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A Tiny House Infographic

Our friend Ryan Mitchell from The Tiny Lifeis raising funds for an awesome infographic about tiny houses and their occupants. Be sure to read all about his idea, and check out the cool incentives he’s offering through Kickstarter.

A week ago people from all corners of the world participated in Tiny House Survey where we wanted to compare how people in tiny houses compared to the rest of America. What started out as a simple question, lead to more than 2,400 people responding! We were so humbled and excited by the response that we wanted to do something special. So we wanted to make an infographic about people who live in Tiny Houses.

What is an infographic? Infographics are a visual way to share data about an interesting topic. Instead of boring graphs and spreadsheets, we are working with a graphic designer to tell the story with color and vivid graphics. You can find many examples of Infographics on the web to get an idea of what we hope to put together.

So we invite you to join us in telling the tale of tiny house people, but we also have some neat rewards for your help in our project!

KICK STARTER PROJECT PAGE HERE:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ryanmitchell/tiny-house-infographic

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Where’s Nara’s House?

Wondering where this college girl’s house is? If you haven’t heard, Nara is in the process of obtaining a Fencl to live in for her last semester of school. Her plans have been delayed ever so slightly, but she’s keeping strong. Read about her initial process here, and find out about how black ice, blizzards, and mandatory driving bans can be small impediments to tiny house transport below.

 
Last Friday, I learned one important thing about a housewarming: you need a house. Upon failing to produce one of those despite a good deal of self-promotion, I felt a little something like ashamed. “Is it so tiny I can’t see it?” asked my supportive friends. A very patient staff stood by day after day, while I postponed the Facebook event not once, but thrice.
 

But it just so happens that when other things aren’t warm, like say the roads in Ohio, pretty much anything can go wrong. In other words, some pesky black ice led to a minor hiccup with my house delivery. After already being behind schedule, the waiting game continued through the weekend as the trailer awaited repair some hundreds of miles away. Finally, I got word that it would arrive by the end of that week. And then….

 
A blizzard hit the East Coast.
A lovely Saturday morning view

A lovely Saturday morning view

 
Yup. We got slammed. As much as I want to say “just my luck,” I have enough life experience (and access to news channels) to realize that I’m far from being the only poor soul affected by bad weather conditions, and that ultimately my tiny house woes are very, well, tiny. I’m glad to be warm, safe, and kind of well fed.
 
As some of you may have heard, this whole state-wide driving ban thing led to a bummer of a weekend for everyone planning on attending the Tumbleweed workshop. Several Californians flew out on Thursday only to be cooped up in a hotel for a long weekend. I myself drove up from Western Massachusetts in the early hours of the snowstorm to find a ghost town. And most importantly, my apologies to all of the would-be-attendees.
 
On the plus side, all this time lounging around in a king sized bed has certainly given me the opportunity to think things over.
 
What can you do? Watch HBO, I guess.

What can you do? Watch HBO, I guess.

 
It’s hard to have things that directly affect you be entirely out of your control. I’ve come to peace with it, for the most part, but I won’t deny that I’ve been going through a little bit of emotional turmoil. It’s been over two weeks since I expected a delivery, and I still don’t know when I’ll see the house!
 
I’m learning everyday that it’s important to be flexible, and it’s an amazing source of comfort to have a network of friends that will help you out. I will have squatted with my dear friends in Northampton, rent-free, for exactly a month. They’ve been incredibly patient and supportive, even if they think they’re entitled to all of my groceries. I guess it’s fair: my backpacks and suitcases have lined the living room wall, half unpacked, day in and day out, and my ferret has been eating everybody’s headphones.
 
Wreaking havoc on personal electronics AND personal relationships

Wreaking havoc on personal electronics AND personal relationships

But as all of the older, wiser folks in my life have told me, it’s a part of the experience. My mom’s number one piece of comfort for me in darker days has always been “it will give you something to write about.” So here I am, writing about it. (That said, my first attempt at ‘writing about it’, during which I was seeing red and occasionally punching the table, would probably make my mom disown me.)
 
The reality is, it’s no one’s fault. These things happen, and there’s a certain risk involved in pulling any kind of trailer when the roads are icy- I knew that at the beginning. I appreciate the work of all of those involved, like the truck driver who went through hell and still sent me a very sweet apology note.
 
This is not so much a lesson about transporting tiny houses as it is about remaining patient. It’s not the end of the world. It’s important to keep weather in mind when you’re attempting to transport a small house in the winter- just ask Molly- but it’s also not inevitable that something will go wrong. You just have to keep your chin up, and be grateful that a better future is on it’s way, storm or no storm.
 
Thanks for your patience, everyone, and thanks for being so understanding about the workshop cancellation- we’ll make it up to you!
 
More soon,
 
Nara
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Tumbleweed Sighting, and Deek’s Favorite Tiny House Books List!

Hey All!

I was in the San Francisco area a few months back (a long, fun, haul for an East Coaster like me- what a town!), to shoot a few tiny housetours/episodes for my youtube show “Tiny Yellow House” and for content photos on a new book I’ve been working on, when I saw this! Its a Tumbleweed Fencl, RIGHT outside the gates of Muir Woods, at the parks maintenance and ranger station- how cool! The area was fenced in, and I couldn’t get any closer, but I stopped my car, turned around, and snapped this photo:

Tiny Ranger House

Tiny Ranger House

A lot of the photos I’ve taken on these trips are not only going to be in my follow-up book to “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” but are being incorporated into a slide-show of inspirational tiny houses that is one facet of my presentations for the Tumbleweed Workshops that I teach around the country. This slide show presents some of the dos and don’t of tiny house construction, and design approach, while also showing off some exceptional, clever, and bizarre deviations people have taken on the Tumbleweed plan designs- and beyond. Domes, Tree houses, Floating Homes, Tiny Houses built from Recycled Materials….they’re all in there!

Upcoming, I’m teaching workshops in…..

(Note: The Chernobyl Workshop is now on hold for some reason.)

I hope to see some of you there and share my addiction and knowledge of tiny houses and design with you all!

Also, if you missed it, here’s a video on what I feel are some of THE BEST tiny house books out there!

 
-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen- Host of “Tiny Yellow House” TV….
My Micro-Housing book is OUT NOW!
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Kendra’s Walden Fundraiser

 

After spending a good amount of time in a variety of living areas, Kendra is seeking something more. Whether living urban, suburban, rural or in the wilderness, there’s always a price to pay. Rent payments are neverending, and no kind of investment to speak of. To make a home somewhere so often means signing up for a mortgage or non-stop payment. Kendra plans to build her Tiny Home when the sun comes back to Seattle. From there she hopes build a farm, create a community center and continue her passion of working in outdoor education and community healing. She may even start a food truck (or food cabin on wheels), or help you build your tiny home, or your dream.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a house on wheels to live and adventure in. I asked for one that Christmas, and awoke to a girly RV toy with little dolls. Dismayed, my tomboy heart deflated a little. “No, like a REAL house, on wheels.” I was informed there was no such thing. I then realized I was going to have to build it myself.

Twenty years later, I was working as an Adventure Guide in Central America, living in a plastic tarp off very little money. I was trying to figure out a way to acquire a homey shelter that could afford me the feeling of home wherever I went. Rent was a taxing idea on so few dollars, and I had college loans to pay off. I recalled my childhood dream, and began searching the internet for images of ‘houses on wheels’. I found Tumbleweed, and was romanced by the visions of their economical warm spaces.

Tumbleweed's Walden

Tumbleweed’s Walden

This spring I will be building the Walden, in Seattle, Washington. Once it’s built, I plan to continue working in as a youth educator and performance artist and build a community garden and healing center with my partner. We hope to host events such as concerts, farm days, DIY workshops, summer camps, as well as host getaways for individuals and families. You can be a part of the process! Check out the fundraising campaign here.

Thanks for your support!

 

 

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Solar Power Woman!

Hey, my name is Cat. My buddy is Cisco, or /Francisco, Caballero de las Llanuras de la Costa del Golfo/. He’s a young English Springer Spaniel mix, a rescue that was picked up in a “dump zone” near Beaumont, TX. I’ve only had him a month. I wanted to give him a proper name to reflect his Spanish heritage, something like /Don Quixote de la Mancha/. (The Gulf Coast Plains is an ecoregion that includes Beaumont.)

Cisco!

Cisco!

I own a smallish 900-sq. ft. house in south Louisiana, in the small, historic town of Grand Coteau. My interest in stewardship of the planet goes back decades. I’ve been a park ranger for the National Park Service, a systems engineer for IBM, performed in the Closing Ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympics. A life rich in experience, but not always rich financially. I’ve learned to be frugal.

In 2007, I had the good fortune to be selected to be trained by Al Gore to be a global warming presenter. Biggest surprise? He was funny! From that workshop, I met someone who told me about a two-week all women’s workshop with Solar Energy International learning photovoltaics (solar). “Wow!” I thought, “at last, I found my niche.” Leading the way, a life of sustainability. So, I formed a company, Cat Dancing Energy. Well, several years later, I’m regrouping. As someone in the industry told me, “The solar business is much more business than it is solar.” How true, running a business is far, far more work than I ever imagined…or wanted. 

Working on the Brad Pitt solar project in New Orleans!

Working on the Brad Pitt solar project in New Orleans!


And, as a “construction” type of industry, not so easy for a woman…unless you want to do sales, or work in the office. (Which I don’t esp. want to do.) Women in the field? Not so much. Nevertheless, I’ve had some good projects, installed a solar demo project for Brad Pitt in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, did an all Women’s install with Grid Alternatives in the SF Bay area, and a variety of other installs, site analysis, designs, energy consulting, taught solar workshops.

Along the way, I discovered Tumbleweed homes, visited Jay’s home the summer of 2011, and attended a Dallas, TX workshop that year with Dee Williams. The Tumbleweeds make a lot of sense to me, and fit in with the desire of a sustainable lifestyle.

At the back of my property is a small cottage, about 10 x 15 feet. It’s something I want to convert into a Tumbleweed. One thing I’ve learned this year, thanks to the 1%, is that working hard is not the way to (necessarily) make money. So, my hope is to convert my cottage into an adorable Tumbleweed with Tuscan styling, and use it as an investment, a little guest house.

Cottage to convert

Cottage to convert

My path then has a two prong approach: continue to try to find my niche in the solar/renewable energy world with the right company, and build a Tumbleweed home. Being a native of the northeast, I typically leave Louisiana during hot summers in search of cooler climates, more mountains, hiking opportunities, solar opportunities, etc. I don’t always have a clear plan of where I’ll go until summer is upon us. Watching “Field of Dreams” tonight, Cisco curled up into my lap. (At 40 lbs, he’s a sizable lap dog.) I asked him, “Where are we going this summer? Iowa?” He just wagged his tail and looked at me with sweet, brown eyes.

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