Saturday, May 15, 2021

Chattanooga/Smoky Mountain Trip Day 1

Chattanooga/Smoky Mountain Trip     Day 1


I was so eager to set out!!  I’ve been looking forward to and planning this trip since last fall.  

After I dropped the dogs off at the vet I stopped for gas and breakfast at McDonalds.
  Properly fortified with a breakfast sandwich and my favorite Mocha Frappe, I hit the road, making good time until I hit Nashville, which was bumper to bumper with traffic due to a semi-truck accident that was sprawled out across 2 lanes.   It didn't look good.   Here I am as traffic was coming to a stop...

After a 45 minute back up I made it thru the pile up and sped on my way.  I stopped in Tennessee and did 2 geocaches, one of which was near this horse statue.  I love when I see crazy stuff like this....

As I approached Chattanooga I decided to make a quick detour into Alabama..... 

I’ve never been to Alabama and it's my goal to eventually hit every state.  Although I didn’t have any time for sightseeing that day, my main goal was to grab 2 geocaches, one of them at a Trail of Tears historical marker.  That was very interesting!  

The other one was at this cute little statue.  See, I told you that you see crazy stuff geocaching....


I was thrilled to have visited a new state, also get credit for my geocaching state map, and add another state to my travel map.  Woo hoo!!  

After a brief delay in Chattanooga due to road construction - is there road construction everywhere???  I arrived at Holiday Travel Park where I would be spending the next 3 nights.  The Travel Park is located on a Civil War Battlefield, so that in itself was pretty cool.  They even have an historical marker there which I went and visited, and then quickly found the nearby geocache.  

It was a beautiful afternoon with temperatures in the low 80’s and a nice breeze.  Initially I was worried that it was going to be too hot in my tent, but once the sun started going down it began to cool off.  

Dinner was hot dogs and potato chips, and for dessert I had a piece of chocolate cake.  Did you notice how I improvised and used a hamburger bun for my hot dog???  LOL!

All in all it was a nice first day and I was exceptionally pleased with my JEGS rooftop carrier.  

It was the first time I’d gotten to use it and I was thrilled with how much stuff I was able to put it in.  It took me about an hour to stop worrying that it was going to blow open on the highway and toss my belongings all over the place.  But once I settled down and stopped worrying, it was great.  I didn't even notice it was up there.  It doesn't make any noise or anything.  If you're short like me, this car door step comes in really handy.  You just hook it on the inside of the back door and it holds up to 400 pounds.  It makes reaching my JEGS carrier a breeze.

Two more new items that I used for the first time were my SetPower freezer/refrigerator and my Jackery generator.   

OMG – how did I ever live without these before??   Let me just say this – no more messing around with ice cubes or ice blocks.   Hip, hip hooray!!  The SetPower is really nice.  I kept it plugged into the outlet in the rear of my car while driving and then once I reached camp I plugged it into the Jackery.  The Jackery can charge your USB items with the 2 provided USB plugs and it has 1 AC outlet and 1 dc car port.  It came in so handy for everything!

Come on back for the next post - I'll be covering downtown Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases...

DeerFamy Tent:

Coleman Camp Stove:

JEGS Rooftop  Carrier:

Car Door Step:

SetPower Freezer/Fridge:


Friday, May 14, 2021

Video on My Favorite Camping Must-Haves!!

I have a nice collection of what I consider my "must-haves" when it comes to tent/car camping.   I thought it would be more fun to show you in a video, so here goes....  Enjoy!

In the YouTube description under the video you will find links for all the products.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Deerfamy Tent Coleman Comfort Smart Cot & Sportneer Portable Camping Table

 I just got back from an awesome trip to Chattanooga and the Smoky Mountains.  One of the new items I purchased for my trip was this Deerfamy 3 person tent.  I really liked it.  It has a tent floor and additional rain fly that you can easily and quickly attach if needed.  It comes with tent stakes and is supported by 2 collapsible poles.  It breaks down quick and easy and stores in the supplied zippered bag.  

It was large enough for me to put my Coleman ComfortSmart cot in it for sleeping along with a Sportneer Portable Camping table and small bucket toilet.   The cot is very comfortable.  It measures 69" x 25" x 15", supports up to 275 pounds  and comes with a mattress.  It also folds in half with the mattress for easy storage which I particularly liked. 


The table comes in 3 different sizes.  It's lightweight, and snaps together super easily.  It even has a mesh bag that hangs underneath for light storage.   When you're done with the table it quickly comes apart and stores in the supplied bag.  I got the medium size and it's perfect for the tent, fishing, or cooking breakfast on.  I couldn't be happier with this purchases!  

I needed a good blanket for my excursions so I made one myself and sewed a bunch of my Girl Scout and travel patches on it.  That was a great way to display some patches and stay warm at the same time.  I even found some adorable camping fabric to use as squares....

I'll be back with posts about my trip and some fabulous photos!!

Click this link to go to Amazon to check out this tent. 

Click this link to check out the Coleman Comfort Smart Cot.

Click this link to checkout the Sportneer Portable Table.

 (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)


Saturday, April 24, 2021

S'Mores Roasting Stick Bag

I don't know about you, but I always have the worst time finding someplace to store my S'Mores/hot dog roasting sticks.   And you know as well as I do that they are an essential component for any campfire.  So I designed a simple and effective way to keep them contained when I'm not using them - I made a Roasting Stick Bag....

These versatile bags are hand made from recycled denim jeans. Their approximate size is 7" by 28". They are perfect for storing  S'mores/hot dog roasting sticks, tent stakes or tent poles.

The bag comes with a sturdy paracord string so it's easy to hang up. This bag is completely machine washable.   I'm sure to place the sticks in the bag with the sharp edge up. This will prevent them from poking holes in the bottom of the bag.

I decided to make up a bunch and have listed them in my ETSY shop.   They cost $ 18.00 each plus shipping.   If you'd like to order one, please click on the link.     They are perfect to take along on a picnic or a camping trip.   After you have a backyard campfire you can wash your sticks, place them in the bag and hang it up in your garage.  No more scrounging around trying to find the roasting sticks!!  They make nice gifts too.  Each bag is one of a kind.   I use denim jeans for the fabric so they are pretty sturdy and they come various shades of blue, depending on what I have in stock at the time of purchase. S'mores anyone??

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Reflectix Car Window Coverings

For those of you who like to stealth camp in your car, you need something to block out the light from outside.  I've been asked numerous times how I made the awesome window coverings for my car, so I decided to put together a tutorial.  It was really easy to do and doesn't take a lot of materials.  

The first thing you need to do is get some black spray paint, spray adhesive and gorilla tape.  If you choose to cover the inside facing side of your window covers with fabric like I did, then you'll need some fabric as well.

You also need to buy some Reflectix.  I got mine at Walmart.  Measure your windows to see how much Reflectix you'll need.  I have a Dodge Durango and a roll of 16" x 25' was plenty.

Reflectix is thin and comes in a roll....

The next thing you need to do is make a template of each window.  There are many ways to do this and you can use newspaper or butchers paper.   I used old album covers....

Once you've made your templates, trace them onto pieces of cardboard and cut them out....

Place your cardboard pieces onto the windows and check the fit.  Trim the cardboard as needed.  I suggest you label each piece of cardboard with the window it goes on as well as which side faces the inside of the car. 

This is where it's easy to get confused and why it's important to label each piece of cardboard for the inside and outside.  Lay your cardboard on top of the reflectix, trace it and cut it out.  Remember, the reflectix will be on the outside facing side of the cardboard.   Then lay your cardboard on top of your fabric, trace and cut.   Again, this time the fabric will be on the inside facing side of the cardboard.

In order to be stealthy, I spray painted the outside of the reflectix with the black paint.  Then I sprayed the inside of each piece of cardboard with the adhesive and laid my cut out fabric on top of it.  Flip your cardboard over, spray it with adhesive and attach your piece of reflectix with the black side facing up.  I needed to trim my fabric a little here.  It's going to look something like this....

At this point place each piece into the window and check for size.  Trim if needed.  Once you're satisfied, take the gorilla tape and run it around the complete edge of cardboard.  This will give you a nice edging and keep everything together.

Place them into your windows and they should fit nice and snug so you don't need any Velcro or anything else to keep them in place.   I hung a curtain rod behind the front seats and made a curtain, and I also made myself a memory foam mattress and matching pillowcase out of the same fabric.

I'm so happy with this set up.   It's nice and bright on the inside and from the outside all you see is blacked out windows.  Here's a video of all the steps....

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Book Review: Windows to the Past - Creating Sea Glass Mosaic Art

Windows to the Past - Creating Sea Glass Mosaic Art by Jackie Trimper.

What do sea glass and a seaside cottage have in common one may ask?  It turns out that collecting the former and building the latter turned into a career as a sea glass artist, and now author, for Jackie Trimper.

This book is 67 pages long and is filled with beautiful, colorful photos of Jackie's sea glass art.  It consists of 8 chapters:
  1. Why Sea Glass Art?- Such an Uncommon Art Form
  2. Collecting and Sorting Sea Glass for Creating Mosaic Art
  3. Gather Your Supplies
  4. Create a Design for your Sea Glass Mosaic
  5. Attaching the Pieces to your Sea Glass Mosaic
  6. Finishing Touches
  7. Gallery of Sea Glass Mosaics
  8. A Few Final Thoughts
Jackie grew up spending her summers on Prince Edward Island and started her love of collecting sea glass and other beach treasures at an early age.  In 2008, while building a cottage on the island, her father suggested covering a window separating 2 rooms with sea glass.  And so Jackie embarked on her journey of creating sea glass mosaics.

Jackie likes to find old windows, particularly church windows, for her art. She also likes to incorporate a "calling card" into each mosaic by hiding an Inuksuk in each piece.  It was fun to go through her photos and try to locate the Inuksuk in each one.

If you'd like to try your hand at creating a sea glass mosaic, then Jackie has taken the guesswork out of the process.  First she details the supplies you'll need and the best types of adhesive to use.  She tells you exactly how to find and then sort your sea glass.  She supplies an excellent drawing pattern example for nice flowing lines and explains how to choose your colors.  Page 44 has 3 photos showing different ways to place your glass pieces and I found those to be extremely helpful.  This book is an excellent "how to" and once you've collected your sea glass, you'll be limited only by your own imagination.

Chapter 7 contains over 2 dozen photos of Jackie's fabulous works of art.  The variety of mosaics she has created is mind boggling and each is more stunning than the last.  I really want to run my hand over them and feel the textures and my favorites are the ones created using the old church windows.  There is something quite lovely and poetic about using old windows and sea glass to create a window to the past.

Quite by accident Jackie has discovered a new art form.  The possibilities are endless, and it would be fun to mix sea glass with other items such as shells, driftwood and sharks teeth to create your own work of art.  Who would think that a life long hobby of collecting beach glass could turn into something so wonderful?  Excuse me while I go book a trip to the beach - I've got some sea glass to find!

If you'd like to check out some of the pieces Jackie has done, visit her website.  She has dozens of seascapes, landscapes and abstract designs that you will ohhh and ahhhh over.  Many of them are available for purchase as well as the book itself.  Christmas is just around the corner and this book would make a lovely gift.  Visit Jackie's website here.

You can also visit her YouTube channel for some great how to videos.   Go check them out.

Join her FB page to stay up to date on new photos, videos and mosaics.

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Photo images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review - The Family of Hummingbirds: The Complete Prints by John Gould

The Family of Hummingbirds: The Complete Prints by John Gould by Joel Oppenheimer and Laura Oppenheimer, Rizzoli Electra, 2018

This stunning hardcover edition has 304 pages with 450 color illustrations and brings together all 418 species that were known to exist when John Gould captured them on paper in 1849.  The collection depicts these darling birds along with botanicals native to their habitats.  This master work of natural history took John Gould years to complete.

 Part one, written by Laura Oppenheimer, covers A Passion for Birds: The Life and Legacy of John Gould.  This chapter chronicles Gould's life starting with his apprenticeship as a Gardner and his passion for birds at an early age.

Beginning as an apprentice gardener at the age of fourteen, he later took up taxidermy and set up his own shop in London.  In 1829 he famously stuffed King George IV'S pet giraffe, an act that lead to his name appearing in print for the first time.  Several species of his growing collection of hummingbird specimens were exhibited at the Society in 1830.  By 1833 he was the superintendent of the ornithology department of the Zoological Museum which gained him access to exotic bird specimens and a superb network of naturalists.

Throughout his lifetime Gould published many volumes dedicated to birds.   He traveled extensively with his wife, who was an artist in her own right, and she contributed a great deal to his publications by providing the lithographs to many of the illustrations. 

On a personal level, the hummingbird was closest to Gould's heart.  Gould sketched designs featuring one male and one female of each hummingbird species with a plant native to its habitat.  He made notes pertaining to color and size and then the finished drawings were transferred onto lithographic stone.  These resulted in 360 plates for the first five volumes on Hummingbirds.  Over his lifetime Gould created the definitive scientific reference on hummingbirds for his era.  His outstanding work has stood the test of time.

Part two covers The production and methods of creating The Family of Hummingbirds and was written by Joel OppenheimerIt's a fascinating presentation on the methods of transferring illustrations from metal plate to lithographic stone.  For The Family of Hummingbirds alone, including the supplemental additional prints, over one hundred thousand plates were produced over a 38 year period.  It's mind boggling to think about!  The coloring process itself was extensive, and once Gould hit upon the brilliant idea of adding gold leaf as an underlayment, then the true colors of the hummingbird exploded off the page.

The crowning jewels of this book however are the prints themselves.  The colors are vivid and with the natural botanicals swaying in the background, it's quite easy to imagine the hummingbird in its native surroundings.  360 plates are featured as well as 58 supplemental plates.  Each print is a work of art in its own right.

The Family of Hummingbirds: The Complete Prints by John Gould  is many things -  It's a glimpse into the fascinating life of John Gould and the relentless passion he displayed to carry out this labor of love.  It's also a snapshot into a period of time that is long gone but quite important because of the scientific discoveries that were being made into the world of birds as well as the process of capturing their likeness in print.  And finally, its a book that you can hold in your hands and thumb through, enjoying again and again the illustrations of a delightful creature known quite simply as "the hummingbird."

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Photo images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 
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