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Monthly Archives: April 2013

I spent all day resorting all my important ‘stuff’, that I can’t possibly do without and a few ‘well…I might need it’s’. The bed/couch/lounge/office area is about the only thing you can see very well, as most of the inside of the van is a demure black and blue. I Granny’d it up a little with a few pillows and a sweet roses throw. There will be more pillows when I take off.Image

For convenience I am hanging a chambray shirt for woods cover up and a sweater on the back of the passenger seat. These also cover up a couple spray bottles of baking soda water and water with a dab of dish soap and two hand towels. They are nestled in a pouch the van came with .Image

My Faux Java Cup Coffee Maker/Collapsible Silicone Funnel:

I had been looking all over for a java Cup coffee maker . None of the sporting goods stores or even camping world had them. Then……I discovered this funnel at aOld Time  Pottery Barn store in the gadget section. I will do the drip method of coffee making. Just stick a paper filter in this and pour the hot water over it. I found what they call a turkish coffee maker at a thrift store. it’s blue enamel and I will  heat the water in this on my butane burner.

I am reserving a special drawer just for coffee supplies, as it’s way up there on my list of important things. My foo foo coffee creamers , cinnamon, and special cup will be added to the drawer just before I leave. ImageImageImageImageImage

MY PORTA POTTY:

I was pretty proud of myself in putting together this compact , yet sturdy porta potty. It fits under the bed frame of 9″ height, yet is sturdy enough to support my fluffy frame. I made it from a chamber pot, from a chair for sick folk. It had a nifty lid, and the one i bought for a 5 gal bucket, fit fine on top, even with the other lid on. Then for sturdiness, i cut down a 5 gal. bucket to encase it . Now…lol…on me….in the resorting of the van, it sits out from under the bed and acts as a support for the foot part of the bed. I figured early on that pulling the drawers out every day, would get old really fast. ImageImage

GPS:

I finally joined this century and got a Garmin GPS. I’ve been playing around with it this week, and  I really like it so far. It automatically knows where I am, and I don’t have to type that location in. But just in case….I printed out a trip map and bought a fold out one, as well. Unknown territory is a challenge to those of us that cannot find out way out of a paper bag…..but the excitement of exploring new places trumps the apprehension of not knowing what lies ahead.

As of May 1st, I’m taking a trip to visit my family in Scranton Pa., area , with a few stops along the way. I will be visiting a friend in Melbourne Beach, and am thinking of taking a day to visit the Thomas Jefferson Gardens, in Virginia. It’s only a tad off I-95, then then I can detour Washington traffic, by taking 81 the rest of the way up. Win win to me…..

Hopefully there will be road side advertisements for a few other things to do, and I’m sure I will see cute shops I have to visit along the way. I kind of wanting to hit a jazz or Blue grass festival. if anyone can recommend any in the area I am heading, please let me know. Should any fellow group members want to meet for coffee along the way…let’s try to make that happen. Garmin GPS

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I spent the last several days making the hard decisions of what to get rid of and what to keep. Once I leave this position, the Mini Van is my Home Sweet Home. Sure I’ll get breaks , as when you visit friends and family , they like to have you visit in their sticks n bricks homes. 

Now since my visit to Pa. will be extended, I may take a short term housekeeper position. We’ll see what cards life deals me. Now onto the packing of the van. I can’t really show you pics of where everything is, as it just won’t show up well, with my camera. Suffice to say….it looks exactly the same, except drawers are full now, and every nook and cranny is filled up. Refer to pics in the last post, as to a visual of how it looks.

The hardest things for me were to get rid of tools and craft items. I’m sure you know how some of those things just sit in your tool,boxes, and rarely get used…… I crochet and do wire wrapping. I also had a whole tub of paints and stencils, which I honestly rarely use. I also am an avid gardener, and am going to try to find a place to bring my fav. garden tools along, as I will be putting in a large garden for the family. I will be leaving the garden tools, dehydrator, electric fan , elec heater, and some bulky bedding, stored with family, for future trips. So being a little overloaded on this trip is acceptable. I hope to have a snowbird lifestyle. Visit family up north in summers, and travel rest of the time. I am also looking into getting on a waiting list for a senior apartment in Fl, for my permanent residence. 

How I fit it all: 

Tools/Crafts: I condensed all hand tools and crafting items to One big drawer and half of one skinny set of drawers for the over flow. Tools are in one plastic shoe box and crafts in another, set inside a bottom large drawer. Over flow was a glue gun , staple gun, and cordless drill in a case. Due to the contour of the lift up back door, I had 4″ of space to stick a couple items. The cordless drill, and satchel with my MC jacket, and a small foldup camp table, went there. 

I mounted large drawer units to one side, and created a space to store tall bulky items like the heater, a magnifier lamp/mirror, elec fan, and hopefully the heads of a couple garden tools will fit there.

The remaining large drawers are reserved for my clothes, both summer and winter. Amazingly….they are fitting. I even had room for a 3/4 leather jacket, a shorty, and a zip up sweatshirt in one drawer. Tanks and gym clothes/swimwear are in one drawer. 3 pair jeans and 3 sweaters in another. I have 2 drawers left for tops and capris, which are my primary clothes right now. 

The remaining skinny drawer unit, facing the front of the van, most accessible to the side door, is for food storage. My nested pans and gadgets are in small top drawers, in the opposite skinny unit. 

Under bed drawers;

Two are reserved for shoes and purses. I used to collect these things, so this is as small as it goes …so far anyways. Other two have all my important papers, pens, stapler, etc.

Behind Under bed drawers:

I made my porta potty out of a lidden chamber pot, that came with a chair..For added strength, I cut down a sturdy 2 1/2 gal bucket to the right height to house it….a perfect fit, and with snap on  lid and cover, it all fits under the 9′ clearance of the bed. I am quite proud of myself on this , and happy it doesn’t have to sit out in plain view , except when I need to use it. 

Next down the line, is my one burner butane stove and a grill plate i got at thrift store to use to toast bread and grill things. Mostly I’ll just be heating water up for coffee, or making one pot dishes, in my nested pans. 

The large blender/smoothie maker, I am taking for when I have 110 use, sits in the middle, between the drawers. I wrapped the glass part in a towel.

Behind the second set of drawers is reserved for the dehydrator and smaller garden tools like loppers. Eventually i will buy a fold up shovel, fold up pruning saw, and fold up rake, for my travl’in tools. I have it in my head to tend the earth , plant seeds, help folks with their gardens, where ever I travel. 

The kitty liter jug sits in a space in the door well, behind the bed frame. Easy to get to, yet hidden by pillows. Once I store a few things, it will fit nicely, under the bed frame.

My 12v cooler sits handy at the side door entrance, and doubles as my desk. I have a large ugly , but oh so handy 5 gal. yellow and red water cooler with spigot, which will sit beside the cooler when travling and outside on a table when camped. My 12v cooler doesn’t hold much ice, so most of the ice from a bag, will go in the water cooler. I’ll carry along an extra re purposed kitty liter jug to hold extra water…just in case. 

Front seat area will hold my laptop bag, gym bag, and craft bag. I just keep them there in the passenger foot well, so it doesn’t mess up my living quarters. I cover them with a towel or throw. 

My portable battery pack will sit between the drawers in the back , tucked out of sight, for now. It fuels my 12v fan and small 240wt blender. I currently use laptop at public places like mc d’s.

I’ll update with pics, as I have more time , and get the final things packed.

To become an expert at simple,, gracious living, is my goal. I know I can’t do that completely, as my very home uses gas and I am still using some electrical appliances….but my carbon foot print  is getting lower by leaps and bounds. 

 

 

 

Pic view from front seat. New sterlite drawers and bed frame.

Pic view from front seat. New sterlite drawers and bed frame.

Under bed storage

Under bed storage

I’m leaving the stick n bricks position and going to visit my family as of May 1st. This will be a Fl to Pa trip, and it’s time to devise a ‘new plan’ for the van configuration. I took many measurements, and sat in it thinking how it could be comfortable. Turns out , with my height of being 5’6′, I had room to do 9″ high legs on a bed platform.

I bought some sterlite drawer units and played around with how best they would go. I asked my friend’s sig other for a little bit of help, and he helped me…taught me…how to make a solid ,simple bed frame. We had to remove some remaining hardware from a console unit, and then a 4′ x 8′ piece of 1/2″ plywood fit perfectly on the van floor. I topped it with a $20 carpet from Wal mart. I braced the bedframe with lots of L brackets and corner brackets for added strength. I spray painted it black to match my decor. I tacked all the drawer units down with L brackets. I made velcro fasteners for the drawers to hold them shut while traveling. The outside portion was sticky, so covered it with black ribbon with a tiny tab to help grab it for opening.

I had a 6′ thick fold up chair/bed for the bed cushion. I love this thing! It can be a chair, a inclined lounger, and bed, as well as is comfortable and stylish as a couch. Now I can sit on it as a couch and use a drawer unit as a desk. I now have just enough room to navigate and not feel claustrophobic. I have about 10 ” of room behind the drawers, under the bed to put those larger loose things.

There is room for the porta potty, and a stool, towards the back. I have plenty of room to get in and out of the side door, as well as space for the 12v cooler.

These are pics of the basic configuration. Later on, after I have it loaded, we will have to see if it still looks fairly neat and homey…lol. It’s my goal anyways.