Saturday, December 29, 2012

A look back and a look forward...

2012 may have been the biggest year of my life. So much happened that even in previous years where I could say a lot happened they pale to 2012 in comparison.

January and February started out kind of slow. This was mostly because we were already planning some big changes and wanted to enjoy the winter before we had to get down to work. But in January I started writing for my first regular blogging client. I still write for them. We spent February working on some indoor stuff in the tiny house getting it ready to live in.

March had some excitement when we spoke at the Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop held in Asheville. We were able to meet Pepper Clark and really enjoyed the experience. We also slept in the tiny house for the first time ever in March. It is crazy to think that we hadn't before.

In April, I gave my notice for my job and we let everyone know that we would be moving in to the tiny house in May. When I look back at it I think about what a big scary decision it felt like. In truth I couldn't have done anything else. My life had been standing still for quite a while and taking that leap was extremely important. I am very pleased and proud by how it has turned out so far.

May was a month of huge news. We packed up the Element and Matt's car with all of our belongings. Piglet and I drove the three and a half hour trip from Asheville to the tiny house for the last time. We were home. May also brought my first guest post with Tiny House Talk. This has turned into a regular thing and I love working with Alex.

In June we put the Location Independence concept to the test by traveling for two weeks. We went to Michigan to spend a week with family and then met some friends at a camping festival in Illinois. June was also the month where Piglet learned how to climb the ladder.

July was both hot and rainy this year. But it finally stopped raining long enough for us to get our solar power system set up. 

In August we hosted our first gathering since moving into the tiny house. We used our new outdoor kitchen set up to smoke a pork butt. Matt and his friends played music all night on our new deck/stage, the Folk N' Ale.

In September, I started my second Tiny House Blogging gig with Steven at Tiny House Listings.  We also got our geek on at Dragon*Con in Atlanta. It was a busy month with all of that but we also found time to finish the trim on the exterior siding of the house and build our gray water reclamation system. Oh, and I had a great time doing the Tiny r(E)volution podcast with Andrew Odom.

In October we started winding things down in anticipation for our two month trip to Michigan for the holidays. This was going to be another test of the location independent lifestyle. It worked out marvelously, by the way. We also made arrangements for a place to stay in the winter once we returned to Asheville. This was a bit of a controversy but we decided that we wanted to take some time away from the tiny house and live in the city for the winter.

In November, we made it to Detroit for the first half of our holiday trip. I also did an interview with the Huffington Post. That experience taught me an important lesson about the internet. I was hurt and upset by many of the comments. And when I expressed that these upset me the internet was no additional comfort, telling me I needed to grow a thicker skin. It took me a little while to process and understand those feelings but I think the experience has made me more comfortable sharing my story.

December was full of holiday cheer and family time. We enjoyed it very much, but by the end of the month we were completely ready to go back to Asheville. We left yesterday, in fact, and drove home. We're at our 700 square foot city house where we will set up shop for the next couple of months. I can't wait to get back up to the tiny house. While we're out of it for the winter, and before the green things start to grow in the spring, we have some little projects to do.

The big lesson from all of 2012 for me was Engagement.  By downsizing our lives and eliminating distractions and stresses we were able to engage in our lives and our community. I want more of that.

Which brings me to the next half of this already lengthy post. The plans for 2013! 

I'll try to keep this brief. These aren't resolutions per se, but rather things that we intend to do this year.

  1. Rain Catchment. This would have been done sooner if we hadn't discovered the spring on our land. 
  2. Beer Making. This is something I missed in the tiny house. The tiny house isn't really set up for brewing and it would take up much of the usable space to do it so I put it off. I plan to brew some beer this winter while we're in the bigger house. I can't wait. I already have a recipe for Chocolate Milk Stout to start with.
  3. More Traveling. We plan to do quite a bit of traveling again this year. It is also a big part of our chosen lifestyle and the tiny house makes it possible.
  4. Tiny House Workshop in Wilmington NC. I am pleased to say that Matt and I have been invited to speak at this workshop hosted by Deek of Relax Shacks and Steven of Tiny House Listings! 
  5. Get involved. I really want to be involved in the Asheville community this year. I want to work with the Blogger Society to get some activities up and running. We also just discovered that we are less than a block away from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville and that would be a great place to meet new people. 
  6. Publish "120 Ideas for Tiny Living." I plan to have the book available by March 29th, which is my birthday. I know I will be doing an eBook but I may also offer a print option. I'm working on editing and organizing it now. Then I need to figure out what photos I still need to take. 
I'm sure there will be more things that I will think of as time goes by. I may even pop back into this post and add them as they come up. 

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice

The world didn't end. 

But today is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Starting tomorrow the days begin to get longer. I am grateful for the return of the sun.

Unfinished Tiny House in the Snow 2009

From now until New Year's day feels like a liminal space. It will be filled with food and gifts and family. I want to enjoy this time but I am eager for the beginning of 2013 and the start of another new adventure.

Happy Winter Solstice and I hope all of your holidays celebrations are festive and full of wonder.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


It has been a long time since I've felt anything that I would call "homesickness."

Today, I am missing my mountains. I am missing Asheville and all the people there, even the ones I haven't met yet.

One of our first trips to Asheville while we still lived in Atlanta, and before we built the tiny house, was for New Year's Eve. That year they did a big outdoor event with fireworks and they had imported some snow to make a sledding ramp in a parking lot. It was magical. This year, we'll be home in time for New Year's and I plan to really celebrate our homecoming.

Yesterday, we drove out to the town of Rochester, Michigan. Their display of holiday lights are talked about throughout the area and wanted to see them for ourselves. As we got out of our car and stepped onto Main Street, it began to softly snow.

We wandered over to a local brewery, the Rochester Mills Beer Company to get in out of the cold and enjoy a pint. By the time we came back out, it had stopped snowing.
It was beautiful, but it wasn't home. I miss Asheville and I want to be in my mountains by my river and in my city. I want to see the art deco buildings in the winter. I want to bundle up and walk downtown wishing for snow.

The holidays are next week and it will be full of family parties, food, and friends. It will be a joyous time and celebration and will get caught up in the energy of the days before we do pack up and head back home in time for New Year's Eve.

In only somewhat related news - I have been pouring through my photo files and I don't have many photographs from downtown Asheville!  When I do it is usually of a pint of beer. This will need to change when I get home.

Summer Beer Festival

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Think Big, Build Small: A Tiny House Community

I thought I was dreaming big.

Back in 2011 I started a Facebook page to foster community between tiny house builders all over the country. I invited friends and people "liked" the page. I linked it to this blog (you'll see the badge if you scroll down on the page).

Over time, my idea for this page started to change. When I left my 9-5 job to pursue a career in writing I wanted to really focus on the 120 Square Feet Brand. I started working on my first book, 120 Ideas for Tiny Living, which will be out in the spring.

I really wanted to change the Think Big, Live Small community to a 120 Square Feet page, but Facebook rules state that if you have more than 200 "likes" you can't change the name of the page. I figured that was okay, though, because people seem to get that the page belongs to me.

Earlier this week I noticed I had 943 "likes" on the page. I asked people to spread the word to see if I could get up to 950. It quickly surpassed that number and rose to 959 the last time I looked. So, on a whim, I thought I would see if I could get 1000 "likes" by the end of the year.

Then Ryan Mitchell at The Tiny Life posted a shout-out on his Facebook page...

Next thing I know, the community has 1009 and counting! 

Seriously - is there anything that can't be accomplished through the power of social media?

So I want to thank everyone who is a part of the 120 Square Feet Community and Think Big, Build Small over at Facebook. I appreciate everyone coming along for the ride as Matt and I built our tiny house over the course of three years and continuing to read once we moved into our tiny space.

As a thank you to everyone, all of the products at the 120 Square Feet Store have been discounted from now through the end of the year! Thank you for being part of this site! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Debt Free Living

When I moved into my tiny house, I was 100% debt free.

I still am. I have expenses of course, but I pay every bill when it arrives.

Lots of people want to know how I did this. I will tell you, I am no expert when it comes to money. In fact, I prefer to interact with it as little as possible because I just don't have the mind for math. But there are a couple of things that I did to make sure that I was comfortable financially.

The first step was to get rid of our big house in the suburbs. When we moved down to Georgia we still had it in our minds that we needed a large house with lots of space. Looking back on it, I'm not really sure why. We tried to use the space as much as we could. We entertained a lot - we would host holiday parties and summer parties. We had a couple of friends over once a week to cook dinner and watch a movie. That was a lot of fun. But ultimately having that large a house cost us more than we got back from it. It wasn't just the mortgage payments but also the maintenance and the utilities. It cost us a fortune to heat in the winter. After having the house for some time we just decided that our personal goals were not in line with having that big of a space. We sold the house and moved into an apartment in a high rise at the north end of Atlanta.

I loved our apartment. It was small - I think about 800 square feet - and I could have gone smaller. (I did, in fact). It was easy to maintain. All of the living space was in one place. And, best of all, after living there for about a year I was 100% debt free. All of the money I saved from not having to pay for the bigger house or the utilities paid off all of my other debt.

I knew I was taking a big leap at that point. I intended to quit my job so we could move to Asheville and live in the tiny house full time. This was a pretty scary move. I was comfortable and made a reasonable salary, but I was emotionally tired and burned out. I came home drained every day. But I began to pursue my real passion and quickly found people interested in my work. I do consider myself fortunate, but it also required a lot of hard work on my part. Now I live quite comfortably and I am able to pay all of my expenses while making less than I was in the corporate world.

The key to it all is reducing my expenses to begin with. Living in the tiny house made that quite possible. With our power and water all off the grid my utilities bills were $0.00 a month.

And I didn't institute austerity measures, either. We very much enjoy going out to experience the local breweries and restaurants and we didn't limit ourselves on those activities. However, reducing my overall expenses was an important step to being able to afford my own life.

I'm really not here to give financial advice - in fact, I'm the last person you'll want to take actual advice from when it comes to money. What I am here to say is that profoundly changing your life can have many added benefits. If you're thinking of making any sort of transition to a different mode of living, consider what you really want and what you really need and figure out the steps to make those things happen. If I can do it, anyone can.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas in 180 Square Feet

We're back in Michigan for the rest of the Holidays. Since we're here for a while we thought we would bring our tiny tree and set it up to give our lives a little holiday ambiance. We've had this little lime green tinsel tree for about 10 years. A few years ago we decided to get some pretty glass ornaments to hang from it. Each of the ornaments represents something from Greek Mythology.

My friend, neighbor and fellow blogger, Cyndi, has started a holiday photo project over at her blog. She's been doing a lot with photography and I've been inspired by her work. I was looking at a couple of the photos that I snapped of the tree and I wondered if I could do some photo effects to make them better. I am by no means a pro at this stuff, but why not give it a shot. Here are a couple that I liked after I did some modifications. If you want to see much prettier pictures, go to Cyndi's blog above.

How are you decorating your tiny space for the Holidays? Do you have any traditions that you like to share?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Other Asheville TIny Houses...sort of

Every year the Grove Park Inn in Asheville hosts the National Gingerbread House competition. Gingerbread builders of all ages and skills create edible masterpieces which are then displayed in the beautiful and historic Inn.

Turns out, the 700 Square Foot city house is totally walking distance to the Grove Park Inn. It is uphill, but it is a nice walk, so we wandered that way earlier this week. They allow viewings by locals during the week and tourists, I believe on the weekends.

I thought I would share some of these teeny houses - and some designs that weren't houses at all.

This Alice in Wonderland themed house of cards would be of interest to several of my friends.
See the teeny Cheshire Cat? This was a teen entry, if I recall correctly.
This 100 Acre Woods themed house was a child's entry! 
All the food made of food! 
You can barely see it in this photo, but the barn said "See Rock City"!
A lovely advent calendar house.
I loved this 12 Days of Christmas
I wish I could have gotten a better photo of this but it was placed awkwardly. It is a cat looking at herself in the mirror.
 I didn't get a photo of the grand prize winner - it was behind glass and I couldn't get a photo that wasn't horribly blurry or with the glare of the flash. However, the grand prize winner wasn't nearly my favorite. This one was. I'm sorry the photo isn't the best - there were lots of people standing around so I couldn't take my time.

It was called "Not a Creature was Stirring". Look at all that detail!
I did get a photo of the baby mice sleeping in their walnut shells. SOOO cute!  

Our trip back down to Asheville is almost over. We're heading back up to Detroit until just after Christmas. I really miss Piglet - she's been staying with Matt's mom. I'm sure there will be some fun holiday adventures to share - the rest of our trip is booked solid with events of one sort or another. See you all soon.

Happy Holidays! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Announcing: 9 Lives in 120 Square Feet

Happy Caturday!

We all know the true intention of the Internet, right? 

It isn't an exchange of information. It isn't the ability to connect with friends and family all over the world. It isn't for commerce.

Nope. The real purpose of the Internet is to look at photos of cats. 

So capitalizing on Piglet the Sphynx's minor Internet celebrity, I now present to you my own project to share with the world photos of my cat: 9 Lives in 120 Square Feet.  

I have some future ideas. Matt and I thought of a couple of potential kids book ideas featuring Piglet. Those might be a little ways off, since I really need to concentrate on getting 120 Ideas for Tiny Living published on time.  (Watch this space for more announcements!)

So, please - if you like cats and if you like Piglet and even if you think hairless cats are a little "weird," please visit Piglet's page. You'll see a tab conveniently located at the top of this blog along with our store. Right now there is just one post, but from now on I plan to share all of Piglet's adventures there exclusively. If I'm lucky, I can get a video of her climbing the ladder once we get back to the tiny house! And let me know if there are things you want to see there. For instance, I can be persuaded to add Piglet themed merchandise to our product line. I could also share some information about the sphynx cat breed and what it is like living with the little hairless beast. The sky's the limit! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Asheville Break

We are back in Asheville for a little bit before we head back to Michigan for all of December. This week so far has been good to us. I really love this little town and I am so at home here.

We went up to the tiny house just to visit and to chain saw that giant tree that was in our way. It didn't actually take very long.

Mt. Matt is once again open for Business

We also ran some errands. We got a new lamp shade for an antique lamp that was given to me by my Great Aunt. It has been in storage for a while, so it is nice to get it out in to the open again.

Simple pleasures

I also got a few photos of the tiny house that might work as a book cover for 120 Ideas for Tiny Living. Just playing around with the camera settings and stuff. (BTW, these also may NOT be the cover to the book - I like to keep you guessing.)

maybe you like color?
maybe you like black and white?
While we're here we are also getting our Christmas on. I love this time of year. It doesn't matter to me what you celebrate. Or what I celebrate for that matter. I just love the festiveness of trees and lights and colors.

Happy Holidays - All of Them!
And in closing I just want to say I miss Piglet. She is staying with Matt's mom in Michigan for the week. But I also have an ideas that completely revolves around Piglet. Sometimes I like to use the Internet for its intended purpose from time to time. We all know that is "to look at pictures of cats." So keep watching this space for my Piglet-centric project.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tiny House Gift Giving Guide

With the winter holidays right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to explore ideas for the best gifts for the tiny house people in your life. 

They key when it comes to giving presents to your friends and family who have embraced the simple lifestyle is not to perpetuate the concept of clutter. This is where the entire concept of “it is the thought that counts” can really be put into practice. Think about how we have taken this time to downsize our lives and have only the essentials in our homes before picking out a gift. With that in mind, here are some ideas to consider.

Gifts that aren't Things

This is my very favorite idea. These are things that your loved one could buy for themselves but probably wouldn’t. They make very thoughtful gifts for someone who is actively trying not to accumulate stuff.

  • Certificate for spa treatment
  • Car detailing
  • Custom playlist on iTunes 
  •  eBooks
  • Tickets to local events
  • Subscription to an online magazine or newspaper
  • Consumables (especially beer or wine!)

Gifts for the Tiny House Builder

If your loved one is just starting to build a tiny house there may be some items that will come in handy. Here are some ideas in several prices ranges.

Tiny House Books

Many people, even those building or living in a tiny house, love books on the subject. This might also be a good option for the person who is thinking about building a tiny space but hasn’t begun the process yet. Many of these are books we owned that really inspired us. 

Unfortunately, 120 Ideas for Simple Living will not be out in time for this year’s holiday shopping. If you do want to share some Life in 120 Square Feet items you can find a number of things at our store that will make great gifts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from 120 Square Feet

I miss my tiny house every day since we are not spending the holidays in it. I miss the simplicity. I miss the stillness of nature. I miss the mountains. I miss Asheville.

So I thought it would be appropriate to mark Thanksgiving with a post about gratitude.

Not only am I grateful for all the things I listed above, I am grateful for many more. (Presented here in the colors of Autumn because, well, why not?)

I am grateful to have a partner who is truly a partner. Someone with compatible dreams and goals. Someone with whom I can suggest some crazy ideas and he won't think I'm off my rocker.

I am grateful to have found a place that I want to call home. A place that makes me feel alive and rich with possibilities. A city that I can finally say is a place that I belong. 

I am grateful to be part of a strong and growing community of tiny house builders. We live all over the country but with the marvels of modern technology we are a video chat away from each other. 

I am grateful to be able to do work that I love. I never wake up dreading my day and wishing I could just go back to bed. I never play those games thinking "maybe I should just call in sick today" or come home crying after a particularly trying day. 

I am grateful for being engaged with my life. I love everything from emptying the gray water bucket to cooking dinner outside and relaxing on the Folk N' Ale as the sun sets on the mountain. I love going in to town whether it is for fun with friends or to do laundry at Bar of Soap. 

I am grateful for developing a taste for beer. I know this sounds trite, but beer is such a wonderful thing. I use to find it "yucky" but I just wasn't drinking the right stuff. Asheville made me love beer and beer made me love Asheville back. 

I am grateful for supportive family and friends. People who love to come up to the mountain and see what we do or willing to take us in when we visit their area. I am really glad we have such wonderful people in our lives. 

I am grateful for Piglet. Our nearly 12 year old girl has the constitution of a kitten and I'm glad she love us. 

There are so many things to be grateful for and I think we should all take time to express it all year long rather than reserving it for just one day or just one season.

If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stray Observations

  • Michigan makes me road ragey. Don't get me wrong - Atlanta traffic stressed me out a great deal when I had to drive in it every day. But moving to Asheville changed our exposure to traffic. I didn't drive much while I was on the mountain, but when I did I never felt like I wanted to kill anyone else on the road. I'm not a big fan of driving in the first place so I would often freak out when I had to drive somewhere I wasn't familiar with. Asheville is a small enough town that I've managed to learn my way around by trial and error. And even if I "error" I can manage to figure it out. Michigan, on the other hand, makes me want to hit other cars with my car. 
  • Piglet is less road ragey.  Well, Piglet never drives but in the tiny house at night sometimes she would have a serious case of the crazies. We tried to take her for walks on the mountain and play with her in the house, but every night she would go a little nutty until we went to bed and then she would go to sleep. Of course, she would sleep all day too and I tried to tell her that was why she felt cooped up, but she doesn't listen to me. Now, she has room to run around and shake off some of that energy. She still sleeps all day.
  • Allergies? I've always had asthma and allergies. Interestingly enough, when I was living in the tiny house everything was pretty status quo. Since moving into this room I am much more stuffed up. And, even more strange, is that my ears are plugged up every morning when I wake up. This also happened to me in the apartment in Atlanta. I think that the fresh air in the tiny house was good for me and stale air in apartments is bad. All of those insidious little things that we don't know about lurking behind the walls and in the heating ducts - I think those are what bother me. 
  • Climbing the mountain was great built in exercise. This is obvious, of course, but because it was just an organic part of our day to walk to and from the house each day, often several times, it just became part of the routine. We've been trying to go for walks around here so we don't lose anything we gained.
  • Michigan is very flat. I find these walks extremely easy. No huffing or puffing. No muscle tightness in my calves. The mountains and rolling hills of Western North Carolina make any walk a bit of a work out even if it is to and from the convenience store on the corner. I'm enjoying our time here, but I miss our mountain.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We're Famous in Illinois

Grant Wagner, blogger and friend of Life in 120 Square Feet, sent me this photo. I asked him if it was okay for me to share it here. It is really quite neat to see your logo on the back of a Toyota! 

Remember, if you want your very own Life in 120 Square Feet stuff, check out the store. There is a at the top of the page!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Photos from 120 Square Feet

I was just looking through some of my photos from this year. These are the ones that never made it to the blog for some reason but that I liked quite a bit. So I thought I would just do a photo post to share them with you. These are in no particular order.

It was a relatively soggy summer up on the mountain. Mushrooms sprouted up everywhere! These suckers were HUGE. I should have put a smurf near them for size comparison.

Autumn Maples are my favorite leaves.


This photo is not from the land, though I would love to grow hops. This was taken at Highland Brewery. 

This is another view of the tree that came down by the Folk N' Ale. I took this as I left our 120 Square Feet house for the winter.

This was also not taken at the house. This was at Green Man Brewery and published on a local beer website. 

Piglet on a shelf. Good storage solutions for your pets is essential. 

A friend gave us this sign. It is hanging up in the barn.

Maybe I did post this photo here before, I don't remember. Another friend gave us this and we hung it up on the front door inside the tiny house.

Mist in the morning on our mountain.This is the road leading to civilization.

Mountain sunset.

This is another sunset photo. This one was taken from the Folk N' Ale

I was also enjoying playing around with the sepia setting on my little camera.

And one last Piglet picture for good measure. Sweet dreams.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Our Nomadic Winter

Having your story published on a major website like the Huffington Post generates some pretty interesting comments. People on the Internet are often negative or, worse, hurtful with their written words. Do they realize there are real human beings behind each of these stories?

However, several readers mentioned that we don't have real tiny house cred because we built a "Summer Cabin."

Let me ask you this: Why would we have built a summer cottage as our only home? Why would we chose to be essentially homeless in the winter months with no where else to go?

Our "summer" cabin is our only home and we made some interesting choices to not winterize it. Partly because we are 200 vertical feet up the mountain without road access. Partly because all of our water is from a spring on the land and who knows if it will flow in the winter. And most importantly because we decided to travel for the holidays. We moved to the south a decade ago and we saw our families and friends only about once a year. We wanted to spend time with everyone while we could and with a location independent lifestyle, this was possible.

If we had not built the tiny house this would not have been possible. I use to be a ball of stress around the holidays because I felt pressure from my job. I was there for a long time and I always requested time off at Christmas. However, this meant that no one else in my office could take time off to travel to see their family for the holiday. This was not fair, but it was the only solution I had. Christmastime is extremely important to Matt and his family and I certainly wanted to be part of that and be able to see my family as well. This year we can spend two months in our hometown because we aren't tied to any one place. My new life has given me freedom to be wherever I want to be whenever I want to be there. It was because we took our time building a tiny house in the woods that I was able to reduce my expenses and be able to take the leap to be self employed.

This was a conscious choice and an opportunity. And opportunity to live unconventionally in more ways than one. This is our life and no matter what anyone says I am extremely happy with it.

*Edited to Add:
Matt reminded me that the tiny house is livable in the winter. It is rustic, but it is possible. But always looking on the bright side and not letting the internet trolls get him down he also reminded me that we made the choice to travel during the winter because we can. I am not going to let the haters get me down. This is the life I've built for myself, not for anyone else. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

New Features

Hello and welcome to Life in 120 Square Feet. If you're new here I hope that you will enjoy the story that we have shared about our journey to living unconventionally. Feel free to ask any questions and we will answer them as best we can.

If you've been around a while, you'll notice some new things here at Life in 120 Square Feet. The most obvious is the new logo at the top of the page. Designed by my best friend and graphic designer, Jill. She is multi-talented as well - you can check out her writing blog here.

You will also see our brand new online store! This was born out of my own desire to be able to wear the pretty new logo on a t-shirt and put a sticker on my car. I figured I might as well open the shop up to the public. You can get to the store here. I also have a link at the top of the page.

I want to thank everyone who has made our story a success. To our friends and family who helped us build. To the rest of the tiny house community who helped us get our story out there. Today, our story was shared at Huffington Post in this great article by Amy Maturana.  I am truly grateful for everything that has happened to me in the last few years and wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some Observations Upon Returning to "Civilization"

We've temporarily moved out of the tiny house to spend some time with family in Michigan. I find myself in a small apartment bedroom that is actually a little big larger than the tiny house to begin with. I am learning a couple of things about myself living here and we're only a few days into this part of the adventure.
  1. I miss the chores. I never thought in all my life that I would say that. And when I lived in a conventional home it took me forever to get up the motivation to vacuum or clean the toilets. But there was some quiet joy in some of the new and different chores that we acquired while living in the tiny house. I use to take short breaks from my writing to go out and empty the bucket into the gray water system and fill the Berkey. I kind of find myself wondering how to take breaks now. My brother suggested I simply fill up a bucket and pour it back out again. 
  2. Television is my kryptonite. I will never be one of those people that acts all superior because I don't have a television. But, I don't. This was a conscious choice for moving into the tiny house. And it was a hard one for me - I love television. But I didn't need it. I use to find myself parked in front of the TV watching reality programming as well as catching my favorite scifi shows. Most of those hours were not productive. They didn't provide a cure for boredom - they were the manifestation of boredom. Well, when I find myself bored here in the apartment, the television is only a click away. I can turn it on and tune it out. Its going to be a long two months if I keep doing that. I should start going for walks instead.
  3. I've been productive with writing. I decided to take this month and work on the 120 Ideas for Tiny Living book that I promised to have out by the spring. In spite of the distractions, I've been doing really well with it and I think I like it. I'm nearly done with the first draft and then I will let it sit for a bit before going back to revise and edit. It'll be an eBook and will feature some tiny house living ideas along with lots of photos. Stay tuned for more information!  
There will also be a bit of a change on the website and some additional new fun stuff coming soon. Trust me, you'll know it when you see it. I'm really excited about it and have to give a shout out to a very good friend for helping me out with it. And by that I mean pretty much doing all the work.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Welcome to "Winter in 180 Square Feet"

Well, we have arrived in the Mitten State - for better or worse.

Matt and I drove separately so we could each have a car since we'll be here for two months. I had Piglet in the Element with me and she was a super good girl. She mainly slept.

On the way, I was listening to my iPod on shuffle and thinking about spending the holidays here with friends and family. Being able to work from anywhere in the world certainly has its perks - even if we do use that freedom to vacation in Detroit of all places.

I already miss the tiny house and my Mountains. Michigan is very flat.  

While I was driving, this song came up on my pod and it made me happy to be heading north for the winter. Being from south east Michigan will always be a part of my DNA. It made me who I am. For whatever it is worth, I have a connection to this place that I can't ignore. I also wouldn't call myself a Kid Rock fan, but this song is beautiful - especially this acoustic version.

But then it happened. We hit the Michigan boarder and were both stopped in the traffic jam of all traffic jams. Matt was ahead of me and called to let me know what was happening. He was stuck in it for over an hour when he decided to get off at an exit and try to make his way around it. I stayed with it thinking it couldn't last forever. After a couple of hours, I learned that they had shut the entire expressway down and were routing people off on an exit that led to a two lane gravel road and snaked about 11 miles back to the I75 only two exits north of where we got off in the first place.

It wasn't until this morning that I learned the cause was a fatal semi accident and not just construction traffic. Certainly makes you put things in perspective. The 14 hour drive wasn't so bad - at least I am here safe and sound.

So, welcome to our Winter in 180 Square Feet. That is an approximate size - we didn't measure. But the room is pretty square. We are staying with Matt's mom. The room we're in doesn't have its own bathroom or kitchen, but we obviously have access to the ones in the apartment. In the room, though, we have a make-shift desk (a board over some drawer units) and our inflatable but extremely comfortable bed. That is where Piglet is right now. She doesn't have any adjustment period any more when we take her strange places. She just goes with it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snow in the Mountains for Halloween

As I was writing my post yesterday the tiny flakes were just beginning to float down on the mountain. When we woke up at 3am because we were cold, the ground was covered in a soft white blanket.

Somewhere in the middle we lost a tree. We had been watching that tree for a while wondering when it might come down. The answer was clearly yesterday. Thankfully, it didn't fall toward the house. It barely missed The Folk N' Ale and the only casualties were 6 plastic chairs.

A view of the tiny house from the path now blocked by the tree.
When we woke up at 3am, we turned the heater back on and settled back in for a couple more hours of sleep. It was extremely cozy in the tiny house. And truthfully, even without the heater, the coldest it got in there was 47 degrees. That is cold, of course, but considering it was only 35 outside, it wasn't so bad. The snow on our mountain didn't even last to the afternoon yesterday. I was hoping I could have gotten some photos of it. Curiously enough, just up the road it was still a winter wonderland at 1pm yesterday.

Our SNOWlar panels! Hahahahahahah!
My only job yesterday was to head back up to Mt. Matt after my temp job and pick Piglet up to take her to the new city house. I'm sitting here right now in a director's chair with my feet up on a Rubbermaid bin typing away. Piglet is warm under the covers on our air mattress. She is so excited to have heat registers on the floor again. The only thing she wishes is that she knew how to turn on the heat so it runs all the time. Speaking of heat, this is how Piglet road in the car to the new house.

And yes, that is a pink and green argyle sweater, thanks for asking.
We plan to give out candy tonight to the trick-or-treaters. We use to love doing that but when we moved to Georgia our neighborhood didn't have many kids. We even brought our Halloween decorations from the tiny house to put up on the porch! 

I will now return you to your regularly scheduled Halloween fun. Go look up photos of cats in costumes or something. Happy Halloween!