Granny’s Glassware

Granny’s Glassware

Don’t let the cupboards overflowing with beautiful china and  glassware give the wrong impression, we are far from delicate here in North Idaho.  You have to love the four seasons to make this home. Especially the deep, white, wind-blown, freezing landscape that arrived this Presidents Day long weekend.

I was on a roll with the tiny house project. Excited because I discovered the house heats up quickly with a small propane heater. I think the little wood stove is going to keep me warmer than I need on some days, but barefoot yoga in a toasty tiny house on a frigid day sits ok with me. I love getting the place warmed up, find a playlist and fire up the tools. The installation of the interior tongue and groove wall boards has been highly gratifying and it’s beautiful!

20180203_152129_Film3
Priming boards while it snows.
20180211_133602_Film3
This is the fun stuff!

Since I have yet to shovel a pathway to the house and need to bring in another load of lumber,  and the highs are hovering in the high teens, I work on the downsizing … always working on the downsizing, it seems never-ending.  My grandmother’s glassware threw me for a bit of a loop. It’s pretty depression era glass and it’s been in a dark cupboard for years.  The 2018 Freebie Project is in full swing and I have plenty to offer up but sometimes I have to work through thoughts about some of the stuff.  I surprised myself how moving this process can be at times, you’ve got to purge both the item and the feelings attached to it.  In the end it is both a physical and an emotional cleansing, and it feels really good!  The depression era glass items are finding their way to the right people who love their new piece.

The loft structure is next and I am quite certain the pull to spend a night there will happen quite easily.  I’ll have to adult-proof it before I do that, no falling out of the loft!  Water tanks and other plumbing needs are on their way and I’ll be connecting the plumbing dots.  In the meantime I enjoy the process and live these last days with my children at home. Those three little kids were attached to my hip for what felt like forever and now they are off to live their young adult lives.

00378_p_16ap735ssc0378
These days are long gone.

 

The next adventure begins in March and looks like something I’m going to love, a little mobile home! Summer will be busy with graduation, finishing the tiny house and moving, so touring the Olympic Peninsula before the summer crowds descend will be sweet, even if it rains … it’s the Northwest, pack a raincoat.

552a780b825ef8070b8226d9e4c72d88
#vanlife

Our country is grieving and speaking out for gun law reformation. I don’t know the answer to all the complicated pieces, but I do know we all have the same moments every single day to Be Kind.  Start with yourself and spread it wide.

IMG_20180214_184529_353 (1)

Be well friends,

Hillary D.

Breathe

Breathe

As I shoveled the snow off my front walk, it seemed to me that I had just done this very task not so long ago.  Overnight the summer became a distant blur of sunshine,  long days, and smokey skies with power tools the constant soundtrack playing in the background.  Even though the trees still bear witness to the colors of fall, winter is officially here and with it brings a much needed pit stop on the trek to tiny.  It was just about this time last year that I began to seriously think about this project and the reasons why I should take this trek ,and I have had to circle back around those thoughts plenty of times this summer on those days that I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

My life these last few weeks has been driven by the weather and the noticeably shorter days.  I have enough money and energy invested into this little house that not getting dried in would be a financial disaster and the last scenario I wanted to play out would be having to tear down and redo because the North Idaho driven rain and snow had seeped into every corner of my little house on wheels. It wasn’t easy to blaze over to the job site after spending 8 hours in a hot, busy kitchen teaching teenagers how to knead bread or make gnocchi, but that’s what I did.  The three prominent men in my life continually showed up for me, being those extra hands that made the days work possible and safe.

The progress seemed slow, but we all look at what we accomplished with baby steps and are amazed.  If anyone is considering a project of this scope with the learning curve we had, here is a snapshot of what it takes.

November 2016 – design phase
Memorial Day – We pick up the trailer in Oregon

 

Late July 2017 I begin building the floor system.

 

The month of August I learn how to frame walls.

 

Mid-September we raise the walls.
Late September was spent sheathing.

 

Big blue tarp saves the project from days of hard rain.
October 2017 – Roof rafters go up.

At this point the weather is becoming a serious motivator.  There is still roof sheathing, ice and water shield, sub fascia and fascia, windows, a door, housewrap and the metal roof to go on.  I was thankful that I had purchased materials far in advance and had them ready to go. Late October to the first week of November…

Priming fascia boards in my garage.
Starting to feel like a little house with lots of light.
Feeling encouraged that I just might make it!
Many hands make light work, wrapping the best gift ever.

We made it! The next day we had 8″ of snow.

I’ve learned that I really don’t want to do rough framing again, that installing windows and the metal roof were relatively easy and highly rewarding.  I learned that hanging doors is tricky, especially when your out of square and that having friends who know how to fix that can save your day.  I learned that renting scaffolding is money well spent and that running power tools for days on end can create an annoying case of carpal tunnel.  But mostly I am grateful that outside of splinters and bruises, no one got hurt making my little dream happen.

I won’t be at the little house day after day for a while, but am already thinking about electrical and plumbing and have decided this not a phase I want to DIY.  I’ll do the layout and planning and bring in the professionals for the install. Spring will bring siding and I can begin the interior finish work with the hope that this time next year I am lighting a fire in my little wood stove and curling up with a book and a cup of tea.

Eat the elephant one bite at a time …

Hillary D.

 

A Roof Over My Head

A Roof Over My Head

It’s been quiet on the Trek to Tiny, but only because this menopausal woman has been up the ladder, down the ladder, up the ladder, down the ladder … you get the idea.  There is something rooted deep inside myself that loves the long view of wild places, being out there in snapshots that ground you to terra firma, but this project has taught me lessons about a roof over my head.

The higher off the ground this project goes, the more prone to head scratching, frustrating, tear producing days of work I seem to have.  Let me be clear, I DO NOT LIKE HEIGHTS.  No rock climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving bucket list items for me, I like my feet on the ground after getting to that steep mountaintop.  So as I climbed higher hauling tools and materials up ladders (I eventually got to the point that a really tall sturdy ladder and rented scaffolding was money well spent),  I had to dig deep.   Being the stubborn woman I am, I shed a tear and just keep going.  My partner’s father was a painter and so he has been scampering around on ladders his whole life…it makes my heart drop to watch.

20171008_150646_film1.jpg
My youngest son taking advantage of the scaffolding.

I am deeply grateful for my two sons, and trusty sidekick who have sacrificed many beautiful summer days, afternoons after work, and weekends to be my extra hands, and extra brains … trust me, having extra brains when yours is shutting down in the math realm is super helpful. A local math teacher and her engineer husband brought some much needed precision to the project…

received_515099792159488
Ian and Dinah casually doodle the math on junk mail.
20170923_100124_Film1
Talking rafters on a Saturday morning.

There was no way to escape the bands of rain that were headed my way and no way to get the roof done before the weather hit. I had already learned that hard rain on my insulated floor system stresses me so Amazon came to the rescue and delivered a GIANT tarp quickly. Getting that tarp on the roof in the wind was quite the sight. It became an enormous tsunami wave and it felt like a big deal when we finally got it up.  It’s done the job keeping the house dry.

20170930_131512_film1.jpg
Putting up temporary sheathing to hold the tarp.
IMG_1528
Too much wind and not enough hands!
20170930_140618_Film1
We had some fun under the giant blue bubble.
20170428_075847_HDR
Let It Rain.

I’ve had plenty of solo work days as well, and the lessons on those days will humble you.  I was sheathing walls on a windy day (plywood makes for dangerous kites), moved a ladder and had a forgotten drill drop onto my head (thankfully pointy end up, but I still said a bad word), realizing at the top of the ladder I have no pencil (up the ladder, down the ladder, up the ladder), cutting boards too short because I had measured twice and that number in my head matched the number on the tape…oops.  Not to mention the plethora of nasty splinters that instantly embed themselves my child sized hands.

The task I absolutely hate the most is loading and securing lumber by myself, it truly terrifies me as I drive away.

20170923_092313_Film1
This makes me sweat every time!

My future home is taking shape and I just climb over the hurdles and keep working towards my dream.  A professional builder could of produced this shell much quicker and at a comparable cost, but I have a deeper connection to this 275 sq.ft. of space because I dreamed it and put it there.

The fourth season is pressing in, there is a snow line on the mountains which will just continue to drop until it reaches my tiny house.  The goal is to get completely dried in. Everyday brings me closer, but there is still considerable work to be done. I look forward to a mental and physical break. Time to heal my body in the yoga studio, sleep without weather worries, and not race off to the job site after a full day of teaching cooking classes (another new adventure and learning curve!)

I found myself thinking about how fun it would be to do a school bus or van conversion when this is all done. I guess that tells me I’ll always be a girl who loves a big dream with more dirty hands and a baseball hat in my future.

In the middle of all the chaos happening in the world Tom Petty dies.

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

FB_IMG_1507428944737 (1)
Running Down The Dream…

 

Dream Big, Tread Lightly, Be Kind…

Hillary D.

Splinters, Bees and Bruises

Splinters, Bees and Bruises

I just completed my first week of physical work on the tiny house. I think the house needs a name,  and just like a trail name arises for long distance hikers I’m sure the house’s personality will make itself known.  This week has taught me so much already. Things about myself, tools, materials, and the small little minutiae that can make or break you.

The plans I bought from ShelterWise included material lists and even though I have completely redesigned the interior,  the trailer and shape of the exterior are the same so I didn’t think I needed to recreate the wheel.  Bill’s shop had become a catchall for stuff (like most garages or shops are) so I spent a couple of days pulling everything out, organizing the tooling and creating a usable space.  I am grateful for the access to his tools and he has LOTS of them!

20170728_084053.jpg
Bill’s father was a craftsman and had some really cool tools.

After much research and many YouTube videos,  I felt pretty confident of the steps I needed to complete to get the sub-floor on the 24′ trailer.  My solo Home Depot shopping trip came next.  On my list; 2×6’s, 2×4’s, blocking, joist hangers, 3/4″ TG plywood, adhesive, 5/8″ bolts, washers, lock washers, #9 1/2″ screws, 2″ deck screws, rigid foam insulation and batt insulation.  I added gloves, protective eye-wear, sunscreen and a first aid kit.

Everything was going pretty well until I got to the “Fasteners” aisle … holy cow.  3 out 5 people all had their phones out talking to someone or Googling the fastener they were looking for so I was in good company with feeling slightly overwhelmed. Sure enough the bolts I bought were too long, then they were too short, so by the 3rd trip in I was able to make a bee line to what I needed. I’ll be a Home Depot aficionado by the time this is all over.  It isn’t every girls dream shopping trip, but by the time I had pulled everything and got it loaded into the truck I felt more accomplished than buying a new pair of jeans has ever left me feeling.

20170723_072457.jpg
Ready to roll.

The July heat is on and we’re creeping into those 90ish degree temps that make you really grateful for a good fan and the deep waters of Lake Pend Oreille.  I quickly learned that the galvanized pan on the bottom of the trailer once the sun hits is blinding and hot, making me sympathize with anything I put under the broiler.  I used to sew quite a bit, quilts, clothing, pillows, bags, cushions, curtains … anything that could be constructed with fabric I was willing to tackle.  I also kept the seam ripper close at hand because I inevitably would have to rip apart what was constructed to do it right.  Apparently this build will be no different.  YouTube can only take you so far, the rest of the learning curve happens the hard way and re-doing parts of the floor system taught me some valuable lessons:

  1. It’s better to have “too much” rather than “not enough”, running to Home Depot when things are really rolling because you ran out screws is maddening.
  2. Solo work days are a blessing and a curse when that second pair of hands would be handy, or another brain would be appreciated to help think through a process.  But you just rise up and figure it out.
  3. The right bra and hair ties will greatly mitigate frustration levels.
  4. Ukulele breaks are energizing.
  5. Splinters, bee stings and bruises will be part of the new normal

 

20170728_123406
This was from leaning over the trailer flange.   Looks awful, healed quick!

 

 

I’ve been wearing a necklace with a little turtle charm to remind me that slow and steady wins the race as the Trek to Tiny is a long haul.  Now off to Sandpoint Hot Yoga to keep my back in good shape!

Be Kind and Be Well,

Hillary D.