An update on our progress

Hmm where to start?!?

we have now painted the inside of the van. This was no small feat for a 7 months pregnant woman! As we had used raw 3mm ply we started with a three in one primer sealer. That was a pretty huge day as the paint was thick and the ply thirsty, but I got there in the end. I then gave the inside two coates of high gloss white.

I also decided to go with a high gloss pale grey around the door and windows.


Next it was time for me to have a little rest… so I decided to do some upholstery… out ‘lounge’ is also a bed, so we decided to go with a single size. Trying to be thrifty I purchased a 6” queen mattress from fantastic furniture… and the cheapest electric knife I could find… a $20 jobby from Kmart. I had read that the electric knife was the best way to cut the foam. It really did work a treat but it was still a bit of a pain to cut. I got there in the end!

Sticking with the thrift idea I waited until there was a 40% off sale at lincraft and picked up a grey and white canvas to tie in with my paint scheme.


While I was busy sewing inside Adam was doing the super tedious task of cleaning the window frames and replacing the old glass and Perspex with new Perspex!


You can see the scabby old frame in this last picture above. The new look frame has been painted in a hammered finish gun metal grey.

Having now done the majority of the day bed cushions I turned my attention to Lino. I picked a Nordic white Lino from Bunnings. I have since learned I probably could have saved s lot by looking into flooring shops… oh well we live and learn.

Now at 7.5 months pregnant I thought long and hard about how to best fit the Lino. In the end I settled on a full paper template. I could then roll out the whole sheet of Lino on the deck and take my time to Cut it just right. I must say, I surprised myself at how well this worked.

I left excess at the front and back to roll up the curve as you can see in the last picture.

We stuck the lino down with some thinned out liquid nails and I have some decorative strip edge to add to places where it will remain exposed after all the built ins are added.

Getting bigger by the day I decided it was time for me to move back to soft furnishings.

Adam set about sorting the roof vent and scraping all the crud and crap off the roof… in hindsight we should have done this sooner… but the heavy canvas tarp we had in it hid a world of hurt up there. It is as they say, out of sight out of mind.

The old hatch (first pic) was replaced with the last pic, the four seasons hatch.

Unfortunately I don’t have pictures Of the roof work, but I will get some and make a post soon.

So, soft furnishings… trying again to be thrifty I looked at spotlight and lincraft for a grey block out fabric, unfortunately I couldn’t find Anything but I did find some fabric that he’d the colours I was working towards. These may change but will do for now!

Luckily I was able To find the mechanisms to make my own roller blinds for $5 instead of the standard $15-20 each.

Next in my list was the awning. After doing some google searching and looking at fabric shops it looked as though an annex might be a bit in the $$ high side.

I would have loved to find a UV stabilised canvase in a white and teal strip. Alas I couldn’t find that in my regional town but I could find two kinds of stripe I didn’t mind.

BUT they were $29 a metre – reduced to $18m on sale. Needing 10m wasn’t going to be throw-away cash if I stuffed it up.

Then I found a fabric, UV stable, for Outdoor use, water resistant not proof… but on a clearance rack for $6m. The shop lady told me if I got the roll she would sell it to me for half price! There was 13m on the roll. At $3m that was acceptable loss if I stuffed it! Again not my ideal fabric pattern, but would do just nicely for now.


I made myself a curved template from an old nappy box, and cut off enough strips to go around three sides. I started to use store bought bias tape but it didn’t have the same quality or flexibility… so I got some matching white and gave begun cutting stitching and pinning. The image above is an example.

Adam spent this weekend adding the water tank and getting the plumbing sorted.

At this rate we might even get this van on the road this year.

Tomorrow I will be 8months pregnant. Almost time to stop work and prep for the babies arrival.

Fingers crossed we can have a nice family holiday in the van sooner than later!

Thanks for reading,









Looking at the inside…


Since the big move (and by big move I mean from right up the back yard to close to the house) we have started to look at the interior of our princess!

I thought I might show a few progress pics so far!

what she looked like when she was given to us by the lovely Ellie.

As we started demolition.

(the opposite side – but you get the idea)

Building up and framing the window

 All framed up.

The actual window awaiting a makeover (my job for tomorrow after we go blackberry picking!

The outside of the above window

It is currently covered in plastic as we wait a summer storm.

So this is the view standing at the door looking towards the back when we first got her.


The same space less a few cupboards!

A closer image of where it is at now…

With the lights on… all 12v.

the left hand side of the back with some of the upper storage space.

Looking back towards the door – the boxes at the base squaring out the wheel arches, and a bit of storage space – and structural support.

The forward front window with the frame on. Makes such a HUGE difference. I don’t know why I doubt Adam… we just have such different ways of looking at and doing things. He really is very talented.

Fingers crossed tomorrow isn’t TOOOO hot, and we can get some more done. It is getting so close to painting I can almost smell it!

Well enough for now. Till next time



Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking into the future….

Well, it has been a long time between posts, but it seems fitting to put something up now.

In October 2015 we welcomed our daughter into the world and thus came to a screaming halt the work on the caravan. Now our little toddler is keen for adventures – and so are her mum and dad! Therefore the spark for enthusiasm in the caravan has been renewed!

So where are we up to?

Adam has stripped off the paint from the exterior of the van – well most of it. It appears that at some stage in the past – someone thought a caravan painted in stripes would be a cracking good idea. Red and white are my guess….

We have a truck side tarp (not sure what it is really called) weighted down covering the roof of the van till we are confident in her readiness to be exposed to the elements.

The interior of the van, so far, has been completely gutted. The water damage repaired and the lining commenced. This also sparked our need to make a few decisions. How would we maintain structural integrity, whilst fitting with our aesthetic vision? In a word, compromise.

We decided to make the whole back half of the van into a bed for the adults (or an adult who may be lumped with a toddler – and now perhaps a new born! shhh), with a day bed or table and chairs at the front end that would, you guessed it, double as the bed for the other displaced adult or if we are lucky – the toddler. Either side of the king size bed has allowance for some storage for each adult – there is also significant under bed storage – or there will be once the raising platform is installed!

Photos of the inside will come soon!

The other big thing that has happened in the last few days is that Adam has remove, rustproofed, cleaned etc the wheels, axle, brakes and stabilizers. No mean feat in this horrid heat we seem to being slammed with this week. We also made the decision to move the Princess from right up the back yard to closer to the house to encourage work on her. Here are a few pics of her big move… keeping in mind she was winched up the back… it was quite the achievement to rive her out – complete with working lights and brakes!

Hooking her up to the Hilux

Connecting the electrics

First move!

Lights work!

Only just missed the deck!

but what colour should she be?!?

Daddy having a cuddle with the site inspector. 

We are all very excited about how this project is coming along. Our plan is to get her to an ok standard, get her road worthy and registered and look at making her beautiful along the way.

More to come soon.




On Closer Inspection.

So today was pretty exciting in the world of this little Pumpkin.

This afternoon Adam ventured inside with his tools of mass destruction and started to remove the ‘old’ from the van.

IMG_back right  From this to this IMG_back right corner

IMG_back backAnd from this and

54 back end this to … this IMG_back of van

In the short time that Adam had this afternoon he managed to remove the carpet covered bench on the right (when looking towards the back window), the ‘half wall’ that had created the ‘room’ at the back of the van. The bench tops (that were extra heavy) and the corner unit and wardrobe hanging space from the back left.

IMG_rubbish This is just ‘some’ of the goodies removed.

The Site Manager (below) looking a little nervous after looking at what was left of the inside of the van after todays adventures.

IMG_site supervisor unsure

In removing the parts we have so far we discovered areas with water damage in both back corners and a small area on the roof of the van.

It also gave us our first glimpse of the ‘bones’ of the ol’ girl. What is more exciting is that tomorrow we have set aside a whole day to remove the rest of her insides. Everything going according to plan we will have a much better idea of what we are working with tomorrow afternoon.

Stay tuned for more adventures in turning this pumpkin into a princess.


Inspect Inside

Today it was my job to pull out any bits I could from the van and to give it a bit of a clean out. The van had pretty much been used to store things in for the past 10 years or so and a number of spiders had moved in and had a few mice/rats come visit as house guests. Needless to say neither species are fantastic house keepers so there was some ‘mess’ left behind.

Now this post may seem simple and clipped – but that is because I sat here and made a fantastic, ok, reasonable post, but somehow I managed to delete it … or WordPress did – I am going to blame WordPress. 😉

So first things first.

As the van has had the last 10-20 years under a purpose built shed/car port and she clearly has a few ‘ventilation’ areas – particularly around the roof/side joins we thought it prudent to have some kind of cover over her until we get her resealed.

Being the thrifty shoppers we are, we sought out one of those heavy duty canvas(ish) sides they use on trucks through a local Buy, Swap, Sell Facebook site. $50 later we had a cool heavy duty cover for the roof. The truck side canvas(ish) thingy shall from hereon be known as the tarp. The tarp has a steel pipe at each end with A) helps weigh down the ends – these extend down over the front and rear windows and B) gave us an area to tie the ropes around the van to keep the tarp snug in place.

52 van cover

Here you can get an idea of the tarp covering the roof top. We would have liked it to be a little wider but this will work just as well.

Being that the spiders and mice/rats were not the best house keepers and I am pregnant and not wanting to breathe in all that poopy goodness I donned a face mask and gloves and set about removing all the easy out bits. So the drawers and any broken cupboard doors. I also took out the vintage curtains that were still in the van. By parking the trailer next to the van I was able to toss from point A to point B. the things from the van can be seen in the picture above. This process also reminded me of how much I hate chip board.

Once those bits were removed I grabbed the purpose purchased she vacuum and set about removing the webs, spiders and general dustiness that comes from many years of not being used.

At this stage the site manager, Zorro, gave me the cheeky grin of approval to show off some pictures of the inside.

51 site manager inside

The inside inspection of the Pumpkin.

53 dinette

Looking in the van door – immediately to the left there is the dinette. There is a collapsable table (in there but not pictured) and this makes up the only sleeping space currently in the van.

52 kitchenett

Again photo taken from the van door but looking towards the right. On the far side there is a kitchenette and on the immediate right there is a nook area – no idea what this was for. More food prep perhaps? General storage? At some point someone has put carpet – yes – carpet on the top of the bench… it was glued, using liquid nails I suspect to the chip board. The mind boggles does it not?

54 back end

Then standing in front of the dinette looking towards the back of the van. On the left past the kitchenette there is a wardrobe then the rest of the back has had a wrap around desk built in. Possibly a study type space in the past.

The whole van has been carpeted so at this stage we are unsure what the floor is made of or if there is lino or similar under the carpet.  That is the next adventure.

Well, thats it for now.

Feel free to click the follow link on the right hand side of this post to get email updates of when new entries are made on this blog.


Sal & Ad.

Macgyver to the Move

So today was moving day. First things first the lattice that was at the front of the van was removed, then Ad set about removing some of the plan base and roots that were blocking the way out.

1 clear the area

2 clear the area

3 move that plant

This is Zorro, he is the Site Manager for todays job.

4 site supervisor

and this is Millie. Millie is the Safety officer. Millie lives at the house where the Caravan is moving from. Zorro lives with us.

5 safety officer

Bit of a power meeting here between the Site Manager and the Safety Officer.

6  safety and site supervisor meeting

Ad collected a manual/hand winch to assist with getting the van out from under the awning where she has been living for sometime.

7 prepping hand winch

Connecting the caravan to the ute meant we were able to move the van in small increments and do as little damage as possible to either the van or the awning.

8 winch attached

We were cautious of the space, or lack of space between the top of the van and the awning roof.

9 nice and snug to the roof

This pretty much shows where the van is at the start of the day.

10 ready to roll

The first few inches – let the excitement begin.

11 first inches

Little by little …

12 a fraction more

13 peeking out

At this stage the block we had supporting the jockey wheel slipped and sank significantly into the slushy mud … oops.

14 oops the log slipped and the jokey wheel sank

Ad chocked the ground then used the jack to lift the jockey wheel out of the mud.

15 jack her up and try again

Just as we thought things were getting back on track we were called to meet with the safety officer. She was less than impressed. (but oh so darn cute)

16 safety officer addressing sinking jockey

Once we had passed the safety inspectors review and she was satisfied that this type of incident wouldn’t happen again we were able to continue with the van extraction.

17 look at her go

Looking at the back of the van we were able to see just how far we had come.

18 look how far she has come

Using a set of home made loading ramps with 2×4’s on the low side, we continued the winching.

19 jack whinch jack slide

20 I bow before thee princess - actually just slow n steady winch

Keeping a close eye on the wheels and removing more of the plan/root system.

21 wheels coming off cement into the bog

Inch by inch.

22 and still she comes

Just a little ray of sunshine. She almost looks to be shining on her first trip into the sun in many years.

23 look at that glow back in the sun at last

The site manager apparently required a little head rub to get through his day.

24 site manager staying on task

ALMOST there!!

25 almost there

26 getting excited now

Only the last little bit to go. We did have some scraping of the top hatch on the roof of the awning, but we didn’t knock any parts off either. WIN.

27 the back far corner

And she’s OUT!

28 Im free

Someone is pretty chuffed with himself. (shh, I am too)

29 my proud Hubby

30 he looks happy im super proud

One thing we needed was a sheath pole that goes over the lever on the winch. Unfortunately it was a part that we had failed to pick up. So do we do the 35km round trip to go pick it up … or do we Macgyver something.

Macgyver to the rescue. This broken kids scooter to the rescue – worked a treat.

31 the hand winch has a handle which we forgot to bring old scooter saves the day

This is it, the moment that we connected the Princess Pumpkin to the ute.

32 up close and personal with the ute

33 together at last

Isn’t that a pretty site!

34 fantastic moment

Now she is out and on the move things are really getting exciting.

35 pump those tyres up

oops better pump the tyres up a bit.

How cool! We found that under one of the tail light covers that the old bulbs were still in there. We were even more surprised that when she was connected the bulbs still worked!

36 old globes

The awning post removal.

37 site supervisor checking out what is left behind

And we are off!

38 reconnected the wire both new and old globes work

39 and we are on the move

The Pumpkin passed over the cattle grid – no problems.

40 clear the cattle grid

Hmmm looks a bit like the gas lines are dragging on the ground.

41 some old gas pipe dragging

Best just take them off.

42 2 minutes later tis off and we are on again

Some horses decided to come and see what all the fuss was about. Nothing special in that – but LOOK at that dudes hair!

43 horses came to see what was happening this ones hair though

Boom, on the bitumen!

44 on the sealed road

Legit in town – using our unregistered vehicle permit.

45 heading into town

And at home. The squeeze into the yard was a little tight…

46 arriving at home

47 snug gate

But she is IN! Isn’t she FABULOUS!

48 isnt she great

One very happy hubby.

49 my very own macgyver who got her home

50 let the games begin

Tomorrow we will turn her around and add a temporary awning to stop water getting in while we strip her.

Amazingly things seemed to go exactly as we planned. It is such an unusual thing for things to just work, but we moved so slowly through the process that we were able to work around all the tiny issues that arose.

So VERY happy.

Permit Day

Today is the day I am heading off to the Roads and Maritime office to see about securing a permit to move the Pumpkin. I have our completed Safe Use Declaration and our Permit application. I am hoping this is a simple process as we are very much wanting to move the van this weekend. We are both very keen to get started on the gut and rebuild.

Our plan at this stage is to head over to our friendly Harvey Norman store and hit them up for as many large (read fridge or oven) boxes as we can and then make mock ups of the things we want in the van so we can play ‘house’ and see which configuration works best for us. The layout in the van at the moment seems very odd to me, and wont work for us so it fits in well with our intention for a full strip down and rebuild.


I have now visited the my friendly Services NSW office and made a little discovery. Whilst the Roads and Maritime office states that you can get an unregistered permit for up to 28days, and technically that is true, what they fail to tell you is that they don’t really let you pick how long you get your permit for. Rather it is based on the distance you plan to move the van. So if you are moving your van, say the 10kms that we are, then you get a day. Pick the day and move it then. Problem we want to move our van this weekend – but we have a prior commitment between 9am and 3pm Saturday and we have to extract the van from under an awning that we believe has been built around the van itself. Which day do we nominate???

Originally i asked for the permit from this Saturday to encompass this weekend AND next weekend in case we have any difficulties. But NO. I explained the situation to them and they said we could have three days. If we cant move her then we would have to come in and pay again for another permit. Sounds like double dipping to me. I know it is only $22… but still.


So this post has taken me a few days – sorry about that – but then it also isn’t the worlds most exciting post. Turns out our morning engagement is now postponed so we have the extra hours to negotiate the Princess Pumpkin out of her current home and get her back to our place. I am taking my camera out to et lots of happy snaps of this part of the adventure.

I have been nominated as site supervisor, safety officer, photographer and cuppa maker. Being pregnant is limiting my actual involvement at this stage which is a bit sad as I like to get in there and dirty.

Look out for the next blog entry … coming soon!

Lights! Camera! … no really just lights.

Hello readers, welcome to another instalment of turning our Pumpkin into a Princess.

Firstly a moment of silence for my dear Mac that is very unwell at the moment.  I am hoping her affliction isn’t fatal, but at this stage things are uncertain – hence no post yesterday. Todays blog comes from a loaner Mac. Anyway moving on to the point of this post, Lights.

As per my previous post, one of the things that we need to have on the Princess to move her is working indicators and brake lights. I am confident these don’t work at the moment as the connector from the van to the car has been removed – best get one of those too!

Without the ability to simply plug her in to check, and a desire to move her this weekend, hubby and I are planning to Macgyver a system to get the the 10 odd kms from her current place of residence to her new home with us. So things we need to get our Macgyver on:

  • bulbs in all the lights
  • wire to connect sockets to the connector
  • the 7pin flat connector to attach her to our truck

With my trusty screwdriver and an assortment of tips (who knows the style of screw they used in the 60’s for such jobs) I head out to the Princess to remove the light covers, check out bulb shapes and sizes and the requirements for the connectors.

tail light cover

Rear light cover. Looks aged and the cover is crazed but usable for the purpose of a short distance relocation. Also turns out a standard phillips head was the screw of choice. check no weird surprises there!

tail lights inside 2

Inside things are not so hot. First surprise of the day – bulbs have been removed. Sigh. no just pulling the bulb heading to the shop and saying “I’ll take one of these please.” Oh well – still not that hard I guess. I can read the embossed note on the fixture telling me it is 18w. The powdery oxidation covering the fitting is something we can address later.

So as things go – there are two rear tail lights – so perhaps there is a bulb in the other.

Now I am not the worlds biggest chicken, but spiders are not my favourite thing in the world – and the size and general scariness of the spider on the other tail light tells me to work out a different way to work out the globe. Sigh. must get over this spider thing one day. (today isnt that day 😉 )

There is a light on the front right of the van, lets try there.

front side light

Spider webs but no spiders (on the outside) that I can see. Lets do this.  also we have changed from phillips to flat for this one – love the handy little tip change I can do on my screwdriver – not quite a Dr Who level screwdriver, but I think its nifty. When I take the cover off this light I was pleasantly surprised, even more so given it is the side of the van that HAS been exposed to the elements.

side light inside

And it has a globe in it. Win. (yes I know – it is the small things).

Now it occurs to me that I need a size reference for the tail light globes. Will they fit this globe? Unfortunately the answer here seems to be no. The side globe is a bit short for the tail light globe. Hmm. no tape measure – what ever shall i do?

rear light size

My nifty screwdriver tip holder comes in handy here. the pins for the globe stretch from the base of the holder to the top of the second hole down. I should be able to work with that at the auto shop.

Feeling a bit better about things now I traverse the van looking for any other bits that need further investigation. The more ‘tidy and complete’ vans shown in the first post show that the Princess had a covers to go over her front windows – ours does not. But looks like she used to – something to look into.

front window cover hinge Hinge are still there.

With a very busy rest of the day on my hands, I decide to leave it here for now. Tomorrow will be shopping for parts and applying for the permit.

Wish me luck!

What to do before the Van arrives?

There are a few more days before we can move the caravan from its current location to our place where she will begin her makeover. What to do till then.

Firstly we need to work out how we are going to move her as she is not currently registered and we don’t have a trailer big enough to stick her on. In comes the brains trust with some helpful hints on the “Fix It or Renovate That Caravan” Facebook page and after a bit of research on the good ol’ internet I discovered that we could apply to the Roads and Maritime Authority for an Unregistered Vehicle Permit (UVP) in NSW and move the van legit! you can read up more on the permit here.

As part of obtaining the permit you need to complete a safety declaration that includes saying what lights/indicators etc you have. Therefore one of my missions tomorrow is to head out and check all the globes and make sure the wiring is ok and ready to go for the big move which we are hoping to do on the weekend.

I have found a lot of fun can be had in contemplating the layout of our future home. Now I would love to say I had  CAD designing program and am rocking the design process – but alas, I do not. instead I have done a rough measure of the van and done a bit of a drawing of the space on paper. Then in the interest of easy ‘mind changes’ I have done the design up in excel.

Here are two of the designs we are considering:

NB: we have considered the things we ‘think’ we will need in the van and decided on;

  • A queen size bed
  • A cot for the baby
  • a lounge that can double as a bed (if we need it)
  • a kitchen

Design 2

Design 1

The medium dark rectangles on the outside of the image shows where windows are. On the bottom edge, the second rectangle from the left is the door for the van. More details and options to follow once I have had a chance to play some more.

Feel free to pop suggestions here for things that we have overlooked or not thought about!

More soon!