.


Life Is In The Details.

There is a time and place for everything the Good Book tells us. The more life I live, the more I am aware of seasons and not just the type that sends one shoveling snow or raking leaders. There is a season of childhood, young adult, adult, mature adult, and a contented season. The contented season should be present in each season of our life, but how often is it? I find as I age, I am often more content. I have no frame of reference for those folks that lament over aging. I am crazy about my birthday. The way I see it, it is better to have birthdays, than to wish you were alive to celebrate them. I really do celebrate the gift of life. When we celebrate at our house the birthday honoree gets the best possible day, but it isn’t about showering them with packages. The birthday honoree gets to be King or Queen for the day. They choose the meals, the events, who surrounds them, and where it takes place. It is always a meaningful and well spent day in our family when someone has a birthday. It may or may not be flashy, but it is meaningful and we are all aware of just what a gift life is, and how much we love those in our life. It is a celebration, complete with some wackiness from time to time. Yesterday, I realized my feelings about Thelma Lou are like my birthday feelings. I not only love to celebrate Thelma, I love to share her with others to celebrate.

Five men of various seasons, mostly young adult and one adult, will be sharing my trailer Thelma Lou and a tent. They will journey to Enumclaw, WA hours away then be immersed in the beautiful outdoors with endless concert music, the rewards of hours of driving in the un-airconditioned 1979 Jeep Wagoneer named Wilma, or WilmaBeast. It will be a celebration of outdoor concerts all day long over four days. My husband has volunteered to drive my 15 year old son and three of his friends to CREATION. Creation 2012

I want the details to be complete for them to have a food time. That was not a typo. I want lots of food they will love, but not have to work at. Man bonding kind of food, not mom, all healthy all the time food. Event food. Frito Pie, spaghetti, tacos, breakfast burritos, cookies, brownies, soda that is normally off limits, chips, salsa, candy. Decadent food that becomes part of the adventure. Easy food my husband or one of the guys can just heat and go. I want to take some of the girly out of the trailer and strip her down to the essentials. The pillows on the sofa Futon bed for example have gone from cottage floral, to brown ticking stripe so as not to be so feminine. I made the covers yesterday, with them in mind…ok, US in mind, as I had to like them as well.


I remade a curtain for the bathroom door that now reflects a plaid and ticking stripe theme, instead of a ruffle. I don’t want the guys to feel like they are visiting a grandma or moms camper. I want them to feel like it is perfectly adequate as a cabin or a ‘man den’ as much as possible simply by changing up a few details, without a full separate makeover. My desire is to host and serve them with love by way of making them comfortable the best way I know how; FOOD, shelter, a space to be themselves and be content. I want to create an environment that creates a memory these young men will take to their old age. I want to make them feel like my guests of honor, and honor the choice they have made to celebrate LIFE with the gorge camping, with music and great friends. I want to honor their choice of celebrating being alive. At the very core of my love of vintage travel trailers, the real heart of what I want to express is my love of people and wanting them to feel loved.


As I prepare a home away from home for these guys, I am aware that LIFE Is In The Details. You miss the details, you miss a big part of life in my opinion, and when you miss life, you miss the main idea. I don’t want to miss it, I want to be content, right where I am…today.  Happy bonding men. Make a memory for me, will ya?