Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Must Have Things For New Vanners or RVers

This is simply some things I've found very useful in my van/travel trailer combo.

First of all HEAT.

First choice for heat is a Mr. Buddy heater. I have one hooked up to an adapter hose to a twenty pound tank of propane.

First choice for me is a Coleman dual fuel stove. It can be run on Coleman fuel or on regular gasoline. It has two burners and is easily used once you learn how to prime it and light it.

My second choice is alcohol stove. It's easy to make an alcohol stove. I start with a small can (I used a can that held canned chicken.) I put tissue in it, a mix of 70% and 90% rubbing alcohol, and on it a gas stove pot stand. The alcohol stove is easily set up and used for quick cooking.


I use the 12v lighter socket in my van to charge laptops and my cellphone. I run my van 15 minutes a day to charge up my starter battery. I have two sockets available in my van. I also carry a triple tap socket adapter that changes one plug into three. 

I have a universal carcharger adapter for laptops. Just select voltage and appropriate tip. I believe I paid $7.50 for it on eBay.

Another must have (in my opinion) is a rechargeable smartphone charger with flashlight. They currently sell on eBay for anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on size. 


I use crochet cotton to make wicks. I re-wick candles, or I make oil candle by putting Crisco oil in jar, making a wickholder out of a piece of hanger, and adding a wick. 

I do keep LED handheld flashlights on hand but I hate dealing with batteries.

These are a few of what I consider essential items.

feel free to donate using the PayPal button on top of the blog.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Brrrr Winter Is Here

It's winter time again in Michigan. The entire city looks like a Christmas card. That brings it's own challenges in keeping warm.

My travel trailer still need the propane lines looked at by a professional prior to using the on-board system. I found an open line under the oven.

So I'm using alternative methods to stay warm. The first is using the propane tank inside hooked up to a propane tabletop grill. I keep a brick on it to help retain and radiate the heat.

Method number two is my trusty alcohol stove. It's a small tuna can with rubbing alcohol in it. Light and enjoy heat and light. I take some safety precautions. I got out my square roaster pan, put a layer of bricks in it. The alcohol stove sits on the bricks. I use bricks beside it and along the back. They retain the heat and make it safer.

My third method is an oil candle. Using one of the chicken cans, I bent a hanger wire into a spiral for a wick stand. The wick is braided cotton crochet thread normally used for doilies.

Yet another method of heat and light is Crisco. Add a wick stand and a wick, light and enjoy.

I've hung heavy blankets over the front windows to cut the drafts off.  Later this week, I'll get out the heavy plastic and do the front windows.

Remember CO2 sinks to the floor, so any vent has to be low. Any open flame uses up oxygen. If flame become low, it's time to ventilated. I turn off the heat sources at night while sleeping.

Keep boxes of baking soda on hand to extinguish fire. Smothering is also a good method of putting a fire out.

The donate button at the top of the blog can be used by anyone with a debit out credit card. Any amounts will be used for propane and heating supplies.

Be safe and stay warm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Candles From Old

You buy candles and then half way through they no longer want to burn.

I've learned how to make wicks and re-wick the candles. It makes me feel green by not throwing useful materials away and it saves me money.

You need some crochet cotton, a good knife, and some patience.

I start by cutting six pieces of cotton all the same length. Then I braid the pieces together.

Then I dip my wick into melted wax and let it dry so it's a bit stiffer.

Next, i heat my knife slightly and make a cut in the center of the candle down to the bottom.

I push the wick down into the candle. Light and enjoy.

I also will shave bits of wax into a small jelly jar. After adding a wick, i have a no cost candle made out of bits and pieces of old candles.

Another method I use is to tie a wick to a pencil across a jelly jar. I pour melted wax into the jar and let harden. You can add crayons...broken, parts, or whole for a decorative aspect.  Trim wick, light, enjoy.

You may donate using the PayPal link at the top of the blog. Any donations are used to defray expenses of my travel trailer, or to buy materials used.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cold Weather Coming

It's that time of year again and still I find myself in the frozen north.

Both my dad's health and mine necessitate me staying in Michigan at this time.

One of my YouTube videos had over 100 views. I'm so amazed at that.

I'll be moving into an apt for a period of time while I renovate the travel trailer.

Tonight is going to be a comfortable high 40s but by Wednesday temperatures will drop to the 20s.

My primary source of heat was my coleman dual fuel stove. An auxiliary burner has burned out and the stove is no longer safe to use. I'll be relying on my alcohol stove and candle/brick heaters.

I'm out of propane and no income until the first week of December.

My pups are back with me after a week long stay with family due to unheated van. Animal control gave me a couple of hours to make arrangements for them due to new laws. But the travel trailer makes a big difference.

The travel trailer is pretty comfy the propane lines in it will need to be double checked and an open line under the sink t-ed off prior to using the on-board propane system.

Please donate if you can. Bottle of rubbing alcohol for stove is $2. Lamp oil for lantern is $5. Propane tank filled is $20. Alcohol lasts one day for cooking/heat, lamp oil lasts 5 days, propane tank is two weeks of cooking fuel/heat.