Thursday, January 29, 2009

done for now - inside

Before... note the moldy canvas and nasty curtains.
After...  note the shower, clothes rod, new mattress and curtains.
Before... note more moldy canvas and one original built in thingy that was barely standing
After.... aaaaaahhhhhhh.....  

done for now - outside


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Frozen Iowa

We went outside to go to rehearsal and found snow everywhere.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Arkansas was very dark. It was probably a lovely place, but this was all I could see for six hours.

I was very grateful to be able to follow those trucks ahead of me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

McNeese Banners Series

We played for four schools in the Lake Charles, LA area. Strangely, the acoustics were pretty good in this gym :-) we had a great time and so did the kids and teachers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Leaving Asheville this morning, there was snow on the car and some frost on the windows. This is 8:01 AM.
Driving directly west at sunset is painful but kinda pretty. This is 6 ish PM. I finally arrived at the casino at 10 PM.
We are performing the next couple of days at several elementary schools.

Can't visit Louisiana without petting the gator statue.
This is in front of the wallpaper. Nightmares, anyone?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Coming together

This first photo is supposed to show SNOW.  There were BIG flakes falling.  I think the iPhone camera doesn't care to capture snow, I suppose.
Here is the pop-up.  Clean, ceiling painted, all new canvas, that IS green vinyl above the beds, incredible Roman style shades, and new fabulous beds!

I am leaving town tomorrow morning for Louisiana.  When I come back, I have some interior projects planned for my last 5 days in Asheville before I drag this trailer out to Phoenix.  I am so excited and proud of this trailer.  It is so amazing to step inside and turn 360 degrees around and see this amazingly hard work actually up and performing real life duties.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

5 Minute Mug Cake

My friend Stacie sent this to me. I immediately scanned the kitchen for the ingredients... no chocolate of any sort and no oil. Well, you know me, I decided to make it anyway. Mine would be vanilla and I would use butter instead of oil. Here's the recipe followed by my personal results....


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using)
and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

It ain't purty, and it's bouncy, but strangely...  well, OK, it's not very good, but that's probably because of my substitution.  I WILL try again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The kids on "Stuff on my Cat dot com"

Featured January 13, 2009

Fabulous Michelle Levy painted Liam there...  Lilly is trying to take credit.  Michelle can be found HERE!

One end done!

I completed one of the ends just now!  One end is basically like making a whole tent with vinyl and heavy canvas.  It was an athletic event just to keep the materials under the needle.  I broke a total of 5 needles and countless pins on this end...  4 of those were needles I bought that said they were good for vinyl, canvas and leather.  
Here it is draped in place.  It's SEVEN degrees Fahrenheit today and draping was as good as my fingers would do.  You get the idea.  
And now for the other end.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Broken Needles

No cool pictures to show today.  I'm almost done with the roof.  Now it looks like it did when I started, so a before and after picture would be pretty boring.  The wet, rotting, moldy wood in the top has been replaced, so far all the pieces are fitting back together.  Hopefully, the sun will come out tomorrow and I can finish things and we can re-attach the roof to the pop-up.  Cross your fingers that it closes and latches properly!!!
So, what I really wanted to talk to you about today is needles.  My sewing machine is your typical everyday machine and it's 10 years old.  The machine seems to be chuggin' right along...  but the needles, well, the needles are bending and/or breaking pretty frequently.  I'm actually surprised that it's even attempting some of the stitching I'm passing under the needle.  When the pieces are folded and joined there can be up to 7 layers of vinyl with 6 layers of canvas AND a zipper.  Sometimes that's just too much.  The needle skews off to to left and snaps.  Sometimes if it just bends, I grab the pliers, bend it back and make the next stitch.  This makes for slow sewing, but it's coming along.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I now know the definition of crazy. Someone who rebuilds something with no previous experience or knowledge - pretty much crazy. Yesterday, I spent the day remaking the second easiest canvas panel. I get really nervous about midway through construction. The seams have all been ripped. I can't decide NOT to rebuild. What if my pieces don't match?!?! So the first few stitches are high stress. Then there comes a point when I say oh who cares, it'll be good enough. And then to the finish line. To see the brand new completed panel is really wonderful.  This is one of the most rewarding projects ever.

Today, it was sunny. There was ice on the tarp from an old rain puddle, but that made it easy to get rid of the water. That piece of ice did not melt all day long. I rebuilt the wood parts of the roof. The ceiling really wasn't too bad, but the sides along the ceiling were wet, rotted and moldy. I ripped fabulous new ends. Then, luckily one of the side boards was fairly intact. I laid it on the wood and traced it. I set my saw rip measure thingy and then noticed that my measure thingy wasn't correct for the end of my cut... Oh for heavens sake... The side boards have a slight curve. All this time literally ripping things up and I didn't notice the sides weren't just straight rectangles. Weird. I stopped working when my back hurt so much and I was loosing the ability to drill in a screw. I went in, took some ibuprofen, and took a nap. Much better now.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Yup, day 3

It rained all day. After the matresses, I thought I would be done for the day, but I decided to go ahead and just see how difficult it would be to remove and copy the canvas parts of the pop up. I chose the smallest easiest piece. An hour later I am eased to present the first of the canvas chunks. In case you are wondering if replacing the canvas is really necessary, I included a photo of the original piece as well. Yuck...  yes, that's mold, and yes, I am being very careful.

Day 3, I think

I just started and already I don't know what day it is. Yesterday, I needed to remove 8 bolts to get the top off. 5 came off with some special spells and curses. 2 came off with some serious cursing, WD40, and some manly strength. The last one, we tried one of those "grip-it" bits... Didn't work. So, we just drilled into the screw until the head of the screw came off. Way easier solution. I plan on remembering that one. In the end, we did get the top off, and then it was too dark to do any more.
Today, there is rain. Rain. Rain. So, I went to the foam and fabric store. I got new foam for the matresses and canvas to begin work on the sides of the pop up.
Oh the rain, it rains. At least the top is off!!! Hooray!!
Sewing day.
Completed matresses along with the wood and styrofoam for the top when it decides to stop raining.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Day one: Destruction

We set the pop-up up with a large carport tent over it.

Then I proceeded to destroy it. The top has to come off completely so that I can seal and basically rebuild it. The canvas pieces are going to be replaced as well. The parts that are vinyl and the screens will be re-usable.

Time for a trip to Home Depot or Lowe's.