Belinda's Blog,  Work

Progress for the Happy Camper

This road we’re on feels like a long one recently. Over the last couple of weeks there have been ups and downs, which to continue the already on the verge of being over done metaphor, can be described as: dodgy rest stops (the fear that grips you when your husband insists on operating a saw in a terrible mood), armed protest road blocks (the ongoing discussion on liquor licensing), finding a dairy queen in the middle of a dessert (a full set of 1960’s gold leaf cocktail glasses for $2 each at Goodwill!) We keep chugging through it all, hills and valleys, and I know we’ll get there. My eye is on the destination as this journey throws challenges our way.

The trailer is slowly making progress towards the much anticipated “after” picture. Throughout this process we’ve had to weigh a lot of considerations that are new to us, as experienced home renovators. This time, in addition to those that we are familiar with such as budget, scale, how it looks, and what materials we can easily procure, we also have to worry about there is weight distribution, endurance and waterproofing of materials and function factors much more than we are accustomed to. We’ve done a considerable amount of reinforcing the original wood and metal structure. As you can still see in these inside wall pictures, the framing is very lightweight and thin (this thing is basically a bologna sandwich on wheels, propelled by hope and angel wings. I do not understand how these travel trailers can be in such good condition after this long!) This made these campers ideal for station wagon towing but is a concern for us because we’re adding some heavy cabinets and the freezer for our kegerator that need to be supported by these feeble walls.

The materials have also been an issue. We obviously are not concerned with doing a restoration type project but we want materials that don’t seem completely out of place and manage to keep some of the vintage charm of the travel trailer. Thus, our cabinets will have 60’s style flat front cabinets with some super cool retro brass pulls I picked up on our Second Use Seattle trip, and the brass hardware theme will continue with period sconce lighting and faucets. The walls are the biggest conundrum of late. We decided to not replace the birch paneling and try something different. This will allow us a cost savings but also create a newer, fresher look and move away from the completely retro look of the original canned ham trailers. Troy found some sheets of composite material that are able to bend around the ceiling curves pretty well, are extremely waterproof, and were dirt cheap- $6 per sheet at Home Depot! We’re apprehensive about the high sheen and what to do about the exposed screw heads on the ceiling but think that this is the best way to go, those concerns withstanding. The lower half of them will be mostly covered with cabinetry, bars, and the freezer so it isn’t as much of a concern. I hope to wallpaper the top parts that will show in a fun retro style but still simple, clean wallpaper. I have never shopped for or installed wallpaper (just lusted over it in other people’s instagram posts) so it is a new experience. Every time I make a decision I try to consider whether it makes sense for a bride to be, a retirement bash, a birthday party, etc. If the design is not universal enough to please our customers, its back to the drawing board. And finally, In a 15 x 8 foot space, the ability for two bartenders to move, shake, and stir as needed is critical. We don’t want anyone waiting in a long line for their drinks!

A couple of recent sunny days were the much needed breaths of fresh air in between this incessant Seattle rain & the wind that keeps blowing the tarp off the top of the trailer as Mr. Kelly works. Finally a chance to paint! I have always reveled at how a simple, cheap can of paint can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and it came through yet again. The transformation is really encouraging, and frankly, we needed that. The bright white paint is like a clean slate on this old girl and gives her new life.

Painting the Aladdin camper trailer Painting the Aladdin camper trailer Painting the Aladdin camper trailer Painting the Aladdin camper trailer Painting the Aladdin camper trailer Painting the Aladdin camper trailer

Painting the Aladdin camper trailer

While he was busy at work last weekend I took some of my favorite girls, a truck full of furniture & buffet styling supplies and dozens of doughnut holes to our first wedding venue open house at Trintity Tree Farms. They basically set up the day like a faux wedding, with 3 beautifully catered food stations (omg the cheese- I ate all of the cheese) by Sunshine’s catering, photographers This Little Pic and Erin Perkins showing off their skills, a DJ playing a list so good that we looked at one another several times with eyebrow raised nods of approval (a good DJ is SO important and sadly, so rare at weddings), and us with our cute little example dessert display and banging outfits.

Our awesome new t-shirts were made by buckley local screen printers One of a Kind Screen Printing and we all wore blue suede shoes without even planning it, which made the day an instant success in my book. (Ok I did tell them I was wearing a blue skirt but how amazing are my galpals that they then thought, “oh yeah hey I should probably wear my blue suede high heels…AMAZING”) We then proceeded to lift & carry huge pieces of furniture through loose gravel and mud in our suede shoes ’cause we are boss ladies. (I know you are wondering, is there a vet around? Because yes, our cobras are OUT of control.)

My cousin Casey and friend Gen did a fantastic job of helping me with set up, radiating their beauty into the room at large, and answering questions for the lovely people who approached us. We gave them info about our services, handed them one of my beautiful new business cards with beautiful logo (another prop given to graphic designer + cousin Sage) and sent the willing home with bags of doughnut holes. And THAT, friends, is why dessert buffets are the best choice for your event sweet tooth. Cakes are so pretty, and can be incorporated into the buffet, but not everyone likes cake, and options are wonderful. Favors at weddings have also gone by the wayside but you know what, no one passes up an opportunity for car trip doughnuts after dancing the night away.


My lovely volunteers

People also didn’t pass up our cool t-shirts which we gave away to three new friends we met at the event, the aforementioned photographers and the venue coordinator who invited us, Brittny. I hope they’re repping their Cocktails, Cake, & Happily Ever After tees regularly so the world can see what we’re about and join us for cake + booze. I also hope to have more of these t-shirts and a couple of other designs for sale at my website and events in the future.


Mostly, what I loved about this exciting day (I said repeatedly that it felt like the first day of school to be setting up our first expo display) was meeting the really lovely couples. There were several hugs shared between us and potential clients over the course of the day and some really great conversations. We talked business, but also about previous weddings champagne fueled dancing shenanigans, what cocktail describes you, and why doughnuts are better than cake. I love that I am in a business where these conversations are actually par for the course, and in fact are necessary explorations into getting to know the couples I’ll have the pleasure of serving.

I really can’t wait to do events like this one in the future with the camper onsite. We played a slideshow of our inspiration pictures and a few pics of our own Happy Camper but I know it is hard to visualize what could be and the whole points of open house events set up like this one is so you don’t have to. When on that lovely day the Happy Camper travel trailer bar gets in front of people, with her pretty white paint and shiny wooden bar tops and vintage Collins cocktail glasses in assorted white, black, gold, & crystal patterns, it will be the most Instagrammable, photographable picture on the planet and I am really, really excited for that day.



The "glass" behind the garden to glass cocktails, Belinda is the owner of the Happy Camper Cocktail Company, bartender, recipe developer, younger sister and karaoke lover.


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