Monthly Archives: February 2014



Raven showed up this morning with coffee, ah. It’s a beautiful day, we’ll work outside. Raven asked how to keep the stencil straight, we measured the width of the pattern, put two marks in the middle and drew a line up the middle of the pattern. She measured the slat to center and lined it up, it all works. She penciled all the detail patterns in the front, then started gilding it until the sun got too hot.

I started on the coffee bag burlap cover for the gas tanks with the blue tailor’s chalk. I bought some jute at the dollar store, a perfect match. I basted it with huge stitches to get it in place, then sat in the shade behind the vardo and fine stitched the seams by hand using a large needle with a huge eye for easy threading of the large twine.

Getting hungry. I chopped up the frozen O chicken breast for sate, threw it in a bowl of hot water to thaw. Put on a cup of rinsed rice with a cup and a half of water plus a little (the cover has steam holes). Oyster sauce, garlic powder, my home made curry powder not hot and a healthy shake of five spice, add the thawed chicken. Skewer it up on two wet bamboo sticks, cover the broiler with foil and broil on high. I pealed the O cucumber, cut in large slices, halving the big ones, added rice vinegar, water, salt and more five spice. Flipped the chicken, the rice is close turned off to steam done. Washed a couple small sauce bowls and opened a jar of TJ’s Sate peanut sauce, everything’s done. Served in the vardo sitting on the new burgundy cushions, perfect and really tasty. We haven’t had sate in a while, so good.

Dishes then back to work, Raven painted the cabinet door black with another coat and painted the edges of the cabinet doors black as well.


I continued sewing the burlap cover by hand with the jute, finishing the corner folds, then cutting the excess away, sewing a largish seam on the wide side then cutting away the excess there. I sewed a fair seam around the edges. Raven casually mentioned elastic would be nice. I went looking for a piece of thin-ish rope to fit the seams, stumbled on a piece of elastic, perfect though not small. A long chunk of bailing wire, folded to thread and wound around the elastic, I got it to fit through the edge seams with some difficulty, but it works.

Raven painted the seat backs with burgundy paint as I threaded the stuff through.


I finished the gas tank cover, Raven helped me cinch up the elastics secure with a couple constrictor knots as I pulled the elastic tight. Constrictor knots are good for that, simple twisted X knots that don’t let up. It looks good, the picture also shows the stencil patterns and gilding  Raven did before the sun got too hot.


I figure a gypsy wagon shouldn’t have propane tanks visible, burlap coffee bags, that’s appropriate. What a fine day for February.



I tied the new tarp on the boat before Raven got here as it’s lightly raining. She arrived with samples of salmon jerky and a damiana chocolate elixir she made, tasty but better not mixed. Due to the rain we worked on cutting more stencils for the cabinet doors, I worked the clovers as Raven finished the roses and vines.


Getting hungry, I cooked up some sprouted wheat grilled cheese sandwiches and organic tomato soup from Shelton’s, a good rainy day comfort meal. She told me of last weeks adventure of the Fear FestEvil put on by Metalica’s Kirk Hammet, she worked it, also meeting several horror movie actors, a bucket list accomplishment.

Raven kept cutting the vine stencil as I went out to glue down the shelf behind the stove, the splash guard and re install the stove. The burners are a bit rusty but will burn off on ignition. I found the flex gas hose and fitting in the vardo, it needs Teflon tape, off to Harry’s up at the corner, the gas stuff costs more in yellow. I had to unlatch the main sink underneath to get the stove in, a feature I planned in.



We took a walk to the river with umbrellas, it’s down but there are signs of last weekends rain raised with flotsam in the lower trees, not much as it’s a dry winter so far. We need this rain.

Raven started painting the cabinet doors using the stencils. I bought a sort of French press last week at Salvation Army for $3 but it doesn’t slide, found the old mechanism and butched together the pieces, works well.  I went out and pulled the coffee burlap bag from the gas tanks and hooked up the gas lines with tanks turned off. I want to cover the tanks and hoses in burlap to look traditional but mostly to protect the equipment and hoses from the weather. I brought in the coffee bag and cut it open to a full sheet of burlap, then rough fitted it to the tanks. It will need some stitching with the jute I bought at the dollar store.

Raven got quite a bit done on the cabinet doors, though she wants to touch up the black background.


She also got half the vines done but wants to finish before posting the picture. Pictures taken, posted here, a productive day.



As I crawled out of my movie ‘Cocoon’, Raven was already here, painting details up front of the vardo. “Coffee’s on the cutting board.”, alright, perfect. “What shall we eat today? We have  grass fed beef and O chicken, you mentioned spaghetti.” spaghetti it is. I dug the ground beef out of the freezer, thawing it in the microwave. The garlic is all dried up, I drove up to the corner store for a head.  I cooked up the sauce with the last jar of homemade tomato sauce, half an onion, beef, herbs from the garden, thyme, oregano and rosemary.  Water on for the noodles.

Raven was having trouble with the gold paint and we’re running out of thinner, I drove up to Bosworth’s for a can, good to see Harry and the dogs. The thinner isn’t working, gobbing up. Raven gave up and came in to cut more rose stencil. Lunch time, we ate in the vardo, too much pasta, but yum, good sauce, with asiago cheese and excessive rolls.

After lunch we headed to town for more gold paint at Garrett’s. I went looking to fix the hose, a couple hose clamps. I have pipe at home. Raven found the gold paint and read the label, lacquer based, oh, that explains the gobbing. When we got home I dug out a can of lacquer thinner I have to clean the brushes and started sewing. Raven painted the front arch with a new coat of black as the sun is harsh, then finished painting the back D side details.

I sewed the larger cushion covers, attaching the zipper panels to the side strips after hand sewing the zippers shut. On the first one I forgot to hand sew a stop and it came apart, I re threaded it and hand stitched it tight. I cut out the plastic zipper stops to prevent bending my needles. We stuffed the first one on the cushion, me squishing the foam as Raven fitted the cover, looks great. Raven hand stitched the inner muslin covers shut. The second one went smoother until the machine started acting up. I oiled it again, fixed, and finished the last cover. We stuffed it together.


Installed with pillows, it looks great. The bench cover will need to be painted darker. No more pictures of Raven’s work as it was covered last week and she painted some over black again.

Raven had to leave early. Neighbor Kit came by, showed him the new cushions. He’s interested to see my dinghy, made from a model enlarged. Good neighbor, good boat, great day.