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Posts from the ‘Packing’ Category

Art Projects, Wizard of Oz, Homemade Pizza, and Hurts Doughnuts

It’s 10:45 p.m., and after a full day with the Jones family, I’m settled back in the camper and beginning to repack things for my journey tomorrow. It was a full and fun day with lots of fun and laughter! Dexter and I arrived at the Jones house in Tulsa about 10:30 this morning. The kids were eager to share with me some of the art projects they’ve done over the past year and to spend some time drawing together.

Last year when the kids visited Steve and me, we went for a long walk in a park. Jane picked up sticks and branches and brought them home. She used these to create these wonderful art pieces with the kids.  The branches she collected on our walk were used to form the outer circle and then yarn and ribbons were woven to create the trunk and the tops of the trees. What a wonderful way to preserve the memory and to enjoy a craft project with the kids. Each tree is so unique, reflecting the personality of the individual child.

Another art project they completed last year were hand-painted Russian Matryoshka Dolls.  Roman’s, of course, were decorated as Apple Corporate Executives!

 

Then they got creative with the stacking aspect of the dolls!

And of course that disintegrated further into the sillies! Always so much fun with this crowd!

No day is complete with kids without an injury…Poor Colin wrenched his ankle. It required ice and a few minutes of elevation before he was over it and back to his bouncy self!

Dexter is adjusting so well to the increased activity in his life. He and Chewy, the family Newfoundland, behaved very well together again today. Dexter even let little miss Laurel hold him!

Laurel wanted me to draw her a monkey eating a banana from a photo she found online so we sketched it out. The splotches on the side are Chewy Kisses!

Sketch Monkey Eating Banana

 

Laurel then drew her own chimpanzee!

She is doing so well!

Jane fixed us lovely picnic lunch and we went to the local park to enjoy it and a romp at the playground. Dexter enjoyed running and playing the chase game with the kids, barking at other dogs, and chasing leaves.

After all the excitement of the morning it was time for a little quiet,  so we snuggle down on the couch to watch The Wizard of Oz. Jane let me use her washer and dryer so I got my laundry all caught up while we enjoyed the movie. It’s nice to have that chore out of the way.

Jane has been knitting a beautiful lace scarf and it had gone a bit awry. She was having difficulty getting it back on track and I was able to help her sort it out. She’s now ready to pick up where she left off and continue with this stunning piece! What beautiful work she is doing!

 

I was treated to Jane’s famous homemade pizza for dinner. The crust was amazing, it was light and fluffy and so flavorful. For dessert, we had Hurts Donuts, a family favorite. This small company started a with a few stores in Missouri and now has one store here in Oklahoma. The donuts are so good, they’re almost like having cake. Each one is a unique flavor! Mine was a chocolate cake donut covered with Butterfinger Crumbles. Yummy! It was worth the splurge!

Dexter and I are both pretty tuckered out after such a full an exciting day and we’re looking forward to a quiet sleep here at the campground. We are the only campers left in the park after the busy holiday weekend except for one permanent resident and the Camp Host. Tomorrow morning I’ll get this buggy hitched up to the truck and head on down to Burleson Texas! Yee Haw!

Sorting, Stacking, and Packing

Today was cold and windy, a good day to stay inside and pack! I have been sorting and stacking, auditioning things to take with me. It’s looking like I may be on the road until late next summer so that is influencing what I’m packing.

Clothes are easy: Casual T-Shirts, a few flannel and chambray shirts, sweaters, jackets, knit pants, jeans, and a few shorts.  I’m bringing just a few dressy things for when my DH visits. I’m packing my clothes in the soft-sided cubes used in organizing clothing for suitcases. They are a great help with organization and because they are soft-sided, they will fit nicely in the overhead bins in the bedroom area and make good use of the space.

My dishes arrived from Corelle and I’m very happy with this set. They should wear well and are microwave safe. I opted for a set of 4 and added the medium sized lunch plates, the large soup bowls, and lids for the bowls so they can now double as storage containers! I now have everything I should need for the kitchen.

I am also all set with items for the pantry, bathroom, and bedroom. My trip home in Wild Thing helped me sort out the details of what I needed for those areas.

I have found two things to help me secure items in the bed of the truck. The first is a Covercraft Cargo Bar. This tension bar stretches across the bed of the truck and will help hold my cooler, the clam house, and Dexter’s exercise pen in place and keep them from rolling around.  I also ordered a Core Cargo Sports Bag cargo net that can hold small items in the truck bed. Hopefully, they will arrive before I leave!

Now I’m left with deciding what to bring for art and craft supplies and books. Books are one of my biggest joys in life. My house is filled with them and my camper will most likely be too! I do read some on Kindle and love to listen to novels on Audible, but I’m still happiest when surrounded by paper books. Most of the books I’m bringing are resources on knitting, painting, and writing, field guides, and travel guides.

My process for deciding which books to bring works like this: First I make a pile of all the books I wish I could bring and realize it’s at least twice as large as what will fit in the camper. Next, visit the pile over the course of several days slowly whittling it down to a manageable size. I will place the books I’ve removed from my original pile in a box that my DH can ship if I get desperate!

This process will be repeated for my knitting supplies, quilting supplies, and art supplies. I’m leaving in 8 days so I better get going’!

 

 

New Blog Contact Cards

I’ve designed a new Blog Contact card today and they are being printed by VistaPrint.com. I have used their services for business cards and found that they provide a quality product at a good price and they are fast! It’s nice to have a card to share with people you meet on the road. The photo of Wild Thing is one I took in Post Falls, Idaho and of course Mr. Dexter always looks dapper. This is just a snapshot I took with my phone then edited out the background in Adobe Photoshop. What do you think?

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!