Friday, February 28, 2014

A cute, DIY, Sunbrella rain tarp for a tiny trailer

With our recent torrential rain storms in Northern California I needed to come up with a way to protect the vent on top of The Glampette from water intrusion. If rain comes straight down I can keep the vent open enough to run the fan which does several good things:

1. It prevents condensation from building up inside the trailer.

2. It keeps the interior temperature inside the trailer from becoming too warm.

3. It allows the vent's built in fan to run pulling air inward or outward to keep the interior temperature from becoming too warm. The vent lid has to be open approximately 4" for the fan to work.

But when it's rainy and windy I've often had to close the side windows and vent completely to keep water from blowing into the trailer. It's not a problem in terms of insufficient air flow, Fred designed the trailer to have two passive vents that ensure even if the windows and vent are closed there's still enough fresh air coming in to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. But, they alone don't provide enough air and circulation to keep inside the trailer comfortable.

Fan-Tastic Vent sells a vent cover that permanently attaches over the vent to shield it from rain while ensuring air flow. But my challenge was how to protect it from gale force winds and rain while still looking cute?

Enter 9 yards of bright yellow Sunbrella fabric, 5 grommets, 5 bungee cords, and two pieces of tent cord that combined to make a cute yellow tarp that has shielded my Fan-Tastic Vent from torrential rain and wind in the the past 72 hours.

The grommets were inexpensive and easy to attach. All I needed were the instructions on the back of the package and a small hammer.

The rear end of the tarp I tied to the jack stands with tent cord. I kept the edge of the fabric higher towards the top of the trailer so that any run-off would come down and fall into the drip rail Fred built above the door so I wouldn't have to deal with water coming down on me while entering or exiting the trailer.

On the front end I used bungee cords to tie down the center and grommets on the two corners to attach the tarp to the trailer tongue and frame.

Here you can see how I reinforced the fabric around the grommets with a second piece of the heavy Sunbrella fabric.

Inside the trailer the vent is completed protected from the rain. I'm really glad this idea worked so well!

I did realize after the fact that I could do a rolled hem on the back end with a piece of cord in it so that the awning can work two ways:

1. As pictured here lashed into place with the grommets and tent cord and pulled back over the trailer to protect the vent during rain storms.

2. Or, I could slide the rolled edge into the awning rail above the door then pull it away from the trailer and use my tent poles to create an awning I can set my chairs under and sit beneath for shade on sunny days. Just like the lightweight awning I made out of an old table cloth for the Treasure Island Teardrop Trailer Rally last October but with grommets set higher up above the corded edge.

It'll be a win-win. The awnings can be folded flat or folded in half and rolled onto a 2.5 foot long cardboard tube for easy packing/transporting.

The trailer is a work in progress. The more I use it the more opportunities I notice to figure out ways to improve my living conditions. By this time next year I should be a tiny travel trailer pro!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kitai Update: Looking for signs

It was a small thing, Kitai went to jump in the car yesterday and almost didn't make it onto the front passenger seat. "Maybe he just didn't have his feet under him" I thought to myself.

To look at him you still wouldn't know he's sick with Lymphoma, a type of cancer. Even taking his medicine he's as bright eyed and eager as he's ever been to eat.

In fact, I'm wondering if he's ever been happier in his life since he's been taking his Prednisone and antacids. I've been using Niman Ranch "Fearless" hot dogs as his "pill pockets" to get his medicines into him.

After his medicine he eats a bowl of his favorite Orijen dog food mixed with a little fried egg, tiny bits of hot dog, and some brown rice cereal to help calm his stomach down from the Prednisone.

But even eating two big meals a day my friend Judy noticed yesterday (after not seeing him for a few weeks) that he was thinner than the last time she saw him. I'm sure it's because even though he's eating his body isn't metabolizing the nutrients in the food as efficiently.

For now he's still happy and not in pain so we're continuing to enjoy his remaining time together. We're supposed to have rain for the next four days (It's been pouring since 7:00 AM this morning) so yesterday I took him to Vasona Park in Los Gatos for an hour and let him sniff everything, mark anywhere he wanted to, and walked around the lake after he was done digging in dirt that gophers or ground squirrels had piled up across the lawns.

He had a great time at Vasona Park.

But last night when it was time to hop in the trailer to go to bed he tried and couldn't make it. My heart went *thud*. The realization that he is sliding down that slippery slope that pets and people end up on as the end nears is a reality I can't ignore. I got out of the trailer and gently lifted him in holding him in my arms a few seconds longer than I needed to. Holding onto him. Not wanting to let him go. I'll never be truly ready to let him go.

Updates on Kitai's Condition:

What was left of my heart is being put to the test - February 10, 2014

Kitai Update: Lymphoma and Prednisone - February 13, 2014

True Love: A girl and her dog - February 21, 2014

Kitai Update: Looking for signs - February 26, 2014

Kitai Update: Hanging in there - March 9, 2014

Kitai is almost out of time - March 17, 2014

A once in a lifetime dog. . . RIP Kitai - March 19, 2014

It's been four weeks since you left me - April 15, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

The next Goat Hill Fair antique and vintage show

You may recall that last fall I attended the Goat Hill Fair antique-vintage show in Santa Cruz County. Well, the spring show has been scheduled and it'll take place May 17-18 at the Santa Cruz Fair Grounds.

The juried show is hosted by Cyndi Garafolo, a former shop keeper I knew back in the day in Downtown Campbell when she had a cute interior decorating and gift shop retail storefront. Times changed and her business has evolved to include hosting these "unique antiques and artisan fairs." If you love antiques, vintage goods, glamping accessories or shabby chic styled items attending a Goat Hill Fair show is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

It was twice as much fun for me because I was able to bring The Glampette down and spend the night at the fair grounds in order to be there bright and early to cover the arrival of the "early goats" for this blog post. I got there just as the sun set and found a spot in the lot alongside the building the show was to be held in the following two days.

Set up night. The vendors were busy putting together their oh-so-stylish booths in preparation for the following morning. After taking some pictures I headed out to the trailer to grab some sleep. It was quiet save for a forlorn dog barking in the distance and an owl hooting loudly in a nearby tree. I popped in my ear plugs and had no problem drifting off to a restful night.

In the morning I broke out my MSR Pocket Rocket stove and vintage grill to use as a fire safe cooking platform and made my first cup of parking lot breakfast tea.

Next I made breakfast. I'd precooked some Prather Ranch beef cheeks at home in a crock pot so I fried an egg, toasted half a bagel, and reheated the beef in my tiny Lodge Logic cast iron frying pan. I topped my open face breakfast sandwich off with some sour cream and diced pickled jalapenos. It was a fantastic breakfast and took only minutes to put together.

Refreshed I headed out for a day of photography and shopping.

The "Early Goat Special" is for people who want to purchase a special, $20, limited-run ticket that allows them to enter the show at 8:30 AM and shop for 1.5 hours before the general admission admittance (a $5 ticket) begins at 10:00 AM.

The early goats were treated to live music. . .

And a light breakfast of Shelley's Biscotti and hot coffee. I tried the Almond Apricot Walnut biscotti. It was perfection. It wasn't a hard dry crisp, the interior was moist with a nice browned exterior and the flavor of the ingredients was mouthwatering. It was a hard choice between it and the Dark Chocolate Cornmeal option but I thought the fruit and nut sounded more healthy at 8:30 in the morning.

When the doors opened the crowd flooded in. Soon the aisles were packed with shoppers.

By 10:00 AM the line out front for the general admission ticket holders was growing.

Once they joined the early goats they were free to peruse the many booths searching for the vintage treasures their hearts desired.

There were toys, home decor, jewelry, holiday decorations (it was right before Christmas after all), food, beverages, and even some fun footwear.

Fun jewelry and customized flatware by The JunkGirls

If these boots had been my size I would have snatched them up in a heartbeat.

The Homegrown Market Place struck me as a co-op of sorts. It's a collaborative endeavor for local small businesses that describes itself this way on their Facebook page:

"Homegrown Specialties is a revolutionary natural and specialty food broker that works with both start-up manufacturers and developed manufacturers to help get their products to market by utilizing knowledge of the industry, established relationships and self distribution through our Marketplace."

As I perused one of the larger booths it was no surprise to me that I loved many of their offerings when I discovered it was there representing the Antiques Colony, one of my favorite San Jose antique shops. You may remember it's where I found my metal folding chairs for The Glampette last year.

There were plenty of Shabby Chic offerings. I loved all of them!

And vintage French anything makes my heart go pitter patter like these adorable metal canisters offered by Heavenly Treasures.

It was mid-November when I attended this show so there were holiday ornaments galore. All vintage or vintage styled. So sweet.

After a long day of perusing I'd worked up a thirst so I decided to try 3 of a Kind's sparkling fruit drinks. I tasted two samples and chose the Apple Ginger flavor. I loved it! If you'd like to try them you can find 3 of a Kind at the Santa Cruz Farmers' Market.

And I had to add in this last shot. The Glampette was not the only tiny yellow trailer there. This was the first time I'd ever seen a mobile ATM trailer. LOL I wish I could have parked The Glampette beside it. Her yellow fenders and chassis would have been a perfect complement.

Want to attend a Goat  Hill Fair show? Your chance is coming this spring on May 17th & 18th at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. If you want the early access you can purchase an Early Goat Special ticket online right now while they last. For General Admission you'll purchase your tickets at the door.

If I'm still in the Bay Area in May I hope to attend. If not you'll have to go and let me know how much fun I missed out on :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A beautiful California winter

Since this may be the last winter I spend in Northern California I'm taking the time to appreciate every moment of it. For instance right now it's 8:56 AM and even though there's a slight chill in the air I've had the The Glampette's door wide open for over two hours because the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

As so much of the country deals with snow, freezing rain, and ice storms this is what the Bay Area has had to contend with: The Camellias are blooming. My friend Janet picked a few from her garden and gave them to me to take home. This was her favorite. You can see why. It was perfect.

And even though we're suffering from a severe drought there has been rain. The blossoms of a flowering plum tree were so bejeweled in droplets of precious water the morning after an overnight storm I couldn't resist taking pictures of them against the bright blue sky with my macro lens.

I've always said there's beauty all around, you just have to slow down enough to take the time to notice it. Or wake up early enough to see a sunrise like this one.

These are just a few beautiful moments that have happened this winter. If you live here did you see them too? If you don't live here hold tight because I'm certain they're on their way wherever you are.

Friday, February 21, 2014

True Love: A girl and her dog

When she read on my Facebook page that Kitai is terminally ill my friend (and photographer) Ellie Stone messaged me and offered to do a portrait session of Kitai and I so that I'd have some nice pictures of the two of us together. I know Ellie from the Aperture Academy Photography workshop I took back in 2011.

After she contacted me I mentioned that I'd like to get an intimate portrait that showed how much I love Kitai. Even though I look pretty tired the one above is my favorite. It's like Kitai is basking in my love for him. He looks so peaceful and content. It's exactly the kind of image I was hoping for.

I love this little guy so much.

We met in Downtown Campbell because it's always been one of our favorite hang out places.

When you look at him it's hard to believe he's even sick. He doesn't look sick. He just looks adorable :)

Thank you so much Ellie for your caring and concern. Yes, things have been tough lately but along with the bad has been a lot of good. I've been truly humbled by the love and support from so many of you that I am fortunate to call family, friends, and readers here on the blog.

It's thanks to Kitai and all of you I could put a genuine smile on my face for these pictures.


I love them now but will cherish these pictures even more after Kitai is gone. It was a quick session at the end of your long work day so I appreciate even more the talent and effort you put into capturing the images and surprising me with them the very next morning. 



Updates on Kitai's Condition:

What was left of my heart is being put to the test - February 10, 2014

Kitai Update: Lymphoma and Prednisone - February 13, 2014

True Love: A girl and her dog - February 21, 2014

Kitai Update: Looking for signs - February 26, 2014

Kitai Update: Hanging in there - March 9, 2014

Kitai is almost out of time - March 17, 2014

A once in a lifetime dog. . . RIP Kitai - March 19, 2014

It's been four weeks since you left me - April 15, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A six course Choco-palooza Valentine's Day

Yesterday I was determined to have a great Valentine's Day because any holiday that requires chocolate is a holiday I'm going to support.

After having a fried egg on wheat toast for breakfast I finished off the last few bites of a carton of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream that was in the freezer.

For lunch I had some sea salt, dark chocolate covered caramels from Bloem, my favorite chocolate shop in Spokane, WA.

They were followed by Chocolove's Chilies & Cherries in Dark Chocolate for lunch.

Later in the afternoon, as Kitai and I were chilling in the trailer, my friend Carl swung by and asked if I wanted to visit Chocolate Visions on Mt. Herman Road in Scotts Valley. He'd already picked up a gift for his wife but wanted to get his daughter a special treat. A new chocolate shop? Sure, I'd go.

Once there the first thing I saw as I walked into the store was a row of chocolate covered triple fudge brownies on sticks. OMC. Oh. My. Chocolate. I had to have one and took this nut covered one to the counter right after I took this picture.

I also picked up two chocolates, A Meyer Lemon Olive OIl from Valencia Creek Farms blended into the chocolate ganache and a Blood Orange Olive Oil infused chocolate. Both were silky smooth and chocolatey but the Meyer Lemon was my favorite of the two. Had the line not been so long (it was Valentine's Day after all) I would have gone back in for a few more. Next time.

Later I'd been invited to have dinner with Carl and his family. He'd sent me a picture of this to tempt me. . . But it wasn't just chocolate ice cream for dessert. . . Nooooooooooooo. . .

He'd made a pan of Chocolate, Hazelnut, Nutella Bread Pudding that he was serving with the Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy ice cream.


Best Valentine's Day EVER!

And what pairs well with chocolate ice cream and a decadent chocolate bread pudding? Dono dal Cielo's 2009 Zinfandel. It's an estate wine made at the winery owned by Carl's family.

Can you even believe the day I had? Despite and because of the recent sadness in my life this was definitely the sweetest and most bittersweet holiday I've experienced all at the same time. It was fun and memorable and I'd like to thank Carl and his family for including me in their celebration.