Project Creative Caravan: the adventure continues!

by Leonie Dawson on November 30, 2011

 

Hola gorgeous goddess!!!

Once upon a time in an enchanted land, I shared the beginning of a dream come true that went on to become Project Creative Caravan.

And it’s time for the project update.

Are you as excited as I am? I KNOW RIGHT ME TOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

 

Let’s Recap!

 

We began just over two weeks ago with this:

Which after a whole lot of cleaning up turned into these before & after shots:

When we last left off, my Dad had just delivered the pressure washer/aquablaster and I’d cleaned off most of the van.

Next up? Finish off the cleaning!

What have we done since then?

Answer: LOTS.

Even when it doesn’t feel like it!

Day 6

We had a 5:30 am start with Ostara, so by 6:30, I was bored. “Can I go do some aquablasting honey?” I ask my love. “Really? At 6:30am on a Saturday morning? The neighbours want a sleepin hon!”

“Ummm hon, we live on a street where everyone has kids & wakes up early. Sleepins aren’t happening. Everyone will be up doing Saturday renovations soon anyway!”

(Our next door neighbours & directly across from us are both working on their houses too.)

“Still” he said. “Don’t be the first one.”

15 minutes later, the powerdrills started up next door. And I was out the door for a couple of hours of aquablasting. WOO!

This, by the way, are the long instructions for how to turn the aquablaster on & off. Holy DINGER it’s a process!

My Dad is a total auditory learner. He has one of those amazing farmer brains. Like he was able to recognise on sight which cow was which – even when we had over 2000. And he’d remember which had bred with which bull, which cow had “bad teats”, which one had charged him last. So he can remember stuff like instructions on how to start an aqua blaster. And he tries telling me, and I go COMPLETELY BLANK. I’m not an auditory learner. I’m totally visual. So I forced him to sit with me as I drew instructions for myself on how to do it. It totally made me realise why we’d both get frustrated mustering cattle together when I was a kid. I don’t understand things until I see them written down and visually documented. And he’s all “OMG WHY DON’T YOU KNOW THE COMPLETE GENETIC HISTORY OF EVERY COW THAT HAS SNEEZED?”

Anyhwesiwatsit.

So that’s a wee bit of ancient history AND aqua blasting knowledge for you!

Project Creative Caravan knows no bounds!

This was my final wall to aquablast. Obviously, this is the before shot.

And the before shot of the roof. The dirt & mould was CAKED on in thick layers on the roof.

And yay! After shot! All nicely cleansed & cleared!

Sooooo smooooth & clllleeeeeeean.

A few hours later, Ostara had an early nap. I did some work, then I thought to myself “ya know, I should really do a test patch of that paint on the caravan and see how it goes.”

As you can tell, I am a very neat painter.

Chris came outside to find me doing this. Took me bugger all time to paint a whole wall. And OMG! SCRUMPTIOUS! TURQUOISE!!!! eEEEEEE!!!!

Then Ostara was up. Wasn’t quite finished painting yet, so want to know how I painted AND did mama-ing? We played FETCH. It was awesome.

The finished blue paint. EEEEEE SOOOO PRETTTTTY!!!!

A few hours later, I got bored again, so I thought I’d whip out some purple.

And some more purple. How gorgeous does it look?

Answer: SO GORGEOUS.

Can you imagine? What a beautiful thing this caravan is shaping up to be… just with a little love, cleansing & colour!!!!

Look at me! I’m the owner of a dreamy caravan! As if by magic!

Day 7!!!

OMG look what we found on our favourite beach this morning!!!!!

The most amazing huge piece of timber from a boat… Amazingly heavy… I have literally NO idea how it managed to wash ashore….

Cannonvale Beach gets bugger all driftwood or waves…

and yet when we turned up, there was this huge wooden desk top waiting for us. UMMM WHAT. It’s just so magical.

The most beautiful piece of wood… a gift from the sea… I think we’ll make it into my studio desk in the Caravan… wow. Just amazed.

My mermaid ocean desk.

Look at this beautiful timber!!! What a gift from the sea. I wonder where it is from… What tree it is made from… How old it is… What boat it is from?

It feels like sacred synchronicity is at play in my life.

Everytime I lose the faith, I get a sign… THE sign that this Caravan is meant for me, and that the universe is conspiring to shower me with blessings.

And after the hardest year of my life, when I felt like blessings were so hard to come by… this kind of sweetness, of knowing that all is well, and that I am blessed… is even more deeply felt and loved.

I got inspired to do more painting today. Looking more delicious!!!!

Finished painting the other long side. I am in love with this colour.

Painted the front (while boobfeeding a wriggly toddler, gawd I am a champ!)

I LOVE seeing the van’s new colours peeking out everywhere.

And tomorrow? My angel sissy has said she’ll come help me for the morning. WOO HOO!!! What a champ… that will be SO awesome… two people working on it at once! WOAH!

In other news, see how the left side is hitting the ground? That’s taken up a huge amount of brain power today… we’ve worked out half the caravan shell has totally detached from the floor. So we’re looking up Youtube clips to work out how to build a wooden frame for support inside, and reattach the shell to the floor.

It’s another learning stretch for us, so I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and afraid that Chris would decide the whole project is tip-worthy. But then we started googling van restoration and finding these incredible projects of vans from the 1930s being restored – and they were in much worse condition than ours.

Yup, it’s going to take time & new skills… but we really can do it. It just takes a little love and faith.

Day 8!

We decided it was time to buy safety equipment. You know, just so we felt prepared.

Trying out all our new safety equipment. Totes important, of course.

More from the Completely Necessay Photoshoot of Safety Equipment.

Now that I have adequate eye & ear protection, I can cuddle you to my heart’s content.

Oh, and just so you know? This photoshoot? It’s the only time we’ve used the safety equipment as yet.

But you know, worth it. Lucky it was only an $8 kit from Bunnings!

My sissy rocked up & volunteered to help me do work for the WHOLE DAY. It was huuuuge and so full on & we got so much done!

We started with clearing out all the excess stuff out of the caravan, and sledgehammering old cupboards. Sledgehammering is FUN.

Sledgehammering & van clearing is sweaty work. At least we have cowgirl hats.

The stuff we pulled out of the van.

All the wood we salvaged out of the van that we’ll use on more projects!

Look! You can see the floor!

And then we found what we thought were termites, which resulted in two trips up town to find stuff to fix.

And then more sledgehammering.

And then after all that… we struck our next problem. Lots of structural issues, struts missing & the shell of the caravan totally detached from the floor. Me, Chris & Bek tried to work out what to do, and it was decided we’d consult some expert advice. So while Starry napped & Chris stayed with her, me & Bek went for a road trip to a hardware store to talk to our friend’s hubby (who we got the caravan from). He gave us wise dude advice, then we drove home. With Chinese pork buns.

We proceeded to sit around on the grass at home and try and work out the structural problems.

This sounded a lot like this:

“Well what do we do then?”

“I don’t know! I’m not a builder!”

“Me neither! I just want it finished!”

“So do I!”

“So what are we going to do then?”

We decided to ignore the structural issues until we can get the van pulled by tractor into our backyard, and put it up on Besser blocks. So we spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the painting & doing the trim work.

FYI, Ostara rocks.

Best painter helper EVER.

Masking the trim with painters tape. Best stuff in the worrrrrld.

Bek & ze door that she’s super proud of!

I decided to do the door not just one colour, but *three* – purple, fuchsia & turquoise trim.

It turned out OM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

More trim. I would have done the window trim a different colour, but I had a pretty serious case of CBF’s (Can’t Be Fairy-ed) by that point. We discovered that it was only the Dulux Weatherproof paint that adhered brilliantly on the first paint – and we only had that in the turquoise.

So turquoise it was!

Eventually when I overcome my painting CBF syndrome, it will get more deliciousness painted on it. But by that particular afternoon, I just wanted all the base coat paint DONE.

Just so I could say it was finished ya know? I LOVE things being finished. They take way less energy & brain space!

Bek working on painting the other window’s trim.

Painters tape – for those who don’t know yet – is really low-stick sticky tape – you use it to make your trims look a lot cleaner.

Really, really useful stuff. It saves a whole lot of messy corners!

Removing the painters tape.

And with painters tape removed! Yay! So sparkly & clean!

Starry really, REALLY liked collecting all ze painters tape that was all used up.

I painted some of the wood trim inside dark blue. And then decided I didn’t really like it, so put purple streaks all over it too. WOO!

This is where my desk will eventually be, I think!

We got bored and painted some random board inside the van blue too. We were paint-tastic.

Oh and you know how I said that whenever I’d get discouraged, I’d get another MASSIVE sign that this caravan and I were destined to be together?

My sis found this wind whirlywig dangly thingy in the draws of Vladamir the Nudist’s stuff. And I thought “Oh that’s cute! I’ll actually keep that! It’s blue! It’s hippy! It’s got a star on it!

And I posted this pic on Facebook, and one of my dear soul sisters Leigh commented immediately from 4000 kilometres away (she’s a New Zealander)… saying she had the EXACT same windchime.

And I totes didn’t believe her – what’s the possibility of her having the same strange nudist dangly thing as me?

So she posted some proof:

So I’m sitting here right now looking at my blue windchime, knowing one of my dearests who has ALWAYS believed in me – who was one of the very first to start reading this blog seven years ago – has exactly the same one in her home, and she might just be looking at it too.

It’s DESTINY my friends!!!

I told you synchronicity was at work here in this van!

AND THE FINISHED PAINT JOB!!!!!

Bex & Starlight surveying the finished paintjob!

Knackered at the end of a big day!

Obviously, we had appropriate work footwear on. BAHAHAHAA. I love Queenslanders!

And why not round up with a very stylish “Outfit of the Day Fashion Blogger” photo?

This is how I roll.

***

SO!

after that mammoth day, I took a 5 day break from doing anything more on the caravan.

I was instead heavily ensconced in birthing this baby into the world:

We were also waiting on two *really* big parts of the puzzle to fall into place:

Before we could work on the structural issues, we needed to:

1. Get a huge old termite-ridden mango tree stump out of the garden to make room for the caravan.
2. Work out HOW to get it into the yard.

We originally planned on enlisting my Daddy-o to bring his Man Stuff (aka bobcat, tractor, backhoe & chainsaw in) so we could make a frenzied attack on the stump & see if we could shave it down to the ground.

This was not an easy task – the mango stump was over 2 metres high & a metre in diameter. It used to be a huge old mango tree that covered most of the yard when my gorgeous grandmother lived here. It needed cutting down for various reasons – but when they cut it down, they left the big ole stump there. We’ve been wanting to remove it fully since we bought the house, but didn’t have the impetus to.

Needing a place for the Creative Caravan to live created that impetus.

So we were hanging out waiting for my Daddy-o to not be so crazy busy with work. But his timeline kept getting pushed out by new jobs, and as synchronicity would once again have it, we were saved in another direction.

When we were painting the van, a group of men arrived to cut down some old mango trees in the yard behind us. And I coerced my sis to go ask them if they’d wangle over the fence and do ours at the same time. So she did (because she’s awesome). And they did. And $200 later, we had a pile of woodchip.

It took them about an hour all up. I’m pretty sure it would have taken us most of the day. So really – totally worth the dobleros!

I didn’t take any photos so let me describe for you:

Before: Stump. Huge. Black. Kinda caving in on itself.
During: Large tattooed men with machinery going “nyarrrw! nyarrrw!”
After: Pile of woodchips.

WOO! WOODCHIPS!

So the next part of the puzzle was working out HOW to get the caravan into our backyard.

It no longer had an attachment up the front for towing (it has long ago rusted off). It got delivered on the back of a tip truck and was deposited onto its current resting place in our car space. And its tires were totally deflated.

My Daddy-o loaned us a mini compressor to get the tires all pumped again – and to our surprise, they stayed up. WOO! LIVING THE DREAM!

Our original plan for moving the van was again to wait for Daddy-o to not be busy so he could bring his tractor into town to do it.

But again, the whole being-run-over-with-work was putting a dampener on our plans.

So I called my sissy to ask for strategic advice on how I could gently coerce him with chocolate into doing it for me like YESTERDAY.

(If you’ve ever wondered why I get so many things done, it’s because I’m like a bull at the gate for getting stuff finished. Fun for me, probably not as amusing for the people around me.)

Anywaysies, sissy suggested I coerce instead my uncle to do it for me. He only lives a couple of kilometres from me, and I figured the enticement of beer and chocolates might bring him running.

So I had a new plan!

I called my Uncle John. Exact conversation follows

“UNCLE JOHN!!!!! IT’S YOUR FAVOURITE NIECE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!”

“Really? It is?”

“YES! IT’S LEONIE!!!!!”

“You’re funny!”

“I KNOW!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOO HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PAID IN BEER AND CHOCOLATES AND HELP ME MOVE A NUDIST COLONY CARAVAN INTO MY YARD? YOU CAN’T REFUSE THIS OFFER!”

He laughs.

“How about I finish my lunch and I’ll be there soon?”

So I hang up the phone and did my usual Victory Dance around the house.

This consists of me singing rather loudly & raucously this song & doing my best Rocky impression.

Chris LOVES when I do this. I’m pretty sure. Irregardless, I can safely say that man is NEVER bored.

Anyhewslewhatsit, the Best Uncle Ever arrived soon after.

Oh, and relocate our large collection of caravan crap to the side fence for when we have space to use our skip bag.

We watered the ground thoroughly, and pulled the fence out by hand this morning. Also had to cut out some trees & transplant them into water containers until we try & replant them.

Here’s all the room we made for the caravan to get pulled through.

:) EEEEE!!!! EXCITING!!!! WE ARE ON THE MOVE!!!!

Here he is! Man to the rescue! YAY BEST UNCLE EVER!!!!

Incase you’re wondering, Uncle John is a sugar cane farmer. And he breeds beautiful varieties of birds too. And has the most incredible greenhouses filled with orchid flowers. Oh and he handmakes these hollowed out tree bird houses for his birds. Dude is a renaissance man!

Dude stuff & chains. This is where I zoned out coz it was all taken care of. YAY!

Me & Starry watching the haul. Incase you’re wondering, my Uncle John called it “skull dragging” the caravan – we were dragging it with the front dragging along the ground. He said it’s called skull dragging coz it’s all cave man style.

I AM LEARNING SO MUCH STUFF.

WOO!

It’s in!

WOO!

FYI: The back of my house? Does NOT usually have all that crap around it. Again, we are waiting for space for the skip bag to be resurrected.

But while we are at it, let’s talk about my big schemes for the area! I’m planning on shovelling out a heal of the dirt around the door & turning it into an extended patio with more sails. Oh and beautiful stones leading to the Creative Caravan. I can see it already!

Van in place!

I took a video of us dragging it into place, but WOW THAT WAS BORING VIDEO.

Just imagine this:

Chains around tow ball and hitched underneath caravan to chassis.

And dragging the caravan backwards slowly.

Until someone says “stop!”

*snore*

For something that’s taken up SO MUCH of our brain power & thoughts over the last couple of weeks, it was surprisingly un-epic.

Then the husband put the fence back into place. Lucky it’s only wire fence – it only takes a few moments to pull in and out once you’ve got the hang of it!

Hot husbando and fence. Plus all the caravan stuff that is unsalvagable & will be put in the skip bag for collection.

Oh, and wondering why we have a really high fence and shipping containers beside us?

We live next door to a mower shop. Here in this lil town, we live just a block from the Main Street – so our street is a blend of old cottages & shops. It’s pretty cute. Except when they are trying all their mower engines out and I am recording World’s Biggest Summit interviews. Then it’s not as cute. But you know: cute!

The view from our back door. I LOVE!!!!

Ostara is SUPER excited to have the van in ze yard.

Today?

It’s my first day working in the creative caravan.

Don’t get me wrong, there is STILL SO MUCH TO DO in here. And I’m trying to encourage a huge wasp to please fukeeoffkudasai (that’s “Please Leave My Premises” in Japanese. Kinda.) But I couldn’t wait any longer. This goddess needs a sanctuary to do her work in.

So this morning I hauled one of our 1970’s vintage armchairs and an old white side table in, and decorated the place with all the ornaments and decorations I gathered on Day 3, paintings propped over atrocious walls, candles to disguise the smell, crystals & fairy lights to feel at home, and freshly picked golden hibiscus flowers from the garden.

It doesn’t take much for a goddess to start claiming a (super run down, wonky & broken-floored) space as her own.

This morning’s first order of business was to call the IRS so I can register an employer ID for my book royalties.

This afternoon, Charlie joined me in the caravan for the first time. Oh now it feels like home. A studio isn’t a studio without my darling studio buddy. Just like old times.

What next?

There is still so much to do.

It needs to be stumped into the ground. Its structural issues need fixing. I have no idea how to do either of these things. But if there is one thing I’ve learned from this project – I’ll either learn the skills myself, or someone will come into my life as if by magic.

And once those things are done, I’ll be able to really kit this place out into my little studio.

I’m also thinking at some point I’ll invite some goddesses around & we’ll add some beautiful art to the outside!

In the meantime though ~

I’ll be sitting in my armchair,
in my wonky little dream come true.

Marvelling at how it all happened,
and how a goddess’ space was born.

I want to celebrate the holy dinger out of what’s been created
from a sweet old rundown green nudist colony van living out its final days in a rainforest
to a turquoise creating sanctuary
fit for a goddess.

It’s amazing what a little bit of
vision
faith
arm grease
heart
action
paint
& love
can do.

You + me were meant to be.

 

 

 

love, miracles and gratitude,

 

P.S. Like this post?

You’ll probably LOVE the Creative Goddess e-course. Starts Dec 1.