Monthly Archives: June 2014

I Found a Bathroom Sink!

It’s been almost three weeks since I graduated and I’ve finally started brainstorming details for my tiny house. For the first couple of weeks, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I knew I’d be creating a list of materials and making a budget for them and all but I didn’t even know all the materials I’d need.

There are some things I did know I needed, though! And one morning, shortly after my mother left for work, she called me at home and said there was a free bathroom sink at the end of our road. My dad and I drove down to pick it up, and found a lovely little bathroom sink that is the cabinet kind and has drawers in it. The wood is beautiful too. For free! This is how I’m going to try to get most of my materials as I’ll be struggling financially throughout this project. That’s where you all come in – I can use all the help I can get. If you’re renovating some part of your house and getting rid of materials, let me know. If you see something free on the side of the road, let me know. If you want to donate money, materials, or your own time to help me build, let me know. All will be much appreciated!

This past weekend, I stayed in Boston with my cousins and commuted from there to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Dedham on Saturday and Sunday. Though it sounds like I’d be building tiny houses for two days, the workshop was just the informational part of the building process, and it was actually what I’ve been needing to start my materials list. Tumbleweed does workshops all over the US, so this one served MA, ME, CT, and a couple other states. It was wonderful to walk into a room of over 100 people who live in my general area and are also enthused about tiny living. There was a woman at my table, Deb, who also lives in Franklin County. It was interesting to connect with people and hear their stories and dream to build a tiny house. I was one of a few people who had just graduated high school, and I think the only 18 year old there looking to build my own house instead of helping a parent. The majority of the people there were older adults, many of whom were looking for a retirement home and to get rid of all their STUFF.

The Tumbleweed people gave us a workshop book in which they’d put the entire power point presentation and lines next to each slide for us to write notes. They provided us with different website links and blogs, as well as advice on what parts of the house to buy new and what parts it was okay to use reclaimed material for. This was extremely helpful and I now know most of what I need to know to build a house. At the workshop there were also discounts on building plans, the trailers, and more, so I ended up purchasing my plans (the Cypress 18 Overlook), an instructional DVD, and the trailer!!!

The Bathroom Sink!

The Bathroom Sink!

Back to the Basics

There are a few essentials to life, including food, shelter, basic healthcare, and clothing, and I’ve been wanting to learn how to provide myself with each of them. I don’t want to depend on outside resources for the basics to my own life. My gap year will be formed around these necessities, from learning how to grow my own food to building a house and more.

Since I was very small, my mom would work on sewing projects with me and my friends. I’ve made pillows, bean bags, and even went through a phase where I made stuffed animals and planned on selling them. Now that I’ve been sewing for most of my life, I’ve had a growing interest in learning how to sew my own clothes. I wanted to sew from a pattern and create something that I’d actually wear – that didn’t look handmade. But more importantly, I wanted to make clothes because I didn’t want to go to the mall to buy clothes that were made in a sweatshop in a different country. Most of my wardrobe comes from the Salvation Army or Good Will, but even if I continue to shop there, I want to know that I could make all of my own clothes if I wanted to.

Last summer, I decided to sew myself a dress. I went to my childhood friend Annalise’s house and we worked on our projects together. It was a lot harder than I thought, working from a pattern, and it put me in perspective thinking about all of the clothes I own and how much work was put into each of them, knowing that their creators didn’t get paid nearly enough or even get to wear the clothing they made.

Though I took great pride in completing and wearing my dress, I know it’s only one piece of clothing. I also wanted to be able to make articles of clothing quicker than that; though I’m typically a patient person, I want to be able to wear my clothes soon after I start making them. Over the course of the year, I started experimenting a little more and made a pair of pants from my own pattern. But it was senior year, and I wasted my free time on my iPad and slept and didn’t sew hardly at all.

Now that I’ve graduated high school and made a schedule for myself, I decided to dedicate one afternoon of project time to making a pair of shorts for myself. It took over five hours, but I was able to sew from start to finish (including copying the pattern from shorts I already had) and wear the shorts by the end of the day. I got the corduroy fabric from my mom’s giveaway pile from her textile arts class.

I felt much better and accomplished at the end of the day than I do when I’ve neglected my schedule in the past. I tend to tell myself that I don’t have time to do a sewing project like that because there are so many other more important things on my to-do list. Then I proceed to procrastinate on the to-do list and spend that time on my devices or lying on the floor thinking about doing them. This next year, and really for the rest of my life, I’m going to try to prioritize the things that I’m passionate about because they’re actually more important than the to-do list that I don’t want to look at. And I encourage you all to do the same – I find it’s totally worth putting off going to the bank or doing laundry for one more day.

Here are some pictures of the shorts!

    

Time to Live Simply

I’ve been meaning to make this blog for a while, but for some reason it took me weeks to finally get it started and begin writing posts. I graduated June 7 and have spent the last couple of weeks learning how to handle the freedom that comes with having just graduated high school. Though I spent my entire senior year researching lifestyle and had a pretty solid idea of how I wanted to live my life, I found myself feeling somewhat lost. It felt great being free from a mandatory schedule, but I was overwhelmed by how many options I had. I could spend my free time however I wanted to. For the first week, I tackled my to-do list some, and visited friends, but ended up spending an enormous amount of time on my iPad, just because I could. And because that time was “free”.

Once I’d spent a few days like this, not doing much but looking at a screen, I was reminded of a conversation that Helen and I had with our friend Jyotibhai in India, in which he had encouraged us to evaluate what we do each day and ask ourselves why we are doing it. When I remembered this and when I asked myself why I was on my iPad all day long, I didn’t have a good answer. I wasn’t happy. I realized that having graduated high school, I didn’t think I needed or even wanted a schedule everyday. Yet I wanted to get into a daily routine that would allow me to develop habits like doing yoga every morning and spending time outside every day.

So I made myself a rough daily schedule! I formed it around the habits I wanted to develop, added some meals in here and there, and allowed some time for working on my gap-year projects. When I looked at the time I had left after filling in my necessities, I was amazed at how much time I had left over, and yet I’d managed to spend full days staring at a screen when I could’ve accomplished so much in just an hour! I knew then that I needed to use my time better and take advantage of the free time I had to do something I am passionate about.

I made my schedule very rough so I’d be able to plan each day what I’d fill the spaces with, just so long as it wasn’t screen-related without a good reason. The plan is to go over the schedule every morning to plan out the day with specifics, like Helen and I did in India. Here’s what my schedule looks like:

7:30-8 — Wake up

8-9 — Room time, yoga, day prep

9-10+ — Breakfast, chores, To Do list

10-12 — Free/ outside time

12-1 — Lunch (prep, eat, and clean up)

1-5 — Project time, tiny house work, crafting, etc

5-6:30+ — Family time, dinner (prep, eat, and clean up)

7-8 — Read

8-9:30 — Room time, iPad

9:30-10:30 — Prep for bed, reflection

10:30 — Sleep

Hello world!

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog! As many of you know, I’m taking a gap year before I enroll at Hampshire college in the fall of 2015. I have gotten suggestions from many people to keep a blog over the course of my year, so here it is!

I will write about many different things, but with a focus on my gap year project – tiny house building and simple living. I spent my senior year studying simple living and have been inspired to simplify my life and to gain skills that will help me to become more self-sustainable such as building, gardening, cooking, sewing, etc.

Here’s a link to the book I wrote on simple living for my final senior expedition product. Check it out! http://blur.by/SLFG5L

You’ll also see two other options on the menu bar at the top of this page. My Portfolio will take you to my visual arts portfolio. House will take you to a crowd-source where I will be posting materials that I’ll need to build my house. My hope is that I can get most of the materials free or recycled or donated and that is what the purpose of that site is for. If you’d like to donate something, that’ll be where to go! I’ll post about it when I’ve worked more on the site and you all can start looking at it. There isn’t much to see there now.

If you’re curious about tiny houses and/ or the tiny house movement, here are some good links to follow: tinyhouseswoon.comtumbleweedhouses.com, thetinylife.com

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to comment or email/ fb me!