For Tuesday’s birthday (her seventh!!!) we gifted her a vintage sewing machine in a desk we got from the lovely Elizabeth over at Oh Fransson. She has taken to that thing and is sewing, sewing, sewing! I filled a box with goodies for her (think needles, thread, etc.) and set a pattern out on it to give her some inspiration. Turns out she’s more of a make-up-my-own pattern kind of gal. BUT she did love the pattern and decided she wanted help making it. I didn’t think a lot would come of it because once I really looked at the pattern I realized the bed was giant and took a ton of materials. Thanks to a $30 gift card to Jo-Anns and some saved pennies she decided to go for it and we spent a whole afternoon picking materials out. I sewed my butt off for a few days and I present to you the most crazy fancy doll bed:

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I know! If you’re thinking damn that looks like a lot of work, well folks, you would be right! BUT Tuesday loves it and I think it turned out super well. Considering one look at the directions and my head was swimming. The pattern was bought on a whim during a sale (of course) and is McCall’s M7338 “Embellished Beds and Linens for 18″ Dolls”. Yes that title should have given me a clue it was going to be a giant bed. We currently do not have any 18″ dolls living at our house. Wait. That’s what my kids think. I have a Kirsten doll from my childhood who is tucked away. I changed her into her nightgown (I think this is actually an undershirt) and got her out to see if this bed really would fit an American Girl Doll….

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Kirsten I missed you! The bed is a perfect fit for an American Girl doll, or any 18″ doll.

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After exhausting her gift card and an additional nine hard earned dollars Tuesday and I decided none of the really terrible ribbons at Jo-Anns were worth any more of her pennies. We did find the pleated trim in the home decorating clearance, but a lot of the lace was almost like pressed onto plastic. I don’t know how to explain it, but it looked cheap and terrible (yet was still expensive!). I knew who we had to call… grandma! AKA The Ribbon Jar. The one thing we just couldn’t find at all at Jo-Ann’s was the lace to go around the bed. My mom suggested a stretch lace so it would have a bit of a gather to it and it worked great and was very forgiving.

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There were a few modifications I made to this pattern and sewing on this lace was one of them. The pattern calls for you to put together the bed and then sew on the lace. No, no, no, how?!?! That seemed like a recipe for disaster. So I figured out with seam allowance where the lace would fall when finished and sewed it on first. It was almost perfect all the way around and almost perfect is good enough for me! Plus the finished edge on the inside (white quilted area) looks much nicer with out a seam going through it. The other change I made that I didn’t take a picture of was to hand stitch the mattress to the bottom edges of the bed (vs. sewing on a sling type thing to hold it up… which you are supposed to do after the whole bed is made and foam core is inserted in the sides. I think this would be impossible).

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Tuesday took her fabric, pattern and ideas on how everything should look over to Grandma’s office and they got to work looking at different ribbons and trims. The pattern called for a tiny pom-pom trim (we used 10mm) for the canopy, but Tuesday also wanted a mini ric-rac. I think they look very nice together with the satin bow over the tulle. The sheet and pillowcase are also embellished (of course) with mini ric-rac and a very pretty white lace trim.

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The “flower” on the headboard was made with wired ribbon. Here is a good tutorial on how to make one. I should have watched this with Tuesday before we attempted ours. I meant to tell her not to pull so hard, but she pulled the wire totally out of one side, oops. I think she has plans to add some rhinestones in the middle. Because, obviously.

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All in all I think the project turned out great. Tuesday told Grandma we would take some pictures and write up about the bed on the blog in exchange for the ribbon. She loves it and is using it for her beloved  Tootsie (a doll I had when I was little that is very, very well loved… and has the hair to prove it!).

I’m so glad I’m stretching myself and my crafting skills. I have been sewing with knits, hand sewing, and tackling tricky things like this. I really miss writing about the process and the end product on my blog. Mostly because I like having that record for myself. I have multiple quilts that haven’t made it on here that I would like to blog about, as well as darling things for the girls. We’ll see if I get time to get them up. I liked having the motivation from my mom to get this up. And I will be back at the end of the week because I am speaking at the Corvallis Modern Quilt Guild and I have a companion post I want to get up. It’s all about making those super popular rope bowls (no surprise, I’m addicted to them!). If you’re interested in coming please do, they welcome guests. Check out their facebook page for details.

So I shared pictures of our 1984 Avion 30R here as it came to us (I think the most I did in those pictures was pull up the carpet and clean). I’m still working my way through 47 yards of pleating tape (!!!!). But here is the state of things as we started off the summer adventuring around Oregon.

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We slept in it as soon as it was clean enough to do so. Here it is bare bones, with the floral drapes and burgundy bolsters removed.

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The ONE drape I managed to finish. I also made all new sheers, which was a PROJECT people. Slippery mothers… The bolsters were done in the rich blue fabric. I turned to Air Forums a lot (they have a vintage kin message board, but a lot of the general Airstream hints help). I also decided to set up an Instagram account for our trailer adventures, it’s called avionlife if you want to follow us on there.

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I did outsource the furniture recovering. My plans had to change a little after we decided not to paint the interior at all. It is all in such great condition that we just could not bring ourselves to do it. And after camping I have to say the idea of having an all white interior seems a bit dubious at best.

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I found a pin about recovering basic folding chairs (ours were a gift a few years ago – from Costco I think). Super easy and highly recommend doing this. So much more fun. Use Rustoleum paint, Krylon was a POS for this project!!

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Our couch made into the bed for us…. It’s not so comfy. Bj can’t stretch out so we’re trying to figure out exactly what we want to do. We have ended up moving a kid out here and taking a twin before.

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We decided we didn’t need a microwave when we traveled so we ripped that out. Eventually we ripped out the wood around the window and put in aluminum blinds. We did the same in the bathroom. So hard to get a picture of, this is the best I have:

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By the way the little lid on the counter is for the laundry basket and might be my favorite feature. That and the tub!!!

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Note: best used when you are fully hooked up or you’ll fill up your grey water tank fast! Oops, rookie move.

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The awning is not the one we specified, the repair place put this on by mistake but we’re living with it. I have dreams of a black and white awning, that is what was originally on this, I believe.

We took this thing all over the state this summer, and beyond a bit (Mt. Saint Helens). We went to the beach, the mountains, crater lake.. it was all amazing. The family time in this thing is second to none. Now I now why they say GO RVing!

  • Mary Lou - Thanks for the update! Sounds like a wonderful summer!November 14, 2015 – 6:08 pmReplyCancel

  • mary m - I still need to see it in person! The pictures look great :)November 16, 2015 – 8:24 amReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Looks like fun! We have been wanting to get a camper and your pictures are so inspiring.November 18, 2015 – 2:06 pmReplyCancel

Oh hey we got a “vintage” trailer. It’s an Avion 1984 30R. That means it’s an Avion (by Fleetwood) from 1984, it’s 30 feet long and has a rear bedroom (two twins we’re using for the girls). Upon first glance most people comment on our “Airstream” but it’s not. It’s not related at all. We’re biased but we think it’s better. All the cabinetry is solid wood, it’s better insulated and 6″ taller inside (which is very important when your husband is 6′ 4″. Also they are way, way cheaper. The parts are more standard so it’s a little easier to replace things. Of course we swoon over awesome Airstream renovations like anybody else, but it just wasn’t in the budget to go that route.

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And we’re totally in love with it. Here are some before pics.

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The seller was in Arizona, so the window trim stuff was all dried out. We spent most of our budget fixing things that were pretty basic, and we still have things like that to fix (our fresh water tank leaks, for example). But we decided to clean it up as best we could and go camping this summer. It was AMAZING. And I can not wait to go on more adventures with this awesome trailer of ours.

  • Dawn - Amber, I am glad to see you blogging again! I have so enjoyed your posts in the past and seeing your girls progress in such a wonderfully creative atmosphere. My youngest granddaughters are now 13 and 16 — I remember when they were the ages of your girls. Happy trails in your Avion!November 13, 2015 – 9:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Amber - Awe thank so much Dawn! I’m so glad to get back into it.November 14, 2015 – 1:32 amReplyCancel

  • 1984 Avion 30R partially updated » Life in Color Photography - […] I shared pictures of our 1984 Avion 30R here as it came to us (I think the most I did in those pictures was pull up the carpet and clean). […]November 14, 2015 – 1:34 amReplyCancel

Oh dear me, my poor blog has been a bit neglected, hasn’t it! I haven’t quite decided what I want to do with it. Though Bj does ask me every time we get a bill for something blog related. I do feel I need to check in and tell everyone who has been asking that we are fine. In fact we’re wonderful! The girls are 3 and 6.5, can you believe it?

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Bennet on a walk yesterday. With her baby Tommy in a carrier Tuesday made.

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Recycling all my ideas from when Tuesday was little. A bean sensory bin for Bennet… This one is being used for dolphins and whales, of course. She’s obsessed with them.

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Homeschooling is going great, hahahaha. Tuesday wanted to play old fashion school (we have been reading a lot of prairie girl stories) and I realized I fit into this old costume of mine from high school (just lost 20 pounds!). We were trying to be VERY SERIOUS here.

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Tuesday is enrolled in a charter school for first grade. It’s only for homeschoolers so nothing much has changed at home, though she does get to go on field trips with the “school” (above we’re at a pumpkin patch).

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Horrible cell phone picture (my nice camera was involved in an incident no one wants to own up to). Ballerina fairies! My costume is from high school (I know, why do I still have these things?!?!).

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Look for us around town, we’re the crazy people still biking in this weather. Tuesday will ride on the back if we’re going in lots of traffic, but she does quite well on her 20″ bike (such a big girl!).

I never thought I’d have one of those blogs that dies a slow death, so we’ll see what I can do about prioritizing it. Right now it’s just too far down on the list. I think if I can do shorter project based entries that might work best. And those are the entries I always come back to (How did I make that cleaner? What quilt did I make last for so and so? How old was Tuesday when we tried that art project?). And of course I have things from the last year I would like documented. But Bennet needs my help to look at the North American Continent box and Tuesday wants a new song on her mix to listen to while she finishes making a cardboard dog. Here’s hoping you’re all well and happy too!

  • Mary Lou - It was wonderful to see the girls and how much they have grown up! Wow, what a few months of not seeing them makes! Take care and please continue to share. I’m sure I speak for all, that we love and miss your blog when it is silent!November 6, 2015 – 9:53 amReplyCancel

  • carmen - Just looking back on your blog pictures. I really really love this. I think it is time to resurrect the blog. (for both of us!)January 8, 2016 – 3:02 pmReplyCancel

I know, I know! Yes I am still here and nothing is wrong, except the girls are getting older and time man, it’s just escaping me! Someday we are going to try one of those schedule things and I’m going to put blogging back on it. Until then, it will be sporadic.

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Learning in January. Oh how I love looking back on the month. I feel like we do so little “school” since we’ve slipped into full on un-schooling mode. I would like some kind of schedule, for my sanity more than anything. But I love that learning happens all the time.

We did a lot of sensory play, baking soda was big over here (did you know you can buy huge bags at costco?). The girls love it when I put a pan of it out and then give them colored vinegar and droppers, the fizz! I also figured out from Asia’s book (150 Screen Free Activities – affiliate link, so good, I highly recommend it!) that baking soda and water makes a simple dough. One that Bennet just loved. And of course water play for a two year old can’t be beat. We also got tons of that silicone sand from Jo-Ann’s on black Friday and gave it to Bennet for Christmas. They both loved having this out for a few months.

An extension of sensory play was our shaving cream marbling. It turned out wonderful! I really loved the results of this project; plus the girls kept playing with the colored shaving cream so it was a double win.

Spelling and writing was huge over here. We had a major break through one Sunday. We were all downstairs, I was sewing and had my felt design board out and Tuesday was saying, “B-O-O bad Bj!” for fun. Only it wasn’t so nice and finally we’re like, hey, you’re spelling boo! I had the felt letters handy and showed her. She started sounding out and spelling a ton! I showed her how rhyming words work, just change one letter. She thought it was amazing. We got back out the movable alphabet (a wooden alphabet that is using in Montessori education) and she has been crazy for spelling ever sense. When she first started she could spell a lot but not read it. It’s so interesting how the mind works. She would write out a bunch of words and then ask, “what did I write?” That phase was pretty short though.

Tuesday was also interested in time so I got out some various things I’ve collected and set them out for her.

Speaking of things I’ve collected. Oh man, I can’t stop with the books and the coloring books and the manipulatives and the school stuff… I love it all! So much so that our basement was looking crazy! Pair that with the fact that my mom moved out of her house of 21 years (where I still had much more than I realized stored!) and I needed to get it under control. I did for the most part, but we’re still figuring out what is going to work best for us space wise. I love the basement for it’s size but the girls like to be in the light and around the main living area. We’re thinking of taking over Bj’s office and walling in the lightest corner of the basement for him (lucky it’s tall and has sunny windows). I did decide for now to move one shelf up, and make the dining room wall more eclectic with projects, maps and posters. Can’t hid that we’re homeschoolers now! Ha!

Tuesday also turned six! I added a covered wagon figure to our little Waldorf type ritual (which I described here). She remembered and loved the tradition of walking around the table as if it were the sun. She took us on a spy walk that had me choking from trying not to laugh at my little girl with a fake mustache diving on the ground as cars were coming. She made cakes for her Tootsie, oh how she loves that doll. Magnatiles all the time. Listening to stories on the CD player in the living room. Inventing games. Dance lessons, gymnastics lessons, and now violin lessons. Forest school. My dreamer and creator. I just love her.

Bennet. I just love when I can find activities that hit her right where she is at. This month I found a puzzle that was just challenging enough. I love her face when she completes it, such pride in her “work”. She hears Tuesday asking how to spell things and asks me as well. Then scribbles marks on a paper as if writing. She’s got a great pencil grip, all the early work in that area paid off again. She got to start dance, finally. She is so happy to have her own dance class, but so wee I had to make the required red leotard. She had no interest in modeling it, as you can see. She really loves when we do things all together, like the painting night we had. I just love to talk to my little snuggle bug, she’s always surprising me by what she notices and I just love that!

More to come!

  • Jessica - That spy walk sounds hilarious!! Also, I kind of want to play in that shaving cream myself, haha!April 13, 2015 – 1:55 pmReplyCancel

  • Julia - I love how you are un-schooling the girls. You make learning so fun for them! I love Tuesday’s birthday cupcakes… so cute!April 13, 2015 – 4:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Mary Lou - So glad to see your post. Everything looks like such fun. The girls are really growing up!April 13, 2015 – 9:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Jeanine - Oh wow…. I have never seen your blog before… This is just fantastic. What a blessed life you share with your family! Truly beautiful! Thank you for sharing in pictures! (& your words).. Absolutely amazing. I am off to take another look around :DApril 24, 2015 – 8:35 amReplyCancel

  • R Robicheaux - Hope all is well – haven’t seen a post in a VERY long time. Sending you care and concern – hoping everyone is happy and healthy.August 31, 2015 – 9:57 amReplyCancel

  • Mary Lou - Missing your posts and pix of the girls growing up. OR do you have a new blog I might not be aware of? Hugs to all!October 13, 2015 – 10:07 amReplyCancel