Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Small Dream

My latest obsession (besides Murder, She Wrote) is with the idea of building my own tiny, mobile home. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company sells plans for, and finished models of, itty bitty houses. They are really, properly miniature, not the pseudo small homes in small space decorating magazines, but abodes that measure in at under 100 square feet. They aren't all that small, but the models built to fit on a trailer are all under 180 square feet, and mobility is what got my attention. Well, that and the idea of building my own home.

I want to build my own Fencl (pictured). It isn't the largest trailer ready model based strictly on square footage, but it has a sleeping loft that doesn't count in those figures that adds an extra 100 square feet of "non-habitable" space. Not only am I short, but I don't sleep standing up, or hanging upside down, so a sleeping space with a short ceiling is perfectly habitable as far as I'm concerned.

(linked site has automatic sound)
I've lived most of my life in a poorly designed house that is in the 1,000 square foot range, and my first apartment was an even more poorly laid-out 400 (ish) square foot space. As I alluded to, I've spent too much time and money looking through magazines and websites, and watching television shows styled as idea centers for people living in small spaces, only to realize that what they consider a small space, is at least twice the size of my home. Oh, and they also seem to think that living in a small space means inhabitant has loads of cash to spend on space saving crap. I doubt this is very often the case. Usually, people live in a small space because of financial limitations.

But, I digress. What I really wanted to talk about is my realization that I really need a mobile home. Not a mobile home, mobile home, but a truly mobile home. Something like an Airstream, a camping trailer, or  a hand-built Fencl; a home I could move at a moment's notice, and park anywhere with an RV hookup. Tumbleweed reeled me right in with the mention of being able to live at national parks. As much as I love Ken Burns, with his non-hipster, hipster hair, I need to see the national parks in person.

Currently, I'm in a no rent/no mortgage living situation, but that will have to change in order for me to finish school. I hate renting. Due to unfortunate life experience, I have a constant fear of people randomly walking into my apartment (as my former landlords and their staff were prone to do). That fear that can become almost crippling for me. I would much rather live in a tiny house on wheels that I owned, than a large, rented apartment. Plus, I know I couldn't afford a place to live, and travel money. A house that doubles as a hotel could bring my tourist dream into a more reasonable price range. And, wouldn't a tiny house make a fantastic studio, if I had a bigger place to live?

Maybe it would be cheaper and easier to buy an Airstream or other travel trailer, but I think they are made to hold as many people as possible, for short trips. Building a tiny home from scratch would allow me to customize it to my needs. It's all just hypothetical, for now, as I have absolutely no money. Some day, I hope to be able to say that I live in a 130 square foot house on wheels, that I built with my own hands. Until then, I'll dream my little dream.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just Press Pause

Mika, my mom's cat who is currently living with me, was just diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. I've been trying to get him on a schedule, and to get over my fear of sticking him with a needle. I hope to get into some routine soon. For now, I'm spending a great deal of time researching cat food. It's terribly exciting.

Naturally, when I did try to post something, Blogger was down. Now that it's up and running, I don't seem to have much to say. I'm incredibly overwhelmed. But, as I said, I hope to get into a routine soon, which includes blogging.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stupid Simple DIY - Applying Henna to Short Hair

If you prefer the tips without the explanatory babble, click Read More and scroll to the bottom. 

I'm not an expert on henna by any stretch, but I have applied it to my hair enough times to have come up with a pretty good system. I dabble in mehndi, but that's a post for another day. There is a lot of great information available on henna and how to get the most out of it on your hair, most if it at Henna for Hair. But, I keep my hair short, Jean Seberg short, and there isn't a lot of information (at least, not that I could find) on applying henna to short hair. So, through a bit of trial and error, this is the method I've come up with.

For starters, I've found it's best to henna hair just before cutting it. There are too reasons for this. First, the shorter the hair, the more apparent the roots; so if you don't feel like a day of hair maintenance, dye first and you won't have to walk around with obvious roots. Second, longer hair holds the henna in place. Henna is the consistency of mud, you don't want a mudslide down your face and neck. Just like trees, grass, and other plants prevent mudslides down a hill, hair prevents a mudslide on your head. This is also the reason you will want to mix your henna a bit thicker than the stirred up yogurt consistency that is normally recommended. Something a bit thinner than mashed potatoes works well when applied to my dry hair.

Keeping the mix simple works best, just henna, water, and lemon juice (lime juice and chamomile tea work in a pinch). Henna for Hair has an entire page devoted to the different things people mix into their henna, but adding terps is a bad idea, especially if you have short hair. Terps, or terpenes, are what you add to henna to get a better stain on the skin, but they have no effect on staining the hair.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stupid Simple DIY-Treat Tubes for Cats and Small Animals

I picked this trick up when I was a zoo intern. We would save toilet paper and paper towel tubes to use as enrichment for the smaller, usually domesticated, animals (rabbit, chinchilla, opossum, etc.), and I've adapted it for use with my cats. I also use these to hold everything from scrap embroidery floss to cotton swabs. It's so stupidly simple you can probably follow along just by the pictures, or with brief directions, but we all learn differently, so I'm going visual and verbal (well, textual?... that sounds a little, um...). Also, my nail polish is fantastic, and I wanted to show it off.

Start with an empty toilet paper roll, or cut down a paper towel, wrapping paper, aluminum foil, etc. roll.

(click to enlarge to properly take in my nail polish)