Tag Archives: workshops

Where have I been? What’s going on?

Where have I been?
It’s a good question! I’ve been really busy the past two months, but haven’t made a ton of progress on the COMET. Other vintage camper people out there, have you ever tried polishing the pitted, foggy aluminum back up to a mirror finish? It takes forever! It also requires a large angle grinder, which I’m embarrassed to say I can’t really lift up in the first place (so it becomes Matt’s job). We’ve been working on it little by little, but it takes many hours and is a crappy job. It’s the one thing standing in between me and a beautiful exterior paint job (also Matt’s forte because he used to do fancy pin striping and decals on cars).

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION ALERT:
www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com
The reason I have been so busy is because I really need money to complete the COMET and I had to put a lot of time and energy into my Etsy shop, where I sell awesome vintage clothing. My shop is called Planet Queen Vintage (based on the T Rex song but also referencing awesome ladies that do cool stuff to positively impact the planet) and I would be so grateful if you guys took a minute to check out all the new stuff and hard work I’ve been putting into the shop the past few months. I added 100+ new items, took better photographs, and increased the overall awesomeness content. Bet you guys didn’t know I run a business on the side in addition to the COMET?! Vintage fashion is my secret weakness ( and vintage furniture, and sunglasses, and campers). All of the profits from the shop right now go DIRECTLY (like, every penny) into finishing the COMET. If you see something you like and decide to buy it, you will be helping me buy some non-toxic exterior paint, some photovoltaic components, and some other little things needed to complete this project. Take a look even if it’s just to give me a critique on the shop, I’d appreciate that too! If you see stuff you like, you can check back often because I add multiple new items every morning. Thank you nice readers!
www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com

Over the summer, after the Tiny House Fair, I found myself really struggling to figure out where I fit in (me and the COMET both). What am I doing with this? Am I making a difference? I wasn’t really sure if I fit in with tiny house movement, after getting those discouraging comments (yes, I know the COMET isn’t a cedar sided 6-12 pitch roof home on wheels – who said it had to be? and yes, I know there are not yet solar panels on the top, its’ not finished!). I started getting frustrated and questioning my work and my whole life really (uh oh). Am I just another over privileged college kid doling out sermons about things I can’t possibly be know all the answers to (life lessons, how to be greener, how to be happy)? Do my blog posts and carefully curated photographs add to the fetishization of simple lifestyles that I’m finding make me more and more uncomfortable? Are tiny houses just becoming another commodity for consumers to purchase and own in addition to their “big” homes? It sounds kind of negative, but I just had to reflect on what I was doing and why, and how to be more honest with you guys and myself, and accept the limits to what myself and the COMET can accomplish. We’re not perfect, and that’s a hard thing to admit. I have to tow the camper with a gas guzzling truck, so is that trade off worth it? I want to educate people about sustainability in a fun, hands-on way with the COMET, but at the same time in order to spread the word and talk to all of these wonderful people I have to use a fossil fuel burning machine. There are lots of contradictions, I just have to be able to articulate them and then wait to see if a reconciliation can ever be reached.
On another note, I have been receiving lots of nice notes / messages from all of you, and I want to say that if I haven’t responded yet it is truthfully only because I want to give each and every response the time and energy it deserves. Sometimes that means it takes me a while to get back to your messages and emails, but I honestly appreciate and love each and every time someone takes a moment to email me. Let me know what you’re up to, ask a question, give me some feedback. I will respond, I just want to be able to give my full attention to all of your awesome inquiries. Keep ’em coming! Thank you everyone for reading along with this journey that is WAY longer and WAY more complex than I thought it would be!! You all keep me going with every comment and email message I receive. You remind me why I have to stick out the difficult parts (angle grinding / polishing) so that I can do the awesome parts (meeting you all on the road, talking to you, and sharing camper stories!).

I also watched “Chasing Ice” the other day, and it filled me with urgency and purpose. It’s a very good documentary.

The past few months Matt’s been getting excited about survival techniques and survivalist skills – which is really awesome because we’ve been making lots of fires from scratch and improving our fire cooking cast-iron skillet skills. We’ve been talking a bit about the similarities and differences between “Survivalist” an “Sustainability” movements. I think after living out of the Honda Element car for two months in the spring we both just got into “survivalist” mode, and even though we’re back in the city currently we still like to do all the stuff we do when we’re camping for a long period of time.

I want to share some cool links with you all that I’ve been collecting the last few weeks, check them out if you have a moment:

This first one is a really awesome interview from the Etsy blog from a while ago. The interviewee is Frankie Moore Lappe, author of “Diet for a Small Planet”. She hits the nail on the head in talking about the problem with how we currently frame sustainability with language and diction like “reduce”, “avoid”, “limits”, “minimalize”. I’ll let you guys read the article then maybe I’ll post the essay I wrote two years ago about the problematic language of the sustainability movement so you can see the similarities + differences.

https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/an-interview-with-frances-moore-lappe/#comment-880359

The next link is to a video of a guy’s conversion van (Sprinter) that I think is pretty neat. The one thing I don’t understand is having a toilet. I lived out of a car for months and I never once missed a toilet (THANK YOU P-STYLE FEMININE DIVERTER!) and I think it would make your living space more unpleasant than pleasant. Other than that, it has some neat ideas. Theoretically, I am sort of getting over the “squeeze as much into the tiny mobile thing as you possibly can” idea, but it’s cool nonetheless. I’m really into the mint green paint job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR0-Y5nHvQ8

Also, the amazing Robin Hayes from Build Tiny (http://build-tiny.com/) is hosting a workshop soon (October 10-13) in VA and you all should check it out. Robin is a really inspiring lady who I have met at multiple workshops all over the place. She is a carpenter, plumber, doer, maker, and all around amazing person to learn from. Everyone loves her and her skill and energy are sure to give you the start you need to get your tiny house or other building project on track. Also, dear friends Dee Williams and Lee Pera (Boneyard Studios) will be there helping out, and you need to meet these incredible, smart, (dare I day gorgeous?!) ladies. You won’t regret it!

http://build-tiny.com/ for more details.

Last thing:
I’m writing a book.
There. I said it out loud. Now I really have to do it.

I seriously wanted to steal this sign from Steve Harrell's house (tiny house listings, tiny house vacations). I'll have to paint one myself!

I seriously wanted to steal this sign from Steve Harrell’s house (tiny house listings, tiny house vacations). I’ll have to paint one myself!

love you all, keep me updated with your cool projects and thank you for reading as always

❤ Mariah

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Tiny House Building Workshop: North Carolina Edition

So, as I mentioned in the last post I had to postpone my March tiny house road trip until April. At first I was bummed out, then I realized I would be traveling south at the same time of Deek Diedricksen and Steve Harrell’s Tiny House Workshop in NC, and now I’m so excited because I get to hang out there! Oh, you haven’t heard of this North Carolina workshop? Well, let me tell you, it’s going to be the biggest tiny house meeting of the minds yet, anywhere. The speakers will knock your socks off. And even though I’m not on the poster, I’ll be around too to talk about tiny houses and answer questions about off-grid stuff, design, sustainability, etc.

zee poster tiny house workshop CORRECTED

Here’s what Deek says about it on his website:

North Carolina Relaxshacks.com Workshop Announced! SIGN UP DETAILS…
HANDS-ON Tiny House Building Workshop with DIY Network Host, Author, Designer, Builder, and Blogger Derek “Deek” Diedricksen. We’re talking almost 35-40 hours of contact, building, demos, networking, and MORE! It looks like we’ll ALSO have a tiny house on wheels visiting us, courtesy of  TENNESSEE TINY HOMES! We’re excited to meet builder Joe, and see what he’s done!
Want to learn how to build a tiny house/cabin? Better yet, want to build one??  Here’s your chance, and we’re limiting this workshop to only 25 total, so as to keep it intimate. Sign up details are below….

JUST ANNOUNCED- EACH ATTENDEE WILL RECEIVE THESE DOOR GIFTS!!!!
A $120+ Value!
Plans for The Sonoma Shanty Cabin from Kent Griswold!6 months of Kent’s Tiny House MagazineLloyd Kahn’s AWESOME BOOK “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter”Tiny House plan sets from COZYHOMEPLANS.comDON VARDO/gypsy wagon plans from Dee Williams and the P.A.D. Crew!Plans for The Darrington Cabin….the one we’ll all be buildingand more……
Its $120+ worth of door gifts for just signing up!
We’ll also be giving away a few copies of my book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” leading up to this event.

 April 26th-28th- Tiny House-Building Workshop #4

I never planned on doing many of these, but the first three I did were so much fun and all of them sold out, so I figured, why not do one somewhere warmer?

So North Carolina it is!
Wilmington, NC, to be precise…

This workshop will be a team up with Steven Harrell of Tinyhouselistings.com and Tinyhouseswoon.com – a THREE DAY, HANDS-ON, WORKSHOP where we’ll collectively build a tiny house! This will be another workshop that will be limited in size, so as to keep it intimate- 25 people or so is the maximum, so if interested, you might not want to wait too long on this. $399 for the three day event. Some food, snacks, coffee, materials, workbooks, and more, are all included.
GUEST SPEAKERS/DEMOS from…  -Kent Griswold of Tinyhouseblog.com (making the trek from CA)-

Alex Pino (FL)- To Discuss Downsizing Techniques (from TinyHouseTalk.com)-

Laura LaVoie- Tiny House Dweller and Builder 120SquareFeet.com-

Steven Harrell- co/hosting, and the man behind Tinyhouseswoon.com and Tinyhouselistings.comand

JUST ADDED…. Dustin Diedricksen- Environmental Engineer, Small House Dweller, Tiny House Builder…..

Andrew Odom- Builder/Dweller/Blogger- TinyRevolution.us

Ryan Mitchell- Builder and Thetinylife.com and we might STILL have more!~

PLUS….
-Campfire discussions at night
-Pizza Party/Cocktail meet n’ greet/networking hang-out
-Salvage Construction Demonstrations
-How to Save THOUSANDS While Building Your Own Tiny House
-What NOT to do when building and designing your own tiny home….
-Tricks Of The Trade and Techniques
-Tool Safety, Selection, and “Old School Tools” (Tools Deek still uses on off grid jobs)
-Designing and tips for space efficiency
-Alternative Building Techniques And Approaches
-Giveaways
These are just some of the things we’ll be covering as we all collectively build and design a tiny house/guest house.”

Obviously, the networking here alone is worth the price of admission. What you learn in between the building is amazing. I have been to all of Deek’s workshops since the beginning, and they are my favorite tiny house workshops! They are super fun, relaxed, informational, and you will make lots of friends. Email Deek (kidcedar@gmail.com) to sign up, and do it quick because it’s almost sold out if not already!

See you in NC!

 

 

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Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Boston, February 9 + 10

It’s that time of year again! The Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop will be happening in Boston in a few short weeks and I’m excited to say that I’ll be guest speaking at this SOLD OUT (!) workshop, talking about my experiences building a Tumbleweed house this fall and sharing my expertise in small-scale (tiny) off-grid systems for your tiny house. The workshop is Feb. 9-10, and you can still put your name on the wait list! Deek Diedricksen is hosting this one, and he’s a wonderful teacher and makes the workshop really fun.

So if you’re already signed up, I’ll see you there! Bring your tiny house questions and get ready to be inspired.

Here's a photo from last year's Tumbleweed workshop, when we visited the first ever built Tumbleweed house that Jay lived in for years.

Here’s a photo from last year’s Tumbleweed workshop, when we visited the first ever built Tumbleweed house that Jay lived in for years.

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Tumbleweed Tiny House Worskhop Re-cap and Progress!

Hello!

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days in favor of getting in some full days of work out in the COMET. I will spare you some of the details (I removed the black water tank. I then had to remove and clean the wood/subfloor that the black water tank sat on. Not pleasant!) so you don’t lose your breakfast, but I will say that I found something HILARIOUS hidden in the walls of the camper under the toilet. My COMET definitely has a history! I’ll post a picture of it later, because it’s too funny (and somewhat lewd) to describe at the moment!

Anyway, what I really want to talk about is the Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop that I spoke at and attended in Boston over the weekend. I was getting over a fever/cold this weekend (I hate summer colds!) but had a GREAT time at the workshop. The main part of the workshop was taught by Derek Diedricksen, tiny house and recycled materials guru. I gave a presentation about how the design and technology of the camper industry can be interpreted into tiny houses, and how you can re-use vintage camper appliances and parts in a tiny house to save money. Mostly, though, I talked about solar power and how to set up an entirely DC Photovoltaic system, which saves you money and is more efficient. People seemed to really enjoy the presentation, and there were lots of questions. For me, it was like accomplishing a life goal, a personal achievement! I can’t believe that after only a few months of working on The COMET I was already speaking at a tiny house workshop – and a Tumbleweed one none the less! I was psyched!

The original Tumbleweed tiny house – Tumbleweed Epu

The workshop was really great. It’s 2 days and it was largely classroom-based. We talked a lot about trailers and what special construction details need to go into a tiny house that is on wheels and will occasionally be moving. There are a lot more structural considerations. Being a builder, not all of the information was new to me, but I do think it’s a worthwhile workshop for someone wanting to know how the tiny house building works. I did particularly like talking about systems for your tiny house and hearing from a presenter, Doug, who had built a Tumbleweed Fencl out of SIPs (when I build a real tiny house – in the future when I’m a real adult – I’m definitely using SIPs!).

Day 2 we spent the morning seeing more presentations about construction and seeing some examples of what NOT to do. The second half of day 2 was the best part: We went to the other side of the city to see and tour the ORIGINAL Tumbleweed tiny house, and Epu model that Jay built and lived in himself for years. It now rests in a magical garden behind big brick walls in Boston (I’m not kidding – we’re talking ponds full of fish, waterfalls, gardens, chickens, and a tiny house in this little oasis). It was cool to see the original design and how that has changed. The Epu had no bathroom, a tiny kitchen and a coffin-like loft. I like the new designs better 🙂

At the Epu location we all sat around a gorgeous pond on a stone wall and listened to a few more speakers. Sage Radachowsky, who lives in his home-built gypsy wagon in a backyard in Boston, spoke about his build process and using found materials. He was wonderful to listen to, and has been going beyond the tiny house and keeping a garden, chickens, and bees. Check out the TIny Yellow House video about Sage’s gypsy wagon home here. I have plans to do a video interview with Sage in his home, and talk about why we choose to live tiny and other big “tiny” questions. I have lots to ask him!

Sage Radachowsky talks about his life in a tiny gypsy wagon that he built.

We then heard from John Hanson Mitchell, author of “Living at The End of Time“. He built and lived in a tiny house in the 80’s, and wrote the book about his experience. It was very interesting to hear his story or living in his tiny house without modern amenities, while less than a mile away a giant computer factory was being built.

The best part of these workshops is the mingling and “networking”. “Networking” makes it sound like a business meeting, but I felt like a met a lot of nice people with similar interests that I would like to keep in touch with. I loved hearing about other people’s plans, and it was nice to be able to offer some first-hand advice.

I can’t wait for Tiny House Summer Camp in July (go to relaxshacks.com to find out more and register!). The Tumbleweed workshop was totally life affirming!

Well, it’s back out to the COMET for another day of work. There’s a lot I have to get done before July 6th (Tiny house Summer Camp), and I leave on Sunday to go to Yestermorrow School for 3+ weeks for Core. I’ll check in later!

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