Saturday, May 28, 2016

VW Week | Day Seven: Post Wrap-Up

The day I picked up the Bug:

Finished Restoration:

Enjoying my ride!

Well, it's been a fun journey to share with you the restoration of my 1971 VW Super Beetle Cabriolet/Convertible.

I, of course, will share any updates or fun finds.  In the meantime, you can check out my past posts below if you've missed any.  I'll update this blog entry as new posts are added to the list.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

All VW posts in order from first (oldest) to most recent:

Friday, May 27, 2016

VW Week | Day Six: Beetle Cruising

The weekend is here!  It's time to go cruising and enjoy Memorial Day weekend!

It's almost the end of VW Week!  Head on over to Twitter and Instagram for today's challenge.

Twitter: @marlaplainsmall
Instagram: @marlaplainandsmall

Thursday, May 26, 2016

VW Week | Day Five: Handmade Beetle Patch for a Bag

One great thing about Volkswagen is there is such great merchandise out there.  There are few cars that have bags, wallets, posters, you-name-it geared towards people that love a car they may not even own!

I owned VW shirts and keychains before I ever owned a VW! My first VW was a 2003 Beetle.  It was so much fun.  I loved driving that car.  As a child and teenager I was always drawn to VW merchandise and often bought clothes or toys resembling Beetles.
This is the only picture I could find of my red Bug!  This picture was taken my senior year in college, and the other cars were my roommates'.
Now that I own a VW again, I can buy Beetle merchandise without feeling like an imposter (for the record...if you like it, I think you should buy it even if you don't own a VW :) ).

I found a bag I really liked from JBugs.  They have some neat merchandise.  The problem was the bag had a VW Bus on it, not a convertible Beetle.  Here's the bag:

I decided I would just have to make my own patch!  I found a Beetle drawing (below) that I liked.

I printed out the picture, then I traced it with a Sharpie.  This helped me simplify the drawing a bit more to decide what lines to sew.  If you are sewing on a piece of fabric that's lightweight like cotton, you can trace the car with the fabric underneath.  The Sharpie should go through the paper and transfer onto the fabric. 

If you use felt like I did, the Sharpie probably won't transfer onto the felt.  I made a couple of cuts through the paper using the edge of my scissors and then traced the cuts with the Sharpie.  It had a stencil-like effect.  For the most part, I had to draw the car by hand.  That's why it's not as proportional (or as good looking) as the original drawing.

The next step is to stitch the patch.  You can sew it directly onto the bag you want.  I was having commitment issues with deciding which bag I wanted my patch on.  So I decided to make the patch and then just pin it on so I could move it from bag to bag.
Put an embroidery foot on your sewing machine, making sure to get the right one for your machine.  You'll also need to lower the feeders (the little iron feet that move the fabric along) on your machine.  This will allow you to move your fabric when and how you choose, and the foot will allow you to stitch more freely.

I used white thread to stitch and just worked my way around the design, stitching on top of the Sharpie lines.  Then I trimmed around the design and cut out the headlights.

I used safety pins to attach the patch to the bag.  I pinned it from inside the bag so you wouldn't notice the pins.  This is the bag I use when I'm driving the Beetle.  It fits my purse, diapers and wipes and other baby items, and miscellaneous items.  When you drive a convertible, you can't secure everything you can normally in a car, so I use this bag to hold items that I need to take with me when I'm shopping.

I think I'll try this again with linen and a fun thread color and make it larger.  If only I could commit to a bag for it!  I think it would also be cute on a jean jacket.

Don't have a sewing machine?  After you trace the design, you could use needle and thread to stitch by hand.  Since this doesn't have to be perfect, you could do fun stitch patterns!

Head to Instagram and Twitter for today's challenge!

Twitter: @marlaplainsmall
Instagram: @marlaplainandsmall

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

VW Week | Day Four: Beetle Interior

Day we picked up the Bug:

Now it looks new!
The Bug has all new carpet and seat belts.  Just about everything else that you see is original.  The seats are original and in great condition.  In the video you'll see I put seat covers from Walmart on the bucket seats.  That's purely because the original vinyl gets really hot when the top is down.
We kept the dashboard original.  It was in excellent shape.  The radio is AM only.  You can buy stereos that look vintage, but I didn't want to alter the dash.  With technology today, you can find other ways to listen to music (and for much cheaper!).  I bought a HMDX HX-P120GY HoMedics Neutron Wireless Suction Speaker that links to my phone for music and hands-free calls.  It also has a suction cup on it, so you can put it just about anywhere in the car.
After looking through the paperwork that came with the car, my guess is I'm around the fifth owner.  The car was originally purchased in 1971 in Newport News, Virginia.  From there I know that two different people owned it in Mississippi, and I purchased it from a friend in Louisiana.  The car now lives with me in Arkansas.  The Beetle has traveled quite a bit!

Now, hope on over to Instagram and Twitter to post your daily challenge pictures!

Twitter: @marlaplainsmall
Instagram: @marlaplainandsmall

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

VW Week | Day Three: Beetle Exterior

Top: Day we picked up the Bug
Below: This Week

One thing you'll notice about the exterior is it isn't painted.  The car has the original paint job, and we decided to keep it. It has a little patina that we thought was interesting, and once cleaned up, the paint still had some shine to it.
Beetle convertibles were made by Karmann, so they have a decal on the passenger side to note that.  My car was missing the decal, so I ordered one from eBay.  It's not in perfect condition, but I really wanted an original decal rather than a reproduction.
The Rain-X Luxury cover is from Walmart.  I used the Amazon App to price match since it was a little cheaper on Amazon.  I bought a size large, and here's a little story as to why...

The box says to get a size small for this car model.  When I read reviews online, people suggested going up a size to cover the entire car.  Reviewers said the size the box tells you to get isn't large enough to really cover your car.  So that would mean I should get a medium, right?  Well, the medium costs $20 more than the large.  How does that make any sense?  To save $20, I bought the large and decided to try it out.  Since I bought it at Walmart and not online, I knew it would be easy to exchange if it didn't work.  You see below that it touches the ground, but I don't mind that.  It completely covers the car, including the tires.  It's easy to take on and off, and the medium might not have been so easy.  It also fits better when the top is down.  Plus I saved $20!

I haven't had the cover long, but so far I like it.  It has straps to attach the cover to the bumpers.  It also has ways for you to further strap it down if you are storing your car for a longer period of time.  I drive my car every few days, so the cover is just to protect the car (and expensive convertible top!) from bird poop and weather.

The video at the top of the post will fill you in on the rest of the exterior.

Remember to post your pics on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #VWweekMPS so I can see them!

Twitter: @marlaplainsmall
Instagram: @marlaplainandsmall

Monday, May 23, 2016

VW Week | Day Two: Convertible Installation

The convertible installation is finished!  More importantly-- THE CAR RESTORATION IS FINISHED!

I'm now cruising around town and enjoying spring with a convertible (despite the rain and pollen).

Today I'm going to focus on the convertible top and the process.  It is a very involved process that takes time, patience, and a lot of detailed work.  It's also a pricey undertaking.  When we realized what it was going to cost to put on a new top, we were shocked.  We had the original metal frame, so we had to buy bows, liner, padding, and the vinyl, plus everything that goes with it like webbing straps and wires.  If you don't have a frame, then this will be even more expensive.  I'm just letting you know, so you know what you're getting into if you're thinking about restoring a convertible Beetle.  To me it was worth it.  It's been a lifelong dream for me to have a convertible Bug, and they're hard to find.  I preferred to spend money restoring the Bug than putting the same amount toward a different car, even if it was a newer used car.  No other car has this much character!

We ordered synthetic bows from California Import Parts.  The original bows were wood.  We only had two original bows (which were the smallest of the bows) but were missing the rest of the bows (which happened to be the largest).  Synthetic bows are more affordable, so that's why we went with them instead of ordering wood.

The headliner, padding, vinyl, and all other parts were ordered from Chuck's Convertible Parts.  A man that owns a VW restoration garage suggested we order from Chuck's.  You can pay an upholstery place to put a top on for you.  The quote we received was about three times the cost of what it was for us to do it ourselves.

We bought the car from a long-time family friend.  The car belonged to her late husband who bought it as a project.  In the paperwork she gave us, we found a packet from Chuck's from the 80's!  It looks like the owner before him was the one who ordered the packet.  That would mean this car needed a new top since the 80's.  We didn't find the packet until after we had finished the top.  It was interesting to look through the packet from that many years ago.  It also proved that Chuck's was a good pick.  Any time we had questions, we could call or email the company for help.  The top is BEAUTIFUL inside and out, so I'm very pleased with the final product.

On a funny note, below is a page from one of my daughter's books, Oscar's First Book of Manners.  Colin's grandmother gave it to her for her first birthday.  It took me several readings before I realized what Oscar was driving!

Now, drumroll, please...
Here is a step-by-step video of us installing the convertible top!  WE ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS.  If you have questions while you're installing the top, please contact the company where you ordered your supplies.  This is purely to show our process.  We found a few videos on youtube that were helpful but didn't quite answer all our questions, so that's why we made our own video.  We hope it helps someone else, but again, please keep in mind to consult your manufacturer.

Now, head on over to social media to see the daily challenge and to take part in the fun!
Twitter: @marlaplainsmall
Instagram: @marlaplainandsmall

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