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.

Holiday Tiny House Workshop, Saturday, November 14th!

The Silver Bullet Tiny House Journey – Tour – Workshop, Newbury, MA.
Saturday, November 14th, 12 – 4 PM  $75. ***  Sign up now, before it sells out!!!
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Meet a local tiny house designer/builder and learn more about her tiny house journey and the tiny house movement. Tour the Silver Bullet Tiny House on wheels and discover all its reclaimed, recycled, non-toxic, sustainable and net-zero waste building materials and systems. How to transition into a sustainable lifestyle will be discussed with practical tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint quickly.
Limited to 12 attendees.
Comments from former attendees:
“If your longing to live the tiny life I highly recommend attending Vera’s workshop as a first step. Not only will you get to see, touch, and feel an actual tiny house but Vera will share with you her story, her experiences, and knowledge gained by extensive research and trial and error. I left her workshop with a bigger appreciation for the Tiny house way of life and for the movement as a whole. I now have a better understanding of the social, economic, environmental, and cultural effects this intentional way of living supports and impacts. 
So inspired to start my THOW journey real soon! ” Sophie T.
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“I also really enjoyed all the sustainability information that you shared with us. We are definitely starting to see a trend in people who we talk to: those who are environmentally conscious, and those who are financially conscious. I love that your nonprofit strives to show people that they can have both.” Megan M.
 _____________________________________________________________
“I definitely learned a lot about how tiny houses are constructed, and providing us with some of the building materials you used was incredibly useful. The game we played at the end of the tour also really helped put everything into perspective – it was definitely a great learning process when we wrote down the top 5 things we should consider before building a tiny house.” Jay W.
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“I greatly appreciate your willingness to open up your home and heart to us and share with us your values as well as your challenges.” Mika IW.

Trailer modification, design process, framing, sheathing, downsizing transitions, insulation and energy systems will be covered. Includes light refreshments, building samples and 30 minute Q&A session. Bring your sense of humor!!

To Register click PayPal button below and we will email you instructions and directions.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards
Deek’s video of the Silver Bullet Tiny House he made last month here.
 ***All proceeds go to support sustainability education at www.terrabluteams.org.
There are two fully paid scholarships to this workshop available to those in need. To apply, please email taospirit@mac.com with a paragraph about your need and reason for attending. Include contact information & phone. Applications processed within 24 hours.

Fall Events Update

Nov. 4, 2015 Keynote Speaker for “Poverty Matters” Study Group, Newburyport, MA.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 9.55.27 AMVera will be speaking about her personal Silver Bullet challenge and the journey to meet the goal she set out for herself in 2010. She will connect the dots for the study group by examining how the tiny house movement is not only the sustainability imperative at work but also a solution to global warming and the affordable housing crisis.

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November 14th, 2015, 12 – 4 PM –  Newbury, MA.  $75.

The Silver Bullet Tiny House Journey – Tour – Workshop  

***  Sign up now, before it sells out!!!
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Meet a local tiny house designer/builder and learn more about her tiny house journey and the tiny house movement. Tour the Silver Bullet Tiny House on wheels and discover all its reclaimed, recycled, non-toxic, sustainable and net-zero waste building materials and systems. How to transition into a sustainable lifestyle will be discussed with practical tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint quickly.
Limited to 12 attendees.
Comments from former attendees:
“If your longing to live the tiny life I highly recommend attending Vera’s workshop as a first step. Not only will you get to see, touch, and feel an actual tiny house but Vera will share with you her story, her experiences, and knowledge gained by extensive research and trial and error. I left her workshop with a bigger appreciation for the Tiny house way of life and for the movement as a whole. I now have a better understanding of the social, economic, environmental, and cultural effects this intentional way of living supports and impacts. 
So inspired to start my THOW journey real soon! ” Sophie T.
_____________________________________________________________
“I also really enjoyed all the sustainability information that you shared with us. We are definitely starting to see a trend in people who we talk to: those who are environmentally conscious, and those who are financially conscious. I love that your nonprofit strives to show people that they can have both.” Megan M.
 _____________________________________________________________
“I definitely learned a lot about how tiny houses are constructed, and providing us with some of the building materials you used was incredibly useful. The game we played at the end of the tour also really helped put everything into perspective – it was definitely a great learning process when we wrote down the top 5 things we should consider before building a tiny house.” Jay W.
______________________________________________________________
“I greatly appreciate your willingness to open up your home and heart to us and share with us your values as well as your challenges.” Mika IW.

Trailer modification, design process, framing, sheathing, downsizing transitions, insulation and energy systems will be covered. Includes light refreshments, building samples and 30 minute Q&A session. Bring your sense of humor!!

To Register click PayPal button below and we will email you instructions and directions.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards
Deek’s video of the Silver Bullet Tiny House he made last month here.
 ***All proceeds go to support sustainability education at www.terrabluteams.org.
There are two fully paid scholarships to this workshop available to those in need. To apply, please email taospirit@mac.com with a paragraph about your need and reason for attending. Include contact information & phone. Applications processed within 24 hours.

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.

Join us at Deek’s Vermont Tiny House Summer Camp 3!

I will be speaking at Derek “Deek” Diedricksen’s Vermont Tiny House Summer Camp, along with other tiny house luminaries!

I had the opportunity to be a speaker at the Tiny House Jamboree which exceeded its expected attendance of 10,000 – it went viral and 40,000 tiny house enthusiasts came. My blog entry about that experience is coming soon.
Deek’s speech was inspiring and amazing – he set the tone for this unique tiny house community event. He is included in my book, “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”, just published, and available online here.
So, mark your calendars for the weekend of September 18-20, 2015. Register as soon as you can, they get sold out quickly! For link to register, click here
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Living the Sustainable Tiny Life

 

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Mea Culpa. I have been so busy the last three months completing the Silver Bullet, hosting workshops, moving in, having it filmed, finishing the e-book, that I apologize for not being a better social media broadcaster. I’m so “social media” challenged, but I promise to get better now that I have the time.

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If you want to catch up and see the the Silver Bullet Tiny House, watch the tour that my tiny house mentor, Derek Diedricksen, of Relaxshacks.com fame, made last month on Youtube.

You can learn everything you need to know about my journey and build in my book, Living the Sustainable Tiny Life. More info on what’s in the book and purchase details here.

I am heading out for the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, August 7-9th, in a few days by car.

I will be speaking on Sunday from 3:00-3:40PM and I hope to meet you there.

I suggest that if you want to connect, let me know in your comments and we will make a plan.

See you down the road!

The eBook is Here: Living the Sustainable Tiny Life

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Achieving a sustainable tiny lifestyle can be hard work, involving physical and emotional challenges. It requires character building and shedding layers of consumptive baggage.

Some call the journey daunting, overwhelming, and difficult, at best. And you know what, it does not have to be.

It was the best experience of my life!  It was transformative socially, physically, spiritually, morally and intellectually.  You will hear my story and learn about my path to leaving the debt culture behind, how to live a more compassionate, healthy and authentic sustainable lifestyle.

Part 1 of Living the Sustainable Tiny Life* is all about my tiny sustainable soul’s journey to an amazingly rewarding authentic sustainable lifestyle, from its fledgling beginnings to present day.

Part 2 takes you through the build process of the Silver Bullet Tiny House. Plenty of pictures, resource links and details reveal my construction and design choices that actualized the Silver Bullet challenge I set for myself in 2012.

Part 3  the Silver Bullet Tiny House and I are going on tour. I hope this e-book can inspire others with the lessons I’ve learned on my way to crafting a simpler, more mindful, and healthier lifestyle living tiny.


Comments about the book:

“It isn’t often you read a book that is grounded in the tiny house movement that touches on such a rich autobiographical history. Chronicling her career(s) in finance, redevelopment, visual art, and education, author Vera Struck builds her reasons for tackling the Silver Bullet Tiny House challenge she set for herself.
If you want to read an incredible book about someone who picked herself up by her bootstraps, found something she is passionate about, went for it, and is living large to tell the tale — then read this book. It’s a story of survival, personal growth and enlightenment towards a more sustainable American Dream.”
 
Andrew Odom, co-founder of Tiny r(E)volution and author of YOUR MESSAGE HERE: Gaining Corporate Sponsors for Your Tiny House Project

 

“Vera Struck certainly rocks with the power of several Vikings. Well into her sixties, she decides, “I want to design, and build, an off-grid, sustainable, tiny house that will serve as a traveling class room”, and does. She’s equal parts piss, vinegar, and infused-caffeine, not to mention damn driven.”

 
-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen (Author of “Microshelters”, Relaxshacks.com, and host/designer of HGTV’s “Tiny House Builders”)
“In Living the Sustainable Tiny Life, Vera Struck tells us a tiny house story that is uniquely her own. It is an inspiring journey that will help you make important realizations about what you want in your tiny house journey. While many of us are driven to the tiny house lifestyle seeking freedom from the debt culture, Vera’s story is full of hardship, challenges overcome, and proof that anyone can achieve a tiny house if they know their “why” and “how”. Once I started reading Living the Sustainable Tiny Life, I couldn’t put it down. In addition to Vera’s inspiring personal journey, she gives the reader a detailed look at how and why she designed each element of her house the way that she did. I was surprised to learn that she managed to get her floor to have an R value of 33 with an ingenious design and construction method. I definitely recommend this book for anyone considering but isn’t sure if they can gain the skills required to do it themselves. Living the Sustainable Tiny Life will give you the kick you need to get moving!”
– Ethan Waldman, Tiny House Designer/Builder/Dweller/Author of Tiny House DecisionsTiny House Parking

Want to change your life from BIG to TINY? Then this is the eBook for you!
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Photo by Derek Diedricksen

Are you ready? Click the Add to Cart button below and “just do it!”.

            $25.00                          

* All proceeds go to scholarships for needy students at our TerraBluTeams.org workshops and the Living the Sustainable Tiny Life tour that begins next year.

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!

 

 

8th Tiny House Workshop/Tour

Our 8th Workshop!       Class # 208 The Tiny House Journey  –  Newbury, MA.
Saturday,  7/18/2015, 12 – 4 PM  $75. ***  Sign up now, before it sells out!!!
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Meet a local tiny house designer/builder and learn more about her tiny house journey and the tiny house movement. Tour the Silver Bullet Tiny House on wheels (NOW COMPLETED) and discover all its reclaimed, recycled, non-toxic, sustainable and net-zero waste building materials and systems. How to transition into a sustainable lifestyle will be discussed with practical tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint quickly.
Limited to 10 attendees.
Comments from former attendees:
“If your longing to live the tiny life I highly recommend attending Vera’s workshop as a first step. Not only will you get to see, touch, and feel an actual tiny house but Vera will share with you her story, her experiences, and knowledge gained by extensive research and trial and error. I left her workshop with a bigger appreciation for the Tiny house way of life and for the movement as a whole. I now have a better understanding of the social, economic, environmental, and cultural effects this intentional way of living supports and impacts. 
So inspired to start my THOW journey real soon! ” Sophie T.
_____________________________________________________________
This Woman is the genuine article, my friends. Vera Struck is an inspiration to me, as well as a good friend. She is vastly knowledgeable, passionate, articulate and funny. I have been a presenter with Vera @ three different Tiny workshops, and she never ceases to amaze me.” Kari, Yurt Girl
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“I also really enjoyed all the sustainability information that you shared with us. We are definitely starting to see a trend in people who we talk to: those who are environmentally conscious, and those who are financially conscious. I love that your nonprofit strives to show people that they can have both.” Megan M.
 _____________________________________________________________
“I definitely learned a lot about how tiny houses are constructed, and providing us with some of the building materials you used was incredibly useful. The game we played at the end of the tour also really helped put everything into perspective – it was definitely a great learning process when we wrote down the top 5 things we should consider before building a tiny house.” Jay W.
______________________________________________________________
“I greatly appreciate your willingness to open up your home and heart to us and share with us your values as well as your challenges.” Mika IW.

Trailer modification, design process, framing, sheathing, downsizing transitions, insulation and energy systems will be covered. Includes light refreshments, building samples and 30 minute Q&A session. Bring your sense of humor!!

To Register click PayPal button below and we will email you instructions and directions.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards
Author Elizabeth Rose’s article on Vera’s tiny house in the Newburyport Daily News, click here.
 ***All proceeds go to support sustainability education at www.terrabluteams.org.
There are two fully paid scholarships to this workshop available to those in need. To apply, please email taospirit@mac.com with a paragraph about your need and reason for attending. Include contact information & phone. Applications processed within 24 hours.