Thursday, March 22, 2012

Painting RV Interiors

As a follow-up to my last post I thought I'd share the lessons learned from our little DIY, specifically, how I painted the walls.

We used Dutchman paint, latex. All the paint was semi-gloss except for the grey, that was satin finish. If I could do it all again I would have gotten all satin. The semi-gloss is a little too reflective and took a lot more coats.

I read blogs online to prepare, and every one of them said something different. For vinyl walls the most complicated method said to wash, sand with fine sand-paper, wash again, dry, prime, paint. For the living room slide-out I did just that. Then I realized that me sanding and washing the entire camper myself would take forever. I didn't feel like the sanding was doing much anyway, so I skipped that step for the rest.

I washed all the walls with soap and water, primed, and painted. I did two coats of primer on the slide, and one coat of primmer on all the rest... I don't think two coats made a difference.

The green paint took FOREVER. I probably did at least four coats of the green, and touch-ups on spots where you could still see through. I started painting the green with a bristle paint brush, then switched to a flat sponge type one. The sponge one covered way faster and thicker. The rest of the colors only took two coats using a sponge brush/roller.

I didn't tape a thing, just free handed the trim and floor/ceiling.

I will say it's not exactly like painting a wall in a house. The paint seems a little more susceptible to scratches and such. We have the leftover little tubs of paint to make touch ups as necessary.

General Tips:
Use a sponge roller/brush/flat brush thing (don't know the proper term)
Carry a rag with you that has soapy water on it to fix your mistakes
Use an artists paintbrush to get into the small spaces (around outlets, doors, and windows)
Don't be afraid to lay it on thick, but not too think that it creates drips

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The After

Here are pictures of our RV remodel. Enjoy!
New paint and upholstery.
Magnetic and chalkboard paint for the freezer.
One of my favorite things... retractable faucet thanks to Carrick's dad!
Removed the couch and put in our reclining loveseat and book shelves.
You can see our electric heater that works great! We don't use our propane one.
New paint and curtains. I just made that painting today.
We also switched out the mattress for our ultra-comfy but slightly larger one.
Towel storage inside the bathroom door.
New bathroom paint for the walls and fixtures.
Bathroom artwork...
How to be an Artist, and a picture of kids from all over the world
I picked up at an artist's shop in Korea.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What's Not Important to Us: Stuff

While on this search to find what is truly important to us, we have discovered instead something that is not... well, many things to be exact. I'm talking about stuff. By stuff I mean the things that we fill our lives with, spend our paychecks on, and then throw away within the year because it no longer fits, matches our tastes, or is out of date.

We realized, mostly after packing up all our stuff, then unpacking, then packing... well you get the idea, that we spend so much of our time, money, energy on these things that do nothing to make our lives better. We found large discrepancies between what we thought we needed, and what we actually need to survive, be happy, and live comfortably.

I'm sure downsizing into a 31 x 10 ft-ish living space has had a lot to do with this... but I think we were coming to this realization even if we didn't move into a RV.

We've grown tired of the pressure to consume that we feel from society, and although it's hard at times we're on a path to avoid unnecessary purchases. For example, everyone at Carrick's work thinks we're absolutely nuts for moving into a camper, buying used cars, and our general philosophy on life. (I think Carrick has been called a hippie daily). When one of his higher-ups heard we were selling most of our furniture he remarked, "That's good, then you can go out and buy some new stuff that is in style now." Really, I think he missed the point.

No doubt our feelings are somewhat of a reaction to what we see happening around us... Many people experiencing foreclosure and debt because they were caught in this consuming game and needed something without having the money to pay for it at the time.

After doing some research on the internet it's no surprise that we are not alone. There are many people who are working on downsizing and changing there consumer habits. One website I particularly enjoy is

Here is a great video that sums it up:

So here is our plan:

1. Only make purchases that we have the money to pay for immediately (with the exception of our cars). We don't have credit cards and we pay for my school up front which is something we've worked and saved to be able to do.
2. When we do make purchases we have an established need or justified want. We talk about it for awhile and shop around to find the best deal.
3. Buy items that are multi-purpose if possible (this is mostly due to limited space). For example we have a shoe rack doubling as a book shelf and our kitchen table is also our computer desk.
4. Purchase items that add to our lives, will get a lot of use, and bring us beauty (that last part is mostly for me, I'm sure Carrick doesn't care if things are pretty :).
5. Buy used if possible. Buying used saves us money, keeps something from going into a landfill, and and I'd like to think is a disruption to the crazy consumerism cycle.

I'd like also to add that we don't think all things are bad. We highly value and cherish the meaningful things in our lives like family heirlooms, special gifts from family and friends, mementos from our travels... We feel like if we limit some of the meaningless stuff we bring into our lives we are able to appreciate better the things that mean to most to us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's Important to Us: Each Other

This seems pretty basic right? Of course we're important to each other. But when we really looked at how we were living, it sure wouldn't seem that way. Ask anyone who is/has been married they'll tell you that marriages have their ups and downs, and that has been the case for us too, we'd just like to make sure the ups last a lot longer than the downs!

I'd say the boiling point was right before I came out to North Carolina. We were living apart, both doing our own thing, and not really focused on the other person. We were playing the blame game... both focusing on what the other person was doing wrong, not noticing how we were making the other person feel. At least that was the case for me.

Carrick and I would talk on the phone daily, but I was not really there. I'd be watching tv in the background or working on school, or more often than not on facebook or pinterest. Then he'd ask me a question and I'd have no idea what he was talking about. Busted! Turns out I'm not as good at multi-tasking than I thought.

It was then that we made a promise to each other to do better. To think about how our actions would make to other person feel, to give our undivided attention when it's required, to give up some of ourselves so that together we can be stronger. It has made a huge difference.

We speak kinder to eachother. We have new hobbies that we enjoy together. We've started disc golfing and hiking/biking together at the local National Forest. We share more about our day, and spend more time together when we're both home, instead of us being off in our own corners...

And now I see that being together is more important than ever... Carrick will deploy to Afghanistan in a couple months, and once again we'll face the world together but apart. It hasn't quite hit me yet, that he's leaving. It probably won't until he gets on the plane, but I do know that I will cherish our time together and be in every moment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

To the Future...

I haven't blogged in awhile party because we were transitioning to life in the states, and I was completing my pre-student teaching, but also because I just didn't have much to say.

This blog started as a way for us to fill in our families on what we were doing while living in Japan, and I think I've done an ok job so far keeping it updated and meaningful. Our lives are changing though, and for a while I didn't know what the new purpose of this blog would be, or if it would even have a purpose.

I've decided to keep it going, and to write about our new life. I don't know if anyone will read it or find it interesting, but at least I will have a record of where we are now, and who knows... someday maybe our kids will enjoy reading it and laughing at how nuts their parents were.

As this blog finds a purpose, we hope to also. Coming back to life in the states combined with the end of Carrick's enlistment looming over us (only a year away!), we've had to decide where we go from here and what is truly important to us. We're starting on another journey of sorts because we've felt called by God to be more, do more, for each other and the world.

We're very much still learning and trying to figure it all out, so if you'd like you can come along for the journey on this blog. Cheers!


I know this is very late, but for documentation's sake I figured I would include a post about my trip to Korea. As I've mentioned before, the trip was to train adults in Girl Scout programming. I had an incrediable time, and it was great to be able to spend time with my friends before I moved. Two days were spent training and meeting other Girl Scouts, and we took two days to see the sights. We went to a shopping/cultural district on one day and to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the second.

Stephanie, a Korea GS Leader, and I after training.

Seoul Tower

Me outside the GS Korea store.

At the DMZ.

Arwen, GS Director - Okinawa, and I standing in N. Korea.