Tiny House Part 21: My Mini Monet

They were thoughtful enough to place my light switches so that I could turn lights on and off from bed as well as when walking in the door. I’ve always appreciated this, but eventually got tired of turning the lights on in the “dark” and having to fumble around for the switches. See, between the window and my microwave, which has a clock on it, I have a surprising bit of light in the room, but that didn’t help much with a white plate on a white wall. I needed more contrast.

So to Etsy I did go! I knew I wanted something that would work with the art print I already had hanging over my nightstand, so I looked through hundreds of options and pared it down to half a dozen. In my usual, let’s-overthink-this manner, I printed out screen captures of my favorites and took turns taping them over the switches to get the effect.

Honestly, I knew which one I would choose pretty early, but having gone to the effort I made myself follow through on the plan. I knew from reading the details and reviews that this metal cover would be excellent quality and that it was American made, so once my mind was made up I moved. And I give you, my mini Monet!

Is it not perfect?!

Monet is my favorite artist and his water lilies paintings are almost definitely my favorite of all his works. One of my happy times was when I went with a friend to an Impressionists exhibit and got to stand right in front of one of those paintings. I don’t know how long I stood there, but it was long enough for her to take this picture. And why am I holding my bag behind my back in this photo, you ask? Because, my friends, I was terribly tempted to touch it. I mean, Monet had touched it and I wanted to too!

So, back to Etsy. Pretty much every switch plate cover I liked was from LunaGalleryDesigns. The selection in this shop is amazing and they offer far more than the bajillion switch plate covers I had to choose from! They also have ceramic wall tiles, mosaic wall tiles, and some absolutely beautiful ceramic tile murals. If by chance you wanted this Monet Water Lillies cover specifically, here’s your link! (Nope, I don’t earn anything off this one!)

And here’s a surprise! I let Luna Gallery know about this post and they offered you, for a limited time, an additional 10% off any purchase. Just use code: LIMITEDTIME.

You may be wondering about the art print as well. It was a gift, so all I can tell you is that it’s Jacob’s Ladder and I was told it was by an Israeli artist, though that may or may not be the case. It’s several years old, so I’ve no idea if it would even be available anymore.

And there you have it! I added a perfect tiny piece of art to my perfect tiny house!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 18: My Window

I have one window in my apartment, which isn’t all that surprising given its size. It lets a good bit of natural light into my kitchen area, and is truly a blessing. Due to the construction of the building, the sill is quite deep. That makes it even better!

Obviously, the window is home to my little air conditioner, which though small proved quite sufficient this past summer. The way they built up around the unit not only sealed it in well but provides me so much privacy that I have no need at all for curtains or shades. (I’m pretty high up off the ground at this point.) 

That privacy meant I could do whatever I wanted with the window, so I pulled out a stained glass piece that had been in storage. Yes, the colors are more muted than most of the apartment, but not only is it a salute to my love of reading, it is also a gift from two very special people, one of whom has gone on home to Heaven. One thing I learned a long time ago is that surrounding yourself with things that have meaning can trump other rules.

Another thing that has meaning is the hummingbird that hangs to the right of the stained glass. This is my salute to both my mother and grandmother, who shared a love for the little flyers. The crystal that hangs to the left in the window was purchased to balance the bird. It’s very pretty and I’m glad I chose the right thing. It’s the 120mm Crystal Prism Suncatcher and it sells for $10; I paid more for the hummingbird at a craft show years ago!

My decorator friend installed the wooden shelf for me specifically for these two pots of hens and chicks, which originated with my grandmother. If you read Sometimes You Just Need a Do Over you have seen the long planter. These little guys aren’t flourishing greatly, like I wish they were, but they are still alive and I’m taking that as a win. 

Both of these planters came from Amazon. The long one is the Kipokalor 11.1×2.36×1.77inch Long Rectangular Modern Minimalist White Ceramic Succulent Planter Pot with Saucer. It’s minimalist, high quality, and exactly what I was looking for.

The small planter is actually from a set I bought in February to give as gifts.

These are a set of 12 Pcs White Bible Verse Succulent Pots with Drainage 3.15 Inch Mini Ceramic Flower Planter Pot with Bamboo Tray. I planted succulents in them and gave them to my ministry team as Valentine’s gifts. They were a huge hit!

The bottom shelf was decorated by my talented friend, who also made the little potted cactus for me. Everything else already belonged to me; she just knew how to put them all together. the stack of books includes some antiques from what was once an impressive collection. The glass paperweight was my mother’s and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. What I really wish you could see better is the peacock stone that sits between the books and plant. It’s bornite and it’s beautiful. Here’s an example I found online.

And that’s the window. We’re almost finished with the Kitchen tour. Thanks for coming along!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 17: Kitchen Counter

As I’ve mentioned before, at first glance you’d think I have no counter space at all, but if you saw the larger photo of my kitchen area you know the washing machine butts right up against the kitchen counter and it serves me well as extra counter space. So does the dryer, which we’ll get to in another post. So here you go.

Major things first, my sink is huge and I’m so glad. I’d had concerns that I’d be stuck with something small. I should have known better; I’ve said more than once that they tried really hard to make this place as good as they possibly could for me. They weren’t going to let me down and not only gave me a great sink but a fabulous faucet. Second, isn’t this teak countertop amazing? It’s absolutely beautiful and allowed them to bring in a variety of raw woods elsewhere in the kitchen. Seeing them work on all of that was a revelation; wood has gotten so expensive!

They found the countertop at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and it’s a great example of the bargains you can find there. People assume these stores are filled with things that have been pulled out of demolished houses, and there is that, but there are also pallets of factory overstocks and other brand new items. This particular countertop was long enough that they used part of it here and part to build my microwave shelf, which you’ll see soon, and will still be able to make my sis a beautiful, large cutting board.

So, on the counter, left to right…

Fiberwise, by Melaleuca. Not anything you’re probably interested in, but when you hit menopause fiber becomes especially important as it helps with things like cholesterol. (Remember that TIA I had a while back? Right.)

Now, on the sink? That, my friends, is a stainless steel, Roll Up Dish Drying Rack and it is the bomb. I have it rolled out for the benefit of this picture, but I can roll or fold it up as much or as little as I like, or even roll it and store it. I’ve also discovered that if I fold it up in three layers it will hold my lightweight plate as it dries (otherwise the tall thing flops sideways). If you have a small kitchen, this thing is a great! It’s another of those items that I saw and thought, “Hm…” and have been very glad I purchased.

Two other things about the sink. I don’t use bar soaps much, if at all, but was given some soap samples recently. That little, cream-colored block you see in the sink stopper that sits by the Dawn? It’s one of those samples and I discovered that sink stoppers make great small-soap holders. The blue spray bottle is Dawn Powerwash and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s what I usually use to wash my hands, works great as a clothing pre-treat (especially with oil or grease) and of course is fantastic for dishes. It seems like it would be a waste of money, but I find that a bottle lasts a very long time; you just have to avoid the temptation to spray ridiculous amounts.

Dawn Powerwash Spray Starter Kit, Platinum Dish Soap, Fresh Scent, 1 Starter Kit + 1 Dawn Powerwash Refill, 16 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)

There are only two other things on the counter that I’ll link to. The trivet in the lower right corner of the photo was a gift and I use it constantly since I don’t risk putting anything hot on those wood counters. The plate on the plate rack is primarily decoration since the plate isn’t microwave safe. One day I’ll find a microwave safe plate I actually like and replace it.

The ZeroWater 6-Cup 5-Stage Water Filter Pitcher has been a fixture in my life for years. I don’t like our city water at all, and it’s best to filter minerals out of the water before using an electric kettle, so this stays on the counter permanently. If I drank my water cold, I would of course keep it in the fridge, but I’m one of those strange people who, while I can drink cold water, am just as happy drinking it at room temp.

And last you see one of my HoShip Silicone Spoon Rests. They’re food grade silicone spoon rests that are lovely, dishwasher safe, and store in a very small area. Highly recommended!

I hope you’re having a great day!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 12: The Shower

Seriously? She’s going to tell us about her shower?

Yes. Yes, I am. I am going to tell you about my shower because it was such a big part of the design challenge.

We were so tight on space that I assured them I would be fine with the smallest shower stall they make. I think that was 32xs32? Fortunately for me, when they were shopping, she stepped inside that tiny one and realized even she couldn’t hack anything so small longterm, and I’m taller than she is. Instead, they got me a 36×36 and I have been grateful ever since. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a little more space. This is sufficient; it works great in fact. I just can’t imagine going any smaller. So, if you’re building, consider what you realistically need. Yes, we sacrificed a few inches in the main room, but it was more than worth the investment!

They installed an instantaneous water heater in the “attic” above my bath, and it provides plenty of hot water. Oh, and they got me a rainhead. I’ve never had one before and this one, especially since it’s adjustable, is amazing.

The shower curtain is from Amazon. I hunted forever, or so it felt, until I found just the right design to keep me in remembrance of our cruises. This is actually a 60″ curtain (Technically it should have been 48.”) because when I looked at the smaller version it seemed that they had distorted the picture to make it fit. I had originally planned to have this one cut down, but instead I just folded some of the fabric and doubled up on a couple of the hooks. That lets it spread out so I can see it, with the extra fabric not too very noticeable off to the side. (And yes, I got in a hurry taking this photo so it’s not hanging properly on the right side.)

I will include a link to this curtain, just in case anyone wants it, but I warn you that you must have a sense of humor to appreciate it. Near the bottom there are some definite misprints. Mostly it’s a couple of fish that are missing pieces of their bodies, but then there is this.

It’s close to the bottom, so as far as I know no one else has ever even noticed it, but every time I see this bear peeking at me above a wall of water I chuckle. My sense of humor is just quirky enough that I didn’t even consider returning the curtain; I keep it as a sort of trophy of silliness.

Finally, I offer these two photos to share my personal bathroom hack. Moving from a full-size bath to a shower stall left me with extra shower curtain hooks, and I discovered that they are a tremendous help. The hook on the shower head holds my bath brush and scrubby without taking up anywhere near as much space as the shower caddy I’d brought with me from the other house. The two hooks I keep on my shower rod (I actually store them both where the right one is) are ideal for hanging wet swimsuits or other things that need to drip dry. I have thanked myself many times for not tossing the “extra” hooks when I was purging.

And that’s it for the bath!
Yeele Fish Shower Curtains Blue Ocean Under The Sea Shower Curtain

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 3: The Purge

I entitled this “The Purge,” but the purge actually happened in waves.

I’d already gotten rid of much of the junk my hoarder husband had insisted on keeping, and passed several of his things along to kids and grandkids, but in March I began the first true purge. There was a charity auction coming up and, even though I knew I would still be living in the apartment for another 5ish months, I pulled out everything that I 1) knew I could live without, 2) felt would bring at least something at an auction, 3) had confirmed that my kids wouldn’t want, and 4) couldn’t possibly take in the move, and I donated it all to the auction. I knew I still had a lot to let go of, including some things I really wanted to hang onto, but this move forward felt like an enormous success! It also helped raise hundreds of dollars.

The second wave of the purge happened as our floor plan was refined. There were some things that were non-negotiable. I had a queen mattress and, though I knew I’d be buying a new frame for it, I was not willing to drop down to a smaller bed. I also had a good-sized desk my son had just given me that I was determined to keep on the grounds that I needed it and it would serve as both work space and dining table. These two things were worked into the floor plan with about an inch to spare and determined the length of the bathroom (Which is the perfect size, by the way!) I was also set on keeping my lingerie chest, which provides an amazing amount of drawer space for its footprint.

With these things in mind, it was time to get real about what I needed, wanted, and couldn’t keep no matter what. The furniture that hadn’t gone in the auction was either given away or promised to others. The massive artwork that I felt would be completely out of scale for such a small space was also handed off to some who could appreciate it. I knew I would have limited closet space, so I hard purged my closet, getting rid of anything other than special occasion dresses that I hadn’t worn in the past year. I then pulled my out-of-season clothes and packed them away; I’ll explain that later. Then I measured what I had left. I was shooting for 3 linear feet of current hanging clothing. A lot hit the floor. I sent bags of clothes out the door.

I dealt with other things in similar manner, and worked towards actually living in that apartment the way I would end up living here. By that, I mean I figured out how I would store my shoes, I kept clothing in a small area, I rearranged my lingerie chest to accommodate my new lifestyle… In other words, I did my best to start tiny home living while still in the apartment.

The third wave of purging happened in those last few weeks. I’d hung onto some things just because, but in those final weeks I was giving away, throwing away, and donating things left and right. I knew I wouldn’t be doing much more than microwaving over here, so the only baking dishes I kept were two that will fit in my microwave. It and my electric kettle are my cooking team. Oh, and the toaster I just bought because I’ve been wanting peanut butter toast and hot Pop Tarts.

One of the most challenging parts of the purge was my book collection. If it weren’t for my kindle and my ability to store hundreds of books there, I would be in serious trouble. The book purge, itself, was actually a multi-step process as I slowly peeled my fingers off the spines of some of my long-time favorites.

I should mention that I’d been offered the option of storing some things elsewhere in the building, but I’d refused. I came into this journey determined to REALLY live in my tiny house. And truly, as I’ve lived here for the past several weeks, I’ve still found myself purging. Only when I got in here did I realize things like the fact that I had a ridiculous number of washcloths for one person – that’s actually what I passed along most recently. There have been several times when I’ve left things on my sister’s bar and texted to let her know they were there if she wanted them.

I’m still settling in, still finding the best way to have things stored, arranged, and used. I’ve gotten rid of things, purchased a few (very few) things, and tweaked left and right. Most excitingly, I had a friend who specializes in reimagining spaces come in and help me get out of the box. She made many suggestions that I was delighted to act on; created new storage solutions, decor, and art for me; and restaged the place. I love it even more today than I did before she came here last.

And so we’ve set the stage for the rest of my story. As we walk through this series, I’ll share things I’ve learned, specifics about choices that were made, and lots of photos showing how I live in my tiny dream home.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Focus on Forever

Art by Amanda Kelly

At my request, a friend created this custom artwork for my new office. I’d been thinking about how I wanted the office decorated and the ONLY thing I knew was that I wanted one constant reminder.

“Forever” is my absolute favorite word in the whole world because it reflects God’s amazing promise: His children get to spend forever with Him! It is also a reminder that everything I face today is temporary. No matter how challenging life gets, and oh my Lord but it does get challenging, I know that a thousand years from now today’s troubles will be meaningless in almost every way.

I say almost, because how we respond to today’s challenges will definitely matter a thousand years from now; our actions today work together to determine who we will be tomorrow. When I stay focused on forever, focused on Him instead of the trials and tribulations that sometimes seem to pile on top of each other, I’m much more likely to get it right.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C