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lisa mora pink vintage caravan magazine blog hop


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An inspirational interview with ‘Vintage Caravan Style’ author Lisa Mora

Do you love vintage? Are you a fan of caravans? Does retro rule? Then this is the blog post for you! I am delighted to be taking part in the Stitch, Craft, Create blog hop today and taking a look at all the gorgeous caravans that are featured in a new book: Vintage Caravan Style. As you know from reading my blog, I’m in the middle of a caravan renovation project myself so you can imagine how inspiring this book has been for me flick through and I couldn’t wait a moment longer to share this magical read with you.
This beautifully designed book was the brainchild of lifelong caravan fan Lisa Mora, editor of Vintage Caravan Magazine and writer extraordinaire, and today I’m going to be sharing an interview with the delightful Lisa herself as she braces herself for the publication to hit bookshop shelves here in the UK. I’m certain that you’ll all want to read a copy for yourselves and if you stick around, there’s a competition to win your very own copy of Lisa’s book at the end of the interview, but first read on and learn more about the lovely writer behind this enchanting book.
blue retro car and trailer from vintage caravan style book
Let’s get stuck into the caravan chat straight away! Tell us about your first vintage caravan…

I got my first vintage caravan for $200. It was a 1970 Chesney and it wasn’t very pretty, but I painted it pink on the inside and took my son on a big road trip up the coast of Queensland to attend his State athletics competition and we had so much fun together seeing so many wonderful things and staying in tropical beach front caravan parks, and I was well and truly hooked! (pun intended!)

Do you have any childhood memories of caravanning?
My parents travelled a lot when I was a kid, and we travelled all around the world. When we did Europe my Dad bought an old camper-van in Italy and we travelled all around in that and so travelling and road tripping is something I grew up with and love. But I also loved horses, so my childhood dream was always to build a horse-drawn gypsy caravan and travel around with that.  As an adult, the horse drawn part seemed a bit unrealistic and I love classic cars, so I had the idea of using an old caravan with a classic car instead – way more practical!
lisa mora pink vintage caravan magazine blog hop
Here’s a photo of the lovely Lisa Mora with her very own vintage caravan taken a couple of weeks ago at an event – it is a 1964 Sunliner made of fibreglass and her name is “Betty” which Lisa tows with her matching pink 1964 Vauxhall Cresta.
What do you get up to in your own caravan nowadays?
Big road trips! I have three vintage caravans now, one in Australia, one in New Zealand and one in the USA and I use them to travel to car shows and caravan rallies. Last year I travelled 14,000 kilometres and attended 12 different shows! I love setting up the caravans for display filled with retro trinkets and my wrought iron table and chairs and my pink flamingos outside and opening it up to the public.  The most common question I get asked at shows is: “Do you actually camp in this?” and that makes me laugh. Of course I do! I always have my accommodation right behind me wherever I travel and for the duration of the events I attend.  I always have the pantry and wardrobe fully stocked so I can hook up and take off whenever I get the urge (which is often!) – my caravan makes people smile and living inside it while I am on the road makes me so happy. If it weren’t for all the magazines I have in storage, I’d happily live in the caravan full time. Even though it is small, it has everything I need; a big comfy bed, a kitchen, a big wardrobe and best of all, an ever-changing view…
pink and red retro trailer from vintage caravan style book
How and why did you start writing Vintage Caravan Magazine?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. i used to journal every adventure we went on as a kid and my dad is a writer, so expressing my feelings and describing my experiences in words came very naturally to me. I started off as a freelance music journalist, and that was how I discovered the rockabilly and kustom culture scene and fell in love with the hot rods and classic cars.  I was then approached by a new car magazine to write for them full time. By then I had my Chesney and had developed a passion for vintage caravans and wanted to write about them in the magazine, but my editor said “Lisa, nobody else but you is interested in old caravans”.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t true and so I persisted. Every week I would offer him another article about vintage caravans and every week, he would say “give me something else Lisa”.  One day he came in and said he had a last minute gap to fill in the next issue and needed me to write up an article by the end of that day, so I convinced him to use one of my caravan articles. When I came in the following Monday he had a big smile on his face and told me that the reactions to the article had been great and asked me give him another one.  It was then that I knew I wanted to focus solely on vintage caravans.  At first I thought I’d like someone else to create a vintage caravan magazine so that I could write for them, but after two years of waiting for someone else to start one, there was still not one magazine in the whole world about them, so I took the plunge and created Vintage Caravan Magazine myself. vintage caravan style book - renovation
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about renovating their own vintage caravan?
My advice to anyone wanting to renovate their own caravan is to not let anyone talk you out of your dreams and just do it! I know there are some amazing vans out there that have had a lot of money spent on them, but if there is anything I want to share it is this: whether you keep yours original, hot rod it to the max, want to do it yourself on a tight budget or are lucky enough to be able to pay a professional to do a ground up restoration job, doesn’t matter. I love the fact that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to vintage caravan styling.  A vintage caravan is the one place in the world where it is totally OK to make it all about you. You can express the wildest parts of your personality in a way that you might not be brave enough to do inside a house.  Adding those personal touches to your styling will help turn your vintage caravan into your very own special happy place.  Of course, if you intend to tow it anywhere you need to make sure that the safety and structural aspects of the van are functioning and maintained properly. I highly recommend getting a professional caravan repairer or experienced person to inspect any caravan prior to purchase if you can, to check the tyres, bearings and chassis strength and make sure all the legal requirements are met with regards to lighting, gas connections, registration etc. Also, be warned: vintage caravans are addictive! Almost everyone I know that steps inside my caravan walks out with a wide grin saying “I want one” and most of us who have one, find it hard to stop at just one. Once the bug bites, it is almost impossible to resist rescuing every cute little bubble you see sitting on the side of the road and it can become an expensive obsession!
Thanks for the great tips Lisa! Now who doesn’t want to renovate their own vintage caravan after reading Lisa’s inspiring words?! It certainly encouraged me to get a wriggle on with doing up my own little caravan and turning it into my sewing room and writing office, so watch this space for project updates! In the meantime, would you like to win yourself a copy of Lisa’s fabulous new book? Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Vintage Caravan Style delivered straight to your door and here’s how:
vintage caravan syle book by lisa mora

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My little vintage caravan ~ My pink & red birthday party

A couple of weeks ago I started planning my birthday party. I usually completely overlook  my birthday because I get too excited about Christmas. But this year I have my little vintage caravan, which seems to be the perfect venue to celebrate my getting a year older! I have already shared my initial ideas for food, drinks and decor via  my Pinterest moodboards and have had a fun week of crafting DIY pom-pom decorations and paper cones. I’ve also made a lovely red velvet layered birthday cake (check out my pieday friday post!). So today I wanted to share with you photos of my little pink and red birthday party so that you can see how all my ideas turned out:

pink party afternoon tea and cherry milkshake cupcakes

I wanted to create an afternoon tea atmosphere, so I stacked up sandwiches on my old floral stand and presented my red velvet cupcakes on mini cake stands from Wholeport. I layered up my favourite poppy petal crockery with red napkins and used pink spotty doilies as placemats.

pink and red party theme afternoon tea milkshake and popcorn

 

My favourite drink ever  is strawberry milkshake so I used 1/3 pint bottles and striped straws from the DotComGiftShop to serve my drinks and I after lunch watched girly films with a bucket of popcorn – what a great way to round off the afternoon. I baked a red velvet cake (here’s my recipe) smothered in buttercream, pink sprinkles and whipped cream, mmm yum! I topped it off with a little cake candelabra that I bought specially for the occasion (again from the DotComGiftShop) and felt like a proper disney princess as I blew out my candles and made my birthday wish!

pink birthday cake disney princess candelabra

Red velvet birthday cake recipe

I had a lovely day on my birthday, full of surprise treats and lots more presents than I could have hoped for! I now have a couple of good books to read over the coming weeks including my the books of my favourite films, Julie & Julia and the new Bridget Jones’ novel. I also received a couple of hats, so this may be the start of a new look for me – plus it’ll keep my roots covered until I can get to a hairdresser! Lots more accessories, beauty treats and choccies meant that I felt totally spoilt and couldn’t keep the smile off my face all day :)

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My vintage caravan ~ somewhere to iron my sewing projects

So on this wet Wednesday morning, what better to chat to you about than my new ironing board. Honestly, it’s a much more interesting topic than you’d think! I needed to replace my previous ironing board this week because I discovered that it has gone mouldy and rusty where it had been leaning up against a damp exterior wall. Do you remember that I talked about my damp bedroom and problem with condensation? Well, it turns out that it wasn’t only my bedroom that had the problem! So when I came to get out my ironing board to iron the darts into the dress that I challenged myself to sew this week, I found that my ironing board had been ruined.

brabantia ironing board outside my vintage caravan sewing room

You can probably tell from the above that I’m not what you’d call a regular ironer, which is why I hadn’t noticed the rust appearing on the ironing board frame. Even so, I need an ironing board for all of my sewing projects and I felt a bit stumped without one. I’m not going back to my student days of laying a towel on the floor and using that as an ironing surface! So I visited the John Lewis website and picked out this Brabantia ironing board - mainly for the cute tea-party pattern on the cover! When it arrived, I realised that it did so much more than I’d expected and could be used at many different heights so it will be ergonomically the right height for even small ladies like me! Plus I can even iron whilst sitting down, that’s how low it goes! It’s really chunky and sturdy, as you’d expect from a brand whose tag line is “solid company”, plus I love the little teapot hot plate for resting your iron on. All in all I thought it was a good choice and I’ll be keeping it in my sewing-workshop caravan now, to make sure that it isn’t met with the same fate as the previous ironing board.

brabantia airing rack outside my vintage caravan sewing room

While on the subject, I also got this Brabantia airing rack, which was equally sturdy and has more hanging surface area than I ever thought possible – enough for a whole washing load. It’s handy for this time of year, because I don’t have a tumble-dryer to dry my clothes (not that I’d want to pay for the electricity to run it, I’m too stingy!) and I reply on good weather and my washing line. Looking out of the window at this time of year, I can tell I’m not going to be getting any washing dry on the line, so I needed an alternative. This airer will sit in my bathroom and the warm air will dry the clothes – plus I don’t mind having the window open to air the bathroom and take out the dampness from the wet clothes.

So although not always the most interesting subject area to talk about, my new clothes-drying-and-ironing system is one of the more exciting things that has happened to me this week and I’m pleased to be getting everything in order so that I can really enjoy Christmas in comfort! Not to mention all those sewing projects I’ll be able to get on with now..!


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My little vintage caravan project ~ Pull yourself together

Patient: “Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains”, Doctor: “Pull yourself together”.

So today I’m sharing my latest sewing achievement in my little vintage caravan project – I’ve made some curtains. And roman blinds too. The roman blinds came about by accident because I thought I’d ordered enough fabric to make curtains for all the windows but when I got to work, I realised that I would need to use most of the fabric for just the main window. Apparently the width of the caravan is bigger than I’d realised. So that left me with two smaller pieces of fabric, which would either make a pair of curtains for one of the remaining windows, or it would make two roman blinds with a bit more effort. So not wanting to pay for more fabric (yes I am that stingy) I opted for the roman blinds.

little vintage caravan project diy makeover

What do you think of my fabric? It’s a blue cotton with TINY stars all over it from Abakhan Fabrics. It was a toss-up between blue and mint green, but in the end I opted for blue, because it would look nicer from the outside against the blue of the caravan. Plus, it’s the colour of the sky and kind of blends into the windows and looks right. I simply stitched a hem around all the edges of the curtains and added some curtain header tape to the top. Job done! Here are the photos of making the roman blinds:

cassiefairy vintage caravan project making roman blinds diy

I hemmed around all edges and then attached a strip of sew-on loop velcro to the top of the blind, saving the corresponding sticky hook piece of velcro for later. Next I stitched a ‘pocket’ for the dowling along the bottom of the blind by turning up the hem by 1.5 inches. I then divided the remaining fabric into 3 and stitched another 2 pockets – 1/3rd of the way up, and 2/3rds up. I inserted the dowels and stitches the ends closed. I hand-stitched 3 rings on each of the dowel pockets on the back of the blind – left, middle and right – and then threaded cord through them, attaching it to the bottom ring with a knot. I then had a little help from hubby to affix a piece of wood above the window of the caravan and stuck the hook piece of velcro to the baton. I screwed 3 eyelet hooks into the baton and threaded the cord from the blinds through and along to bring together as the pull-cord and attached the blind to the baon using the velcro strip.

cassiefairy vintage caravan DIY sewing project making roman blinds

Actually, I’m kind of pleased that I was ‘forced’ to make roman blinds for the side windows, even though they took a lot more time and effort, because I can pull them right up and out of the way. Plus they don’t block out any of the light from coming into the caravan, whereas the curtain-ed window has less light coming in at the sides where the curtains are hanging. After being so used to having no curtains (and therefore lots of light) I was a little bit miffed that I was losing some of precious light just because I wanted to put up curtains. But it’s more important to have the option of privacy for anyone who sleeps in the caravan, and if I’m working in there in the evenings, it’s much more snuggly with the curtains drawn.

little vintage caravan project diy makeover sewing curtains


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My little vintage caravan project ~ the first thing I’ve made in my new sewing room

This is a big moment for me – I’m sharing the first sewing project I’ve done in my little vintage caravan after starting the project to makeover the old retro van into my new sewing studio. I’m still quite far off finishing my ‘office’ but I’ve got a table and somewhere to sit now, so there’s no reason why I can’t start sewing out there as planned!

I’ve borrowed hubby’s loooong outdoor extension lead so now I’ve got electricity and I can at least plug in my sewing machine and have the radio on while I work. I will need to sort out a better and more weather-proof electrics for the caravan if I want to use it over the winter (which I’m sure will result in another dull-but-necessary blog post!) but for now, the roll-out extension cable does the job. So this is the first sewing project I worked on last week – an appliqué tulip design.

cassiefairys applique tulip project for amanda addison creative crafting

After setting so many inspiration challenges of my own, I wanted to join in with Amanda Addison’s craft challenge, which I learnt about during the Creative Crafting blog tour over the summer. She set the challenge to use her tulip design and appliqué it onto anything we like. I started with a piece of gingham and a tiny scrap of red fabric and soon decided that I wanted to create an appliquéd picture that I could frame and hang in the caravan in the future. I used zig-zag stitch over the edges and chose a contrasting pink thread to outline the petals.

I was happy with the finished image and sent a photo of it to Amanda. There were lots of other crafters joining in with the challenge with a variety of results – adding the tulip design to jeans, cushions and even a tray! She has shared some of the projects on her website, so please check out her blog post  and you can even get the tulip design pattern for yourself and add it to your own craft items in the future. And don’t forget that this month’s inspiration challenge theme for my own blog is ‘apples’ so check out the challenge blog post and join in by making something crafty!

Inspiration Challenge for October 2013 theme - apples

I’m pleased to make my first item in my caravan ‘studio’ and I can’t wait to carry on crafting after I build my work surface. Now that I’ve started working in the caravan, I’ve realised that I desperately need some storage solutions – somewhere to put my fabric, equipment and craft supplies, so I’m going to keep an eye out for a desk, some free-standing shelves and storage boxes. I’m sure there will be another caravan update soon, so come back when you get the chance!  :)

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