Wednesday, December 25, 2013


A very special and Merry Christmas to everyone!
- God Bless -

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.


A pot cozy.  A very lightweight "blanket" for your mug or potAn insulated covering that serves several purposes.  You can easily handle your hot pot with bare hands, insulates your hot food to keep it warmer, longer, especially if it's cold out, and it aids in further cooking your food so you don't have to use your cooking fuel source as long.

These are fun, easy, and cheap to make.  

You will only need four items:  Reflective insulated duct material, a quality durable tape such as Gorilla or foil tape (used with duct work), scissors, and a Sharpie marker.

The reflective, insulating material is nothing more than bubble wrap sandwiched in a mylar sheeting.  Typically used for duct work, it has many uses.  You can find it at almost any hardware store and it usually comes on a roll.  The particular brand that I found is Reflectix, Inc.  It came in a 4' wide roll and was $3.79/foot.

Per Reflectix, Inc as to why this material works so well is because, "A relective insulation is a material (or assembly) that reduces the rate of radiant heat transfer across air spaces by use of one or more highly reflective surfaces. This rate of heat transfer can be quantified for a specific application by an R-value.  What is an "R-value" you ask? 
"The "R-value" is how the insulation is measured according to its capacity to resist heat flow.  The higher the R-value, the better you can expect it to insulate you from surfaces.",

This is my Snow Peak Titanium 700 pot.  It weighs just 4.8 ounces.  It is 4" x 4.4" and has a 24 ounce capacity.  Although a little on the spendy side, it is very hardy and I take it with me everywhere.  It can be used as a bowl, a mug, or a pot.

The lid doubles as a small fry pan.

To start building your pot cozy, lay a piece of Reflectix on your work surface. 

Place your pot or mug lip just over the edge of the Reflectix.  I prefer that the pot lip be above the material so I can grab the lip and remove it from the cozy easily.

For the outer piece of the cozy, use your Sharpie marker and make a mark at the bottom end of the material; a little wider than your material is thick.  Using the bubble imprints (or a straight edge) cut along the bottom on your measured marks.  For the Snow Peak 700, it is about 16" long.  You want your cozy to be somewhat loose when your pot sits inside for easy removal.  Before I make my final cut, I carefully roll the pot with the material to make sure the length is correct.  Make the cut when you are happy with the length.

On the bottom of the pot, leave extra material approximately the thickness of the Reflectix.  The bottom piece of the cozy will fit inside, not of the bottom of the outer piece.  

Make sure the edges either butt up against each other or have a slight overlap.

For the bottom piece of the cozy, loosely outline the bottom of your pot with your Sharpie marker.

Cut out the bottom piece.

Because it takes quite a few pieces of tape, I like to cut them into little pieces ahead of time.  Try to avoid long pieces. They have a tendency to get bunched up when you make the turn on the circle.

Cut a piece of tape the width of your side piece.

Butt the edges of the material together and seal the tape.

The side piece connected.

Insert the bottom piece of your cozy on the bottom.  It's easier to have your pot inside to use as a rest while you tape in your bottom piece.

Place one piece of tape on the outer edge of the cozy and tape it to the bottom piece.  Try to get the edges tight.  If the bubble wrap is exposed to high heat, it may melt when you add a hot pot.

Place the second piece of tape exactly across from the first one.

Do the same for the third and fourth pieces like a clock formation.

Continue adding tape around the pot until all of the gaps are filled.  With the pot in the cozy, I like to firmly press on the tape to seal it and start forming it to the shape of the pot.

You'll want to tape the top edge of the cozy as well.  This will not only protect the vulnerable bubble wrap, but will provide a rigid, more durable edge to your cozy.

If you have a lid like this, build the top just like you did the bottom.

You'll want to make the side piece of the lid quite a bit wider than the actual lid so it will fit over the bottom piece of the cozy.

Wrap the lid edge with tape.

Another option, if you will want to use your handles, is to cut a slit in the side of your cozy.

Completed cozy with the top nested over the bottom piece.

This is what I usually carry in my pot so it can be carried all in one.  Ezbit stove (or small alcohol stove and small alcohol bottle), a lighter, a small spatula, an eating tool, windscreen, a small bottle of cooking oil, and a small towel for handling a hot pot.

All of the items fit very nicely in the pot.
The entire compact cook kit fits in almost any pack.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


The Toyota FJ Cruiser.  By far, one of the best cars I've ever owned.  A versatile little workhorse that gets us just about anywhere.  Being the proud owners of two young bird dogs, we opted to buy a kennel for each dog specifically for our rigs.  Not only did we do this for safety's sake in the unthinkable event of a crash, but they also keep down the amount of nose prints on the windows, sand in the seats, and drool on the dash.  With the cargo area of the FJ being somewhat limited anyway, putting the kennels in it really infringed on storage capacity.  So after poking around on the internet for FJ Cruiser cargo storage solutions, I came up with a relatively simple idea of just elevating both kennels on a platform that sits on top of the rear ledges.  

Since this has been installed, both of the dogs have personally expressed how much better their ride experience has been now that they have a window view.

The rear view of the FJ with the rear seats in the down position.

Because of the multiple angles along the walls of the cargo area, I used a piece of cardboard to make a template that I could lay on the plywood and trace the design.

After tracing the design on the 3/4" plywood, I used a jigsaw to easily cut the variety of angles.

To make the platform look a little cleaner and the ride quieter, I bought some indoor/outdoor carpet to cover the plywood.  Using a staple gun and spray adhesive, the carpet was easily applied.

For the front and rear edges of the platform, I had an idea that these were going to be high wear vulnerabilities.  So to protect the edges of the carpet, we found this 10' aluminum channel piece at the local hardware store.

The aluminum channel came with a smooth surface that in time was easily going to show scratches and wear marks.  My husband, being a fabricator, came up with the idea to use the orbital sander to create a unique and uniform design.

After drilling a hole through the aluminum and a small pilot hole in the plywood, I used 3/4" wood screws to help secure the aluminum channel.  I used three screws for each edge.

Because I did not want the aluminum scratching the rear ledges of the interior, I left the carpet exposed on the very ends. 
After installing the aluminum channel on the two edges, I again used the spray adhesive and staple gun to fold over and secure the carpet end flaps.

I purposely made the ends long so that the underside of the platform would have carpet to act as a pad that would rest on the ledges of the cargo area without beating up the interior.

I attached four of these D-ring type tie down anchors to go on top and in the corners of platform.  If necessary, I can use a small cargo net to secure items when the kennels are not in the car. 

All four of the D-ring tie down anchors attached.

The platform sits perfectly on the ledges.

To better secure the kennels from shifting around while driving, I found these tie downs. 

The FJ's cargo area is equipped with two of its own D-ring anchors.  This is where I attached the cargo straps.

Two more D-rings anchors are located just behind the rear seats.

Since I am more comfortable traveling with my "JIC" boxes ("DON'T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A WAD - JIC BOX FOR YOUR RIG") gear with me, I was able to find two plastic totes that fit perfectly under the platform.  The platform was also cut just deep enough so that the rear seats could be raised and used without removing the platform.

There is now room for the kennels and storage.  


Check out the new addition to the storage platform..a stowaway work table!  "LAY IT ALL ON THE TABLE - A NEW ADDITION TO THE FJ CRUISER CARGO SHELF"
The table acts as a work bench; house a cook stove, tie flies, tend to the dogs, clean fish and game, sort gear, etc
"It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is."   --Sargent Shriver

#dirtyfingernails #treadoutdoors #outdoorwomen #centraloregon #bendoregon #outdoors #fjcruiser #carcamping #toyotatrd