rosy progress report – january

January has been a tough month for measurable progress. It’s been cold (like, for Texas, anyway). So cold, that we iced up one day!

I’ve been taking care of some wedding stuff, and some work stuff, and some school stuff, and I had some friends in town this weekend… And hanging with them was much more fun than donning a respirator mask and safety goggles to sweat and play in the rust. I’m feeling a little down right now because we haven’t made the progress that I thought we would have by now. The last two times we’ve been out to the trailer, we arrived several hours behind schedule, and hit what felt like a hundred roadblocks that prevented us from reaching our end goal for the day. Trailer reno is hard, dudes. But… I’m gonna throw down a little progress report, in the hopes that it will lift my spirits, and bring into my focus all of the accomplishments we’ve achieved since my last update. Let’s get started, shall we?

So, the last time I shared our progress, it was really short blurb with a lot of pics. And reviewing that post just now as I prep to write out today’s post, I can see that we have in fact gotten a TON done. We are still far off from being able to even hang out in the trailer for too long without respirators on, but we’re getting there.

A month ago, we still had interior skins. We had just started taking them down. Boy, that feels like a lifetime ago.

Since then we’ve popped out at least a couple hundred or so rivets, and away went the interior skins.

We started by taking the cover of the AC unit down and removing all of the light fixtures so we could take down the ceiling. It was all one long skinny strip of metal skin, which was pretty satisfying to pull down. It was also a little nerve-wracking because, well, that’s it. Once you start pulling those puppies down, you’re full on committed to redoing your insulation and skins. Say bye bye to painting that 70s era vinyl wallpapered (??) metal and let ‘er rip, potato chip!

After that, we then worked our way down the sides, leaving the end caps for last.

Then we started to pull out the ol pink stuff…

We had several sessions of pulling this stuff down, and going home incredibly itchy – ugh – despite taking precautions to keep it off of our skin. Super annoying!

The end caps were a little scary to take off. Not because it was difficult, it wasn’t. It was just the same as taking off all the other skins… But taking the end caps off and trashing them meant that we for certain were going to have to make new ones at some point, on our own, and have to account for that beautiful, dreaded, iconic, amazing, terrifying Airstream curve. If I haven’t already mentioned it, Vick and I met in remedial math class. We-no-likey-the-maths. But we did what we do, sucked it up and pulled them off, and vowed to figure that out when we got there. Thankfully, we’re not “there” just yet.

The back side of our front interior endcap had 3267 Argosy written on it in permanent marker. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s cool to think that the last time anyone laid eyes on that was probably in the 70s at the factory. I’ll have to google it one of these days to see what I can find… unless anyone reading this knows what it means? Help a sister out!

Once all of the interior skins were done, we were left with a big pile of scraps, tons of bags of the pink stuff, and a lot of little particles to shop vac up.

At that point we were ready to get going on the floor. We had already cut up a small section of it over the gray tank several weeks ago and realized that it’d be better to remove all of the skins first, since the subfloor is bolted in behind them in several places.

We’ve since gotten up most of the floor, with a circular saw, vise grips, a lot of muscle, and a lot of determination. Let me use this opportunity to say – I had several moments while removing the skins where I stopped to say to myself: “Why are we doing this? The insulation isn’t so bad and the electrical works. Is this really necessary?”. Seeing what we had under our floor had me vehemently answering YES YES YES.

Definite evidence of rodents, moisture, and other general nastiness. GROSSGROSSGROSSGROSS.

Had we just said “eh, it’s probably okay” and painted over it with no investigation, we would never truly know what we were living on top of, which would have been a nasty cesspool of icky.

Right now, we have a makeshift plywood “floor” so we’re not walking around on the frame, which needs a few minor welds and a LOT of rust removal and POR-15 (not necessarily in that order).

We still have about a third of the floor to take off, but we’re handling all the stuff in the c-channel and the bolts on the frame first. We’ve been twisting the bolts out with vise grips, which seems to work well enough and not take too terribly long.

Folks keep suggesting an angle grinder, which I know will also do the trick, but I wonder how careful you have to be to protect the frame, opposed to just using a little muscle to pull them out with the vise grips? Anyone have an opinion? Put it in the comments!

My lease is up in 61 days. The tentative plan is to get her as far along as we can so we can move in April 1st. Bare minimum, we need the insulation done and the interior skins up, and the sub down and sealed, and the interior fully painted, and only then we are willing to move in and sleep on our mattress on the floor while we finish up the rest. By April, Texas is warm enough that we won’t have the cold to worry about, and hey, with all that rent and utility money freed up, we just might get a lot done in a relatively short amount of time to get her road ready faster! A girl can Airstream Dream, right? Right now, here’s how she looks (with the mess cleaned up for the pic, of course):

Anyone else out there feeling the reno blues? That feeling that everything takes forever plus a day, and that you’re running way behind? We can do this, right?! Camper People Power! ✊🏽

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tiny house jamboree – 2017

Okay, let’s get a couple of quickie things out of the way:

  1. This is not a sponsored or partner post (not that I’m not into that, wink). This is just a recap of an experience.
  2. Sorry in advance for the photo quality. These are mostly snaps that I saved in the moment. I was way too jazzed to get perfectly framed shots. #shrugemoji

Now that we’ve done that… OH. EM. GEE. you guys. The Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree was so much fun! I really loved being around so many like-minded people, and everyone we talked to was really helpful and encouraging.

We went for most of the day Sunday, and in hindsight, we should have done a full three day pass. We didn’t really get the opportunity to sit in on any of the programs, which I know would have been really insightful and inspiring for us. But, we still got to tour all kinds of Skoolies, Tiny Houses, and Vans, and got some great advice from some truly amazing people.

I think what I love most about this Tiny Living community is the enthusiasm and willingness to give advice. Not only are people happy to talk about their journey, they’re eager to hear about ours, and ready to uplift us and cheer us on. For every time I’ve uttered “we’re not totally sure what we’re doing”, I’ve been met with “you’ll get there”, or “you can do it”. I am immeasurably grateful for this positive and helpful wanderer tribe to which we now belong!

Here are some shots I took of the event, and links where you can follow the fine folks behind these incredible dwellings! I wish I had taken more, but I’m still not so used to the idea of folks being eager for you to share pics of their homes on social media.

Okay, first off, they gave me a badge, which made me feel so official (even though everyone got one)!

Also, if you follow us on insta, you’ll know we made shirts. Arnavick did a Stranger Things theme and I did a more linear, color-blocked design.

We got to see this little cutie by Happier Camper – super cute and great for small toy hauling. I, of course, loved all the color selections they offered.

Our first tour was of The Creative Animal Tour Tiny House, which was awesome! You may recognize them from HGTV’s Tiny House Big Living. We chatted with Steph a bit (who did the blueprints for the house) and she showed us some super cool features, like trap door storage in the “ceiling” under their loft bed.

This tiny house looked like it could maybe be a super nice deer lease, if you’re into that kind of thing. Love that galvanized corrugated metal throughout!

Check out the windows on this guy:

I was super impressed with this tiny house that had its very own spiral staircase and observation deck! The interior was pretty cute too.

This tiny house by Red Deer Classics has insane hand carving and delicate woodwork, and the copper had a sick patina! I didn’t get an exterior pic – but you can check it out on their insta!

We got to see this sweet little Airstream, and Airstreams always make us happy!

We bought a 2×4 from 2x4s for Hope and wrote a special message for veterans on it. This organization is amazing – they build tiny homes for homeless veterans. This was just their exhibit, obviously, not an actual tiny house! Check out their website (linked above) for more info or to donate!

Arnavick really liked the look of this butcher block countertop. We’re considering this look for our little kitchen in the trailer.

I really, really, realllly loves all of the skoolies! I’ve been following Nomadic Millers for a little bit now, and I was so jazzed to see their bus in person! I only got one picture of the outside, and they were busy tending to kiddos while we toured, so I didn’t get the chance to tell them in person how cool their bus is, but it’s beautifully outfitted. Check out their Instagram – THAT KITCHEN! Love.

I hadn’t come across Trebventure on insta, but I’m really glad to be following them now. Not only was their home jaw-droppingly cool (excuse me they have a SKYLIGHT over their SHOWER), they were so sweet and encouraging! One of the questions I asked (which I’m sure they get a lot) is whether it was difficult to raise their kids on the road, since ‘Vick and I have hopes to start a family in the next few years. Ashley’s response was that having kids is just hard in general, but their simple lifestyle makes it easy, and that we can totally do it. It is so reassuring to see people living the way we’ve been dreaming of. Our crazy camper scheme isn’t so crazy after all.

We got a kick out of the #tinyfirehouse! It has a fireman’s pole in it. It looks like a short slide down the pole but probably fun all the same.

I’ve also been following tiny house expedition for a while now. Sadly, I didn’t get to see the inside, but I was glad to see the outside of this happy little house in person! Their website has some really helpful info on tiny house living – check it out if you’re interested!

Lil Red was a lil cutie! 66 square feet – can you imagine?! I was super impressed by the functionality of this lil house. I wish I took inside pics!

Last but certainly not least – method to nomadness. Much love to Sheena, who did not kick me out of their house during my excessive fangirling over the HAMMOCK that they have attached to their house! Genius. Seriously amazing.

Not pictured but worthy of mention:

Kevin and Christy from lifetwogo are a couple of van lifers and were really lovely to talk to! They were so encouraging, and they noticed my Rosy shirt and let us gush for a solid five minutes. We loved looking at their map and hearing about their travels!

Samantha from GoneVananas answered a couple of pretty personal questions re: showering, and talked to us about composting toilets and poo for a good while – a true saint! It’s not every day you talk commodes with a complete stranger, but we are grateful for her tips!

We toured This Little Home Of Mine at Earth Day last year, at which point it was only a shell on top of a gooseneck trailer with wood walls and sharpie outlines of Brittnie’s layout. We were so pumped to see the interior now that she’s almost completely done! She was a total sweetheart, and we are super impressed with what she’s done with her place!

We had such an awesome time, and can’t wait for the next time we attend the Jamboree! Should be all shacked up in Rosy the Argosy by then!

Who else attended? I’d love to hear your takeaways!

our aesthetic is…

When people find out we’re remodeling a camper and plan to live in it, generally, we get two schools of response. Response A – people think we’re crazy hippies (they’re not totally wrong). Response 2 – they’re fascinated and ask tons of questions. 

One that’s been challenging to answer is what it will look like when we’re done. Its a little tough to just ball all of our wild ideas into a compact little package of aesthetic explanation in one conversation. But I thought it would be fun to talk about it here, while we’re still in the midst of pulling Rosy apart. After all, the designing and decorating is where the real action is at, amiright?!

So here are some high-level representations and annotations of our ideal aesthetic:

*Painted white interior skin and walls. Don’t have a solid visual representation of this, but you get it, right?

*Weathered/barnwood style flooring. The second one here is my favorite! I love the slight warm tones with the burnt grays.

*Counter and table surfaces will either be faux concrete or hardwood (undecided)!

*Pops of sage green, rose, peach and rose gold! Most of the metal in the camper is already rose gold (that was a freebie) and I’ve seen some pretty rad rose gold spray paint on the market.

*Black on white simplistic, linear graphic accents (like the cacti sheets I bought to turn into curtains).

*Plants. All the plants.

We are really going for a light and airy, minimalistic aesthetic, with well thought out storage, and multi-use zones.
We also got a lot of inspiration (and the decision to go with white walls) from following Mavis, Dunes, and Tin Can Homestead on insta. 

Hopefully that gives whomever so reads this some sort of mental picture of how we plan on outfitting Rosy. Now if we could just pick a floor plan. I made some templates for us to draw out multiple layouts, which should help us get closer to nailing that down. DIY pun intended.

Happy camping, everyone! 

a hot topic – ovens

^^^ See what I did there?! *winks and nudges Internet with elbow*

We recently pulled out the kitchen in Rosy the Argosy

…and it got me wondering, “Do we really, truly, ABSOLUTELY neeeed an oven”? The Great Debate, I call this. 

Let me back track a little bit. Once upon a time, three years ago, a girl moved into a quaint little apartment. The apartment was small and suited the girl’s few needs. Though this girl believes she has an eye for detail, she somehow completely missed the fact that this apartment did not have a MICROWAVE. 

Obviously, the girl is me, and obviously, my first instinct was to panic, because who in the heck can live a normal life without a mickey to heat up her mac n’ cheese leftovers?!

Somehow, three years later, I’m still alive and breathing, even without the modern convenience of concentrated, high powered heat waves to zap my food into a palateable temperature. ‘Vick moved in two years ago, and has also survived sans-microwave, thank goodness. We both grew up with microwaves in our homes, so neither of us had done much reheating in an oven or on the stove before. Google has been our friend in these trying times.

So, now that we’ve brought ourselves current, let’s talk about this oven thing…

Ovens take up so much space! Our range is small, and yet it still seems to take over a lot of valuable real estate in the kitchen area. When you’re planning on living in 200 sq ft, space becomes such a precious commodity!

This isn’t a great angle (or a great photo at all for that matter), but hopefully this gives you a general idea of the size of it.

When I’m not letting chain restaurants do my cooking for me, I do a lot of cooking on the stove. Really, the only time I regularly use the oven is for heating/reheating pizza (because pizza is life). And the occasional batch of cookies. And it’s great for storing a Costco rotisserie chicken for about an hour if I’m not starving, but will want to eat soon, and still want it to be hot.

But, is all of that enough for us to take up so much precious space in our little abode? Can we live without pizza? Of course not, let me try again – are there other ways to make pizza? Would we be solid with just a space saving induction cooktop? If we can live without a microwave, certainly we could live without an oven, right?

So talk to me, campers. To oven, or not to oven? That is the question. What’s your setup like? What are the pros and cons? What do we do?!

rosy progress report / september 24

‘Vick and I are experiencing very sore muscles (and each a very minor facial injury) this week.

We got a lot done last Saturday! Funny thing is, the camper still looks pretty much the same as it did when we got there – the mess just keeps getting rearranged.

We have been sweating the kitchen removal – which is hilarious, because, in our camper, the kitchen is literally one lower cabinet and one upper cabinet, each about 5’ wide. It’s just the wires and the plumbing and the gas lines… oh my! It’s so much to deal with, and could be dangerous if done incorrectly.

We (loose “we”… Arnavick was most of the muscle here) managed to get it done with one very long break and a trip to the hardware store. Having the right size wrench makes a world of difference when disconnecting gas lines for the stove/oven.

Pretty much everything in this camper is riveted into the interior skin, so to get the cabinet out, we used a tack puller, hammer, and elbow grease to pop all the rivets out. 

Then there were the gas lines. Of the approximate 40 wrenches we have, we didn’t have a single on that fit the nut that was holding the gas line to the stove. No adjustable wrench either. That’s when we hit the wall.

Arnavick wasn’t feeling good, and we were both hungry, so we went home. After some lunch, though, we both got a second wind and decided to run by the hardware store for the right size wrench (as well as an adjustable one for good measure).

We also picked up a strap wrench, which came in handy for loosening the slip nuts connecting the sink drains to the pipes. 

A few turns of a wrench later, and the gas lines and pipes were disconnected – voila!

That made it easy peasy to pull the stove and the cabinet out! No more kitchen! It looks pretty much the same, but it was a check mark next to a to-do, and we’re satisfied by that! So here it is, an anticlimactic before and after of pre- and post-kitchen removal!

With Kitchen:

Without Kitchen:

Anyone else have reservations removing the kitchen like we did? What got you through it?

our awning works?!?!

Arnavick got really brave last weekend and decided to pull open our awning!

When we bought Rosy, her prior owner told us the canvas was trashed. We were expecting a rotted, nasty mess.

You guys, LOOK AT THIS AWNING RIGHT HERE!

It’s in pretty darn good shape compared to the image we had in mind. And the colors! The colors match our beloved exterior striping! Swoon!

So, there IS a little problem… well, two little problems. 
One, there’s some gunk at the very top of the awning. We will have to give it a good washing to see whether it’s just gunk, or if the canvas is rotting. I’ve never wished so hard for something to be gunk. 

Two, the thread came out of the seam that’s right by the door, causing a hole. I can sew really well, but I don’t know how to go about fixing this problem. I don’t want to take the awning off, and I am not confident in my sewing when I have to raise my hands over my head to do so. The great news is, the fabric there is intact.

I was thinking to possibly just gorilla glue the seam back together? Is that crazy?

cacti fabric!

I love an impromptu sister date! If ever there were a best sister award, mine would certainly receive it. We’re incredibly close, sometimes to the point of annoying our family with giggle fits and inside jokes. She’s the absolute greatest!

So when she threw out an invite to meet her at Target after work, I. WAS. THERE. I love catching up with her, and seeing my sweet nephew!

Target and I have a longstanding friendship (we see each other, like, all the time), which can get pricey if you’re not careful. I’ve even posted before about my trick for taking it easy on my wallet – my red sticker rule. If I focus my attention on clearance for non-essentials, my bank account doesn’t seem so anemic.

So when I saw that these sheets, these super cute cacti sheets, these sheets that I’ve commented on EVERY TIME I see them, were on clearance – I was all about it!

One clearance bedding cartwheel discount, one red card discount, and a $10 bill later, and I was on my way home with the cutest little cacti fabric you ever did see!

Sooo, I really want to use this for curtains in miss Rosy the Argosy! The sheets are white, so I’ll need to pair it with a thicker fabric backing for more privacy – wouldn’t a bright cactus green to match her exterior stripes be just perfect?! I’m trying to come up with a way that we can do two-layered curtains that we can use independently. As in, have the privacy curtain, but then also the option to use just the cacti curtain if we want some light to come thru in the daytime, but don’t want folks seeing in (like if I’m in my p-jams or something). More on that if/when I get it figured out.

It’ll be quite a while before I get working on curtains, we still have tons to do! But in all the hard demo work, it was nice to pick up something that’ll eventually be used for the decorating portion of the reno! I love the hard work of pulling things apart and rebuilding, but prettying her up will be so fun!

Peace, love, and camping, friends!

xo – J