Wood Hobby Club – Day 2

Tonight I went to my second wood hobby class. I’m a visual leaner, and it’s very hard for me to absorb information through listening, especially numbers. Going over the homework from last week of figuring out how many board feet we’d need to make an end table was frustrating for me; I had to focus very hard. I didn’t have all the right numbers, but my logic was good, so I’m not too worried about planning.

Listening to talk of particle board and cheap furniture gave me an appreciation for quality, handmade stuff. The projects we’ll be making in wood hobby club will be made of real wood and crafted with care. It makes me even more excited to build a home that’s not full of cheap, crappy materials.

We learned about selecting wood for a project. Cabinetry is a lot more precise than carpentry and there are more small pieces that have to fit together very well. We talked about knots, the heart of a tree, the different ways boards aren’t perfect, and the different ways wood can change over time. It gave me a new perspective on wood. We take it for granted that all our furniture is flat and all our doorways are perfect rectangles, but that goes against nature. Trees are round, and then we make square things out of them. It’s odd. I never thought a lot about how living things become a piece of furniture or a house, but wood swells and shrinks and always wants to go back to its original curve. Anything made out of wood can’t be exactly perfect; you just have to do the best you can.

I’m still trying to decide what to make. Most people are making the same end table, but I really don’t need any furniture. I don’t know where I’d put an end table. I’ll probably make one anyway, with a few tweaks, because even though I don’t need one, it’ll be lovely to have a beautiful pine end table that I built myself. I love the smell of pine, and it’s the cheapest and most forgiving, so everyone’s using it for their project.

The hobby club has a lot of tools that would be very useful for making my built-ins for the house, so after the course is over I think I’ll join the club so I can continue using the tools and the space. I can’t wait to start work on my project and start using the tools! Creating is a wonderful thing.


Inspiration and Other News

Back when tiny houses were just a cool idea to me, a couple months after I discovered them, I was sitting in art class doodling and listening to music. I had recently seen a tiny house online with some really cool scalloped siding, and that made it into my drawing. By the end of the class I had a drawing of the facade of a beautiful tiny house, complete with colour scheme ideas and quotes from the songs I’d been listening to. One of the songs was from the Tarzan soundtrack, which was one of my favourite movies as a kid. The song plays in the background as Tarzan’s parents build their home while he’s still a baby. “A simple life, they live in peace.” “Build high the walls, build strong the beams, a new life is waiting…” There will always be something so comforting and natural to me about building your own home, fit to your needs, to start the rest of your life in. Sometime soon I’ll have to dig up the drawing, which is too light to show up when scanned, and do a darkened version to upload.

The other day, I thought of the tiny house that had inspired the scalloped siding and wanted to share it, so I looked it up. I couldn’t actually find a lot of good pictures because the house only appears in its own 20 minute documentary. I watched it and was inspired all over again; it’s worth the time to watch it. It doesn’t have a lot about the build, but their journey chasing their love of the slopes is fabulous. What’s more inspiring than someone following their dreams? AND using a tiny house to do it? I was riveted. See the video here. And take a look at what they use for a staircase 🙂

In other news, I have been very busy this week starting wood hobby club and my new job!

The first night of wood hobby club was just the introduction – to the people, the project, and the workshop. I have a little calculating to do for how much wood I’ll need to build a nice nightstand/end table. It’s going to have a drawer and a cupboard, and we’re going to learn how to do dovetail joints and raised panel doors.

As for the new job, it was an accident. I’d been looking for a second job so I could stay at the local restaurant where I worked but get more hours. My friend Bailey mentioned that the restaurant where he works was looking for a part-timer with experience, so I went in for an interview. Then they offered me full time: first I’d be bussing/doing dishes 6 days a week, and then in April they have a server leaving, so they planned to train me for serving as well. The serving hours would be a lot less but tips would make up the difference, and I’d only be working three days a week. I took some time to think about it. I asked about getting time off for the annual family vacation and getting the right nights off so I could still do wood hobby club. They said no problem for both, so I accepted. I did love my old job, but this one was too perfect to pass up! It’s exactly what I need: work as much as I can now before the build to save money, and then switch to less hours come spring so I have time to build! I’m thanking the universe.

Who Says Tiny Houses Can’t Front?

In my tiny house research, I keep reading that in a lot of places, tiny houses can’t “front” – as in be the main house at the front of a property. Generally tiny houses are on the line between legal and illegal because of size minimums, so owners tend to keep them out of sight. I understand that, and if you’re renting, you’re probably not parked in front of someone else’s house. But when someone wants to build a small house on their own property, they’re not allowed. People are worried about their property values going down and neighbours apparently don’t want to see little houses. That’s only because people have this idea in their head of tiny houses being cheap and run-down, like some trailer parks. But just because a house is small, it doesn’t mean that a lot of care and work didn’t go into it. There are some gorgeous tiny houses out there. Since they’re custom-made, tiny houses are unique and usually colourful. I don’t like the usual identical houses in drab colours. I’d rather see tiny houses!

And I do! Just driving to work and to town, I’ve noticed a bunch of small houses that front a property. On a nice day, I took a drive with my camera to capture some of them. There’s actually a lot, when you look.

Well-kept houses are attractive, no matter the size.

This one isn't super small, but it's adorable!

This one isn’t super small, but it’s adorable!

I see this one on my way to work. It’s one of the first ones I noticed.

Cute, eh?

Plenty big enough to live in.

I love the little gazebo room.


Look at the sunburst wood pattern!

On the way to town.

This one’s actually in a trailer park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have cute shutters and nice siding!

Another one in the trailer park. Adorable little well!

The eye-catcher of the trailer park. They even have wrought iron table and chairs on the porch, complete with a pumpkin. Nice cars, too. Living small doesn’t have to mean you can’t afford bigger.

Another on the way to town.

Small house = more time for life.

This one even has a covered front porch, lovely!

Who says bigger is better? I’d feel lonely in a big house.

Plenty of room for life.

These ones are actually little apartments.

There are about four trailers hidden behind the trees. Not sure if it’s for privacy or because of a rule.

Cute and well-kept.

I doubt I’m ever going to live in a sub-division with a million rules about what I’m allowed to do on my own property. That’s one of the reasons I don’t want to live in an apartment; I want to put holes in the walls and paint and decide everything myself. People should be free to express themselves through their dwellings, and their house should suit their lifestyle. All the identical houses and mirror image apartments might be designed for the average person or family, but no one’s average.

We Have a Ramp!

My dad’s home from Ottawa for Thanksgiving, and we built a ramp for our shed today 🙂

It’s not perfect, but it’ll do the job of getting the lawn mower and snow blower into the shed.

I got to try out my new drill! It’s a little more difficult to go slowly with, so I made a couple of pretty deep screw holes, oops! But hey, that’s why I’m practicing on a shed. We used some of the leftover wood too, so all we had to buy was one more board.

It took us about two hours.

It took us about two hours.

Oh, and Dad finished up the roof the other day:

It looks great!

It looks great!

The shed could still use some finishing touches, but it’s a pretty good little building!

Guest Post!

Hi, my name is Bailey, I’m 18 and I’m a friend of Natalie’s. After she introduced me to the tiny house movement it was like my eyes were widened to what people are capable of actually DOING with their lives. I’m a thinker, recently I’ve become more active with myself but for most of my life I’ve always been in my own little self sufficient world. It was great because I had all these ideas to work with and a really great imagination, but I also realized that I don’t want to live solely in my head my whole life. I immediately associated that (how you live) with the most intimately associated part of your life (where you live). Most people don’t even realize that where they live could be different than it is, because it’s just so connected to them that they could never see themselves outside of it, and why would you when you can build a life and socialize without ever having to leave your house?

I really like doing things now, but I’m a type two control drama AND a manifesting generator (figure out what those are by yourself because I’m not explaining the whole thing here). Basically I never do anything without a little push because there are no other forces at work. Sometimes I can give myself that push, but for the most part I need a little outside assistance. I think living in a tiny house would be PERFECT for having that little push. With a limited number of places you can switch seats to, you’re forced to witness how lazy you really are.

I also love how the tiny house movement includes MOBILITY. I love traveling! I’m the Garde Manger at a restaurant in my hometown but I’m still learning. I have a renowned chef teaching me the basics of food and I’m also getting into the baking aspect of the restaurant so I work everything from salad prep to apps to desserts. The only thing I’m not working with yet is proteins, so I’m not a Chef, but I hope to learn that side as well. My goal is to be so good at whatever I choose to do in life that I can do it anywhere, and therefore I will be able to travel a lot. What better way to do that than to have a tiny house to travel in?

The issue with the mobility aspect for me is the distance. Moving a house isn’t exactly a leisurely process, even if it’s meant to be moved. And I don’t want to move around my community or even province, I want to cross the ocean! Of course I’m going to start by visiting every country I want to in the Americas: Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Dominica, Haiti, etc. (though maybe not Mexico for another 10 years or so. Stupid American govt.). The problem with a tiny house is that in that regard it’s as grounded as a regular house. BUT my plan is also to continue living here in Nova Scotia as a “home base” and do all my traveling with an open ended ticket home, so no matter what happens I can always jump a plane and head back to the homeland, consisting of a population of exactly 40% rednecks 40% hippies. If you fall into the remaining 20% you’re just here for a visit or you’re very strong willed. A tiny house would be more ideal somewhere other than in Canada. Here they’re pretty much as inconvenient as possible, the dirt roads, the cold winters (Natalie mentions insulation problems all the time), the crazy amount of salt. Ugh, not exactly tiny house friendly.

I have come to the conclusion that a tiny house just is not for me, though I can certainly see the appeal. It’s just that the style of life I’m choosing for myself isn’t very compatible. Sometime down the road, when I maybe settle down a bit I might build one. But for now I’m content to rent an apartment (MOVING OUT IN DECEMBER!!!) and save for travel and write my book and learn the ropes of the cold kitchen!

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"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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