A Week in the Life

Last year I did a post like this, called A Day in the Life, but so much has changed, and I’ve been busy getting my siding up almost every day. 🙂 I’ve been working hard!

Friday

I get up, eat some cereal and yogurt, then tie up my boots and head out to the tiny house.

I cut pieces to length, with the angles for the joints.

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I’m getting good at these cuts!

I stain edges, and get my sister to help me put up a few rows. My mum also helps for a bit. I get 4 rows done.

Then I go get ready for work. I work for 4 hours, until 9pm.

My sister and I go to the drive-in and see Wonder Woman and Everything, Everything. 🙂

We get home and I go to sleep at 2am.

Saturday

I get up, eat cereal and yogurt, then go outside.

Some friends of friends happen to drive by, and see me in the yard. They pull in and ask for a tour, which I’m happy to give. We talk for a bit about systems and parking.

Then I cut boards.

I stain the cut edges. I don’t have help today.

I get ready for work, and work for 5 hours. It was crazy busy.

I go out for burgers with my best friend after work.

Sunday

I get up and eat more cereal and yogurt. I’m addicted at this point. 😛

I go outside and get ladders, sawhorses, and boards set up.

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I cut, stain, and put up some small boards on the front of the house.

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Nails set in a piece for the front wall.

I cut some boards for the back.

Steph helps for a bit, but then she has to work. I have Sundays off. 🙂

Mum helps me get the rest of the boards up on the side walls! She also helps me get a few rows up on the back wall. 13 rows up!

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I think I hit a nail… 😛

I finish up around 9pm, then go inside to enjoy my well-deserved supper and Netflix. 🙂

Monday

I wake up early and take my car in to get all-season tires put on (finally).

I start working on the house, and get some cutting and staining done since I don’t have help today. I get some little pieces up around the front window.

A woman who walks past every day calls out, “You’re doing a good job!” as she goes by.

I make myself some food, get ready for work, and work for a few hours.

I spend my evening with friends and we get take-out quesadillas after work. 🙂

Tuesday

I sleep in a little bit after staying up late, then get out to do some more cutting and staining.

I don’t have help today, but I try to get all the pieces I’ll need ready for tomorrow, when I have a friend coming to help.

A friend texts to ask if he can bring his dad to show him the house, and I tell them to come on over.

I give a little tour, and receive compliments on a job well done. 🙂 “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

I go get ready for work, and work for a few hours.

I spend the evening with friends again, and we get Subway.

Wednesday

I wake up early, eat, and get out to the house earlier than usual. I get the last few boards for the back wall cut, and I’m staining the ends when my friend shows up to help.

The first two pieces are a pain, and one splits after it’s already nailed down. 😦 We move on to the back wall, and get 17 rows up before he has to leave to get ready for work.

I get my mum to help for a half hour, and we get 4 more rows up.

Then I get ready for work, and I work for a few hours.

I come straight home, change my clothes, and go out to the house. I measure and cut two angled boards for the end walls in the last hour of daylight.

Then I go in and enjoy my food and Netflix before bed.

Thursday

I sleep in a little bit then have my cereal and yogurt (it keeps me full while I build!)

I get in a few hours of work on the house.

I don’t have help today, but I’m working on the front wall around the octagon.

I cut and test-fit and stain, and since the pieces are short, I’m able to nail them up by myself. I get 3 rows up.

I get ready for work, then I work for a few hours.

I come straight home again and ask for Mum’s help.

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We get 2 more rows up on the back before it gets completely dark.

I go out to put gas in my car, pick up some groceries, go to the bank, and I get a burger while I’m out.

Then I finally get to sit, relax with some TV, then a bit of reading before bed. ❤

~

The siding is far from perfect. Gaps here, splits there, less than perfect joints, extra nails… it looks great from a distance. But done is better than perfect, and the siding was definitely doing its job as it poured rain today (I finally took a break). I’ve ordered some caulking in a brown that matches my siding, and I still have a few little pieces to put up and some screw holes to fill and paint over. Then I’ll show you my fully dressed beautiful little house. ❤

Up on Ladders

I have the week off work and my dad’s home from Ottawa! With his help, I’ve been working away at my (not-so) tiny to-do list.

Goals for the week:

  • Fix the ridge
  • Finish the house wrap
  • Add the ridge caps (and foam closure strips)
  • And at Dad’s suggestion: install the door!

Sunday:

The collar ties didn’t seem to be doing their job after all, as the walls were spread wider at the top than they should’ve been. The collar ties would theoretically stop us from being able to pull the walls in, so Dad yanked the nails out and took them down.

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My dad, the happy camper

I made new, longer collar ties (and sanded them this time).

I had already bought 10′ 2x4s to jack up the ridge again (having used up all the long lumber I had) and Dad screwed two together in a “T” for strength. We used that and it was much sturdier than the previous time I did this. I shouldn’t have to do this again!

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We jacked the roof up to just slightly higher than where I wanted it, and installed two collar ties, lower this time. This also pulled the walls in to where they were supposed to be. We added some hurricane ties to the four rafters, tying them to the walls. Then we moved the jack to raise the roof in a second spot for the last two collar ties. Those ties are difficult to put into the corners with the roof on, and it was getting dark, so we called it a day.

We brought out a light, a little stove, and had supper together in my little house! We had soup and hot chocolate in my future living room. 🙂

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The lights are on, somebody must be home!

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Monday:

I spent Monday doing a little shopping. I looked at flooring! I’m mostly decided on a dark brown hand-scraped engineered hardwood, but I’m nervous about picking something too dark. I like dark wood stains; I just don’t want a dark colour to make the tiny house seem small. I like the hand-scraped because it looks and feels a little worn in rather than shiny new, and when I inevitably dent or scratch it, it will blend in. I want engineered hardwood because it’s thinner (and lighter) than hardwood, and it expands/shrinks less than hardwood. But I don’t want laminate or anything cheap, because I enjoy walking around barefoot and I want something that feels real underfoot. It’s a small enough space so I can afford to get something that’s more expensive per square foot.

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A sample of stained hickory on top of a popular colour of laminate.

A lighter colour might be the safer choice, but I want a flooring I love.

As for the bathroom, I was thinking of doing cork, because it’s warm and cushy on the feet, it doesn’t absorb water, and it’s a renewable material. But I hadn’t found a style of cork I liked, until…

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White cork!?

The reason I went flooring shopping was to find out how thick of a flooring I’m going to get. I needed to know how much clearance I needed for the swing of my front door. I might not buy the flooring until after I’ve finished building my kitchen though.

Tuesday:

I got a massage as a treat to my poor shoulders, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day (after a nap) hammering to finish adding the brackets to the rafters. So that might’ve defeated the purpose of the massage. Dad and I also went for a hike and had hot chocolate again, this time by a waterfall! Tiny houses, to me, are partly meant to encourage you to go outside more, and it’s already working! 😛

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Because the brackets had to go in tight corners, it was such a pain to get the nails in. I’d guess each bracket with its eight nails took about 100 hits, making that 2200 swings of a hammer to get all the brackets in. Oww.

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Wednesday:

I spent Wednesday working on the top strips of house wrap, so more hammering and more shin bruises from ladders.

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I’m enjoying just getting out there and getting to work. It’s not often we single task these days. Focusing on one physical task and doing only that thing makes me feel a lot less scattered and stressed. So did the yoga class Dad and I went to in the evening. 🙂 It’s shaped up to be a great week!

Thursday:

I had a lot of little things on my to-do list for Thursday, including several trips to different hardware stores for buying and returning. And I managed to check everything off my list by the end of the day!

I finished the last piece of house wrap, took the support beam out – the collar ties are holding, and did some measuring especially for the door.

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I bought wood to frame the door (the rough opening is a lil bit big), shims, caulking, and a doorknob! I also returned some extra brackets. I brought back half of the plastic capped nails for a refund of $46! I don’t know what happened with numbers there, but I did not need them all!

I’ve been keeping my tiny house Excel document up to date with my spending and time log.

Then I spent my evening with friends. 🙂

I’m taking the build one day at a time and trying to keep some balance.

Friday:

A source of stress (and nightmares) for me has been rain and my subfloor. I know that before the roof was up, water got below my subfloor. Water can be very bad for a house!

I tested the floor by cutting out a small puck of wood to see the underside:

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Dry, with no rot or mold! PHEW.

I will test another spot or two later. There is some water sitting on top of the insulation, unfortunately. Once the house in sealed for the winter, I’ll be able to heavily de-humidify the space. I’m very glad I chose spray foam and not wool or Roxul insulation, and plywood instead of OSB. It’s worth the money to not have your materials disintegrate or turn to mush!

With that little piece of mind, I worked on getting the door opening ready! I also added house wrap to my porch ceiling, which will get covered later by some art hopefully. 🙂

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All taped up. I cut open the entrance window so I’ll be able to hop in and out when we’re installing the door.

I’ve worked after dark a few times, a consequence of sleeping in, but it gets dark earlier and earlier…

Cheers!

P.S. This is my 200th post!

A New Season

A lot of the tiny housers I come across online are either single people or serious couples. I started planning my build when I was single, figuring I’d meet someone someday in the far off future. Then, the winter before my trailer arrived, I met Dylan and he became an important part of my life. He loved the tiny house plan, and we pictured the two of us living in it when it was finished. We spent all our time together, worked on the tiny house together, and started living together. But over time, it became clearer to me that he never had any plans of his own. As much as I loved him, I got tired of taking care of someone who hadn’t yet learned to take care of themselves. Independence and self-sufficiency, these are qualities that I value, and after almost two years together, I was still making the plans and paying for everything. I couldn’t continue that way, so I broke it off. Endings are sad, but you have to do what’s right for yourself.

It’s been a month of change, but also of growth. I’ve grown as the tiny house has progressed, and every day I become better: at handling the stress, fixing the problems, getting what I need from hardware store staff, and moving forward. I had my time away on vacation to recharge after working two jobs, building the tiny house, and balancing a draining relationship. I got to visit family and see some old friends who know me well. I came home refreshed and ready to reshape my life, to put myself first again.

~

I didn’t have time to get the ridge and verge caps on before I left for vacation (between work and some hair dyeing madness), but that turned out to be a good thing. The fancy tape kept the interior dry while I was away, and when I got back, I arranged to have the tiny house moved back to my mum’s. I added the verge caps (which may have involved some hammer throwing and tears due to uncooperative nails) before the move. That way, the edges of the roofing couldn’t lift up in the wind, and we put my house, with a roof this time, on the road again!

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The house cleared all the wires, but loosened a rather large branch that fell on my car! Thankfully, it didn’t crack my windshield. But that’s something to be careful of when you’re the follow car!

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Back home.

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Where the tiny house is now, I can see the top of it from the front window of the main house, and the ridge is sinking in the middle again! So I’ve had to hold off putting the ridge caps on until I can push the ridge back into place and secure it better. Originally, I thought we had waited too long to put the collar ties in and the ridge had a chance to sink. But the issue doesn’t seem to be with the collar ties. Since it’s happened again, I believe the connectors I used where the rafters land on the top plate are bending slightly and allowing the rafters to slide. So the plan is to jack up the ridge board again and add different connectors, fingers crossed:

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In the meantime, I leveled the trailer and bought myself an air compressor (on sale 🙂 ). Then I got ready to do the house wrap. I’ve mentioned before that I had custom drip edges made for the wheel wells, so I went out and finally installed those:

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However, in my rush to get them done (in addition to the fact that it’s been almost two months since I ordered the drip edges), I completely forgot that they were meant to be installed so that the metal sloped down. I installed them flat, so a little bit of water will pool. But at least the water will no longer be hitting the top of the wheel wells and splashing onto my sheathing. And there’s no chance of it getting into the house. I caulked the gap between the wheel well and the frame, then nailed the flashing on, and the house wrap will go over top.

I had my friend Ian’s help putting up the house wrap! I love steps that change the entire look of the tiny house:

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Day one: Ian helped get the bulk of it done, and then I treated us to sushi for supper. 🙂

This is one continuous piece of house wrap. Ian unrolled the wrap while I nailed along the top, and then we went back through and added the rest of the nails, smoothing the wrap as we went. The first wall had a very large ripple, so we ended up taking out most of the nails I had put at the top, pulling the wrap tighter, and then re-nailing. It took us about five hours to do this – oh and I also had Ian help me nail up the porch ceiling, the final piece of sheathing (using my new air compressor)! We even worked through some light rain.

This would’ve gone so much faster with a staple gun, but it wouldn’t have been as good of a job. I’m glad I chose to use the nails, and I haven’t run out of the short ones yet! But I did bruise my thumb at least a half dozen times, and we dropped and wrecked plenty of nails. The end of the day involved a game of “Pick Up Nails”.

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Day two: I went around and trimmed the wrap around the wheel wells, taped any nails that weren’t fully sealing around the plastic caps, taped all the edges, and cut out the doorway.

I could’ve gotten more done on the second day had I started earlier – it’s getting dark so early now – but I can only do so much between sleep and work. I never like to work when I’m tired or cranky; it’s not worth the mistakes and potential for injuries. Working on the house for 2-5 hours a day as often as possible is going well so far. I’ve worked on the house 6 days this month, even after being gone for half of it, plus a day for moving the house. This is the first month that I’ve ever worked on the house without Dylan, but it’s been productive. Once I have the radio out there and a task in front of me, I lose track of time and just focus. It’s almost peaceful. 🙂 I’ve also been getting better at hopping out of bed, pulling on my work clothes and boots, and getting out there (after breakfast). This has to be done, and I’m going to do it!

~

I told myself in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be on of those bloggers who let the updates stretch to months apart, but I do realize that the building life is a busy one. With everything else going on in my life, blogging hasn’t been on the top of the list. Plus I like to post updates when I completely finish a step, but sometimes the steps drag out. I only just put that last piece of sheathing on, the roofing isn’t fully finished (I ended up tarping it for a few rainy days), and I still have to add the top foot or two of the house wrap. But I’m making progress! And my dad’s home for a week so I’ll have his help for a few things. 🙂 Trust me, I’m working on it, even if I’m not writing about it!

July Recap & Month #3

I didn’t get as much done on the tiny house in July as I wanted to, but that’s okay. I worked on the tiny house 7 days in July. I did a lot of little things, I put up the ice and water shield by myself, and we finally put in the blocking.

We also fixed the ridge board, which had started to dip down in the middle. I believe that happened between putting it up and putting the collar ties in, because the collar ties keep the rafters from moving. When I realized this issue and measured the height of the board, we took out the newly installed collar ties, used a jack and three long 2x4s sandwiched together, and jacked up the ridge board an inch to the right height, then re-installed the collar ties. But we had put the ties back in so hastily, two of them were a bit crooked, so I fixed those. Then I noticed later that one of the ties was a little short on one end because of where we had nailed it. So I’m going to have to fix that again. I’m probably going to re-do two of them to make the collar ties symmetrical around the living room skylight.

Because we didn’t get a lot done in July, there are so many things to do in August, and some of that might get pushed until September, but that’s how building schedules go, right? 😛 August is also going to be a busy month for other reasons, so we’ll see how all this goes. I’m sure once we get back to the bigger tasks that you can really see the change, we’ll be out there more often. It’s like sweeping every night versus cleaning behind the stove. You should clean regularly, but you get more satisfaction out of the things that make a big difference.

As for my shopping ban, I didn’t do too well. 😛 I wasn’t as committed to it, and ended up going shopping several times with friends, especially later in the month. At first, I only bought things that I needed and had been on my to-buy list for a while, like a new pillowcase and a small cutting board, and I bought several replacement items, like new work shoes. But being out in stores made it harder to resist the sale items and the “I might use this someday” items. I spent some money on scratch tickets again, and some pretty things, and going to the movies. But I am getting better at saying no to things I don’t need. For every thing I bought, there were probably at least 5 more things I wanted but said no to. Even though I bought lots of things in July, I’ve built the habit of being very conscious of my spending, and that’s something I can carry with me.

I didn’t do too well eating out less either, because I didn’t have a plan to replace it. Grocery shopping tends to be an afterthought in my weird schedule. Getting a milkshake and someone else to cook for me in the heat of July was a lot more appealing than digging through the cupboards with no ideas. But I did learn more about what I need to do to eat at home more and I had some great meals with friends, so I consider that a success. These are all life experiments that I’m doing, so even if it doesn’t go as planned, I still learn something. 🙂

As for avoiding convenience stores, I did okay, only stopping in 5 times this month despite being tempted many more times. And again, I’ve built the habit of being conscious of my spending. Convenience stores have a purpose, and it is nice to be able to run out and get an ingredient we’re missing, but I’ve stopped spending so much money at them. 🙂

In the end, I was over my budget again, but I learned a lot. I’m aware of my spending and what affects it. I won’t be continuing the shopping ban into August though. I have something in the works that’s going to require shopping and spending. However, I get to keep my good habits and continue working on the not-so-good ones.

Cheers! Stay tuned for some big stuff coming up!

Tiny House Camping

After the whole skylight issue, we had some good weather, and since we’re going to start cutting holes in the tiny house soon, we decided to sleep in the tiny house overnight! With the loft floor made up of scrap plywood pieces, we dragged a thin memory foam mattress and a bunch of blankets and pillows up there. Along with flashlights and fuzzy socks, we slept up in the tiny house loft. 🙂 The temperature dropped to 5° that night though, and I woke up several times because I was cold, but it was so lovely. I have plenty of headroom up there and didn’t bump my head once. My tall friends will have to duck through my short front door (which I tried to avoid), but it’s worth it to have enough headroom in the loft.

To look out over my tiny house before I went to sleep and to see the angled ceiling when I woke up was perfect. It’s exactly as I pictured (well, minus the interior wall surfaces). ❤

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It was so cozy we slept up there the next night too!

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Quotes

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

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris