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End of Semester Wrap Up

As some of you may know, this blog was made for a class I’m taking at Texas State. For now this will be my last post, since I’m not sure if blogging is really for me. Between work and school it became hard to keep up with posting or even finding the motivation to post. Anyways, here are some questions to reflect on my experience with this blog.

It was raining the day I took pictures, so just ignore my wet T-shirt.

Blog Reflection Questions

  • What would you want to improve or include within your site?
    • I think improving the format and design of my blog would make it more professional. If I did this again, I would probably choose a different topic too.
  • How could you have better promoted your content?
    • I created a whole new Twitter account for this class, which made it difficult to promote my blog online. I did share it on my work and personal Twitter accounts, as well as word of mouth to friends/coworkers. I’m assuming thats where some of my views came from. If I kept active on the accounts and paid money to promote my blog posts, then I could have gotten more traction.
  • What was your best experience of the semester-long project?
    • I’ve wanted to create a Youtube channel for a while, but after this experience I’ve found out it’s a lot of work to keep up with. So best experience is finding out this probably isn’t for me, but being able to say I’ve done it.
  • In what ways could the experience benefit you in the future?
    • This would most likely benefit me for a future job position going into digital media.
  • Discuss how you might implement these tools professionally in the future, in a job or an entrepreneurial endeavor.
    • I could see using a website creator for a business or possibly even my own if we open our own RV park.

Analytical Evaluation

  • Which was your most popular week, and how many views and visitors did you get that week?
    • Between 2/17/20 – 2/23/20, I had 33 views and 10 visitors.
  • Which was your most popular post of the semester? How many views did it get? Why do you think it was the most popular?
    • My Welcome post was the most popular, with 13 views. I stopped actively promoting my blog after the first couple posts, so this one was the most viewed.
  • In all of the Site Stats data, was anything surprising to you?
    • I’m really surprised that I had more than a couple views, but now that I think about it, more than half are probably from me….
  • Twitter, Facebook or other social media stats to share?
    • When I tweeted about my second post, “Advantages & Disadvantages”, I had 470 organic impressions. This was my top impression post, however; my first post, “About Me” had the most engagement with an evaluation of 24.

This is goodbye for now. Thank you to all the people that checked in on my posts and if you still haven’t followed my student Twitter account then please do so. I hope y’all all stay safe out there while still enjoying life. -XO Sammie

Huzzah! Ye First Trip!

Our first trip in the camper was this past October to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, Texas. Hunter and I were still living in the house in Houston, so we didn’t have our camper jamb packed with everything yet. We met up with friends on two different weekends and had a blast. Everyone else had already experienced the magic of Ren Fest except for me, this was my first time attending.

Our campsite for the weekend

What Is The Texas Renaissance Festival?

The Texas Renaissance Festival, also known as Ren Fest or TFR, is a festival held in Todd Mission, Texas every year between October and December. It is the nations largest Renaissance festival where people from all around go to dress up in Renaissance era garb (clothing). They have shops, entertainment, amazing food, and camping. You don’t have to dress up to join the festivities, but some people go all out.

Taken from texasrenfest.com

Festivities

We camp on the festival property Thursday night to Sunday morning and attend the festival for 2 whole days. Thursday night is just to get settled in and meet up with friends. In the morning we have breakfast and by noon we are off to the fare! We spend all day walking the grounds. Typically the first thing we do is buy a Scotch Egg and mead. Mead is basically honey wine and it’s what they used to drink back in the day.

They have entertainment like fire throwing shows, archery shows, concerts, throwing tomatoes at a person who taunts you, a maze to walk through, knife throwing, and so much more. At the end of every night they have a big show in a Colosseum type stage where they shoot off fireworks. Then the party continues on the camp grounds. We walk through different camps or have a fire at our own camp to end the night. Then we do it all over again the next day.

Trip Photos

DIY: Custom Drawer Organizer

Hey everyone! I hope you’re staying safe through this pandemic. I know it’s easy to run out of things to keep busy while at home, so today I’m going to share how to make a custom drawer organizer. I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a shot. Beats buying those cheap plastic ones or organizers that just don’t fit your drawers. I would also like to point out that Home Depot is offering curbside pick up, so you can get these items easily with little exposure to others.

Materials Needed:

  • poplar boards
  • sand paper
  • wood glue
  • pencil
  • measuring tape
  • angle
  • clamps
  • circular saw
  • safety glasses
  • paint (optional)

Step 1:

Take out all of your utensils. Think about how many slots you’ll need, lay them out in sections, and measure as shown below.

Step 2:

Now you can purchase your materials. Depending on the size of your drawer you can choose different sizes of poplar board. The 1/4x3x4’s worked best for me since camper drawers are small. I measured and then cut them to the right size. For help with measuring and cutting click here.

Step 3:

Next, it’s very important that you use the sandpaper to sand all sides and any imperfections. Unfortunately, I didn’t have clamps to hold my straight edge and board, so my cut edge was not very straight. This meant I had to sand the ends to be as straight as I could get them (I highly recommend using clamps when cutting). Tips for sanding can be found here.

Step 4:

Now that you’ve cut and sanded your boards, set them up in your drawer to make sure they fit. Using a pencil mark along each of the creases that will be glued together as shown in the photo below.

Step 5:

Take two of your boards and glue them together. Tip: I used a Q-tip to get glue in the crevice and smooth/remove excess glue. Use clamps to keep them held together and follow drying instructions for the wood glue you used. Follow this step until all pieces are secured together. You can either enjoy your new organizer or move to the optional step.

Step 6 (optional) :

I felt that using spray paint was the easiest paint method for this project, but you can do the old fashioned brush method if you’d like. I chose white to match the interior of the drawer, so it all looks coherent. Allow paint to dry and voila! You now have a sweet custom drawer organizer.

Review: Mountain Modern Life

I get the majority of my inspiration from Pinterest when it comes to just about anything. One of the blogs I found on there for full time camper living is Mountain Modern Life.

At this point in my journey, I can only dream of owning a camper like theirs. If you’re looking for something to read or just curious, this blog offers a lot of decor inspiration and camper tips. The owners of the site have been doing this for a while so they are very experienced. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you’re into renovations.

My top favorite things about Mountain Modern Life:

  • They have a really cute story of creating from what you have
  • Great sense of style and decorating
  • They have their own Amazon store so you can shop the look
  • Awesome remodeling tips

Easy Murphy Desk DIY

My boyfriend works remote, and ever since we moved into the camper his “office” has been the kitchen table. This was quite annoying over time since his work supplies were taking up the space where we eat. We decided to remove the couch that we rarely used so we could put in a desk for him. Below you can see the space we had to work with and how to build a Murphy desk.

This is where the couch used to be and where we will be putting our new desk.

Supplies

  • A wood top: We bought a remnant piece of wood from Devo’s Custom Woodworking shop, that we found on Facebook Marketplace listing – here.
  • Legs: We used two 30″ black iron pipes, two 90 degree black iron fittings, and four black iron flanges to create an industrial look.
  • Wood screws
  • Two hinges
  • A drill / drill bits
  • Spray paint (optional)

Steps

  1. Find a Top: You can use just about anything as a top. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. We located a custom wood working business who sells remnant pieces and when we got there we fell in love with this piece. It is a mix of a hard and soft wood and was responsibly sourced from Costa Rica. We chose this piece specifically, because it matched the dimensions we needed. This will also be easy to match when we go back to get a piece for the bar area that we plan on building.

2. Attaching Hinges: Since the camper doesn’t have regular studs like a house would, we had to add extra support by using a furring strip board. Screw the hinges into the cut piece of board and attach them to the wall. If you have two studs to drill into then you can skip this step and just screw the hinges into the wall.

Hinges attached to the furring strip board

3. Adding Legs: For the first leg, take one of the 30″ pipes and screw a flange on each end. Next, use the drill and screws to attach the flange to the corner of the desk. Do the same thing for the second leg. (Optional: spray paint the legs for a sleeker look and maybe take off the tags lol)

4. Mounting the Top: Flip over your desk top with the legs attached. Line up the hinges with the edged of the desk. Don’t forget to make sure its level. Once in the right position, screw the hinges into place.

Now that you’re desk is all done, simply unscrew the pipe from the flange attached to the desk and now it is able to fold down. Fold it away to maximize space or keep it up to maximize productivity.

Organization

Making The Most Of Your Space

Today I would like to share with you my top items that will bring value to your home from space saving to organization. You don’t need 18 different mixing bowls or a bigger space – just items with more purpose! All of these items can be found on Amazon with links provided to save you time; however, Amazon is not the only place to get these items.

1. Higher Hangers

You’re probably wondering what in the world is higher hangers – exactly what it sounds like. These hangers are great for closets with limited vertical hanging space. RV closets will barely fit a women’s T-shirt without the bottom of your shirt resting on the bottom of the cabinet. This product is also great if you have a two-tier closet to keep your clothes from overlapping your shoe rack or touching the floor. For some this may not be an issue, but it is nice to have.

2. Plate Cradles

Amazon: Plate Holders by 7U

I have yet to buy these, but they are definitely on my list! Plate Cradles will not only give you more space in your cabinet, but also keep your plates in one place while moving your camper.

3. Magnetic Knife Holder

Who says that kitchen items can’t be art? These magnetic knife holders work great for keeping your knives handy, as well as adding a little flare to your kitchen wall. You could even use this for your tools like shown above.

4. Over the Door Cabinet Caddy

Amazon, Over Cabinet Door Organizer by Simple Houseware

This cabinet caddy is great for cutting boards or small pans. You’ll no longer have to deal with them falling over or pulling them from the bottom of a pile in the cabinet. I’m sure you could also use this for rolls of foil, plastic baggies or whatever else your heart desires.

5. Collapsible Strainer

Amazon, Collapsible Strainer by QiHM

You can now donate that big metal clunky bowl with holes in it, because you can get this collapsible strainer to take it’s place. It folds flat for easy storing and has extendable handles to fit over most sinks.

6. Storage Bins

These cloth storage cubes are really great for organizing clothing items if you’re short on closet space. Personally, I use them for plain T-shirts and undergarments. Rubber and plastic bins work amazing for keeping cleaning supplies, beauty supplies, or bathroom items organized and in one place. You can find these in all different sizes – perfect for any space.

7. Roll Up Dish Mat

Having a roll up dish drying mat is a great alternative to traditional drying racks that take up quite a bit of space – either in the cabinet or on your counter. This particular mat is easy to store once finished with, and it can even be used for washing fruits and veggies.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Moving from our four bedroom house to a 30 foot camper was not easy. No matter where you live it’s beneficial to make the most out of your space. The two biggest issues we initially faced are the following:

Downsizing: This was one of the first issues we came across. We had furniture that we no longer needed, along with plenty of other things that had just accumulated into closets and drawers (just taking up space). It became overwhelming trying to figure out what to get rid of. There were also items we were connected to and didn’t know what to do with. We sorted things into for four piles – sell, donate, keep and to give away.

(Pro Tip: sometimes having a photo of a memento is better than holding on to the actual item. You can still cherish whatever it is without it taking up valuable space.)

Organization: If you’ve ever been in a camper, there are design flaws to the layout. You get a bunch of places for storage that are hard to get to when you need something. When it comes down to loading up the camper, it helps to think about where everything will go before you put things away.

If you’re looking for help with downsizing, Home & Garden Television (HGTV) offers some great tips!

Above is a slideshow of what our camper looked like before we moved in.

Pros & Cons:

There are plenty of reasons why living in a camper is great! Here’s my pro’s and con’s list after two months of getting the hang of things.

Pros:

  • Spend less on rent (approx. $400/month)
  • Minimal packing if you want to just up and move
  • Travel in the comfort of your home for less
  • Forces you to be more conscious of what you buy
  • Electric and water are slightly less expensive
  • You still have privacy and a small yard for gatherings

Cons:

  • Less space with a terrible layout
  • Cheap and ugly brown fixtures (counters, cabinets, couch, table, etc)
  • Poor lighting (Campers require special LED light bulbs)
  • Dealing with your own sewage disposal and maintenance
  • Humidity

Of course a lot of these “cons” can be fixed to help make living in a small space more bearable. In future posts, I will be sharing renovations and hacks that I’ve learned.

Until next time, Sammie ♥

Welcome

Life is more important than the things we accumulate.”

Dave Bruno

Our Story

Howdy, my name is Sammie! I am so excited that you’ll be joining me on this new journey of full-time camper living. Over the last couple of years, I have moved numerous times – new apartments or new cities. Moving is extremely exhausting, especially if you accumulate a lot of things – clothes that don’t fit you anymore, mementos, gifts that you may not have really wanted, or your school work from 5 years ago.

My most recent move was from Houston to San Marcos, Texas. My boyfriend and I lived in a four bedroom house that was costing us $1,200 in rent plus other fees. When I found out I was accepted as a transfer student to Texas State University, we immediately started looking for a place to live. Our biggest concern was the cost of living; we wanted to keep rent below $800, and we were not having much luck. We finally found a solution; we could live in our camper!

Making the decision to live in our 30 foot camper sounded easy, until we realized how much stuff we had to get rid of, and how little space we would have. I chose to write about this experience, because it has made me more aware of all the “noise” that’s in life. Living in a camper full-time may not be for you, but I hope that you’re able to find insight on the importance of “Living With Less”.

Make sure to follow my twitter account to stay up to date with new postings! I can’t wait to share with you our camper renovations and what full-time camping is all about.

About Me:

I am 21 years old and the youngest of my two sisters. I’m originally from San Antonio and currently live in San Marcos, Texas with my boyfriend, Hunter. I work part-time as a Customer Service Representative for The Home Depot and full-time as a Digital Media Innovations student at Texas State University. Hunter currently works remote as a process improvement specialist. We hope to own a campsite one day, so we can create a great experience for other campers and spend more time doing what matters to us – spending time with family and traveling.