Goodbye Loretta, Hello Madge

floral car interior

Sometimes growing up is hard to do. For most of my time in San Francisco, I’ve had a little white scooter named Loretta. She represented my feisty, independent, single-gal life. And then I met Adam, and we moved in together, and we got engaged, and he asked me to get rid of Loretta. The request came from a place of love – he would get scared that something would happen to me every time I would ride her. So I agreed, from a place of love and compromise.

1940s dress white scooter

However, since I sold Loretta last month (pictured above with my 1942 Shirtwaist Dress) and replaced her with a very practical but un-sexy old Subaru (who I just named Madge), I’ve been struggling with the decision. After some deliberation, I figured out that it wasn’t the decision to get rid of Loretta that was bothering me, per se, it was that Madge just didn’t feel like she was mine. I bought the car from my mom and it felt like I was perpetually driving my mom’s car. So I set out to make Madge mine! What follows is what I did to personalize Madge and tips you can use to personalize your own car.

ganesh figure on car dash

I started by gluing a little Ganesh figurine to the dash. This Ganesh was the first decorative item I put in the first car that I bought when I was 16, so not only does he watch over travelers, he holds a lot of sentiment for me. (Tip 1: Use rubber cement to glue items to the dashboard as it can be removed but holds firmly, even in direct sunlight).

flowers and glue in tubs

I grabbed my hot glue gun, a roll of brightly colored oilcloth, and a bin of fake flowers and dragged them out to the car. (Tip 2: Organize your project in bins before starting so you are sure you have gathered everything before dragging items back and forth from your car.)

daisies on car handle

I plugged in my hot glue gun and started to glue flowers around the car. (Tip 3: Glue to hard plastic surfaces and NOT on cloth, vinyl, or leather so that you can eventually remove the glue if you need to.)

hot glue gun and inverter in car

Fortunately, I had a little inverter that was the perfect tool for this project and waaay easier to use than a giant extension cord from our apartment. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and converts the 12V batter DC to 120V AC like your standard wall socket. (Tip 4: Make sure you read the manual that comes with the inverter to know how many watts it can handle so you know that your hot glue gun can be safely plugged into it.)(Tip 5: Bring something to set your hot glue gun on so you don’t have to worry about it dripping on or damaging your car. I use the back of a little mirror. Coasters or tiles work well.)

fake flowers and oilcloth on car

I used the oilcloth to cover the garage door opener holder and the mirrors on the back of the visors since it added another dose of bright and cheery! I may eventually recover part of the door panels with the oilcloth (I’ve seen instructions on how to take apart your door to do so without damage or glue), but I wanted to start simply. (Tip 6: Cut a piece of oilcloth a bit bigger than you think you’ll need and trim it down to the right size and shape bit by bit for the best fit without elaborate measuring and tracing methods.)

rose glued to rearview mirror

I ended up gluing flowers to the front garage door holder area, to the grab bars above the front and back doors, and to the rear view mirror. (Tip 7: Whatever you do, make sure you are NOT blocking any visibility and that you are NOT adding decorations in the path of the air bags).

burgundy subaru front

Something kinda quirky and fun that I didn’t know until I was done – from the outside you can’t see the decorations. Madge looks like any other Subaru out there until you climb inside and see that she’s really a bright, happy, and floral lady!

fake flowers glued to car

Comments 9

  1. Wow..she seems to have so much more personality, Are you sure she is a Madge?
    Really great way to make her yours. BTW I received the vintage apron pattern Thanks!

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      Yay! Glad to hear you got the pattern. I am pretty sure that she’s a Madge. A solid no-nonsense name hiding a lovely personality inside :)

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      Now I just need to get a functioning stereo put in so that it can really be a party inside!

  2. My husband was your Lyft driver today and came home talking about your work, so I looked you up. I just “upgraded” my ride from my precious, old VW convertible to something with airbags, and I started “girling” her up as soon as I got her home (naming her Priscilla, Queen of the Rainforest). Shaggy pink seat covers (she’s lavender), DIY steering wheel and mirror fashions, pink EL wire… Thanks for the great ideas on mounting flowers and using oilcloth on the mirrorbacks. I’d love to see how Madge’s door panels work out. I’m trying to figure out how to cover the ceiling to make it look like the sky, since I’m not used to having a roof.

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      Priscilla sounds delightful! I’ve never quite gotten around to Madge’s door panels, but now that you remind me I’m going to have to add this back to my to-do list!

      Since we moved from SF to Vashon I’ve been strongly feeling the need to do something to the outside of Madge to make her recognizable in a parking lot so I can distinguish her from the other 3 million Subarus on our island…

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