First ten days on the road with the Happiest Camper!

I thought we’d have all this time to catch up on photos and editing and blogging but road life has been insane. So I’m going to keep this brief because even now I’m in a time crunch. These photos aren’t in order but here are the first five meet ups and the first two camp outs! Meet up cities: Omaha, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit.  Campgrounds: Starved Rock, Illinois and Proud Lake, Michigan.

Madi and I have been having the greatest time! The meet ups are everything I hoped they would be. I’m incredibly excited about the next five weeks. 0001 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006 0007 0008 0009 0010 0012 0013 0014 0015 0016 0017 0018 0019 0020 0021 0023 0024 0025 0026 0027 0028 0029 0030 0031 0032 0033 0034 0035 0036 0037 0038 0039 0040 0041 0042 0043 0044 0045 0046 0047 0048 0049 0050 0051 0052 0053 0054 0027 0026 0025 0024 0023 0021 0020 0019 0016 0015 0014 0013 0012 0011 0010 0009 0008 0007 0006 0005 0003 0002 0001

Camper Update #4 The Dates!

Ahhh, finally ready to hit the road! Too excited. Still so much to do over the next ten days but I’m confident we can get it done. This is the first leg of the trip, I’ll be covering other parts of the country later in the year. The meet ups will be an opportunity for us to hang out and get to know each other. We’ll be providing a craft and snacks and the camper will have a little shop in it. I promise I’m as shy and awkward as you are so don’t let that keep you from coming :P

Here are the following meet up dates:
Camper tour

RSVP on the Evite page if you’re planning on coming

Omaha Evite
Minneapolis Evite
Milwaukee Evite
Chicago Evite
Detroit Evite
Cincinnati Evite
Pittsburgh Evite
Cleveland Evite
Buffalo Evite
Albany Evite
Boston Evite
Brooklyn Evite
Philadelphia Evite
Washington D.C. Evite
Richmond Evite
Charlotte Evite
Asheville Evite
Nashville Evite
St. Louis Evite
Lawrence Evite
Denver Evite

Here are the following campout dates:
Campout dates
Please e-mail me if you’re interested in camping! I’ll send you an Evite link with details :) charluhvail@gmail.com

Camper Update #3

Holy moly I’m so disappointed in myself for taking so long to update. Sheesh! Every single time I do this and I never learn. Things with the camper didn’t go as planned so it made it hard to want to update. But just because they didn’t go as planned and it was really frustrating on so many occasions it was still an incredible experience and I loved it. I thought that I was going to be more hands on in the renovating process but it ended up being way beyond what I could do. This is mainly because it needed to be gutted so it took a skilled handyman to be able to get it back just to walls and a floor. Now that it’s at this stage I can get to work, building and learning and making plenty of mistakes. I documented some of what the camper went through to get to this point but not as well as I would have liked. Like I said, I wasn’t very involved, it was mainly my dad and our handyman, Randy, working extremely hard and running around town every day trying to get all the parts and get everything in working order. I have never been a fan of the “if it can go wrong, it will go wrong” mentality but it seemed every step of this process gave us trouble. And I really had my heart set on leaving Orlando by the end of April so being in a time crunch did not help. I had a camper kick off gathering at Mead Botanical Garden in Orlando on the 25th. I have no photos!? But it meant so much to me. I should snag some photos from other people and do a post about it. The plan was to leave Orlando on the 25th, camper in tow, and head to south Florida to visit with Blake’s family for a couple days before taking off. But the camper still needed a couple days of work on the 25th so my mom, stepdad Ryan and I headed to Blake’s without it. It was a short but wonderful visit. I planned a very last minute meet-up in Fort Lauderdale and wasn’t going to be surprised if no one showed due to the lack of notice and threatening storm clouds but I was so very happy to meet and get to know the handful of people that came to hang with me and my mom. We sat under a pavilion in Snyder Park and painted mini terra cotta pots and planted some zinnias in them. We got back to Orlando on Tuesday and tried to leave but the camper wasn’t ready until too late in the day so we decided we’d leave the next morning. But just before I was going to bed my dad wanted to take the camper for a drive around the block just to see how it felt and when we hooked it up to my Subaru the lights didn’t work, extremely frustrating considering they worked earlier that same day. My dad took it to Uhaul at 7:30 the next morning to get fixed and he was there until 3:30 with no progress and finally took it to another place. It took all day but the camper was ready to go by 5:00 and even though it was late in the day we still left town because I was too anxious to wait any longer. I had planned on taking my time through Florida but since the camper still needs so much more work we had to head straight to Pensacola. My grandparents live here and my grandpa’s garage is his workshop with all the tools we’ll need to build out the inside of my home on wheels.

So I started this update May 3rd and today is May 13th. How has it only been 10 days?! Feels like weeks. I don’t feel like I properly thanked my dad for helping me get the camper ready to leave town. He had new wheel wells built and reinforced the trailer. He also had a storage box built to sit on the bumper I’m not sure where I would have stored anything without it. Since I’m having a hard time recalling everything that was done to get the camper ready and I definitely can’t remember the order in which things happened I’m going to caption all the photos instead of trying to sum everything up at once. Also, my “underwater” camera broke when I took it underwater… so I’m currently camera-less so iPhone photos will have to do for a little bit.

We spent a couple days in Pensacola visiting with my grandparents. We unloaded the camper into their garage which was a decently difficult job considering all the pallet boards we hauled with us. After a couple days there we realized we didn’t have all the tools we needed to get the job done (or started rather) so we drove to my uncle’s houseboat/barge in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The bottom floor of his home is a fully equipped workshop so we parked the camper in his driveway and were ready to get to work. I’m in absolute awe of what my uncle has created.

So, it’s June 2nd?! Haha okay. I’m not even going to try to continue with one long blog post, it’s been too long and we’ve done too much. But the most important part of this is to let ya’ll know my plan. Even though we finished building out the camper it’s still not done. I wasn’t really ready to do meet ups without the camper finished. We were overpacked so it was always cluttered and I haven’t decorated it or built the shop. I’m spending the month of June in Summit County and while I’m here I’ve got a ton of work to do (in between hiking of course). I need to get all the business parts of the camper in order, work on new merchandise, finish decorating the camper and make an itinerary for the summer. I’m going to be on the road July and August and I’ll post where I’ll be and when. I think most of the meet ups will be at campgrounds, where we can hang out, make campfire meals, craft and get to know each other. And if you guys want to camp at the same campground that would be awesome! Then I’ll come back to Colorado for a couple months and then go back on the road for an extended period of time. I know it seems like I’ve just been traveling and not doing meet ups which is what I have been doing haha but it’s just because the meet-up part of this adventure hasn’t started yet.
Anyway! Here are some photos though I’m missing so many moments I wish I’d captured.

I do want to do a more detailed post about the camper build out which hopefully I’ll actually do when I get some photos from my mom.

Ripping out all the old wood and all fiber glass insulation. I knew I shouldn’t let it touch my skin but I couldn’t quite bring myself to wear sleeves in Florida heat so… I just dealt with the rash.

DSC_7223Handyman Randy helping me pick out which wood we should use for the floor of the camper.DSC_7259Gutted! I did most of the wall removal, Randy cut the floor out and my dad scrubbed down the walls with some bleach. The bottom floor layer you see here was similar to particle board, it was pretty rotted so we replaced it with those sheets of fake bathroom tile, pretty lightweight and water resistant.DSC_7260

DSC_7281

DSC_7282Picking where I want lights and outlets to go. This part was intimidating!DSC_7284

DSC_7287

DSC_7289Testing stains. I thought I’d stain most of the pallet boards but I ended up loving them how they were but still used the few boards I tested. DSC_7295My dad and I sanded as much rust off the metal trailer frame as we could and painted it with rustoleum. DSC_7301Some of the nails harvested from the pallet boards.DSC_7353My younger brother, Connor, helping me with the pallet boards. His help meant so much to me! DSC_7356I attempted to polish all the aluminum trim with a Dremel tool bit which proved to be extremely difficult. It appeared to be working but it was hard to get it consistent. And what was worse than the trim were all the screw heads which were rusted almost black. I don’t know anything about anything so chances are I was going about this all wrong but I came up with what seemed would be a decent solution. I taped off all the windows and spray painted all the trim with metal primer and then sprayed it with rustoleum silver aluminum metal spray. I was pretty happy with the outcome, it’s chipped in a few places already but otherwise it’s okay. DSC_7360

DSC_7361

DSC_7363Keeping me company while I work.DSC_7515

DSC_7572

DSC_7576

IMG_0463

IMG_0469

IMG_0470

IMG_0488

IMG_0579

IMG_1624Replacing all the window screens.IMG_1631Bunk #1! This bunk was Connor’s idea and I love it. Two of the bunks are decently hidden, which was the goal. I want the store to be the main focus and have it be pretty open on the inside. IMG_1659Pressure washed the camper before painting it, removing almost all the old teal paint. IMG_1618Dad removing rust from the roof of the camper.IMG_1677Was very thankful to have my dad, brothers and Blake help me paint the camper. We were in a super rush so it’s not as perfect as I’d like but it was awesome to get it done and have help. I’d love to get it professionally painted one day but I can’t afford it at the moment but if this turns out being something I do for a long time I definitely hope to get it done.IMG_1701

IMG_1702

IMG_1706

IMG_1707

IMG_1723A little bit of a tight fit getting the camper into the warehouse to paint.IMG_1724Finally used my scroll saw again! Working on some display pieces for the camper shop.IMG_1235Blake’s momma and my momma.IMG_1777

IMG_1788

IMG_1792

IMG_1794Fort Lauderdale meet up :) IMG_1808

IMG_1810Last minute Ikea trip. IMG_1820What the inside of the camper looked like when we left Orlando -_- hahaha way overloaded and totally unfinished.IMG_1826

IMG_1828

IMG_1829

IMG_1832She ready.IMG_1839

IMG_1849

IMG_1853

IMG_1860Good coffee and vegan food in Pensacola at End of the Line Cafe.IMG_1864Pensacola dog beachIMG_1901

IMG_1904

IMG_1906

IMG_1908

IMG_2077

IMG_1914

IMG_1918Gulf Shores! The hottest, muggiest, buggiest place we’ve been but I can not put into words how much I enjoyed building out the camper at my Uncle’s. IMG_1927

IMG_1930

IMG_1931

IMG_1946

IMG_1947

IMG_1953

IMG_1954

IMG_1959

IMG_1962

IMG_1986

IMG_1994

IMG_1998

IMG_2006

IMG_2007We left the windows open in the camper overnight and it appears we had a visitor.IMG_2009

IMG_2014 1Sketching and planning.IMG_2021

IMG_2024

IMG_2033

IMG_2038Took apart the pallet boards, removed the nails, sanded the boards, split the boards with a bandsaw to reduce weight, cut them to fit with a jigsaw, wood glued and screwed. Hardest part by far of the camper build out but the part I’m most proud of. IMG_2052

IMG_2058

IMG_2083

IMG_2084

IMG_2089More dirt than tan.IMG_2097

IMG_2112

IMG_2137Testing some ideas for the floor.IMG_2133

IMG_2135Building bunk #2, this one folds up to the wall. IMG_2136

IMG_2138Back to Pensacola for another meet up.IMG_2142

IMG_2153

IMG_2154I had so much fun this day! Met some wonderful people and Rosalina and Jordan surprised me!IMG_2251After Pensacola we headed straight to Louisville to pick up Rhianna, a friend from New Zealand. We’ve known each other for years online but this was our first time meeting and her first US trip! We picked her up on the 12th and she’s been hanging with us since. IMG_2185

IMG_2186

IMG_2195We camped at a darling campsite halfway between Louisville and Lexington Kentucky. For some reason the only photo I took is one of the pups out the camper window? IMG_2207We drove over to Lexington to spend the day with an old friend, her boyfriend and her beyond precious baby boy. I love her and her little one and I’m so happy I got to spend some time with them. IMG_2235

IMG_2241Somewhere in Kentucky picnic.IMG_2260

IMG_2257Asheville! I went to twitter and asked if anyone in Asheville had a place the camper could live in for a couple days and a lovely human, Nancy, told us we were welcome in her driveway. We were so excited to find Rosetta’s Kitchen, a late night delicious and affordable vegan option in Asheville.IMG_2286

IMG_2285Short hike to some waterfalls outside of Asheville, North Carolina. IMG_2289Sliding Rock! It wasn’t open for the season yet but you could still slide down it, which I did… twice. Dang cold and so much fun.IMG_2294

IMG_2295Climbing wall in Nancy’s garage!IMG_2318

IMG_2321Spent the second half of the day getting a tour of Asheville from Nancy. She took us to White Duck Taco Shop, one of my favorite meals of the trip so far. IMG_2325Fascinated by The Spoon LadyIMG_2328

IMG_2337

IMG_2339

IMG_2351From Asheville to Nashville. First stop is almost always the dog park. IMG_2385

IMG_2387I was so excited to find out that my friend Michael was visiting Nashville while we were there. He was staying with my friend Chris and Chris’s wife, Alyce, both absolutely wonderful people. I loved getting to catch up with all of them. Alyce and Chris were generous enough to let us park outside of their charming house for a couple days and one morning Alyce brought us vegan muffins?! IMG_2400

IMG_2426

IMG_2433

IMG_2434Not sure which was more entertaining, watching my mom figure out line dances as they were happening or watching her pose with corny horse decor. Loved both. IMG_2462After watching my mom have a blast line dancing we quickly made our way over to Two Boots for some vegan pizza before they closed. We were walking through the parking lot and I was absolutely smitten with this VW that was parked there when the girls inside seemed just as excited to see us as I was to see their van. They said they’d just been talking about how they were bummed I didn’t do a Nashville meet up haha, they were adorable and awesome and I was so happy to have met them. Hopefully I’ll see them later in the summer when I come back through! IMG_2470

IMG_2476

IMG_2475Rhianna capturing golden Melon moments.IMG_2463

IMG_2496

IMG_2495We picked up another traveler! Hi Caitlin, here’s a Melon for your lap!IMG_2506After driving north to pick up Rhianna and Caitlin we headed back to Gulf Shores to finish building out the camper. The pups had to spend most of the time in the house because snakes and gators lurk in the water. For being so well behaved my mom treated them to some peanut butter pup ice cream. IMG_2522Burritos and margaritas after an absolutely exhausting work day.IMG_2538Momma working on potting the plants while I build the plant shelf.IMG_2565 1

IMG_2568

IMG_2611

IMG_2582

My uncle and his wife, Teri, recently added a bee box to their list of awesome projects. I could never really thank them for providing me with the opportunity to finish my camper but I made some little wooden bees to put on their bee box as a thank you. IMG_2594

IMG_2586

IMG_2596

IMG_2601

IMG_2602

IMG_2614After a couple brutal and fun days of camper work in Gulf Shores we headed over to Fontainebleau State Park where Rosalina and Jordan treated us to a campsite and joined us for a campfire dinner. It felt like the first real night of camper camping and got me so excited for when I finally get camper stuff figured out. IMG_2636Snagged this photo of the camper from Caitlin.IMG_2682Hanging in New Orleans with mom, Rhianna, Caitlin and Rosalina.IMG_2640I don’t have any photos but before leaving New Orleans we went to Rosalina’s house and Jordan gave me a haircut and Rosalina dyed my hair. I’m so excited about having them as friends! We left New Orleans late that afternoon and headed to Baton Rouge to get dinner with my mom’s cousin and his partner. Right as we were pulling up to dinner we noticed the lights on the camper were out. Earlier that day Jordan had pointed out to me that the bottom part of the camper hook up plug in thing was damaged because it was mounted too low and by the time we got to Baton Rouge all the wires had been severed. We backtracked to New Orleans in the morning to a Uhaul that had the correct part on hand and could replace it. As soon as that was fixed we started to work our way to Colorado. We only got as far as Shreveport, Louisiana when a pretty bad storm rolled in. The sky turned black so quickly and the wind picked up and we ran inside a gas station with the pups right as the storm hit. We camped out in the bathroom with the pups for about an hour and a half as the worst part of the storm rolled through (a tornado hit like 15 miles away). I got caught with the pups and had to put them back in the car. We ended up spending the night in the parking lot there that night. IMG_2782

IMG_2801We made it to Denver on the afternoon of the 27th and went straight to Strange Grounds, a dog friendly coffee shop I adore on Broadway. I had requested a favor from my friend Madi to help me put on a little birthday surprise for Rhianna. Madi and I became friends last summer and I’m hoping she’ll join me on the next leg of the camper adventure, she’s an exceptional friend and artist. Madi and her friend Brooke decorated this little corner of the shop with the cutest decorations! (another thing I don’t have photos of -_-)IMG_2860

IMG_2862

IMG_2866After coconut macaroons and brownie bites we went to Madi and Brooke’s apartment to dye my mom’s hair. IMG_2879Some stunning flowers in my cousin Rob and his wife Robyn’s yard. I stay with them whenever I’m in Denver and having them close to Summit County is such a big part as to why Colorado is starting to feel like home. Rob is my mom’s first cousin and I never knew him or his wife growing up and I’m so so happy we’ve changed that. IMG_2896Denver Crema Coffee House, in love!IMG_2950Drove up to Estes Park to see the Stanley Hotel, didn’t expect to see so many elk!IMG_3024The drive through Rocky Mountain National Park was unreal. The road had been closed earlier that day but I thought we should drive as far as we could just for fun and when we got to the gates of the park we found out they’d opened the road an hour before we got there. The entrance fee was $20 or $40 for an annual pass so I went ahead and bought the annual pass, I’ll be back!IMG_3182

IMG_3195

tumblr_np8iux1Kiy1qznl1ao1_1280

tumblr_np8iux1Kiy1qznl1ao2_1280

tumblr_np8iux1Kiy1qznl1ao3_1280

tumblr_np8iux1Kiy1qznl1ao4_1280

IMG_3107The next morning Caitlin, my mom and I woke up at 4:45 am so we could grab some voodoo doughnuts before taking Caitlin to the airport. Sad to say goodbye :(IMG_3197Melon knew we were going to the Breckenridge dog park from blocks away.IMG_3229Gordo, my new 115 lb friend.IMG_3234Loveland PassIMG_3304

IMG_3305

IMG_3306

IMG_3307

One of these days I’ll be better at documenting!

Camper update #2

One crazy week since my last update. It feels as if I haven’t stopped moving. A couple times a day I break for food and watch an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and then get right back to work. I’d like to be on the road by the end of April and there’s so much that needs to be done between then and now. I’m in a much better mind set now than when I was writing my last update. I’m extremely excited by our plans and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of working to make everything come together.

We continued to gut the inside. Nothing comes out easy. Blake and I managed to get the kitchenette out and then Blake and my brother got the benches and shelves out. I harvested the stove and the sink. I won’t be using them for this project but they’re too dang cute to toss. And even though the “refrigerator” had a cute door it was worthless and so it had to be thrown out. I also kept some of the hardware. We filled my dad’s entire truck bed with camper guts. My dad, Randy, had handyman Randy come over and take the floor out. I wish I could do all these steps myself but when I tell my dad I want to he just tells me I’m being hard headed and why not let someone do it who knows what they’re doing. And he’s right but I just want to make sure that I’m taking note and learning so in the future I could do these things myself. It was better for Randy to take the floor out because we needed to keep the stringers (2x4s supporting the floor) intact and he knew about where they’d be placed and cut around them. I bought a couple wire brush drill attachments to get some of the rust off the outside and make the aluminum look better. The bits work well but it’s going to be a long day doing all the trim. We only practiced on a small section but I’ll get out there and do the whole thing in a couple days. I thought that I was going to sand the curved walls and ceiling and paint them but when I started sanding I noticed that there was damage on every panel so we may as well replace all of them. We found wood at home depot that’s flexible enough to use in it’s place. So in order to replace the walls that meant the existing walls had to come out. I under estimated how difficult it would be, not realizing these walls were tucked behind the adjacent walls, and I went out there sort of unprepared but determined. Even though it was hot out I should have worn sleeves because my skin did not like the insulation that was hiding behind those walls. There were a couple times that big sheets of the insulation would fall on top of me after ripping a wood panel from the ceiling. And I wore a dust mask but I should have coughed up the money for a better quality one because after getting those walls out my throat was itchy and sore. But ripping all that out was extremely satisfying. And the biggest plus to taking those walls out is now we know where our support boards are so we won’t have any problems making sure the new furniture is secured in place. We also have to take the other two walls out which I’ll probably do tomorrow. This also gives us access to the electric which allows us to move any light fixtures if I want to. I have to have all the walls and any lingering debris out of the way by Tuesday because Randy is coming back over to put in the new walls. Hopefully he won’t mind if I assist him and learn. The two walls that have rounded corners but don’t actually curve, those are going to become reclaimed wood walls! After Randy puts new wood on I’ll paint them a dark color to prep them for pallet wood. Yesterday my brother and I spent a couple hours tearing apart some pallets. It was so much harder than I thought it would be. All the nails are threaded and rusty which makes them extremely difficult to pry out without splitting the wood. We were able to salvage about 60 boards. We figure I’ll need about 100 but I’ll fill in the rest with wood from Home Depot and I think I’ll still get the same effect, if not we can salvage some more boards. Before working on the pallets with my brother, my dad and I dropped the trailer off at David’s Trailers to get a new axle and electric brakes installed. It was hopefully my biggest expense (besides the trailer) but one that wasn’t optional and I’ll feel so much better towing the camper knowing we have that. I just noticed I spelled brakes wrong 5 times in my previous post?! Breaks!? Ugh. Anyway, we were able to pick the camper up today and so it’s back in my driveway ready for more work.

I’ve also spent a ton of time this week shopping for supplies. Even though I’m not leaving for 6-8 weeks I want to have everything ready to go as soon as possible. In order for me to be able to really focus on art for the camper I need everything else out of the way otherwise it’s going to clutter my mind and distract me. I think I’ll be able to store a majority of my supplies in my Outback which is exciting because that means the camper will be able to have a more open floor plan. I’ve been buying different storage containers and testing them out to see which ones are the best fit. I referenced an RV packing list online and I’ve been buying everything from tissues to lighters to pots and pans. I’ve still got quite a bit more to pick up but it’s a good start. My to-do list for this weekend includes ripping out the final two walls, sanding and staining all the pallet wood and buying the rest of my packing list and organizing it. I’m going to hold off on packing clothes and toiletries until the end but it’s not too early to have everything else organized and ready to load into the car and camper.

I’ve got plans for the layout of the inside but I’m going to hold off on sharing those since my sketches are sloppy and there are some elements that I want to keep a surprise. I’ll still be posting plenty though :)

IMG_9964

IMG_9997

IMG_9999

DSC_6653

DSC_6658

DSC_6662

DSC_6659

DSC_6661

DSC_6689

DSC_6664

DSC_6673

DSC_6674

DSC_6888

DSC_6897

DSC_7220

DSC_7230

DSC_7236

DSC_7245

DSC_6893

IMG_0109

DSC_7254

DSC_7253

IMG_0189

IMG_0187

IMG_0116

IMG_0035

Walking through the garden department for inspiration is a must.

DSC_6891

Organizing/packing all my art supplies for craft meet ups!

DSC_6890

Thanks for reading these update posts. I know they don’t flow very well, it’s not very easy for me to explain and recap everything. Hopefully these posts will get more interesting as the renovations continue.

Camper update #1

March 5, 2015 I got home last week after spending a month in Philadelphia with Sam. I had planned on doing a lot of art and camper sketches while I was there but surprise surprise, I didn’t -_-. I did one drawing and a lot of brainstorming, better than nothing I suppose. As soon as I got home I started working on filling beanie orders and I just finished up yesterday so I was finally able to get out and work on the camper. I’m slightly bummed about how today went so it’s hard to write this but I know I need to. First thing I did was take out all the curtains and cushions and open all the windows. It currently smells pretty stale so I need to work on getting rid of the stinky. All but one of the windows open. I ripped the carpet out and since I couldn’t get the rusted screws to budge on the toilet I ripped that out too. If this camper was solely for traveling/camping then I’d leave all the amenities in but since it needs to have a little shop in it some things have to go to make room. This also means taking out the wall for the bathroom. My Uncle Mike came over today, he’s a carpenter/handyman (can answer all my obnoxious questions), to look at it and advise me on changes I want to make. I told him I wanted to take the bathroom wall out and he just attacked it and had it out within an hour. I didn’t realize that the wall was so flimsy. I told him I wanted to save it in case I ever wanted to put it back in but now that it’s out and I realize how unstable it is I’ll probably toss it.  Before I throw it out I’m going to trace it so that we have the curvature of the wall in case we need anything else to fit that curve. Mike also helped me get the propane hooked up and the gas stove works perfectly. After Mike left, my dad and I went to the tag office downtown and we were able to get a tag for the camper! Ahhh, it’s so exciting to leave the DMV and have accomplished what you went there for. After that we went to Napa auto parts with some trailer questions. My subaru is able to tow up to 1,100 lbs without trailer brakes and up to 2,700 with trailer brakess. The camper is probably close to 1,000 lbs now so having brakes installed is a must. Napa couldn’t help us so we went to Northern Tool and they carry all the supplies we will need to add brakes. Parts plus labor will probably come to about $600. I didn’t make any purchases today, just scoped it out. We continued to work for a couple hours after we got home. We were told that the refrigerator was a propane refrigerator so we left the propane on for a couple hours waiting to see if it was in working condition. We were careful and didn’t smell any leaking gas. A couple hours passed and it wasn’t cooling so I turned the propane off and lit one of the gas burners to burn off whatever was left. Part of why I loved this camper was the charm of the kitchenette, all of the original appliances are in it and they’re teal and adorable. I was under the impression it was all working, I think the guy who sold it to us was too. So when I continued my refrigerator investigation to discover it’s not a refrigerator at all I was quite disappointed! It’s just a cooler, it connects to absolutely nothing. It has a small condensation drain and that’s it. That was bummer #1, bummer #2 was when we tried to fill the water tank and the inside of the camper flooded quite a bit. We went through a bit of trouble to disconnect the water tank, we wanted to see if the leak was on the bottom of the tank. We get it out and there’s no leak which means the leak must be somewhere on the copper piping. When we tried to get the copper pipe out the nut would not budge, everything is so old and rusted into place. All of today’s discoveries/learning curves are part of the project and overall nothing was too terrible but just the combination of things not working, a couple minor injuries (both Mike and my dad cut themselves and there’s little bits of blood splatter in the camper which is a bit unsettling haha and I whacked my head real good on the corner of the cabinet) and the current state of the camper was enough to discourage me a bit. This morning the camper was cute and now it looks like a total wreck. I’m actually going to wait and post this tomorrow so I can get a photo of the inside in the daylight. I think the biggest bummer at the moment is it’s seeming like we’re going to end up gutting the whole thing and the reason we didn’t get the cuter Shasta camper in Hampton, Georgia was because it was gutted and I was too intimidated to take on a totally blank canvas. But the tear drop shape of the one we ended up not getting was significantly cuter! I love the old shastas. I like the one I have now too but I don’t think the outside is as charming but I’ll work on it! I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take the kitchen out but it’s looking like I probably will. March 6, 2015: I got up this morning and went straight to work in the camper. It needed to be cleaned and organized before anything else could be done. I forgot to mention it in yesterday’s post but when we were investigating the plumbing we found a rat’s nest in the cabinet below the sink. It was only visible once we had pulled out the drawer so that’s why we hadn’t seen it before. I’m not very squeamish but the smell was repulsive to me. I just used a shop vac to clean it up. After I cleaned up the camper a bit I attempted to take the kitchen out. I decided last night that it wasn’t worth keeping in. I started with the connecting wall that was the bathroom wall. I took out all the screws but wasn’t able to get the wall to move because of the raised flooring for the bathroom. I’m too intimidated to tackle that by myself. It’s where the black water tank is stored and I just want to make sure I do everything correctly. I removed the wooden box that was covering the wheel well. I originally thought that I wouldn’t be replacing a lot of the interior wood but I think I will, even the parts that are in good condition like this box still smell old and stale. I spent a long time trying to get all the screws out of the kitchenette, they were hard to get to since they are inside of the cabinets. A couple days ago when I first started working on the camper I realized I had to make a trip to Ace Hardware for a drill bit. Almost the entire camper is built using 5/32 clutch screws. I wasn’t able to reach the screws behind the propane stove and I’m not sure how to properly disconnect the propane (I think I know but it’s too risky to not be 100% sure) so I’m going to wait and be shown how to disconnect the propane then I’ll have to remove the stove to be able to get the last couple screws out. After my failed attempt to single-handedly remove the kitchenette I just sat on the bench near the door and stared at the camper trying to figure out what I’m going to do to it. It’s nearly a blank canvas! It’s intimidating but exciting. It’s important to me to have at least two bunks, three if I can figure out a way, as well as quite a bit of counter space. One of the most important parts of this journey is documenting so I need to be able to easily set up my computer and scrapbook and work without feeling crammed. The rest of my evening will be spent brainstorming, sketching and looking at other campers trying to get ideas of what I want to build. Expenses: Camper: $2,000.00 Gas to and from Georgia: $143.25 Drill bits & face masks: $9.14 Tag and registration: $312.00 Running total: $2,464.39

istopmotion_392730944_56 Cleaning out the roof window/vent

IMG_9910  Mike taking the bathroom wall out

DSC_5644

DSC_5052

camper_332  The box/insulation the cooler was in

DSC_5642

DSC_5617  I looked out of the camper window and saw Melon in a tree

DSC_5636

DSC_5056

DSC_5071

DSC_5082Plumbing under the sink

DSC_5076  Bathroom wall and “refrigerator”

DSC_5062

DSC_5066

DSC_5089

DSC_5088

DSC_5086

DSC_5084

camper_518

The next project… Camper blog no. 1

This is the part I hope you read and then the rest is just all the clutter in my head there for your consumption if you choose:

Ideally I’d like to be on the road in May. I live in Orlando so that will be the starting point and I’ll most likely start with the east coast. I’ll update when things get closer, but I want to start hearing from you guys! I want to hear where to stop, where to hike, where to eat, what to do, etc! Anything that you think is special or intriguing from scenic detours to charming shops to dog friendly coffee shops to local markets or fairs. Or a craft you’d like to do together! I don’t want this to feel like a shop on wheels but more like summer camp on wheels. This is much more about pulling up to a charming park with stuff for pb&js and a bin full of art supplies and having a picnic/craft session with whoever wants to join. Comment and share your ideas and thoughts!

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao1_1280

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao2_1280

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao3_1280

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao4_1280

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao5_1280

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao6_1280

tumblr_nijhl0HN3T1qznl1ao7_1280

Continue reading

Apron photo shoot

Photo shoot!
All photos by Sam DeSantis!
Shot with a Canon 5d mrk II and 35mm 1.4

IMG_4142_2
IMG_4191_2
IMG_4171
IMG_4124
IMG_4096
IMG_4088
IMG_4082
IMG_4069
IMG_4060
IMG_4046
IMG_4037
IMG_3999
IMG_3973
IMG_3963
IMG_3950
IMG_3938
IMG_43271
IMG_4338
IMG_4334
IMG_4347
IMG_4454
IMG_4446
IMG_4442
IMG_4438
IMG_4413
IMG_4408
IMG_4403
IMG_4395
IMG_4386
IMG_4373
IMG_3698
IMG_3778
IMG_3761
IMG_3746
IMG_3744
IMG_3800
IMG_3732
IMG_3720
IMG_3706
IMG_3696
IMG_3681
IMG_3666
IMG_3620
IMG_3596
IMG_3694
IMG_3511
IMG_3503
IMG_4762
IMG_4498
IMG_4506
IMG_4525
IMG_4523
IMG_4529
IMG_4540
IMG_4542
IMG_4578

Photo shoot!
All photos by Sam DeSantis!
So maybe one day I’ll learn to correctly estimate the amount of time and money it will take to bring an idea to life. Just like with the aprons, I totally under estimated what this photo shoot would require. Sam flew down here for two weeks just for the photo shoot and we worked every day and still barely finished. It’s been a while so I don’t really remember what other ideas I had for a photo shoot but this is the one we chose. I had some sketches and some sources of inspiration but for the most part it was something that came together as we went along. We started with painting the backgrounds. We bought some 4 x 8 sheets of plywood and painters tape. Another learning curve, we should have bought the more expensive tape (Frog tape?). I wish I had done some research, I usually don’t buy the more expensive product because I don’t believe that just because it’s pricier means that it’s better but in this case I was told after that it actually does make a huge difference. We painted the boards a cream color then put the tape down. Because I knew the paint would seep under the tape I insisted that we go back and use something sturdy to seal the edges. Using the caps of our chapsticks we rubbed along the edge of the tape. Our wrists still never completely healed from cutting out the iron-on ribcages in 2011 and certain movements, such as this, cause them to get inflamed. Oooooh ouch haha. It hurt but it was worth it because the stripes came out clean. The best part of the photo shoot was picking out all the glass. I love apothecary jars and candy jars. I can’t even recall all the places we went looking for glass pieces. A lot of places carry the same styles so it took a bit of searching to get a variety. TJ Maxx and Marshalls ended up having the most affordable pieces. I bought candy in bulk, I tried to get quite a bit in white so it could be used in all four shoots and then at least one thing in each color scheme. It was a bit tricky to find candy that I liked aesthetically that was also the right color. It was also a bit of a challenge to find twine that matched each color combination but I think the colors we chose turned out nice. We picked up some little die cuts from Joanns to make the tags for all the jars. It took a bit longer than I anticipated decorating each of them. We used Elmer’s glue and painter’s tape to attach all the tags to the glass. We scoured the house for a variety of cardboard boxes and wrapped them in kraft paper, creating levels was a very important part of pulling together the whole set up. One day we spent 13 hours in the kitchen, baking macarons, cakes, and meringues. Once all the pieces were ready it took quite a while to get them how I liked them. We were shooting in natural light and we were moving as quickly as possible to finish before sundown. We would get one set up and as Sam was photographing it I’d be prepping the next color scheme. There were a few mistakes, like with the pink and orange shoot we used black straws and one of them was facing the wrong way and we didn’t realize until after. We ditched the straws after that, I don’t think they looked as nice as I hoped. You learn as you go and in our case we didn’t have time to go back and correct things. It wasn’t until the second color scheme that I learned that I should look through Sam’s camera and go through and tweak everything. Just because it looks good to your eye doesn’t mean the camera sees the same thing. It was hectic and moody and we were running on no sleep but it was a blast. I’m beyond pleased with how this turned out.

IMG_1008
IMG_1553
IMG_1015
IMG_1031
IMG_1028
IMG_1035
IMG_1050
IMG_1516
IMG_0938
IMG_0944
IMG_0955
IMG_1041
IMG_2045
IMG_1905
IMG_1904
IMG_1898
IMG_2380
IMG_0966
IMG_1088
IMG_1957
IMG_1972
IMG_3451
IMG_3260
IMG_1991
IMG_3235
IMG_2754
IMG_2757
IMG_2756
IMG_2766
IMG_2794
IMG_2820
IMG_2802
IMG_2809
IMG_2829
IMG_2868
IMG_3064
IMG_2871
IMG_2893
IMG_3045
IMG_3075
IMG_3177
IMG_2841
IMG_2920
IMG_2904
IMG_2917
IMG_2988
IMG_2986
IMG_2961
IMG_2978
IMG_3094
IMG_3009
IMG_3004
IMG_3129
IMG_3119
IMG_3146
IMG_3496
IMG_3543
IMG_3524
IMG_3534
IMG_3812
IMG_4187
IMG_4180
IMG_4179
IMG_3478
IMG_3474
IMG_4465

a few iPhone photos
IMG_1659_23423
IMG_9936_22774
IMG_1704_23428