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Posts Tagged planning

Further adventures in reenacting!

A month after Olustee and with a nice porch roof addition, we rolled northward to Jacksonville again.  Camp Milton, a wonderful small event hosted by the Golden Teacup Society and the City of Jacksonville, welcomed us into the village.  The set up was great and I was able to set up my fire pit as well- nothing like cooking in cast iron over an open fire!

I had lots of friends and Facebook followers visit, had fun with the skirmishes and won the cast iron cooking competition (for my chili, not for my Pi Pie).

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Get it, Pi Pie- the event was on 3.14.15…..

Anyway, it was awesome!  Tebow enjoyed being porch fluff, and I loved cooking all weekend.

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A month later and it was time for the annual Ladies Encampment, this time in our new location- Barberville Pioneer Settlement.  A weekend of classe and sessions especially for ladie to perfect their Civil War era persona. The Golden Teacup Society LOVES our new encampment home!  And once again, the Tiny House fit right in with the environment at Barberville.  We even had a blanket sale (selling off more stuff to finance the build!)

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Last week found us at the Bartram Bash in Switzerland, St. Johns County.  Alpine Groves Park is my “old home place”, it’s where we lived when Aurora was born and holds a very special place in our hearts.  We had over 300 visitors to the Tiny House in a day!  So much fun getting the word out, and just a very special weekend, waking up on the bluff at Alpine again!


Looks right at home!

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Giving the “Mother Earth and Fellow Man” award to Beverly Fleming on behalf of the Stetson Kennedy Foundation

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William Bartram, Florida’s historic naturalist


Lesley, with Merlin the owl

Scenes from Alpine

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interior view

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village

The Debut of the Victorian Reproduction Tiny House

As I outlined yesterday, the last 4 months have been spent- every waking, non-working, non-raining hour- has been spent getting the tiny house ready for it’s reenacting debut.  Go back to the beginning and my whole plan has been to build this and avoid the 4-6 hour set up of my tent compound.  So much physical and emotional stock was set on getting the tiny house to a reenactment and setting up a period homestead.

I left Sanford at 3:30am last Friday morning headed for Olustee and the scheduled debut.  I had sent out a number of emails and Facebook polls to fellow reenactors about the design and color of the house and overall had very positive responses to what I was doing, so I did not anticipate any issues with my peeps in Civilian Camp.

What I had not prepared for was the reaction of the Olustee Park manager.

The house traveled like a dream as did my new truck Betty Boop.  We rolled into Olustee at 7:30 am.  There was no one at registration so I filled my water tank and headed on back to Civilian Camp.  Several people had coordinated a parking space for me the day before, so I quietly rolled in, unhooked and set up- an “A” frame tent over the tongue and black burlap stapled over the sides and wheels of the trailer.  Within 10 minutes we were set up and ready to start getting changed for the “School Day”, about 2000 kids on field trips to the site.

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The first sign anything was amiss was the overall commander for the event came over and said the park service was “concerned” about the tiny house and had asked him to speak to me.  So I was to consider myself “spoken to”, but he liked it and I didn’t need to move it.  So I continued unloading and setting up.  Along about about 8:30, the park manager rolls up in her golf cart.  You can see where this is going….

I was told I had to move this.  Why? ” Well what if everyone starts to do this?”  Well, that’s kinda sorta been the idea.  “Well, the park service didn’t approve this.”  Well, they knew about it (she is new) and they didn’t disapprove it, and they have invited me to bring it to other events.  “Do you have a letter giving permission?”  Well, no.  “Then you need to move it.  IT IS TOO HEAVY FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE.  You have to move it to modern camping (also an archaeological site) NOW”.  This said as the afore-mentioned 2000 kids are pouring into the park. This also said with a straight face as we are looking at the 6 sets of bleachers, several other half ton and 3/4 ton trucks, and the portable stage that are also currently sitting on said archaeological site….  Never asked how much it weighs (6000 lbs) just move it….

Well, as you can imagine, I was emailing and messaging all of the higher-ups I know in the park service trying to get her mind changed for her, but being in the same position as those higher ups and supporting MY staff in similar situations (even when they are sometimes wrong) not holding out much hope.  Out of safety (and stubborness) I decided not to move until after the school day, and we had a great time showing the kids the tiny house and talking about life in Victorian times.  My grandkids from Atlanta came and played and it was just a really nice day.

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Friends came to visit2015-02-13 13.48.35

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Water was pumped     from the well….

The members of the 2015-02-13 13.12.16Golden Teacup Society gathered in Solidarity….

Just a nice morning.  But the reprieve did not come from Tallahassee, and so I was banished to Modern Camp.

…. Where we 2015-02-14 12.03.05were very well received, but asked over and over why we were not in Authentic Camp.  And so we were able to tell the story- over and over and over- about the small minded park manager and the “too heavy for an archaeological site” determination to a very receptive audience.  It was a blessing in disguise.  People that mattered- other reenactors and a lot of CSO members who would not have seen us otherwise- came by.  Sutlers.  Followers of my Facebook2015-02-14 13.11.45 Page went looking for us in authentic camp then complained to management that we weren’t there.  It was an awesome backfiring of whatever her agenda was, and we had a wonderful weekend and successful debut.  I found I am very thankful for the show “Tiny House Nation”, as I can start mid-conversation with people- they already know what tiny houses are now!  I heard lots of “I am going to build one of those for next year”.  I told them we would need to start a “movement” :)  End result- 2 archaeologists have stated that there would be minimal impact to the site from my house, especially considering the controlled burns (15,000 lb trucks), Port-o-let disposal trucks (10,000 lbs plus poop), 6 sets of bleaches with about 250 people in each set (45,000 lbs each).  Offers of peacemaking from several fronts and an established group aiming for a “town” next year.  2015-02-15 08.53.13

Probably the funniest thing that happened was a couple ladies in way-too-long skirts were walking by staring and one stepped on the other’s skirt and tore it right off the waistband.  Hopefully that will make her shorten up that skirt to where it needs to be (4″ off the ground) but probably not.  I have fought the farb battle for years, I am moving on the the tiny house battle now!

Monday morning the adventure continued as we packed up (another 15 minutes vs the old 4 hours with tents) and rolled out to Jacksonville.  We came in on Beaver Street, turned onto Main Street and rolled right through downtown.  It was really fun- lots of people slowing down and turning around and picture taking and thumbs up.  A guy pulled up beside me at a light and asked if I had built it.  Yes.  Did I do it for a living.  No.  Could I build him one.  Nooooo and the light changed to green……

We visited my old stomping grounds at MOSH, 2015-02-16 11.01.27my mom, my friend Jake, Aurora’s friend from our old neighborhood,  my friend Karen who lives in a tiny house on a foundation, and Alpine Groves Park where I get a lot of my inspiration from.  Then we rolled on through a perfect Sunset and home to Sanford.  The house traveled beautifully, the truck pulled smoothly, we’ve been invited to a number of other events, we had way more thumbs up than the other direction and all in all, it was a very successful roll out.

Now to finish th2015-02-16 18.02.28e porch, battens, kitchen window, shed, lattice, THEN start on the interior…….

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village

Crazy Busy Fall!

Wow, I have really, seriously neglected this blog!

I did not get the house I posted about in September, and although I was really disappointed at first, I’m now relieved.  The inspection showed that the house had some serious issues with plumbing, roofing, sewer system, a/c and heater- you know, the2014-09-13 17.28.56 cheap stuff… NOT!  So I rented a house just around the corner.  A cute 1910 bungalow on a great corner lot.  Right-sized for my continued downsizing and plenty of space to continue the build.

I moved the tiny house up to Sanford at the end of September.  It was just the shell at the time, but it came through the trip in fine shape.

I had been in Sanford about a week when Code Enforcement came calling.  Someone had called to complain that I was building a shed too close to the lot line.  Well, thanks to Jay Shafer’s workshop, I had all the right answers and the code enforcement official was so nice and interested2014-11-16 09.39.02!  I continued working on the exterior throughout the fall, trying to pick up the yard after each work day, because I’m right on a corner and don’t have a privacy fence.  It’s been really fun, every time I am out working on it someone stops to visit and adsk questions, and when we’re inside we can see them driving by slowly from the kitchen window- sometimes stopping to take pictures.  I wonder how many Facebook pages we’re on?!

So I’ve been working on the house through Halloween, Aurora’s birthday and Thanksgiving. We got most of the roof on and I cut out the arched window over the door. The sleeping loft is in. We had an open house at Jodi Rubin’s CCS Restoration where about 50 people came for a tour.

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I got my first major injury- the ladder slipped out from under me wh2014-11-25 14.42.05ile I was working on the roof ridge and my arm was pinned between the ridge and the ladder rung. Fortunately Jodi’s guys were there helping me move the house to her shop for the day and pushed the ladder up off my arm!  Now I always have my phone with me so I can call for help.  Didn’t learn my lesson though- a couple weeks ago I did the same thing and pinned my wrist.  Aurora had some super-human strength that day and lifted it off me…

After Christmas (and a day sp2014-12-26 17.17.37ent with the family2014-12-31 12.57.10 although I was itching to go outside and work), a planned trip to North Carolina didn’t work out, so I took the time off and put most of the siding on the house!  I used old fence slats, recycled from a fencing contractor here in Sanford.  I’m so pleased with how they look!  For a little while I considered just clear coating the house, they looked so good!    2015-01-05 19.20.392015-01-19 16.35.032015-01-09 16.13.24 While I was working on the siding I noticed that the corner had shifted a little, so I added corner braces, cross bracing through the beams and 4 hurricane tie downs.

2015-02-07 12.07.00We had lots of rain in January, so I missed my hoped-for debut at the Brooksville reenactment. However a great group of Tiny2015-02-07 13.09.37

2015-02-07 12.26.53House friends (the FB group now has over 3000!) came over to 2015-01-24 14.15.15help caulk and paint. And, I bought atruck!  It all started coming together!!

We picked out a blue stain for the house (ironically Gettysburg Blue) and got the whole thing painted in a day!  Aurora also discovered she loves to get up on the ladder, so she helped finish up the roof panels. 2015-01-25 13.01.55 2015-01-25 13.07.582015-01-25 12.50.362015-02-07 16.30.44

So- the Nawaka, the Victorian Tiny House on Wheels is almost ready for her debut!  More on that tomorrow!!

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village

Lots of little things add up to big changes!

Wow, in the chaos of life, I have really neglected my blog!
In the past month, I have completed the roof and windows on the tiny house and pulled all the wiring for the electrical system. On paper, that doesn’t sound like much, but in the heat and rain of the Florida summer, and juggling work, packing, moving, a new job and buying a house, it’s really a lot!
Whoa, buying a house?! Yes, in the past month, I have accepted a new job in Sanford, Florida, a beautiful historic city at the headwaters of the navigable St. Johns River. For some reason the historic houses here are so much more affordable than in Tampa, and since I have 7-8 years before I officially downsize into tiny house living, I am buying the historic house of my dreams, a big old girl, a 1926 American Foursquare. My main requirement, a corner yard big enough to get the tiny house in and out of- done!

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So I have been packing, throwing stuff away, mentally setting up the new house, getting to know my new job and community, and packing some more. And adding window installer to my resume. 5 windows in, 3 to go. Once the wiring is in, I can plug in an air conditioner just in time for winter! I have literally put ALOT of sweat equity into the house this summer!

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I have also become a lot more involved in the “tiny house movement” that’s really taking off here in Florida. We have a facebook group of over 1500 members actively interested in tiny house living. One of the ongoing discussions has been how to set up a tiny house community. What’s your “ideal” community look like? How do we work within various county zoning codes to make it legal? Did Florida really make off-grid oiving illegal? Lots of good, valid questions, lots of discussion. In late August, we held a “meet up” to tour 2 tiny houses, over 300 people attended!


Simultaneously with all of this, my sister Laura, who teaches at the Hague (yes, in the Netherlands) is teaching a class in community solutions. She asked for help in coming up with problems/questions/situations for her students to research, propose and solve. So I offered up some of the issues we’re discussing in building a tiny house community. The kids start today by picking the project they want to be involved with (there are 10 or so to choose from) so I’m looking forward to working with them and getting some fresh input! You can follow the class progress here:

So, while neglecting the blog, I have been involved in lots of change.  So looking forward to it all!

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village

The build

What a month! I started a Facebook blog just before the build date, so a lot of stream-of-counciousness stuff has gone up on that this past month, this blog will remain more in depth…. if you are Facebook, it’s Shorty’s tiny house- the build and beyond.

So, on June 27, we had THE BUILD! About 20 people came throughout the afternoon. Roasting hot. Note to tiny house builders- a June afternoon in Florida is not ideal. The Gramatica’s catered an outstanding lunch, which gave us a little bit of a late start, but within an hour and a half, we were setting the ridge pole! SIPs are the way to go, it was amazing.

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Watching the guys build was like a well choreographed dance. They had it really well planned. We had a few opportunities to jump in and screw down seams, but for the most part there were forklifts running around so all we did was sit there in awe.

One of the most common questions was how will I run the electric through these solid walls. Actually, this is something I have put a lot of thought into, and had asked Martin and Bill about. Because of the framing, to go through the wall like in traditional construction isn’t too practical. But there are interior gaps where the conduit can run along, then down through the wall from above. Also in my case, I want my outlets hidden, so I will be running them along the floor, and then hide the wiring behind the baseboards. Plumbing is easy, just like an off grade house…..

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Back to the build….. Unfortunately, the inevitable afternoon storms came rolling in about 4pm and we had to stop with only 2 of the 8 roof panels on. The Gramatica’s have a business to run and already gave me a half day and an amazing experience, so I brought the tiny house back home to my backyard to finish the panels there.

For the past 3 weekends, Tom and I have been battling the roof panels. Using several different methods with varying success, we have put 4 more of those 150 pound buggers up on the roof. The most successful so far involves a sling and a winch.  I have made extensive notes and will publish for future SIP builders once we perfect the installation method.

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I have also cut out 3 more of the windows and Aurora is scraping out the foam 1.5 inches so we can frame them out. That part is going really well and gives us something to do when we don’t have help around to mess with another roof panel.

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Lots of lessons learned, but I think I will wait until the frame is completely done (next weekend maybe) and I am not so unbelievably sore before I post them! Lots of pros and cons on the SIPS, but would I do it again? Definitely. This house is solid as a rock!

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village

stocking up for the build!

It’s been a very productive 2 weeks getting ready for the build on Friday. The windows are almost complete up at CCS Restoration in Sanford, the Gramaticas gave me a list of lumber needed, and Danny at Machine Works is adding a couple of stabilizers to the trailer.
I spent all day Friday and Saturday spending this period’s paycheck, but I have a lot to show for it. All framing wood from Interbay Lumber, a wholesale place here in Tampa, tyvek and roof membrane acquired from Home Depot. No one locally had the stainless steel bolts needed to bolt the framing to the trailer (haven’t come this far with aluminum to use anything but stainless!), so I found a wholesale place online in Weymouth, Mass (bit of trivia, that’s where my sister Laura was born) who, even with the shipping costs, can get me what I need by Tuesday for about a third of the price from Home Depot. Yay!
The most awesome acquisition though, is my ridge beam. In trying to do as much as I can with recycled and reuse materials, I am regularly visiting architectural salvage yards. In a convoluted twist of who knows who, my favorite local place, Schiller’s, had some heart pine timbers stored up at a millworks in Dade City. So I drove up there and found the perfect timber- 3″ thick, 9″ wide and 18′ long. Heart pine, solid as a rock. As we were loading it, Phil from the millworks mentions that it’s from a 1906 building torn down a few years ago. I hadn’t even thought to ask! It’s from the Parrish Train Depot, a place well known to the Florida Reenacting community! What an awesome piece of history to have included in my house!

As I was poking around the millworks I found what appeared to be some tongue and groove unfinished flooring scraps.  Turns out they are cypress slats used to separate loads of lumber when shipped.  Acquired enough of those to use as porch flooring!

Today’s projects include sanding the beam, treating for any critters, applying some oil preservative and cutting off the nails that are embedded.  Then we mow the backyard in prep for next weekend!  I can’t believe after all this planning and prepping, the build is finally here!!!!

Parrish Train Depot beam

Parrish Train Depot beam

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village

one more date change

Good thing I have a celebrity crush on these Gramatica brothers! Me and everyone else in Tampa :)

Martin called again this morning. They are hosting a charity cornhole tournament for their foundation in Clearwater on the 28th, so now the build is Friday afternoon, June 27th, from 1-5, with burgers and beer following. I kind of like that better!

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Build Update

Talked to Martin Gramatica today, between his soccer schedule and our recital schedule, we’ve bumped the build date to June 28.  Here’s what I have given the Gramaticas for a guide to fabricating the SIPS:

tiny house plans

I also had a successful garage sale – then turned around and spent my profit on an antique icebox.  I know, I am supposed to be getting rid of stuff, but I found a kit that will convert the icebox to a refrigerator/freezer.  Only the best in modern conveniences!

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The build is on!

Yesterday I met with Bill Gramatica to go over the details, and the build is on!  June 21 at the Gramatica SIPS International shop, 5519 E Chelsea St in Tampa.  By the evening of the 21st, the shell of my tiny house will be complete!  Bill describes it as a grown-up Lego project…..

More details and photos to come as I move into the final prep of my trailer, but I have another big garage sale this weekend to prep for, getting rid of MORE STUFF!



Tiny house model

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When work and tiny house collide….

Back to the drawing board-in a great way!
Earlier this week I had a work-related meeting with a couple of awesome guys, the Gramatica brothers. If I were more into sports other than Olympics or Gator football, I would have been starstruck. These guys were amazing athletes in their day, and now they are turning their star power into great opportunities for Wounded Warriors in the Tampa Bay area.

Martin Gramatica had ended his football career with the Saints, stayed in NOLA, and was operating a house manufacturing business when Katrina hit. Gramatica turned his energies to building houses for the hurricane refugees out of … wait for it…. SIPS!!

A few years later, he brought the SIPS business back to Tampa and he and his brothers started Gramatica SIPS International. They manufactured systems for houses and the construction industry, and built a reputation. After the Haiti earthquake, they sent SIP kits for houses to the island. Now thay have teamed up locally with a few non-profits, started the Gramatica Family Foundation, and have started fundraising to build houses for Wounded Warriors. Last year they rented one of our parks to host a fundraising kickball tournament that raised enough to build 2 houses.

Connecting the dots? I love it when my work life collides with my passion.

This kickball tournament was awesome. The cause is so worthy. Hillsborough County Parks and Rec is looking for “Signature Events”. I didn’t know who these guys were or what they did for a living other than they were former pro athletes from Tampa. I just wanted my department in as a sponsor for this event. It soooo fits in with our mission. So I met with them this week to discuss. After the meeting, Bill Gramatica handed me his card and it says SIPS International. The tiny house crazy person in me kicks into gear. I say “SIPS?” Bill says, “oh, that’s what we build these houses with, Structural Insulated Panels.” I say, “do you use wood or aluminum?” and they both just about fall over because I know what SIPS are. So we have a meeting after the meeting to talk about what they do in real life, tiny houses in general and my tiny house in particular. I have all the photos and plans on my tablet, so I am always prepared. They invited me to come tour their factory/warehouse and talk tiny houses.

I went over there today. It’s an impressive space. They make 2 kinds of SIPS, out of either wood fiber or concrete fiber.  A little heavier than what I have been looking at, but way more practical and buildable.

Tiny house for fun out of SIP scraps

Tiny house for fun out of SIP scraps


Haiti earthquake house. This is built with concrete fiberboard SIPS and is just painted finish. It has been sitting outside in the Tampa rain and humidity for 5 years and has no leaks or mold.

They are really interested in tiny houses. So interested that if I put together a workshop, they will BUILD MY TINY HOUSE AS THE WORKSHOP PROJECT. Yes and supply burgers and beer too. It’s all about marketing for them, they want a piece of the tiny house movement. They are willing to teach us how to assemble the SIPS, frame out doors and windows, frame the roof or use SIPS, so at the end of the workshop I have the shell done for the house! Back to the drawing board to adjust my wall and window spaces for 4′ panels instead of the 3′ I had done.  A tweak here and there, but oh my!  My house!

So as you may imagine, my organizational skills have been working overtime today. I am coordinating dates. It is coming together. We’ll be doing this probably in June. JUNE! So, stay tuned as I set the date and start getting the word out!

Oh, and the kickball tournament date is set for Sept. 27th.  The Gramatica’s are kindred spirits with that work and passion colliding thing!

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Golden Teacup: a tiny Victorian village