RV Mattress Extension

Even in the most expensive and longest of RVs, it seems that the queen/short is the most popular mattress featured. A standard queen is 60”x 80” long. A standard king is 80”x 80”. In contrast, most queen short mattresses measure only 74” long instead of 80”.

For short people, the lack of 6 extra inches is not a big deal. I myself am only 5’3”. But for my hubby, our queen short bed is simply not long enough. He is 6’1”, and his feet hang over the edge of the bed, even with his pillow shoved all the way to the head of the bed.

I found a simple solution to the mattress issue we were experiencing.

A mattress extender is a short, mattress-sized pillow which comes in two halves and is inserted at the head of the bed to make the mattress longer. This solution works, of course, provided you have enough space at the foot of the bed to stretch the bed out. In our case, we had a few inches to spare, although it was tight getting around the bed with the extenders inserted.

I had some 5” foam I had purchased for the dinette cushions, so I had hubby cut the size I needed to make two pillows. I made my own, having purchased some quilted mattress fabric and zippers. Essentially, each pillow rectangle should measure ½ the width of the mattress by 6” by the height of each mattress.

This is what the extenders look like inserted into the mattress. If you normally have a special queen short fitted sheet, you can stretch a standard queen sheet over the mattress and the extenders.

Now that I have made my own mattress extender, I have to admit something to you–I would NEVER do that again. It was not cost effective for me to make my own extenders for a queen mattress, when I could have just bought them from Camping World. These extenders even come with their own bag for out-of-the-way storage when not in use.

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/short-queen-bed-extender/85094

20161201_133857Having said that you should BUY rather than MAKE, if you have a KING short bed, you might have to resort to making your own. But purchasing a queen extender directly from Camping World is the most cost effective solution to altering a QUEEN short bed.

After we put the extenders in, my hubby was very pleased. His feet no longer hung over the edge of the bed, and he could sleep comfortably without having to scrunch himself up into a fetal position.

Ultimately, the use of mattress extenders has opened up a whole new class of RV floorplan designs for us to consider when we finally do upgrade from Minnie.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

A Homemade RV Roman Shade

20161203_121235Welcome back to Minnie’s remodel! In reality, I am almost finished with the remodel and have actually moved on to a condo we are rehabbing for my daughter. Then there’s the kitchen. I’m just a remodeling fool these days.

I thought I’d tell you a little about our custom Roman shade for Minnie.

The old door shade was a standard white vinyl rollup shade screwed to a long frame under a cornice above the door. I decided in the end to tear out the cornice, the particle board mounting frame, and the shade and replace this all with a homemade Roman shade.

I found an in-depth instructional video on how to make a custom Roman shade from www.sailrite.com. In addition, I was able to purchase the Roman shade kit parts used in this video on the same site. The rest of the shade supplies (brass rings, pull, eye screws) I found at JoAnn’s.

I won’t go into great detail on how I did this, since the instructional video is very thorough. I won’t even give you a cost break down on this project. I will say that I did use 1.5 yds of both my paisley fabric and the drapery lining.

If you decide to make such a shade, you will need to keep in mind the area of clearance you have ABOVE the door. In our case, we made a pine mount with a fabric-covered 2”x 2”, which we screwed into the wall, but you need to take care that the bottom dowel is low enough on the shade to offer adequate clearance between the bottom of the shade and the top of the door. My hubby is very tall, and has to duck down as it is to clear the door, and we didn’t want the bottom of the shade getting caught in the door itself.

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Here are pics of the shade being assembled and mounted. I later attached another fancy command hook to the left of the shade to wrap the shade cord around so that it would clear the door when being opened and closed.

All in all, we were both happy with the new shade. Next, we will feature our quick fix for tall people sleeping in a short RV bed!

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

RV Curtains

 

minnieoldshades

No, there was simply no way I was putting the cornices back up! I considered it at one point, when I realized the true purpose for having them. That was to mount and hold the shades in place. The shades in the bedroom were in fine shape, but the shades in the living area were shabby and falling apart. The dinette shade actually looked like it had a huge coffee stain on it.

The old fabric was stapled to the existing cornices. When I studied them to consider repurposing them, I realized the fabric covered a flimsy vinyl paneling the manufacturers had used for the interior walls.

minnieolddiningarea

I decided instead to hang curtains. Using more of the striped material and drapery lining I had bought on sale, I made some tab back curtains for each of the five largest windows. In addition, I bought an ecru linen material for the insides of the curtains.

I found these café rods in two sizes to cover the six windows (three in living area, three in bedroom) at Menards. I had issues with drilling holes for the brackets to hang them. Rather, I was afraid to drill holes. I read someone else’s blog recommending use of command hooks to hang the rods, which I found was a brilliant idea. The rods I selected worked wonderfully for this, although I did need to hang a third hook in the center of the larger windows for added stability.

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I had my hubby cut the hooks with a razor blade by scoring and snapping it like he would have a piece of plexiglass. I hung the cut center hook like this:

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My hubby found a wonderful website with various instructional videos on drape and shade sewing at www.sailrite.com. I’m sure they’d love to sell you an industrial sewing machine, but their videos are extremely informative and they have many hard to get supplies you might need for sewing your own upholstery. More about them later.

Since I had no previous curtains to copy, I realized too late I made a major calculation error in the width of my drapes.

This is what I did for a 59” window:

Rounded up to 60”/4 panels= 15” each curtain (plus two inches for seam allowances)= 17” each panel.

But I forgot about multiplying by two for gathers.

So I had to add another two linen panels to fully cover the windows and factor in gathering.

The final drapes turned out okay. I’m still trying to decide whether I like them. I DO like them better than the nasty shades, but I’m still grappling with the practicality of the drapes. (I apologize for the dark photos, but the pic was extremely backlit.)

 

Here is the breakdown of the project:

  • 6 café rods, 3 large @$4.22, 3 small @ $2.64…$20.58
  • Wedgewood Upholstery Fabric- 3 yds @ $18.00…$54.00
  • Drapery Lining- 3 yds @ $2.99…$8.97
  • 7 yds Linen @$3.99 per yard…$27.93
  • 2- Boxes 2 lb Command Hooks, Clear (5 hooks per box) @ $8.99 each….$17.98
  • Box 2 lb Command Hooks (for center) (7 hooks per box) @ $8.99 each….$ 8.99
  • 2- packages Fabric Sticky Back Velcro dots (specifically for fabric) @$3.99…$7.98
  • Total Cost This Project…$146.43

Note: I used leftover paisley fabric for the tie backs in the living area. I used what small bits of fabric I had left for tie backs in the bedroom.

Overall, due to my miscalculations, I am the least satisfied with this portion of the project. However, the new drapes do impart a homey feel to the living and bedroom areas, and I think I will simply have to get used to the idea of closing drapes versus pulling down a shade.

Thanks for Visiting,

Lois

Minnie’s Cab Over Curtains

20161013_104032Again with the olive drab! These curtains were not only ugly, but they were in serious need of cleaning—really yucky on the white lining side of the curtain facing the window. They were truly a nasty grey that I’m not sure would have ever washed out.

 

The thing I discovered about these curtains is how they were mounted in the cab over window. When I took them down, I found that the curtains had a plastic guide tape attached to the top and bottom which were, in turn, slid onto a rail at the top and bottom.

I had read some more frugal people doing RV makeovers taking the time to use a seam ripper to rip the tape off the old curtains and sew them onto the new. This would, at best, be a sloppy affair. The tape was made of plastic, so any previous sewing holes would still be evident. Also, with years of sun exposure, the tape was discolored and brittle. The rails were in good shape, and I found 72” replacement tape for a little over $6 each at Camping World (with my Sam’s Club discount.)

Again, I used the old curtains as a patterned guide for the new and selected the striped upholstery fabric that I had used for the privacy curtain. To figure the appropriate width for the new curtains, I calculated the width of the old curtains, added two inches for side seams and 1” for each pleat. The width didn’t have to be exact, although erring on the side of too long was better than it being too short.

You can see how the glide tape attached to the curtain and then the rail.

Sewing the new tape onto the new curtains proved to be a nightmare at times. First, I picked a very slippery, lightweight fabric, which was difficult to sew in my machine and get even stitches. But I learned, when sewing the tape to the fabric, that the key to getting a good seam around the outside was to sew like I was sewing a zipper (with the needle to the left of the foot) and to turn the glides sideways so I could sew as close to them  as possible. Once the curtain was sewn, I could turn the glides the right way to feed the finished curtain onto the glide track.

All total, I made eight of these cab curtains. Two hung on each side above the privacy curtain and the other six hung two to each window of the cab. I had long strips left of the paisley material I used for the dinette, which I used to make the drapery tie backs. Each is attached to itself with Velcro tabs when I want to gather the curtains and let in a little light.

One might say that I haven’t strayed too far from the original olive drab curtains, but I think I’ve updated the cab quite a bit. By adding the paisley tie backs, I think I’ve added a little femininity and a much cleaner look to the décor as well.

Here’s the approximate cost breakdown for the cab curtains:

7 yds. striped upholstery fabric @ $18.00 per yd., Wedgewood….$126.00

7 yds. Drapery lining @ $2.99 yd….                   $20.93

2 Spools of Thread, cafe @ $3.49                         $   6.98

4- café serger cones, buff @ $3.49 each…..     $13.96

8- 72” @ $6.29 glide tapes (smaller windows can be cut in half, top and bottom)… $50.32

Velcro sticky back tabs for fabric….  $5.49

TOTAL COST OF THIS PROJECT…   $223.68

I admit that, although I did find these fabrics on sale, I could have saved more if I had kept my eye out for better sales. But I felt that these fabrics were high quality upholstery fabrics and well worth the money. The cab over curtains were by far the most time consuming part of this remodel, but I surmise that having custom curtains made would have cost me even more.

Note: I didn’t figure in the cost of the paisley tie backs because I used scrap fabric from the dinette.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

That Oh-So-70s Mirror

 

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Minnie and my current house have the same decorating problem—way too many mirrors. My house has mirrors on two full walls and a few doors. I hate it. But my house was built in 1987. Minnie was built in 2004. I mean, really. What are these people thinking? I don’t like looking at myself in every room, and I certainly don’t want to feel stuck in the 70s.

This arched mirror sits in the living area and is secured to the wall with plastic brackets. Initially I thought I would just unscrew the brackets and take the mirror down. When I asked my husband to do so, he informed me that the entire mirror was glued to the wall. Glued!

Now, getting RID of the mirror was out of the question. I was going to have to get inventive like I had in my house and creatively OBSCURE the mirror.

I decided to use art to cover over the mirror and just try to pretend it wasn’t there. But I would have to be careful to hang a piece of art that had a thin enough profile that the picture wouldn’t get in the way of the slide out, which was located just in front of the mirror. The clearance between the mirror wall and the rail of the slideout was exactly 1”. A regular framed picture would not work, because it would not clear the slide out.

The mirror measured 20”x 30” at its tallest point. I figured I could use the existing mirror brackets and fasten the same size frame in front of the mirror. The screws would hold everything–including the concealed mirror–in place.

I found a 20”x30” lightweight poster frame at JoAnn’s which would fit the designated space. Through Sam’s Photo, I ordered a poster reprint of my silk painting Arbol de la Vida, which fit the frame perfectly. After some experimentation with screws, washers, and a new mirror bracket, I settled on the new mirror brackets below.

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I had to use the drywall anchors provided in the kit to better secure the mirror bracket screws. The new brackets were less ornate than the existing brackets but looked nicer and worked better with the new frame and pic.

 

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Now this part of Minnie has been transformed back into 2016 from the 1970s with a personal piece of art that works well with the room and décor.

The total cost of this segment of the project is:

20”x30” Poster Frame….               $ 10.19

Sam’s Photo Club Reprint             $  9.94

Mirror Brackets Kit                          $  3.99

TOTAL THIS PROJECT                      $ 20.12

You will also need a drill and correctly sized drill bit and screwdriver for this part of the remodel project.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

Minnie’s Remodel- Recovering the Dinette Cushions

Selecting fabrics created quite a dilemma for me. It took me almost a month of browsing the nearest JoAnn’s and perusing online patterns with both JoAnn’s and Spoonflower (I’ll write more about them later.)

I wanted to work with the existing green carpet, captain’s chair, and cushion covers which were a sage green. My aim was to find a fabric that softened the stark look of a camper, which too often is the standard design in most campers. I needed something that looked homey, yet not too freaky in case we ever decided to sell. The “lady camo” pattern of fabrics was just too ugly, and the taupe background on most of the fabrics looked dingy—even if I had taken the time to have everything dry cleaned.

20161114_182920This is what I came up with. I would use the light blue paisley fabric for the dinette cushions, pillows, and the latch door beneath the jack knife sofa. The striped fabric was for the curtains, the mustard yellow fabric for the jack knife sofa cover, and the yellow vinyl remnant for the rail cover above the dinette.

minnieolddiningarea

 

This is the dinette before I reupholstered. By this time, I had taken out the cushions, so it was just the empty frame.

Recovering the cushions was a lengthy project and not for the faint of heart. I had to make sure the fabric I selected was a thin enough upholstery fabric that I could sew it in my standard sewing machine. This particular fabric was a medium weight, cotton canvas fabric.

I measured the dinette cushions and sewed two sets of two bullnose cushions with a rear zipper. By the time I sewed the last cushion, I almost had it down. (I don’t think I ever successfully sewed zippers before.) I decided to simply cover over the previous cushion covers, rather than take them off. One thing I noticed was that there was a slot sewn into the middle rear of the old seat cushions to feed the seat belts up through the slot. For simplicity’s sake, I opted not to sew a slot for the seat belts.

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This picture is just before I sewed the final cushion cover. The new blue paisley fabric is bright and clean. You can see why I say the old fabric looked dingy, even when it was clean. Definitely lady camo.

There were two rails screwed to the top of the back cushions which were covered with the old sage fabric. I unscrewed the rails, pulled the old staples out of the rails, then pulled the old fabric off. I used the old fabric as my guides to cut new fabric and then stapled it back on with a lightweight upholstery stapler.

This is the dinette with new cushions and reupholstered rails. It looks so neat and—clean!

Here is the cost break down for the segment of the RV model:

6 Yards of Bringhampton Polar Fabric @$23.99 yd…..       $ 143.94

4-45” Brass Zipper Chains @ $5.99 each….                           $  23.96

SPAA Trex Sand Remnant Vinyl, 0.333 yd @ 24.99 yd          $  16.67

TOTAL COST FOR DINETTE                                                           $ 184.57

The best part of this project is that the inside of the RV actually looks like a woman might live there—instead of a bunch of guys going deer hunting. It’s starting to have that homey, feminine look without looking too flouncy.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

Minnie’s Face Lift Continues—The Dreaded Jack Knife Sofa

minnieoldjacknife

Deciding what to do with the jack knife sofa in our RV wasn’t easy. We had several options. First, we could replace the sofa with another jack knife sofa to fit into the same frame covered with a modern fabric, microfiber, or leather. The RV furniture sites had lots of pretty models of sofas in stock but zilch in the size we needed—66”. Yes, there were sofas in other standard sizes, but apparently our size was not standard, so if we wanted new, we would have to have it custom made. That put a replacement sofa out of our budget.

The next option we had was to replace the jack knife with something else. We could put recliners in place of the sofa, but if we resold the RV to a family, passengers would have fewer places to travel and sleep. The jack knife has two spots equipped with safety belts for passengers. A recliner is not made to carry passengers in a moving RV. So we eliminated that idea.

Another option was to reupholster and recushion the sofa. Unfortunately, the gaudy fabric was attached to the bottom of the steel sofa frame with wire hooks. Indeed, the entire wire frame would need to be removed from the assembly and each hook tediously cut before even beginning to reupholster the cushions and fabric attachments which held the whole thing onto the original frame. The thought of doing all that and then reupholstering with my existing sewing skill set was just too overwhelming.

I finally decided to slipcover the entire thing. Without detaching the sofa from the frame, I measured its dimensions and rethunk the bestest way to assemble a slipcover specifically for this type of sofa. I came up with a slipcover in two easy pieces which would allow a break in the center of the sofa for safety belt access.

Here are the plans:jackknifeplan

I originally thought I’d pick something artistic for an upholstery fabric like deep plum. At the last minute, I whimped out and settled on something neutral—and on clearance. I found 3-5/8 yds of a solid mustard yellow fabric which was light enough to sew in my serger. With this design, there were few seams, and the advantage of a slip cover was that it could be removed and cleaned and then put back on at any time.

Once I sewed the thing together, I assembled the top and bottom. The bottom took some fiddling with and alterations. I found the following tools at Joann’s in the upholstery notions section:

minnieupholsterytacks

The slip cover top is simply slid on like a sleeve and the front flap tucked into the crease of the sofa. However, the bottom slipcover had to be secured in place. I used nine upholstery pins on the back inside crease to hold the slipcover securely. (Be careful to hide the needle points back into the cushion so no one pricks themselves grasping for a safety belt.) I then used the twist pins (the squiggly tacks) and screwed the bottom cover in place under the bottom edges of the seat cushions.

minnienewjacknifeunderside

Here are views of the finished slipcover:

I was actually quite proud of how it turned out—a well-fitting slipcover at a minimal cost. Once I pretty it up with a few bolsters and throw pillows, I think it might soften the look and feel a bit more homey.

The existing sofa has storage space underneath with a long hinged door with the old fabric stapled to the outside. I will unstaple the fabric and decide at that point whether I should replace the door and stain it a honey oak to match the existing cabinetry or reupholster with a different fabric. Until then, the jack knife sofa part of this remodel has been tabled.

Here is the cost break-down for this portion of the project:

Fabric 3.625 yd @ $9.00 yd….     $32.63

Upholstery pins…                            $ 5.99

Value Pack Twist Pins…                 $ 5.99

4- Bone Serger Cones @ $3.49   $13.96

TOTAL FOR MATERIALS                 $58.57

Note: I used a serger and serged the fabric ends (they are tucked in and not seen) but you can do this project with a standard sewing machine for the seams. (Make sure to double stitch the corners.) The exposed ends are then tucked under and screwed down with twist pins. You will also need standard sewing supplies: tape measure, markers, pins, and a good pair of fabric scissors.

Thanks for visiting,

Lois

 

RV Face Lift

I have turned my focus in the past month to traveling and living out my dream of being a professional gypsy. I thought I would share details about my recent project with you.

We have a 2004 Class C Winnebago Minnie motor home we bought four years ago, whom we fondly call…Minnie. Although I and my husband have become quite attached to her, her interior is so outdated, it has become almost painful for me to travel on long trips and to be able to stand to look at the inside of her. We had thought of upgrading RVs at some point during our future travels, but even the newest and best of Class C and A RV models are decorated in the ugliest of colors and fabric combinations. Surely, whomever is decorating these RVs hasn’t a bit of taste, color sense, nor do they keep current on decorating trends.

My problem with Minnie’s interior runs much deeper than the fact that she is outdated. She is GREEN. Don’t get me wrong– I like green as an accent color, but the interior fabric combinations of sage and olive drab resemble what I can only refer to as “lady camo.” I am surrounded by green everywhere– from the carpet to the captain’s seats to the cornices (hey, haven’t cornices been out of style since the 90s?) to the cushions. Traveling in Minnie, I truly feel like I’m in the middle of the big WWII.

It will be some time before we upgrade to a new RV. So I decided to remodel Minnie and give her a face lift. I also decided to document my remodeling adventures on this blog for anybody perusing the web for similar ideas.

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This is Minnie from the outside. I believe she’s a 31C model. She has a separate toilet/shower, rear queen short bed and brand new tires. Here she is, all tuckered out from a recent trip we took from Saint Louis to Wisconsin.

This is the inside dining area and kitchen galley. Gotta love those ugly cornices and that oh -so-70s wall mirror hiding behind the slide out!

Here’s the cab and cab over area with those horrid olive green curtains.

For days I’ve been browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, and reading RV remodeling sites about the wisest and most economical way to remodel Minnie. It has been a very slow process and mostly my doing. (I think my hubby had resigned himself to living with the green.)

I decided not to tear out the sage green carpets or repaint the walls and cabinets. Instead, I would decorate around those fixtures. The carpet was a bit dirty, but was in overall pretty good shape. (In the above pics, I removed the cushions in the dinette and will reupholster them in a future blog entry.) I had replaced the polished brass cabinet pulls some time ago, but I would replace all the remaining brass fixtures with polished bronze.

Once my hubby helped me figure out how to remove the cornices/valances, I removed all of them from every window. I have no intention of recovering or replacing them. They are outdated eyesores and will be tossed out with the trash. Even with no window treatments, the entire living space immediately brightened itself up. And so did my spirits!

The border along walls will be steamed off at some point, although I decided not to paint over the vinyl paneling because it was in good shape and I didn’t want to hurt the resale value of the RV, when we actually do decide to sell it. Also for that reason, I decided to reupholster the existing dinette and jack knife sofas to accommodate the original number of passengers/sleepers which, for this RV, is 7.

My ultimate goal for Minnie is to redecorate/remodel within a relatively modest budget and do so tastefully in a manner that will make her more like our home but still not hurt her resale value.

Cost of this project so far: $0 to remove cornices and curtains. However, I did need to use a long Phillips head screwdriver and a good pair of fabric scissors.

Thanks for visiting today’s blog. Keep reading future posts to find out more about Minnie’s face lift.

Lois