Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Jay Gatsby got up in Pippa

A couple of things:  despite the fact that my previous dialogue about camping trailed off here, my enthusiasm in real life for the past time has not waned. Just so you know.  

I'm a little obsessed, in fact. 

So obsessed that I'm now in possession (seriously, you won't believe this) of a gently used pop up. 

Say hello to Pippa. The pop-up camper.
(Not even kidding. Who am I?)

That's right, friends, if you're keeping score, (and why would you?) my first camping trip included a six-person tent, my second camping trip included a six-person tent and a two-person tent, and my as yet to be embarked upon third camping trip will include an ancient at least partially redecorated pop-up named Pippa and central air.

If you're a little nervous about my fourth camping trip, I'm right there with you.  Although I'm fairly convinced that my camping equipment advances will not evolve past this pop-up any time soon--if ever--(though you have to be crazy not to covet this or this or this) owing not only to certain budgetary constraints, but also to a singular aversion (as I'm fond of proclaiming to anyone with the misfortune of touring my new pop-up) to,

"Driving around with my own poop sloshing around in a tank behind me,"

which is my Very Special way of proclaiming (possibly as a mantra) that I shall NEVAH EVAH buy into the mindset that is trailer camping, that bourgeois American past time that includes a multi-zillion dollar politically incorrect gas-guzzling drivable housebus on wheels complete with (God forbid) a bathroom ((skeeve)) and television, satellite linkage, microwave, and Bose sound system. 

Au contraire! 

I'll be roughing it!

Save, of course, for the minimal climate controlled, weather-tight, curtain-enclosed enclave that is Pippa my "back-to-nature" tent camper.  Yes, I'll be forging a path through the wilderness within spitting distance of the IGA whilst relentlessly stalking Sasquatch with my dull axe and posting photos of my progress via Facebook, don't you worry, while leaving no trace of my invasion upon the land.

Because I'm environmentally friendly like that.


Among the many advantages of Pippa like, say, improved arm strength thanks to the hours of manual cranking she requires (more on that later), is the fact that there is lots of tiny (TINY!) stuff involved.  She comes equipped with a tiny 3-burner portable stove top, for instance. And a tiny refrigerator.  The space inside is generally tiny, though the beds are surprisingly expansive with one being a double and the other queen-sized.  Pippa's advanced age (she doesn't like to discuss the exact number) means that the interior fabric and style choices are rather in need of updating and some of her finishes and surfaces are, shall we delicately say, a little worse for the wear. 

Which brings us (finally) to today's project.  While I do plan on bringing you traditional before/after photos of Pippa's interior, today I'm featuring but a small project involving her tiny table top.  You know the kind, all campers have a small booth with a removable table top.  In Pippa's case, as is usual, the booth and table top fully convert to yet another (TINY!) sleeping space.  Pippa's table top however, as stated earlier, is one of those items a little worse for the wear.  The white laminate was chipping around the edges like this:

Along with the problem, you see pictured there the solution to the left--a page torn from one of several copies of "The Great Gatsby" that I have scattered about the house.  I believe I've waxed poetic about my penchant for endlessly rereading certain classic novels with TGG being perhaps my number one choice in times of trouble.  Poor Jay Gatsby never ceases to soothe somehow.  And so armed with the prose of F. Scott, one enthusiastic helper recruited from next door,

a few brushes, and a bottle of the ever-popular Mod Podge which, comfortingly, seems not to have changed one whit in the thirty or so years since I discovered its wonder during a Vacation Bible School class in which I shellacked a picture of a blond-haired, blue-eyed Savior to a slab of particle board in the basement of Mississippi Baptist Church one summer and called it "art", and we were ready to transform. 

It didn't take long.

Here you see the entire expanse of the table top fully decoupaged, but still not dry.  (And, in case you don't know the very complicated secret to successful decoupaging, it is...MORE MOD PODGE!  More of the stuff painted under and over your material of choice. Layer upon layer. Think that's not enough?  Slather some more on!  I'm convinced the stuff is really just Elmer's glue in a different container.) 

We didn't pay much attention to placement or pattern but I did think to memorialize the iconic first and last pages together near the center:

And if you're thinking to yourself, "Damn, that isn't much of a project," you'd be absolutely right. But I'm simple myself, I suppose. I cannot convey the absolute joy the coming together of this obvious idea (and one I'm sure that is done all the time) brought me.  The thought that we'd undertake many camping adventures and enjoy many "wilderness" (ahem) meals atop some of the most skillfully woven sentences and paragraphs in all of literature made me nothing short of giddy.  I could not contain my excitement as the finished project began to emerge and it became evident that the plan was going to work, the pages were going to adequately cover the surface and eliminate the peeling edge problem as well as be practical, original, and attractive. Much as I love a good painting project, it definitely just would not compare to this: 


So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.       


Brenda said...

LOVE it!

Suz said...