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Posts from the ‘Customization’ Category

Storage Solutions for the Camper

Living in a small space could be an exercise in frustration if the things living in that small space with you are allowed to run amok! I believe a happy camper is an organized camper and OK, I admit it,  I have a thing for organizing. I’m kind of a bag lady. I love pouches, folders, boxes, totes, and tins. I don’t however, always stay organized.  In fact, I do my most creative work in a flurry of disorganized chaos.  But when the dust (and paint, and yarn, and fabric) settles, I find it soothing and satisfying to put things in order.

One of the easiest ways to organize is to contain.  Consolidating like items and storing them together in a dedicated container makes finding and accessing them easy.  I have been scouring the local houseware stores for just the right storage boxes to help me organize the stuff I’ll be bringing on my travels in Wild Thing. I measured the cabinets before my shopping trip so I was able to select containers that would not only fit in the space they were intended for, but also make the best use of that space. I try to use every inch of available storage real estate to it’s best advantage. The better I’m able to use the space, the more craft supplies I can pack! Rather than putting my stuff into storage containers and then trying to fit those containers into the available space, I’m purchasing containers that fit the space, then deciding what items will be stored in each container. This should help me use the space most efficiently.

I found some boxes at TJ Maxx that fit the upper cabinets in the dining area well. They are constructed of a sturdy wire frame covered in woven strips of nylon webbing. They have a hinged lid and are quite lightweight. Weight is an important consideration when packing a trailer since there are limits to the weight a camper can accommodate. I would rather that the bulk of the weight I add come from the items I’m bringing, not the container in which they will be stored.

After visiting three different TJ Maxx and HomeGoods stores in my area I was able to find enough of these boxes to use in the dining area cabinets as well as some of the same style, but a larger size for the two wardrobe cabinets. The boxes I used in the dining area measured 12″ x 10″ x 5.5. I placed 4 in the back cabinet and two in the driver side cabinet with room left over for books. In the passenger side dinette cabinet, I have an assortment of small boxes containing a variety of electronic equipment. If I can find more of the larger boxes I will use them here as well.

In the open wardrobe I used 1 large box (16″ x 14″ x 7) and 4 medium sized boxes (14″ x 12″ x 6.5″). I had one tipped on its side in this photo to show the easy way to place them in the cabinet. I also used two large boxes and a medium box in the wardrobe on the other side of the camper. These boxes were from Dwell Studio, Enchante Accessories, and Michael Graves. I found some of these boxes in the aisle containing storage solutions, but I also found some in the Kids section and in the laundry supply section.

Storage Boxes in Passenger Side Wardrobe

The cabinet over the microwave is a nice large space but things stored there tended to migrate to the back and were difficult to retrieve. I found a storage bin in the Kids section of HomeGoods that was just the right size to store bulky items like my tablecloths, paper towels, and toilet paper rolls and still leaves space for other items to be stored in front.

 

Another consideration in the camper is keeping glass bottles from falling over and breaking as the camper bumps down the road. I found this nifty little storage box that has three compartments to safely store my jar of honey, oil, vinegar and a nip of libation! This box fits in the lower cabinet near the floor. Aren’t the flowers that Glen brought me beautiful? What a guy!

Another great find available at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods are the over-the-door towel rack and over-the-door storage basket. I have towel racks on both the pantry door and the cabinet under the sink. I placed the basket on the cabinet under the sink and use it to store my dish and hand soaps, sink scrubbers, sink strainer, and pot holders.

Things are coming along nicely and soon I’ll be packed, organized, and back on the road!

Hose Handling, Reset Buttons, Retrofit Weber Q

I’m beginning to reorganize Wild Thing for the next trip, removing items I don’t need and adding some new gadgets.

One thing that didn’t make the cut were the cute plastic tableware that I purchased without realizing they were not microwave-safe. I just need one set of dishes in the camper and don’t want to worry about what I can and can’t put in the microwave so they’re going to have to stay home.

My biggest storage struggle in the trailer was with the water hoses. I have a 10-foot hose that worked most of the time and a 25-foot hose I used when the shorter one did not reach the water supply. Both were unwieldy, especially when they were cold, and were difficult to store. I tried wrapping them in velcro strips and storing them in tote bags but I wasn’t satisfied with that arrangement.

After doing a bit of online research I found the StorAHose bag from Stone Wolves and it looked like a good solution. The bags I ordered arrived while Wild Thing was in for service, so today was the first opportunity I’ve had to test them. I found them very easy to use and extremely effective.  I used one for my 25-foot water hose and it worked like a charm. I tried the other on my Rhino Sewer Extension Hose. The bag was a little too large for the sewer extension hose so I’ll wash it with bleach to be sure it’s disinfected then use it for my 10′ water hose.  The StorAHose bag is shaped like a donut with a hole on only one side. To use, you simply feed the hose it through the hole and it curls around itself nicely, pressing up against the outside edges of the bag and making a neat coil. I will try sewing a bag more appropriately sized for my sewer extension hose using a waterproof oilcloth fabric.

My Rand McNally RVND7730 RV Navigation GPS stopped working on my way home from picking up Wild Thing from the repair shop. I love this little device and found it a valuable tool for navigating in my camper, so I was less than pleased with the prospect of being without it. The unit simply went dead and the screen would not turn on. I called Rand McNally customer service and the walked me through resetting it by pressing the small button located on the back of the unit with a paperclip. The unit rebooted and is now fully operational again! I love easy fixes. Like many electronic devices, the circuits in this device can get confused and a reset often resolves the issue.

Next on today’s list was to assemble my Weber Q1200 Grill and retrofit it to use the propane quick connect built into Wild Thing. I have two 20# propane tanks in the camper and a built-in quick-connect port that allows external devices, like my new Weber Q1200 Grill, to connect directly and use this propane. The propane is regulated at the tank on the camper so the regulator that was built into the grill needed to be removed and replaced with a quick connect hose.

I purchased the Torjik ConvertaQ Kit that contained all the items I needed for the retrofit and followed this YouTube Video to accomplish the task. YouTube has been a wonderful resource for me. I feel like I have a team of tutors helping me learn how to become handy. Another successful project completed!

Camper TV Case, Go Baby Circles, Repair Complete!

I headed for the studio this morning to sew a storage bag for my camper TV. One of the luxury items in my beautiful new camper is a 24 inch Samsung Smart TV that attaches to the wall between the upper bedroom area and the entryway on a swivel arm, allowing me to view it from either the bed or the main cabin of the camper. When traveling, the TV is removed from the swivel bracket and stowed to prevent damage from bumpy roads. On the maiden voyage with Wild Thing, I didn’t have a good storage solution so I simply tucked it under the covers of the bed when traveling. I wanted a padded case but was unable to find what I wanted in the marketplace, so I decided to make one of my own. I used a drapery weight fabric for the exterior and lined the bag with a heavyweight muslin. I placed 1″ foam padding between the two layers to keep the TV well protected when storing it for travel. It’s not too fancy but is quite functional and I think it’s stylish!

Once the bag was completed I started cutting out circles to be used in my camper quilt. Using my AccuQuilt Go Baby and a 5-inch circle die I was able to cut out a stack of 100 circles in well under an hour, including fabric pressing time!

The AccuQuilt Go Baby is easy to use. I rough cut 5 1/2 inch squares of fabric and laid these, four layers thick, on top of the circle die, then covered it with the cutting mat. This sandwich was then fed into the machine as I turned the handle. The die cuts the fabric shape as it passes through the rollers in the center of the unit.

This handy little gadget saves so much time cutting out multiple fabric patches of the same size and shape and is especially useful for tricky shapes like circles.

I’ll base the raw edges of these patches under and use a template to starch them into the proper size and shape making them easy to hand applique on the quilt later.

Good news came late this afternoon when I received a phone call from Hazard Marine informing me that the repair on Wild Thing is complete! I’m thrilled they were able to accomplish the repair so quickly. Tomorrow morning I’ll get up early and drive to Webster, Ma to bring Wild Thing home before heading to Boston Logan Airport to pick up my son Glen in the afternoon.

I’m thrilled he’s going to be able to visit us for a few weeks before heading out for his winter job in Baja, Mexico. It’s such a gift that we will all have a chance to be together for Thanksgiving this year. Those occasions are becoming rarer now that the boys are adults and life is taking them in different directions. I’m happy to delay my winter departure in Wild Thing in favor of family time!

Studying, Supplying, and New Friends!

I’m a bit late in writing tonight. It was another full day! I did sleep in and lounge around a bit this morning. It was another sunny day here in Bothell, WA with temps pleasantly in the 70’s. I spent several hours pouring over and studying the stack of manuals that came with the camper. There is a lot of new information to take in so I’m sure this will be an ongoing process. I’m not great at retaining info so repetition is my saving grace. I’ll say it again, repetition is my saving grace. I have to read things over several times before it sinks in. Even then, I often can’t recall exactly what I’ve read but at least I know where to go to get the information!

After I saturated my brain with new information, I took a break and went shopping for the little bits I had forgotten (dishwashing liquid!) or that I didn’t want to purchase until I was in the camper. Paper towels, hand soap, cleaning products, Britta Pitcher, rugs, and storage bins for cabinets. When your stuff lives in a travel trailer, it needs to be corralled in a box, bin, or basket. Things rock and roll as the trailer bumps down the road so loose item (especially bottles!) are a no-no. I’ve got lots of great storage areas in this camper so it’s been easy for me to find a place for everything. I’m still fine-tuning the placement of things and will probably re-arrange several times, but I’ve made a start today.

 

Driving home from my shopping I saw a rainbow in a blue sky. There were a few wispy clouds but no threat of  rain! Now that’s a good omen…a Rainbow on a Sunny Day!

As promised, here are some snaps of the Wild Thing!

Exterior Shots:

Here’s some interior shots:

As I was finishing up this post, I had my first house guests this evening! Don and Sandy from Austin Texas are camping next to me and stopped by to see the trailer and chat. We had a wonderful time getting acquainted over a bottle of wine! It was such a gift to meet this wonderful couple. We found that we have much in common and had a memorable evening. I’m fortunate to have met them and look forward to more adventures together down the road!

Don and Sandy

Sandy and Don

I’m Hitched and have Final Production Photos!

Today I spent 6 hours at Trademaster’s Automotive getting hitched! The staff could not have been more pleasant and competent. I’m now the proud owner of a B&W Patriot 16 5th wheel trailer hitch! A special shout out to my friends Lucy and Charlie for their excellent recommendation!

Wild Thing has her Hitch

 

and a big Thank you to the Trademaster’s staff for your most excellent service and your “Yes We Can” attitude!

After the hitch was installed I traveled back across the border to Sumas, WA and retrieved all my stuff from the storage unit. I wasn’t sure how much room the hitch would take up and whether I would need to bring the trailer to the storage unit but I was glad to see that it was possible to get everything back in the truck. That will make one less stop on Friday! I’ll just load the goodies from the truck bed right into my new home.

Back at the hotel I fired up the computer and found the final round of Wild Thing Production Photos waiting for me! There is a small amount of detailing left to do tomorrow and she will have to pass all her QC checks tomorrow but Wild Thing is essentially done! It is so exciting to see these final photos and I think she looks beautiful!

I’m so happy tonight but also very tired! It has been a long journey here and I’m finally feeling the physical effects. Thankfully I planned that tomorrow would be a day of R & R to recharge my energy before taking possession of Wild Thing on Friday and beginning the next part of this adventure. I plan to lay low in the morning, then take a hike to a waterfall I heard about today that is near here.

Leave me your comments here or on my WildThingEscapes facebook page and let me know what you think about how she turned out!

Wild Thing Production Photos #6 Update

At long last Wild Thing has her graphics! What a beautiful sight!

Wild Thing #6 Exterior Graphics

The interior is coming along nicely too! Only 7 more days until she’s complete!

Wild Thing Interior Rear #6

Wild Thing Interior Forward #6

3rd Set of Build Photos for Wild Thing

Here’s the third installment of production photos for Wild Thing. The team made good progress yesterday on the interior!

 

Wild Thing Interior Rear 3rd Photo

Wild Thing Production Photo 3 Front View

The exterior still looks the same….waiting for the Wild Thing graphic!

Wild Thing Production Photo 3 Exterior

Wild Thing Production Photos 2

I received the second round of production photos for Wild Thing! It’s so exciting to see the details of the build process. These photos may look a bit curious to you now but as the trailer build progresses you will be able to better visualize what’s happening!

2nd Build Photo Front Wild Thing

Here’s the exterior viewed from the front. I can’t wait for them to get the Wild Thing Graphic on the nose!

This second shot shows the interior facing the rear of the trailer. The wall that looks like a C on the left will be the barrier between the stove/oven and the U-Shaped dining area at the back of the trailer. The refrigerator/freezer and microwave will be installed on the right.

2nd Build Photo Rear View Wild Thing

 

This view shows the progress on the front of the interior. On the right, you can see a full height closet with a storage cubby at the bottom. There will be a 2nd closet on the left by the bed platform. Stairs will lead up to the queen sized bed loft. A deep pantry frame can be seen on the left. The “wet” bath will also be on the left. The little bathroom will have a sink, toilet, medicine chest, and a  detachable shower wand. The entire room is waterproof and serves as a shower stall. A nifty cover pulls down over the toilet paper dispenser to keep the paper dry and there is a drain in the floor. The bathroom also has a window that opens and a vent! This trailer is compact but filled with features and the design is quite clever. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

 

First Photos

I received my first photos of Wild Thing! The outside shell has been built, I can see the insulation and the solar panel on top.

My lovely gray flooring has been installed inside.

It’s getting pretty exciting around here!

Family Campfire

Campfire at Old Holbrook Place

I enjoyed a lovely time with family and friends last night at the Old Holbrook Place Campground in Sutton, MA.  My husband’s family has enjoyed gathering at this campground for years and it seems the tradition will continue well into the future.  Two of Steve’s siblings were camping in their trailers and hosted a yummy BBQ for the entire group.

It was good to see everyone and to share a meal around the campfire on a cool evening. This quiet campground sits in a lovely meadow ringed with beautiful trees along Manchaug Pond.

It was so relaxing and peaceful be out in nature and it makes me glad that I only have 7 more days to wait until I strike out on my cross country journey to pick up Wild Thing and begin my camping adventure!