How 2016 Begins for the Silver Bullet Tiny House

Yikes! It has been a busy 2015 bringing the Silver Bullet Tiny House to 95% completion, facilitating my own and other tiny house leader workshops, speaking regionally and nationally. The good news, is that I’ll finally be able to get out on the road and meet you all and have the privilege of inspiring others to live the “sustainable tiny life”. The bad news is that my commitment to my sustainable education non-profit, my funding work, tiny house community work and construction have kept me too busy to blog frequently. That will change.

I am still refining the interior and waiting to install the wooden stove (it has taken months to be hand-crafted carefully) and add the permanent solar solution before trekking out on tour this summer. I am so excited to help others dive deeper into new renewable technologies, smarter products, re-up their resource stewardship, learn reclamation and resource repurposing, understand social and cultural responsibility, improve their sustainable lifestyle choices and find more affordable and efficient ways to embed those into their lifestyles.

Most of all, I cannot wait to meet all of my fellow tinyhousers and hear your amazing stories and journeys to a simpler more substantive lifestyle.

This year I will be blogging from the road about our direct engagement and outreach to individuals, families and workers through our continued speaking engagements, co-sponsoring of workshop events, and our Silver Bullet Tiny House American tour this summer. The tour schedule is just beginning to take shape and will remain fluid with stops at corporate sponsor locations, universities, schools and community locations across the country. The tour schedule will be posted later in Spring. See you down the road…if you have an organization, college, university or tiny house group along the way that would value a visit, please notify me in the comments.

In the mean time, a quick heads-up about my mentor, Deek Diedricksen, tiny house luminary extraordinare. He has a stellar cast of tiny housers at his next workshop, Feb. 5-7 at an amazing venue, the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton. My friend Palo, Martin, and others will be speaking and working right along with you! Make sure you sign up quickly as he sells out fast! Click on this link, BUILD SMALL.

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Note from the fashion world. What do you do with leftovers from a tiny house or micro shelter build? I have free-cycled them, given them away AND repurposed them into eco couture to raise money for one of my other favorite sustainability non-profits, Long Way Home. Check this out from Benjamin Obdyke:

http://www.benjaminobdyke.com/education-events/slicker-becoming-a-fashion-accessory/

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A Not So “Tiny” New Year Announcement

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A Not So “Tiny” New Year Announcement

We are pleased to announce that on December  31, 2015 EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO), powerful online research database, donated funds to sponsor a solar renewable energy system to TerraBluTeams.org, our 501c3 non-profit, to complete a unique sustainable education project built in Massachusetts.

Ms. Vera Struck, explains that her project, Silver Bullet Tiny House, is an innovative example of sustainable renewable energy design and is based on bio-mimicry. She will inspire individuals with the Silver Bullet at regional workshops, and institutions, capping off a summer tour in Colorado Springs, August 5-7th, 2016, at the 2nd International Tiny House Jamboree.

Struck said,” The Silver Bullet Tiny House is an excellent classroom exhibit for living a sustainable lifestyle. All the materials were sustainably vetted and are non-toxic; of which 60% are reclaimed and repurposed resources. EBSCO gave us our first seed money to develop sustainable lifestyle curriculum and has provided scholarships for dozens of students to our hands-on Living the Sustainable Tiny Life workshops since 2012. We are thrilled they will be helping us complete the project to enable us to expand our educational outreach.”
 
EBSCO will sponsor an event this Spring at their Ipswich facility kicking off the TerraBluTeams National Sustainable Lifestyle Tour. The Silver Bullet Tiny House has been featured globally on Youtube, and the personal story of Ms. Struck’s tiny house journey was recently released in an e-book, “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”.

Why Tiny? Why Now?

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Last week I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a brief history of the tiny house movement and speak about my Silver Bullet tiny house journey/build to a group that convenes monthly called Local Poverty Matters.

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I spoke about my moral imperative of solving climate change, the desperate lack of affordable housing, and my homelessness as a single human in a world of diminishing resources.

Most of the homeless, like me, do not want a hand-out. We want a hand-up. After being socially ostracized, discounted and marginalized, we are often invisible to other Americans. The American Dream I grew up with is dead. So I invented and chose a new American Dream. I created the Silver Bullet Tiny House Challenge.

Could I build a non-toxic, off-grid, all renewable energy fed, resilient sustainable lifestyle in a mobile tiny house on wheels? Could it be made of reclaimed, repurposed sustainable materials and cost less than $20,000.? Could it serve as a mobile educational exhibit that could inspire individuals and families to decrease their carbon footprint, their economic costs and improve their community involvement by freeing up more time and control of their lives?

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Taking my future in my own hands, I designed a beautiful, biomimetic tiny house that nurtures my sustainable lifestyle. I used reclaimed resources, found sponsors, repurposed what others left on the roadside, and made my own home. Nature is never more than four feet away from me in any direction. I love that.

The details of my story and build are in my recently released e-Book, if you want to know more. Proceeds from the book support me giving workshops on sustainable living across the USA starting in Spring, 2016.

Here’s the thing about my homelessness. Deciding to take my own fate in my own hands, even with obstacles like my disabilities*, my poor health, no funds, no social or career possibilities imminent, fostered within me a resilience I only fantasized was possible. That is, until I achieved my solution.

Creating my own hand-up was not easy; however, others were inspired by my passion, drive and commitment to live a simple, tiny, healthier, zero-waste footprint lifestyle and they helped me any way they could.

I gained self-esteem, construction skills galore, lost weight, grew muscle (both physically and psychologically), found my “happy place” and finally, I gained social and community acceptance. The journey was incredibly challenging with many turning points in which I almost quit. But like all great journeys and projects, when finished, the joy and glory of seeing my accomplishment, knowing I reached all my goals, was an amazing reward.

I have achieved wellness all around. I will live in a non-toxic, all renewable energy, self bio-mimetically designed, hand-built, mobile home.

That’s why “tiny” and that’s why “now”.

You can donate here. Every dollar helps me to help others.

* Although I have been classified by the State of Massachusetts as disabled, I have never collected any disability income from any source, private or public, Federal or State.

Meditations on the 1st National Tiny House Jamboree

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Meditations on the 1st National Tiny House Jamboree 

I had been looking forward to speaking at the 1st National Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs for months. After driving for three days straight over 2200 miles from Northern New England, it’s a bit ironic that my car, which has not had a repair issue or breakdown during the ten years I have owned it, died 25 miles from the Jamboree sight in rush hour traffic at 92 degrees.

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I overcame so much to build my Silver Bullet Tiny House, this was just a blip on my radar. Six hours and $782. worth of repairs later, I had a new alternator, battery and wire connections replaced in my oldie, but goodie, 2004 Honda Element EX.

 

 

I arrived at the Mining Museum grounds and saw all sorts of vendors and builders driving in their tiny houses and sprucing them up for the coming attendees. Tiny houses seem to be getting larger. When I got my trailer two years ago, 18 feet was considered large. As I toured these, I discovered most of them were 24 feet or larger and 13,000 lbs. plus. And yet, so beautiful, gorgeous, well planned and designed and such great ideas and sustainable concepts.

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After touring some of the tiny houses privately, I set out for the campground in time to set up my tent and get over to the Jamboree VIP party to meet the tiny house luminaries whose blogs I have followed and commented upon, whose books and DVD’s I’ve read and recommended to my workshop attendees and whose tiny house journeys I have admired for years. I was elated to put faces and such warm hugs and conversations to the names and images I have enjoyed in the online tiny house tribe.

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Best of all, I got to see my mentor and tiny house rock star, Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, speak on the 1st day. His speech was so awesome; inspiring, humorous, informative – he set the tone for the entire weekend of magical happenings and connections.

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As I returned to the campground every evening, I met folks from Europe, Canada and all over the USA. There were tiny DIY micro-shelters built on one axel trailer rigs as well as two large tiny houses on double axle trailers. A little camping tiny house tribe of our own with wild fire-dancing parties at night and discussions into the wee hours of the morning.

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As I looked up at the twinkling stars in the deep blue Colorado sky, my heart raced with the excitement of the coming weekend’s National Tiny House Jamboree speaker’s, activities and 40+ tiny houses to tour and experience.

I spoke on Sunday to a crowd of tiny house enthusiast’s about my tiny house journey. I also announced my new board game “Tinyunopoly” which will fund tiny house construction for the homeless. Here’s a picture of the 1st draft I made while waiting for my car repairs. (I was a financial consultant to the Parker Family Trust for many years). Money is not in this game, only barter shares and the gift economy. The properties are tiny house villages, the “railroads” are renewables: wind/water harvesting, solar, biomass/ethanol and people powered. No “going to jail” in this version, instead you go to sustainability pillar camp. And the four piles of cards you draw from require all kinds of fun interactions between yourself and your fellow players involving tiny house tips and tricks and sustainable concepts.

If you would like to contribute feedback and help me finish the game, just let me know at taospirit@mac.com.

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By the end of this incredible weekend those tiny house enthusiasts’ eyes were full of twinkling tiny house stars!

And on my way back to New England I saw my first tiny houses on the road!

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I hope they’ll have Tiny House Jamboree 2 next year!

If micro-housing or the tiny house movement interests you, consider:

  1. Joining a local tiny house meet-up group and networking with your tiny house enthusiast neighbors.
  2. Attend a tiny house workshop near you. Get some hands-on experience and network with other tiny house enthusiasts.
  3. Next time you take a trip or vacation, consider renting a different tiny house every few days and learn what features you like and/or dislike.

Links you may enjoy:

See the Tiny House Jamboree Drone video encapsulating the event in 50 seconds here.

Deek’s upcoming Tiny House Summer Camp here.

The 1st National Tiny House Jamboree

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Just another reminder, only 7 days left and I’ll be there! So many tiny houses to see, so many new resources to check out, yikes, I’m in heaven!

I will have so much fun speaking about my personal tiny house journey. Just check out all the tiny house community founders and active leaders that I will be joining! I am so excited to meet them and all the tiny house enthusiast’s that will be joining us!

I will be speaking on Sunday at 3:00-3:40PM at the speaker’s venue. I will have a 15 minute period Q & A, so get your questions ready!

Colorado Springs, here I come!

 

 

Celebrate Earth Day with Us-Coming Events!!!

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Mark Your Earth Day Calendars!!!

At several Earth Day Festivals April 15 – 25th, we will be demonstrating “College Dorm Sustainability Hacks” and speaking about the net-zero sustainable Silver Bullet Tiny House Exhibit designed and built by our Founder, Vera Struck, as an education module for a “tiny sustainable lifestyle”, at the following Earth Day Festivals, Sustainability Events, and tiny house workshops.

APRIL 16th, THURSDAY,  11AM – 2:30PM  

BU Medical Campus, Talbot Green 

http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-you-can-do/events/bumc-earth-day-festival/

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APRIL 22nd, WEDNESDAY,  11AM-2:30PM      

Boston University Main Campus, GSU Plaza

http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-you-can-do/events/earth-day-festival/

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APRIL 25th, SATURDAY 10AM – 4PM

Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival, Amherst Town Common

https://www.amherstma.gov/683/Sustainability-Festival-Information

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MAY 1st-3rd, Friday/Saturday/Sunday

Silver Bullet Tiny House Builder and sustainability lifestyle designer, Vera Struck, author of the soon to be released “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”, will also be speaking at Deek’s next workshop in Connecticut May 1-3. Sign up now before he is sold out!

http://www.relaxshacks.blogspot.com/2015/01/relaxshackscom-may-2015-tiny-house.html

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New Class: Wearable Art from Recycled Resources

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New Class ! Wearable Art from Recycled Resources (Level 1)  $70@

Sunday, April 19th, 1-4 PM Georgetown, MA (directions w/b sent to registered attendees)

(Includes $25 materials fee)

Would you like to learn how to make elegant fashion from recycled materials? Have the opportunity to work with a renowned painter and reclamation artist that will inspire your ideas and bring them to reality? And all while supporting two sustainable non-profit organizations?

Learn new techniques, how to deal with several provided recycled materials and those you bring from your own waste-stream. You will handle several different materials, and learn how to actualize them into differing design formats for fashion; this includes jewelry, accessories, and household items.

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At the end of this workshop you will have a pair of earrings, the beginnings of a garment or accessory, and a toolbox of ideas for future projects. Bring your questions, a journal for notes and your sense of humor!

After you register with PAYPAL, you will receive instructions, directions, and a list of materials to collect.

3 hour Workshop, some materials provided. Minimum of 6 students, maximum of 12 students.

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Please bring a shoebox worth, or more, of materials you can recycle from your own waste-stream to make fashionable art.

Your fashions could be featured in an annual runway event!

*****All proceeds after costs go to support sustainability education at www.terrabluteams.org and www.lwhome.org.

Do not forget to register for our tiny house workshop on 3/29!