Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our Tiny Indoor Greenhouse - Under $25

New outdoor light!

This past weekend we put together a temporary green house setup for seedlings!

I'm already a few weeks late, but hey, the plants will still grow! I'll just get my harvests a little later than the rest. I've been doing a lot of reading on different gardening techniques, with a focus on gardening that takes up minimal ground space and provides other benefits to growth and thriving. Vertical gardening has caught my eye and I cannot wait to grow some plants upward! There are many great benefits to growing upward.

Some Benefits to Vertical Gardening:
-minimal ground space used
-more efficient watering directly to the root systems, less wet leaves
-minimal ground cover leaving less places for pests to take cover and wreak havoc
-less chance for destroying your plants as they sprawl on the ground
-physical support system for the plant, allowing for 2-3x more growth and produce  

I also have some fun visions of setting up a semi-living roof. Most everything will be in containers, whether on the roof or on the ground. We recognize and respect that this is not our permanent space and want to be able to easily dismantle and leave the area as close to the way we found it as possible- when the time comes. Additional benefits to a living roof include some level of climate control. We have a black top roof that is sitting in the beating sun all summer long with zero trees or other relief. Even a few beds of soil  as a mass and some bushy plants for shades could greatly help our cooling efforts. The vertical gardening will also be strategically placed in front of the house to shade the utility closet most of the day. Now that we have very expensive batteries in there that cannot over heat, providing shade is a high priority this summer. Needless to say, I'm quite excited to experiment and grow food once again! Hooray! 

We bought some basic hardware at the big box store ($12) that will allow us to put up temporary shelves in the spring. They are simple racking bars with slats for arms to lock in at different heights. When not in use, they easily tuck away behind the curtains. The pine board we had under the house. Instead of the pricey seed starter containers, I got some tinfoil pans and covers for about $2.00. Some all natural seed starters ($6) fit nicely in each one. Now just add soil, seeds, and water! I ordered some heirloom seeds from a great group called the Seed Savers Exchange.

In other news, our outdoor light has been broken for about a month. I should clarify- the wire hanging off the side of the house with a cheap light bulb fixture coming right off the end, no longer had a working light bulb. We bought a basic mount fixture and flood lights. The back half of the farm, and the county for that matter, is lit up. JEEZE. I'm not sure I like how bright they are...and they pull 8 amps! Wooh! That's hefty. Our fridge pulls 3 amps when it kicks on. 

Finally- a little note about my week days. I've been baking up a storm and hope to develop a line of gluten free breads! I'm doing the research in the kitchen and on the business side. I've started putting together a list of the forms, licenses, and certifications I will need to get. Some of the breads have turned out surprisingly well, and I find myself more excited and hopeful than I have been in a long time. 

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Lemon Poppy Seed

Everything Rolls

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Review of Our Waterless Loo

Full of our bio-goodness...
doesn't look gross to me!
As the winter months have worn on, our focus has shifted to improving the interior aspects of our home. That includes our toilet system.

A subject of much fascination, and just as much incredulity, the naturally composting toilet is really quite manageable and simple. As I have mentioned before, I strongly suggest to anyone interested in learning legitimate information on the subject- The Humanure Handbook. There have been few books that have had such a radical effect on my perspective and my choices. This book presented the subject objectively and the logic and cascading improvements that can occur seemed too much to pass by. I was resolute in using a naturally composting toilet after reading this book.

At the most basic level, it's all about the nitrogen to carbon ratio - which also inherently ties into moisture levels. If there is an excess of nitrogen, that is what causes the smell. If there is enough carbon to absorb this, the smell is neutralized. Carbon can be in the form of hay, leaves, wood shavings...any dried plant matter would work well. As for moisture, well that's kind of universal- if it's too moist, it's going to smell soon. I've seen plenty of comments from people saying something along the lines of:"I've been around composting toilets, and no matter what they say, it does smell. It stinks all the time." -To those people I would like to say, "Well, then you have been around a composting toilet managed by someone who doesn't know what they are doing." I've given serious thought more than once to making a video montage of just person after person stepping into our house and immediately asking them, "What does it smell like in here?" The most common answer? Fresh wood. 

~I am here to tell you, I've seen, smelt,  and lived it for over a year now. Composting toilets DO NOT STINK if they are properly maintained.~ 

A detail that I have come to value is that it's very important to have "live" carbon, as in, the material was never treated in any way. Often times, wood shavings are from heat treated wood, which means they are devoid of any of the microorganisms that help the composting process along. Yes, the stuff will still eventually compost, but it takes much longer. While many composting toilets use expensive and sizable incineration units (which from a nutrient cycle standpoint are just as bad as the regular flush), a naturally composting toilet can be obtained for less than $10. We have a five gallon bucket with a bench built over it to provide comfortable, traditional seating with the use of a toilet lid. All you need after that is some wood shavings, leaves, or hay--and of course some TP. 

So what are the chores of a composting toilet like? Not really much at all. We built an outdoor compost pile with recycled pallets. We take the bucket out about once a week and bury it in the large dedicated compost pile. Once the bucket is dumped, we rinse and scrub the bucket with biodegradable soaps and a toilet bowl brush. After the bucket is washed and rinsed, we return it under the bench and put down a fresh layer of shavings. Maintaining a steady supply of wood shavings has turned out to be the more onerous aspect. Since we haven't been doing a lot of work with wood lately, we don't have the benefit of free live wood shavings. We purchase shavings right now, and have to store them inside as well. I don't like paying for something I once got for free, especially when the kind that costs money is less superior.  These shavings are from treated wood, so the composting activity is minimal compared to what I have seen. 

Anyways- this drove me to find ways to improve the process. I was beginning to see that about 80-90% of our deposits were just pee, but there is the carbon and moisture to think about, so even every few pee deposits would require some shavings. The cost and challenge of storage space directed my focus to the shavings.  How can we use less? I remember seeing a small blurb as I researched composting toilets, but only read the title: "The Benefits of a Urine Diverter". I wish I had read that! I started looking into it recently and have learned some amazing things about pee! 

First and foremost, this would immediately solve the shavings issue- as this would eliminate 80-90% of the need for shavings! An added bonus would be the serious decrease in how often we would need to take the bucket out. I estimate every 2-3 weeks now! Not to mention- the outdoor compost pile is less than six months old and is fast approaching max capacity. I don't want our piles to be any larger than the space we built!

To complete the composting cycle, you need two piles that you rotate between each year. After letting one pile rest for one year, it is completely composted and safe for use as a fantastic soil additive, then you have an empty space to start that upcoming year's pile. 

Back to the tinkle, though. I have always known that urine can be a great fertilizer for the soil, I just didn't realize how great it really was. There is a lot of exciting research going on out there which shows that we could easily produce all the fertilizers we need to grow food and feed our country just by using our urine! No need for artificial chemicals or genetically modified monster plants. The ramifications of this shift in farming techniques is overwhelming. I'll just pick a few quotes that really nailed it home for me...

“The average person flushes the toilet five times a day, and four of those times are just for urine. This means that 80% of our flushwater—or over 4,000 gallons of clean water each year per person—is used just to get rid of urine! That is a lot of clean water used to transport ‘liquid gold’ into the sewer, where it becomes pollution. If we save it instead of flushing it, we can harvest a valuable resource that we can use in agriculture.” - Rich Earth Institute

"Human urine is naturally rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, and with about 30 billion gallons produced every year in the US alone, it’s certainly in abundant supply. For the average person, a year’s worth of urine contains about eight pounds of nitrogen and nearly one pound of phosphorus – that’s enough to grow about one year’s worth of food!" 
-Rich Earth Institute

Read more here....and here.

As a result of all this, we were inspired to install a urine diverter. Now, there are many makes and models out there that will get the job done, but again, we like it cheap and simple. Ergo, the ginger bread men jar. BOOM. Urine = Diverted. hahaha

And for anyone completely horrified by this or the composting of poop, I urge you to do some research. Urine is sterile in healthy humans, and with all the added benefits it has for the earth and our future as a species, it's time we all re-think our immediate reactions to number one and two. It has been used all over the world for thousands of years in farming- with much more promising and sustainable results than any chemical product out there today. What I find most amusing, is that pretty much every person that is grossed out by composting human pee and pooh, readily accepts that- of course- it's good to fertilize the gardens with cow, goat, chicken, pig, etc pee and pooh. With so much tendency to think we are superior, why wouldn't our stinky stuff be superior as well? I've never understood that one. ;)

Sophisticated system, I know.

So with the new system in place, I find myself excited to do my own experiments with urine as a fertilizer for anything I might grow around the tiny house this season. Right now, we just water it down and dump it over our compost pile. I'm hoping it will give things a nice kick start and make up for all of the slowly composting treated shavings. We have already found that the ginger bread men take up just a little to much room, so we found a slimmer model. Once we eat all those pickles, it's the new wee pot! I cannot wait to get my hands on two books I ordered: Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine To Grow Plants and the Life Of Pee. I'm sure I'll be sharing what I learn in future posts!

In other news, we are in the March issue of RI Monthly Magazine! Grab yourself a copy and check it out! We were also lucky enough to get to see all the photos that Nat took, not just those included in the feature. They make our place look fantastic! (I can hear Dan now, 'That's because it IS a fantastic place, babe.") I grabbed a bunch of copies to share with family, we are so excited! :)

In other, other news, after a very long period of thought and deliberation, I have left my corporate travel job. The tiny house and the smart choices we have made with our financial habits has allowed me to make such a decision. I was no longer hamstrung by the fact that we needed a certain amount of money every month just to maintain. Paying off my car and CC's was huge. Now that our monthly living costs are much lower, I have more freedom to explore other options and seek out something that genuinely fulfills me. I'm not sure what that is yet, I've spent the last week just trying to get back in touch with who I am...was...or would like to be again. I have been cooking, painting, playing music, writing, photographing and feeling more alive by the day. I've also had serious boughts of worry, fear, uncertainty, but I knew that would come as part of the package. I was getting very comfortable and attached to the security of the job I had, but I also saw, what I considered the best and most interesting parts of me, slowly fading as all my energy each day went into work or just persevering the awful side effects of that work. 

Our future diverter- coffee mug for reference.
While many think I'm being foolish or perhaps just "not very smart" about this, I don't care. Ultimately it is my life, and I will do with it what I choose. On my last day, the only person I have to answer for is myself, and I don't want to be one of the vast majority that says they wished they had more time. They wished they had taken more risks and followed their own desires versus what was considered safe, smart, or conventional. 

It certainly won't be the first time in my life that I have made and stuck by a decision, despite many close to me warning against it. (Hint, this entire blog chronicles one of them.) And, I truly hope -that like so many times before- my choice, grit, and dedication will be met with amazing success. I want to try developing my own business of some sort, and I feel there is never going to be a better time than NOW. I'm still young, no kids yet, so I feel now is the time to give it a shot and see if I still have the fire and gumption to create and succeed with my own business. It could very well be a collection of smaller businesses, or just one solid business, or I might find that I prefer working for steady pay and letting someone else manage the headaches. Who knows!? I'm willing to face any outcome, because with that comes the contentment of knowing I tried and went after what I wanted. I guess that is what ate at me most...I was staying at a job I didn't particularly enjoy and certainly didn't personally interest me, and for what? I couldn't live with myself if I just stayed sitting at that desk because it was the "safe" or "smart" thing to do.  

There are three quotes (among thousands!) by Thoreau that I constantly recite to myself as of late:

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

"However mean your life is, meet it and live it." 

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Little Stint In Livin' Large

Avoiding one another at the big house...
This past week, Dan and I did some house-sitting for his parents while they enjoyed a vacation on the West coast.

Lucky ducks! They picked quite a great week to get the heck outta here! We got more snow dumped on us and some of the coldest temps and strongest wind chills I've seen since living in RI. While we were happy to help and allow Dan's rents to go off on vacation worry free, I was surprised at how much I would rather have been home!

It's hard to explain- I just felt kind of drained staying in such a large space. I'm big about energy; each of us and every space we inhabit carries energy. I almost felt like my energy was diluted by the space. There were rooms we never visited, except to clean. It might sound silly to some, but I think others living in tiny houses would understand. There's a certain loveliness about being in a space that is efficient, multi-functional, and specifically suited to my interests and needs. I truly have embraced this way of living, and after this week at a large traditional house, I wonder how I will adjust when we inevitably move on to a larger (not by much!) traditional space. 

Despite the unlimited electricity and internet, the running water and fully equipped bathrooms, the appliances like the microwave and dishwasher...none of it swayed me. I still, unequivocally prefer The Pod. No doubt, other challenges of the week helped this along. Due to our current pickle with our propane tank, we are still rotating 20 pounders that last typically 3 days. WELL- with this ridiculous weather- the cold and the wind- those tanks went a lot faster, resulting in me having to visit our house nearly every other day while managing a larger house too. Twice that week, I returned to the Pod to find that the tank had run dry and house was quickly approaching outdoor temps. One day it was 32, the next time it was 36. I was not a happy camper. Half of my plants died, and thanks to the winds, the small, yet long, path leading up to our house was nearly non-existent. 

Wading through snow up to your hips in the whipping wind, only to find your house is barely warmer than the outdoors can be quite trying. Those who know me, know how much I love my plants, so that was particularly upsetting. On top of this juggling act, we adopted a second bunny named Walter the week before. We got him from this great little rabbit rescue place called Sweet Binks. But the bonding process met a few hitches.

One of Deek's tiny structures at the RI Flower and Garden Show
Bonding bunnies can be a tricky task, and it's not always a quick or consistent process either. Hauling our basic clothing/bathing/food needs over to the big house for the week was cumbersome enough, then add on the crates, the food, the litter boxes, etc for two rabbits. Sheesh! Had me feeling like we need to downsize our crap yet again! The switch in environments also caused some havoc for the bunnies. The progress they made towards being friends seemed to back track in the new unknown environment. We had some scuffles and I worried for a moment that maybe this bonding wouldn't work. 

Annnnd one more thing to add on to the week of challenges- I arrived at the difficult, yet exhilarating decision to leave my current job. It is a very demanding travel job, that was quite a ways from where I live. I've come to face the fact that this job was not going to take me in the direction I ultimately want my life to go. It doesn't align with my passions, nor leaves me much time or energy to pursue my passions. Thanks to the tiny house and the financial changes we have made in day to day habits, I have the breathing room to make a decision towards improving my chances at career happiness. Although I don't have any particular leads as of yet, I find myself excited and rejuvenated in ways I didn't think possible, simply by choosing to leave behind something that did not make me happy. I know I want to eventually end up owning my own business, but I'm realistic and know it will start as a part time venture.
Best buds back at home... :)

Another of Deek's "relax shacks"

So, all in all, it's been quite a week! But it concluded in the best way possible! We returned home, settled back in, and it was like the bunnies flipped a switch and are back to being calm snuggle buddies once again. PHEW. Then we decided to head on over to the RI Flower and Garden Show, and as luck would have it, we showed up just early enough to catch Deek's presentation. Meeting Deek (of Relax Shacks) was awesome, and I am so pumped to make one more connection in the tiny house world. He even asked if we would like to come hang out at his next workshop in May! Conveniently, it's just 15 minutes from where we live. What! We might even speak a little about our experience as full on off-grid tiny house dwellers. AWESOMENESS

It's Deek! EEE!

I also checked my email to find a sneak peak at the Rhode Island Monthly Magazine feature of us and the photos are so great. I cannot wait to officially share with you all! WEE!

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Green house out of recycled soda bottles! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Keepin' It Tight - Even In A Tight Space

Our tiny house gym can fit most anywhere.
Everyone, meet our tiny house gym.

Staying fit and active has always been a big part of each of our lives, and moving into a small space certainly wasn't going to make that change. I once had an excess of exercise equipment, and honestly, I think I had so much because I had a "spare" room. Don't we all imagine it will be a home gym one day? HAAA. "Part time use and full time debris" is a phrase that comes to mind. I think I tripped over the stuff more often than I used it. The equipment included a full size exercise ball, several free weight sets, resistance bands, stepping blocks, stationary bike conversion kit, ab cruncher, etc. I got rid of a good chunk of it as a "set" on Craigslist. I was several items lighter and $20 richer, and this cute, little petite lady- who spoke barely a word of English- looked so happy she could die. :)

I digress. After working a traveling job for several years, and researching all things portable and compact, I've come up with a very effective trio of tools that take up minimal space. I actually got two of the three items for Dan for Christmas. It's pretty remarkable the results we have seen since then. 

Our Tiny House Gym

4. Outdoor Cardio! -Running, biking, roller blading, hiking, snow-shoeing, SHOVELING

This combination of tools, plus basic floor exercises, like lunges and push ups, allows us to hit pretty much every major group of muscles- AND- with functional movements which are several times more effective than the typical isolated movements seen with machines. Through working at a physical therapy office, I learned that any movement with an added layer of instability, became incredibly difficult and effective. Results were also swift and unparalleled. Ever since, I have searched for tools that add the element of instability.  I really hope to get a Bosu ball at some point, but I have more downsizing to do if that's the case! 

Dan and I typically do a floor routine 3 times per week. Dan has his own regimen of various push up positions using the Push X Pros that activate all areas of his arms, chest, and back. I do some push ups, planks, and windmills with them, but my strength isn't quite there yet. We both do a few sets of ab rolls, lunges, squats, and various resistance moves with the bands. I focus on my shoulders when using the bands. 

On occasion, Dan will even use our water bricks as weights. They are an excellent way to add a challenge for squats and add some instability (due to the sloshing water)! For cardio, we enjoy doing a great deal of different activities, lately it's just been shoveling. I'm ready for spring. I can't wait to do yoga at sunrise on our deck! Glorious!!

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Simplification: A Continuous Practice

My jewelry box was a thrift store find,
jazzed up with some paint I had around.
Even in a tiny house- there can be excess.

Dan and I have lived in the Pod for 15 months now. We can both easily say we have fully adjusted to living in a tiny house, but old habits and old notions can take time to fade. At times, we still find ourselves with chaos, disarray and a feeling of having too much crap. Life comes with a certain level of messiness which the OCD child within me has painfully begun to accept, but the day to day hustle and bustle of not putting away the pajamas as we run out the door to work, is not the same as having too many dang pajamas-- which I consider a different kind of messiness...usually goes by the name of clutter.

Maybe it's the new year; maybe it's just my typical pattern as I eagerly await spring, but I find myself wanting to weed out even more of the dwindling unnecessary. It's pretty remarkable that we have downsized our belongings by about 70% or more, and here I am still inspired to have less. Human beings have an astounding capacity to adapt. I've come to really enjoy the thrill and weight-lifting sensation that comes over me as I get rid of stuff.

Wow! I can actually reach in a pull out one piece
vs a knotted wad of chains and dangles!

I spent a lot of time toward the beginning of this journey getting rid of stuff. And at first, it was tough for me. But the more I examined the situation and asked myself what value the stuff honestly had, I found that it rarely amounted to anything that could deter my desire to be financially free and living a  simple sustainable life. It has been several months since I have taken stock of my belongings and asked those questions. In that time we have had holidays and other gift giving celebrations, and so surprise! Life just has a way of quietly tacking things on if you're not vigilant. 

I've realized that to live minimally, for me anyway, must be a constant practice and series of questions. How many purposes does this item serve? How often is this item used? How often is this item in the way? What sentimental value does it hold? A new rule I have taken on for clothing and accessories is "One in, one out". If I get a new top, I have to pick a top from my closet and donate it. If I get a new pair of boots, I donate an older pair of boots. This has been one of the most successful rules I've put into place. It allows me to gradually, perpetually update my wardrobe without it increasing in size. Recently I had an urge for a purge, and combed through my closet with far less emotion than I used to- quickly removing five items. These, I don't plan to replace, so I will be slowly downsizing my overall wardrobe as well! 

See ya later!

This weekend, I set my sights on my jewelry. I realize that I barely wear any these days, so there was no need to have a jam packed jewelry box- which is out in the open by the way. I moved through that quickly too, getting rid of about 60%. I set aside pieces that might be worth something at the pawn shop, and put the rest in a baggie to be donated with the clothes. 

Part of this was also inspired by a series of TED Talks I have watched, mainly about living simply and getting out of debt. Check them out! 

A Rich Life With Less Stuff -A story I can relate to..

Sell Your Crap. Pay Your Debt. Do What You Love.  -Really love this guy's message!

The Less You Own, The More You Have

The Ten Item Wardrobe

Checkout Project 333 as well! Very cool concept. I hope to get to that point soon!

Good luck to each of you making your way to a tiny life, whatever your inspiration or motivation may be! Start getting rid of your stuff and be mindful of gaining new stuff! You will be that much closer to your dream!

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Cozy Through The Storms

Just checking in real quick!

We've been keeping pretty busy just keeping a path cleared to the tiny house! We made it through the first storm no problem, and I sit here nice and cozy as we ride out the second. I think all the snow around the base of the Pod is helping keeping us a bit warmer too. 

We are certainly loving our deck from a whole new perspective! I can't imagine thrashing around in snow up to my hips and then walking directly inside! I'd take a pile of snow right in with me! I think one piece I do miss about larger homes is the entry way or mud room. You don't realize how useful they can be until the first mud season or good Nor'easter. But we make do! We hand our snow dripping clothes in the bathroom and place a towel on the ground. 

Not much else has been going on here! Dan is in full swing with work and school, and I'm trying to adjust to having so many free nights. I am determined to get back to guitar and painting on a regular interval, so I'm making the most of it. Who knows- I may even start a quilt for our bed. I have decided on a pattern- simple, but still pretty and bright.

We were eager to see if the power would go out in either storm, but alas, it did not. I don't know why we are so tickled by it, but we are just so happy about being totally solar power based. I've also started noticing solar panels left and right, in all sorts of uses. HOORAY!

In other news- we are giving Wendy "free range" times and working towards letting her be a free range bun all day long. We are also very excited to meet tentative bonding partners for Wendy this Saturday! We've read a lot about the benefits of rabbits being in pairs, and they are less likely to get bored and be naughty. I've really learned a lot about rabbits and gained a much deeper appreciation and respect for the little fluffy creatures. :) We are going to visit a great little specialty shelter dedicated just to rabbits. It's called Sweet Binks and they are great people. I was astounded by how many rabbits are dropped off at a shelter or just abandoned each year. The biggest culprit is Easter. So many parents buy their children a cute little baby bunny with no regard for the 10 year commitment a rabbit can be. I read about an Easter present bunny that a couple girls "set free" in the heat of July. The poor guy was found collapsed in the beating sun, and nearly died of dehydration and heat.

I'll be the first to say I love dogs above all other types of pets. No question. They have qualities and a level of connection that no other animal can match, but Wendy has opened my eyes to respecting, loving and connecting with any little fuzzy creature. What's the point here? I didn't have one really, when I started, but I guess it would be: If you are thinking of getting a little chick or bunny for your kid for Easter, remember that's a life you are taking responsibility of! Make sure your child is ready for that level of responsibility or just get them some candy*!
 (*In this instance I condone candy.)

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Where does she immediately go? To investigate the blockade for weaknesses.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Whirl Wind Weekend

We never thought we would be this happy to start the work week.

Dan and I both had a hell of a weekend thanks to separate, but equally stressful and extensive emergency situations at work. The short story is Dan didn't go 20 minutes from Friday night to Sunday night without answering or making a phone call- and more often than not to field one disaster after another. (He had the "emergency phone" for work for the first time and experienced the worst case scenario apparently.) My company had this listed as a 3 day weekend, but I worked Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We both felt quite robbed and definitely drained. So I'm keeping it short and sweet once again- focusing on the awesome things that happened this weekend.

#1 - The Cushion Cover Miracle
I cut the material the weekend before, knowing that we would have a photographer in our midst. That was the best move ever. I feel sewing is equal parts cutting and stitching. When all the pieces are cut, I feel halfway there. Friday night I got home and, with the deadline of 12pm the next day lighting a fire under my arse like nothing else, I started churning out the good stuff. I started by making the pillows and gauging my energy after that. The work week had been stressful, long days, and go go go from punch in to punch out. 

Well, let's just say the cushions were like fuel injections. I saw that first, $4 thrift store pillow come out looking like something brand new and on main display at the {insert specialty Home Decor store}. I was like, "Oh heck yes! I'm going till I drop now!"

I ran out of juice at about 1030pm. I had managed to complete both pillows, hem the overlap panels for each cushion, and stitch together the 4 side panels for each cushion.  That left pinning and stitching together the top and bottom panels to the side panels. 

I woke up at 630 Saturday morning and immediately got to work. I only stopped briefly to take a few photos with something handy- sorry it ended up being the cell phone- I was in turbo sewing mode. Forget my pictures! A pro was coming soon enough! I finished the covers just one hour before, Nat Rea, the photographer for RI Monthly Magazine, arrived. WHEEW.

I stood back and marveled at what I had just managed to accomplish. I hammered out about 9 solid hours of sewing work over the course of 19 hours. At my normal rate of sewing projects, it would have taken till Summer! Some of the cushions could use a little more stuffing and fluffing, but I'll get there and for now it still looks pretty dang fabulous. The colors look great, the patterns are so eye popping, and it completely transformed that wall of the house. Instead of a frumpy bland eye sore, we now have a captivating centerpiece for an entire wall! 

I would also like to add that my math was pretty dang close for this project. By the time I was done cutting what I needed, I could clutch inside my hands what was left over. I even had to make a last minute improvisation. I ran out of the coral/red material, but still needed the short side panels. I happened to "by out" the remaining material on the roll for the pillow material and decided to use that to make the ends. I feel like it gives a whole new layer of interest to the eye- and completely unplanned! 


Awesome Thing #2 - Photo Shoot.
We had a great time meeting and working with Nat. He brought a lot of equipment which I drooled over and probably took way too many pictures of--is that weird? taking pictures of camera equipment?
Ha! Oh well. Nat brought a great lense that no one else has used so far. He showed us a few of the shots and we were amazed at how wide an angle was caught and held in view.  Needless to say, we cannot wait to see the finished images and the spot in the March issue of RI Monthly Magazine! 

Awesome Thing #3 - Interview 
On Sunday, we had our interview with Jamie. It was a good thing that Nat came Saturday, as Sunday proved to be over cast and dreary. We both had a great conversation with Jamie and thought it was interesting to speak on the topics and the perspective she was going for with this piece. We spoke about space, money, and earth saving habits that everyone can apply to their lives- you don't have to live in a tiny house to make a difference! 

Awesome Thing #4 - I have skates once again!
I grew up on a lake, and some of my fondest memories of the winter are skating and listening to music until well after dark. The flicker of the porch light was my signal to come in for the night. More than once this past week, I've looked out at the frozen pond, right in front of The Pod, and wished I could get in some time on blades. I know it would do wonders to unwind me. We had a warm couple days, so I've got to wait for the surface to harden up again, but I'll be out there soon! Yahoo!

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