Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Update on 120 Ideas for Tiny Living

Hi Folks. I just got back from a week's vacation in New Mexico and Arizona. It was fantastic.

Now that I am back though I am focusing on the book, which I originally planned to have out by my birthday - which is this Friday, March 29th.

That isn't going to happen.

I want to make sure I have the best product available for you and right now I believe that it needs a little bit more time to cook. Not much time, but a little.

It is currently off to the editor who has let me know they are a little under the weather so it may be a few days before I get it back. Then I need to get the proofs before I can release it to the public. I am hoping the delay will only be until Mid to Late April - in time for the Relax Shacks Workshop in Wilmington, NC.

So, folks - bear with me. I think you'll be glad you waited.

In the mean time, want to seem some of my vacation photos?

Sure you do! 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Arizona Estate, Taliesin West

A hummingbird in flight. Not bad for an iPhone photo

The grand canyon. They filmed "The Brandy Bunch Goes to the Grand Canyon" here

A photo of Mount Elden from Flagstaff, AZ. I really loved this town

And finally, your humble narrator on a hike to Jemez Falls north of Albuquerque
I have put these photos on backwards. The actual vacation started in Albuquerque and ended in Phoenix, but I didn't think you'd mind.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Goodbye, Hash Brown

I struggled overnight with this post. It was a lot to decide if I even wanted to post it at all.

It is with a broken heart that I have to share the news that our neighbors' dog Hash Brown passed away yesterday. He was hit by a car and they couldn't save him.

My heart hurts for them.

But this isn't my news - Hash Brown wasn't my dog. I wasn't sure if I should be so public about the loss of someone else's pet. But at times Hash Brown felt like a part time dog to us. He was there throughout the construction of the tiny house as he would bound up the hill with his tail wagging and his tongue lolling to greet us.

He would bring a stick and make us play with him until we got tired of the game. Hash Brown never got tired of the game. 

A rare photo of Hash Brown being calm.
For a while Hash Brown learned the command "Go home!" He would hang his little golden head and walk back down the mountain toward his own house. Later he decided he was going to stand his ground and when you commanded "Go home, Hash Brown," he would simply lay down and wait for you to forget that you wanted him to leave.

I never really wanted you to leave, Hash Brown. I hope you know that.

So many friends who worked on the tiny house will remember Hash Brown fondly. I want to give everyone a chance to remember this crazy dog and his crazy life. I know you would all want to know.

Hash Brown was a good friend to Life in 120 Square Feet and the building of this house wouldn't have been the same with out him. I'll miss you, HB. I'll miss you a lot.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring is Springing

Just two posts ago I was writing about our first real snowfall here in Asheville.

Today, it will be 60+ degrees outside.

I am so grateful for the return of spring. I know it happens every year but I am always overwhelmed by it.

Today I will celebrate with a hippie skirt and sandals!  I will walk into downtown with my camera and see if I can't catch some of the promise of spring.

I really have no other purpose here on the blog today than to bask in the beauty of the sun and the world greening all around us. It is truly glorious.

Leaves budding near the tiny house building site in March of 2008

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Accidental Pumpkin

I was going through my photos yesterday to finish adding some things to my book.

No, this post isn't exactly about the book, but I'll share some info on that as well.

What this post is about is this photo, The Accidental Pumpkin.

That, my friends, is pumpkin blossom that grew up in our suburban flower bed in June of 2008.

We did not plant this pumpkin. Well, not on purpose anyway.

This was the reason a pumpkin vine started growing under our hydrangeas that year. Matt and I carve pumpkins for Halloween every year. That year I carved the grim reaper and Matt carved that silly pumpkin king face. We also usually make a pumpkin for Piglet. This year we didn't feel like carving it so we took a sharpie to a pie pumpkin and made little cat ears out of the scraps from our larger pumpkin.

These pumpkins sat on our front porch through Halloween. At some point, just after Halloween, the little cat pumpkin fell into our flowerbed and rolled under the hydrangea. While it wouldn't have been a problem to pick it up we just never bothered. And the pumpkin did what pumpkins do if left to their own devices - it returned to the earth.

I had completely forgotten about it by the time summer rolled around and the little pumpkin blossom bloomed on the little vine in our flowerbed. We called it our Accidental Pumpkin.

As you might imagine, under a hydrangea is not the ideal spot for a pumpkin vine. I wish we could have transplanted it to see what would have happened.

I don't know if this story is a metaphor for anything. Maybe that sometimes seeds you planted have unexpected results. Or maybe that sometimes you don't even mean to plant particular seeds but they still grow whether you want them to or not. I guess I never expected the seeds of the tiny house to become a website or a book, but they have and now I need to cultivate those things. I can't just ignore them and see what happens.

I came across this forgotten picture when I was going through photos for my book, 120 Ideas for Tiny Living. I was (AM) hoping to get the book out by March 29th, which is my 38th birthday. Looking at what I have left to do I'm not sure that will happen. But it won't be much later than that - first week or so of April. I've been formatting it and saw the layout and I am very pleased with it. I hope you are too. I'll keep you updated on the release date and the ways you can purchase it. I don't even know the cost yet but I don't want it to be too much for the eBook version.Keep watching this space for more concrete information.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Winter is Wintering

After an entire season of snow predictions that never panned out, it finally snowed in Asheville, North Carolina. Now, friends and family in the mid-west will laugh and say that it wasn't real now. I'm not even sure it was an entire inch of the white stuff, but there was snow.

In the south that means only one thing. Everyone ran to the stores last night and bought bread, milk, and eggs. I've never quite figured out why but because of it we started our own tradition: snow day French Toast.


I am pretty happy that we made the decision to experience the city life for the winter months. If there was an inch of now down here that meant the mountain could have a lot more. Not that it would be impossible but the way we chose to build our house might make it a little more unpleasant. Never mind that we are off the grid and we collect our water from the spring. Never mind that we don't have a traditional heater with a thermostat. The big issue is that we built the house 200 vertical feet up our mountain. Regardless of the weather we have to walk up and down our mountain to the tiny house. We chose that location because we loved it but we also recognized the limitations.

But one of the things I love about the tiny lifestyle is that it gives us the ability to do more than one thing. I'm really enjoying our stay in town for a few months while we wait for spring to, well, spring.

Snow on the mountain February 2010
Daffodils on the Mountain February 2012

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Build a Better Ladder

Back in November over on Tiny House Listings I wrote this post about ladders and stair cases in tiny houses.

I mentioned in that post that we had hooks on the front of both the sleeping loft and the storage loft so we could switch the ladder from side to side. Unfortunately, I did not have photos of these hooks, but many people asked about them.

I was up at the tiny house this weekend and snapped a few photos of how the hooks work.

This is the ladder on the bed side. You can see the eye hooks on the ladder and the J hooks on the front of the loft.

This is the storage loft side, which is over the door to the house. The J hooks are on the front of that loft as well.

To switch the position of the ladder you just lift it off of the J hooks and...

Move it over to the other loft. 

The ladder is neither light nor heavy. It is sturdy - built from 2X4s and each rung is covered in FLOR carpeting to keep it warm on the toes when climbing down and to help the cat climb up. The ladder is only attached to the lofts by the eye and J hooks and it is extremely secure. I am terrified of heights and the first time I ever got in the loft I couldn't get back down again. That was before we had a ladder and we were just using a construction ladder to get up and down. It was partially because of my panic attack that Matt build this ladder. I have no trouble climbing up and down the ladder now - or sleeping comfortably in the loft. 

And here is a gratuitous photo of Piglet climbing up the ladder. This cracks me up every time.