Going Through Changes

As you may have noticed, I’ve not posted very much lately.  I’m actually officially announcing that I’m taking a break from this blog to focus my time and effort on building Knitting Naturals.

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I’m working on a series of YouTube videos to promote the shop, showcase new products, and provide tips and suggestions on making other ecofriendly choices in all aspects of life.

My goal is to have at least 50 items in the next month or two (before summer starts in June), which will be pushing myself since I’ve been picking up more hours at my day job.

I do encourage everyone here to visit and follow the blog on Knitting Naturals though!

I plan to return to this beloved blog, and I thank each and every one of you for your support.  I never imagined that people would actually read what I have to write, but I’m very proud and happy with where things have gone 🙂

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I wish all of you the best of luck on your own projects, and will see you soon (hopefully over at Knitting Naturals!)

Big Obsession with a Tiny Life

Lately I’ve been quite fascinated with tiny living.  It started with an article on Yahoo! about tiny houses, which lead to me be super interested in what tiny houses are, and then I wanted to get one.  This interest lead me to thinking about downsizing, a simpler lifestyle, and sustainable living.  All of these really lead to deeper thinking about what we really need in life, what is important to us, and what is wrong with the ‘mass consumerism’ mindset in America.

Tiny House – The Fencl Design – 130 sq. ft. plus a sleeping loft

That’s a lot of different topics to be sure, so I’ll start at the beginning.

First: The Tiny House Movement.  If you aren’t aware (and I sure wasn’t), there is such a thing as The Tiny House Movement.  In the broadest sense, it is simply a social movement where people are downsizing the space in which they live.  Some people are downsizing as part of a ‘living greener’ philosophy, others may be affected by the housing crisis and can no longer afford large mortgages for large homes, but whatever the reason, tiny living seems appealing to a lot of people.

One of the more well-known names associated with the movement is Jay Shafer, founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.  The company offers Houses-To-Go (teeny tiny homes on wheels, all under 200 sq. ft) either pre-built or as plans to build it yourself.  They also offer blueprints for slightly larger cottages (still all under 900 sq ft) to be built on a foundation.  A lot of people think The Tiny House Movement is all about squeezing people into as small a space as possible, but really it’s all about right-sizing your life and living only with what you need and find important.

That may mean a family of 4 living in a 1200 sq ft house instead of a 3000 sq ft house, or someone single downsizing from a 500 sq ft apartment to a 200 sq ft one.  It’s all about perspective and what works well for your life, but the bottom line is to clear out the junk in your life that weighs you down and clutters your space (and your mind) so that you can live a simpler life with more time for what really matters.

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Dee Williams (another tiny living advocate) built her own tiny house, which has only 84 sq. ft.

Second: As soon as I started looking as tiny houses, I wanted one.  They are quite affordable (especially compared to getting a mortgage for a house) and with a little knowledge you can save a ton by doing a lot of non-technical labor yourself (certainly I can learn to cut wood and pound nails and such).  The trick would be getting Nate on board with it.  Would he be up to living in a tiny space?  In today’s society I think people are used to having a lot of space to themselves, which means they don’t interact with each other as much, even in their our house.  Living in close quarters really forces you to evaluate your relationship and come to compromises.

To my surprise, he was pretty excited when I told him about the idea.  It would save a lot of money on utility bills, and if we can save up enough we won’t need a loan to build the place.  His dad is handy with construction and his uncle owns a large plot of land that he agreed we could live on.  We’ve tentatively decided on this Bodega style house with the one-bedroom option that will function as an office for Nate to work from home.

Bodega

Even with the addition, the whole place only clocks in at 356 sq ft.  This means LOTS of downsizing for me since 90% of the stuff in the house right now is mine.  Nate was in the Marine Corps for almost 4 years and then moved to a small New York City apartment with 2 other people, so he’s never lived with a whole lot.  I guess maybe that’s why he didn’t think it was crazy to live in a small house.

I’m pretty excited to say the least.  It’ll be a place to call home without paying rent or huge utility bills.  We’ll own it outright, and we can design and decorate it ourselves.  But that’s still quite a few years away.  For now we are playing with the idea of moving from our current 556 sq ft apartment to a 288 sq ft studio when our lease is up.  It’ll help us save on rent and get us used to living in a small space.

We shall see how the adventure unfolds 🙂  More to come as I continue reading and researching!

If you’re interested in a bit more about the Tiny House Movement, The Tiny Life blog has been one of my favorite resources lately.  Here’s an article I found informative, though it is focused on tiny tiny living, the basic principles are good to absorb.

3 Fundamental Lessons from a Kid’s Movie

Have you seen the new movie, Wreck-It Ralph?  You should.   I found it funny, entertaining, and a breath of fresh air in the world of re-done movies and predictable plots, especially for an animated kid’s film.

 
I’ve always liked kid’s movies.  Not only do they remind me of the carefree time of childhood, but they are lighthearted and fun to watch, they are great on a snowy afternoon with a cup of hot cocoa, and they teach fundamental lessons in really cute and memorable ways.    A good kid’s movie will make you laugh without making you feel like a fool for watching it as an adult, and you don’t have super-complicated story lines or all the nastiness of things like murder or adultery or betrayal.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good thriller or horror or suspense drama, but sometimes I just need a little more color and feel-goodness in my life.

Back to Wreck-It Ralph.

It was a great movie, and as I left the theater I realized it had several really great lessons weaved into it.  I felt compelled to share them (in no particular order).

Lesson #1: Be true to yourself.

In the movie, Ralph is the “bad guy” of his game.  He attends a support group for fellow video game villains, who try to convince him that he must come to accept his “bad guy” status and that he can’t be the “good guy.” Upon returning to his game and being wholly rejected by the other characters, he sets out on a journey to win a medal and prove that he can indeed be a “good guy.”

To make a long story short, by the end of the movie Ralph returns to his game and resumes his position as the “bad guy.”  But this time he’s happier than he was at the beginning, because he realizes that just because he’s the villain of his game doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy in nature.  The lesson here is to not let your situation become your identity.  Yes, Ralph is stuck being the “bad guy” of the game, but that doesn’t define who he is, what his personality is like, or what kind of friend he can be.  Similarly, don’t let your situation, your job, or anyone else in your life decide who you are.  Be true to yourself and let your own heart and personality shine through.

This same lesson shines through in the other prominent character, Vanellope Von Schweetz, but that would spoil too much of the movie, so I’ll leave you to discover that one for yourself.

Lesson #2: People (and friends) are more important to happiness than gold (money and rewards).

To prove he’s a “good guy,” Ralph must win a gold medal (which he does).  He believe this is the only way to convince everyone he isn’t a bad guy, and ends up sacrificing a friendship and crushing a girl’s dreams in order to win this medal back.  But guilt can be a powerful thing, and Ralph proves that you don’t need a gold medal to prove you are a good guy–all you need is a big heart and some good friends to know that you are a good person.

Lesson #3: Treat everyone with respect and gratitude.

The townspeople in Ralph’s game are mean and degrading to him, and completely reject him as a person.  Once he leaves the game to win his medal though, the entire game is unplayable and is placed “Out of Order” by the arcade attendant.  This means that the game could be unplugged and all those characters would have no where to go.  Even though the townspeople don’t like Ralph, they didn’t realize how important his job really is.  By forcing him out, they hurt themselves too.

The lesson here is to be grateful to everyone, no matter who they are or what their job is.  Everyone deserves a little respect and courtesy.  Not only does this make you a good person, but being grateful can make someone’s day, and you never know when they may just return the favor.

So go enjoy your favorite kid movie or old school video game and learn a little something (or at least be reminded of these lessons we all learn as kids but often forget).  Have fun!

Inspiration to Follow That Dream

Read this whilst perusing the Etsy forums today.  I find inspiration from all sorts of places, random forum threads included.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”