Writing in the Digital Age

A month or two ago I invited you to take part in Tammy Strobel’s photography course “Everyday Magic.” It was well received and quite a few of you signed up and learned a lot from it. Tammy contacted me the other day wondering if the Tiny House Blog readers would be interested in her writing course entitled “Writing in the Digital Age?” I decided the answer was yes. In fact I am signing up to take the course myself. Here is a little more about it from Tammy and then you can decide if this something you would enjoy taking.

Tammy Strobel

In this four-week, self-guided course, I will teach you how to tell your story in the digital age, how to feed your creative juices, how to make time to write, and much more. I’ll share insights, inspiration, and the lessons I’ve learned over the last five years as a writer, blogger and photographer. In addition, you’ll hear from a variety of guest experts too!

During this course you’ll receive:

  • In-depth writing lessons that will empower you to write on your blog, in your journal, or wherever your heart desires.
  • Access to a private blog, writing resources, and lesson archives.
  • Writing prompts.
  • The option to join a private Facebook group.
  • At the end of the class, you’ll receive a PDF document that includes the course materials.

If you are interested in learning more and signing up you can click on this link: http://rowdykittens.com/digitalwriting/

For those of you wanting to get a taste of Tammy’s writing, she is having a special ebook sale right now where you can get Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself and Go Small & Be Happy: A Little Book of Essays for the low price of $1.99 each. Click here to read more about them or to purchase them. http://rowdykittens.com/writing/

writing in the digital age

Tammy Strobel and Everyday Magic

My passion for tiny houses is followed by another passion, photography. I often blend the two and the Tiny House Blog allows me to use both passions in a unique way.

My good friend and fellow tiny house enthusiast Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kitten’s fame is also a photographer and a writer. She has brought these two talents together into a photography course called Everyday Magic. About a year ago I had the privilege of taking her course and I really enjoyed it. Now days I shoot most of my photography via a smartphone and post my photos on Instagram and you can view my photos here http://instagram.com/kentgriswold

I really enjoyed this course and if you have an interest in improving your photography and learning some new ideas I’d like to invite you to check this course out.

Everyday Magic

Tammy says:

Everyday Magic” will spark your creative juices and help you get in touch with the joy of taking photos. Throughout the course, I will give you tips and tools to improve your photography practice. However, this is not a highly technical ecourse. You will learn how to take better photos and have fun along the way!

Class starting in a few days!

Click Here to learn all the details and to register.

Rowdy Kittens and Smalltopia Interview

Kacie Erickson did a recent interview with Tammy and Logan of Rowdy Kittens and Smalltopia that she’s allowed me to share with you. Here is what Kacie had to say:

“I thought I’d share with you the interview I just had with Logan & Tammy, it was so fun getting to pick their brains…they BOTH have such a way of inspiring with words.”

Kacie though that it might inspire some of you too! Click Here to read her interview.

Logan and Tammy interview


Means To Minimalism- A Chat with Tiny House Dweller, and Blogger, Tammy Strobel

Guest Post by Derek Diedricksen

She doesn’t like being labeled, but I still can’t help but dub her a “Maven of Minimalism”, (and hopefully she won’t get mad at me for it!), and for good reason, as Tammy Strobel has moved from what most would already consider a small living arrangement (a 400 square foot apartment), into a new, even smaller, 128 square foot home! Her story, I feel, is not only gutsy, but fun, and enlightening at the same time….oh yeah, I should mention that she also lives in this very same house with another person- Logan Smith- so at 64 square feet a piece, I felt they might have quite a bit of light to shine on the world of living with little.

Interview by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen of relaxshacks.com. The “Tammy” sketch below is from his tiny house design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks“- in a brand new “Tricks Of The Trade” chapter with input from Lloyd Kahn, Gregory Paul Johnson, Dee Williams, Jay Shafer, Alex Pino, Duo Dickinson, Mimi Zeiger, Colin Beavan, Alex Johnson, Cathy Johnson, and some guy named “Kent Griswold”!?


Deek: What was the turning point in your life where you decided that the run of the mill, status quo lifestyle, and one usually surrounded by “stuff'”, wasn’t for you?

Tammy: About six years ago I took a life changing trip to Mexico. At the time I was volunteering with the Mexico Solidarity Network and was unhappy with my career and huge mound of debt. After visiting Mexico and seeing so much poverty, I realized how trivial my problems were. When I got back, I knew I had to make some serious life changes. And a few months later, Logan and I happened to watch a You Tube video featuring Dee Williams and her tiny house.

Once we saw Dee’s video, we knew tiny house living was a good fit for us. So we started taking steps to transform our lives, like paying down our debt, selling the cars, and giving away a lot of stuff. Seeing the video of Dee and her little house was a big turning point for us. It gave us a whole new perspective on what our life could be like; that I didn’t have to drive two hours to and from work everyday or live in a big house either. It was empowering to realize I could live life on my own terms. Continue reading

Tammy and Logan’s Tiny House Tour

My friend and fellow blogger Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens and her husband Logan just fulfilled a dream of theirs and moved into a tiny house.

The home was designed and built by Dee Williams and  Katy Anderson of Portland Alternative Dwellings based in Portland, Oregon. I asked Tammy to give us a video walk through of her home and asked her a few questions also. Included in this post is her video and a photo gallery of their new home. You can view more photos of the construction of their home here.

Kent: As a couple living in such a small space where do you go to find your own private space?

Tammy: Logan and I both have solitary jobs. I’m a writer and he’s a scientist. During the course of the work day we both spend a lot of time alone. During the mornings, evenings and on the weekends, we enjoy spending time together. Even if our jobs weren’t solitary that would still be the case. Logan is my best friend and I love spending time with him. If I need alone time, I go out for a walk, practice yoga, or meditate. I don’t need a big house to find my own private space.

Kent: Will you do most of your cooking in your house or do you eat out regularly?

Tammy: I’ll do both. Logan and I have a tiny stove that runs off denatured alcohol. Logan baked cornbread for an office party and we made an amazing vegetable stir-fry for dinner last week. In the past our routine has been to cook mostly at home, however, we also love eating out and Portland has a great food scene. For example, the food carts offer a wide range of choices and it’s relatively inexpensive.

Kent: What type of plumbing, etc. is used in your home to take care of gray water and black water?

Tammy: I have a simple plumbing set-up in the little house; one pipe goes into the house and one goes out. A garden hose attaches to a valve on the exterior of the house and it runs to a kitchen faucet that is used to do dishes. For drinking water, we filter water from the faucet using a simple Berkey Light water system that sits on the counter.

I have a small wet-bath to clean-up, but right now I don’t use it because I shower after my yoga class and Logan showers at his office.

Gray water from the kitchen sink and wet-bath drains flow together into a single pipe out to under the house and is currently caught in a five gallon container under the house. We use the grey water to irrigate ornamental trees and shrubbery and so far we have been producing about 1.5 gallons of grey water per day (or less). Black water isn’t an issue because I have a composting toilet. The composting toilet is based off the model in the Humanure Handbook. Composting is a huge topic, so if you want to learn more, read the book.


Kent: How did you find a place to park your mobile tiny home?

Tammy: When I started looking for a parking spot, I emailed all of my friends and posted a flyer on the blog too. There is uncertainty when it comes to parking a little house, especially if you don’t have land of your own and I was scared we wouldn’t find a parking spot within the city limits. Moving to an RV park on Sauvie Island was an option. But the commute is a little too far for us, especially since we don’t have a car.

Eventually, acquaintances heard we needed a place to park and offered their backyard to us in exchange for rent. It’s in a beautiful neighborhood and I’m incredibly grateful to be in such a wonderful spot.

Kent: Is it legal to park your home where it is?

Tammy: The planning department has not integrated little dwellings into the city code yet. So technically, the little house isn’t illegal or legal. However, the City of Portland has been receptive to these types of homes. The history of small, mobile food carts is a great example and a wonderful precedent to Portland’s tolerance regarding alternative buildings within the city limits.

The primary purpose of city code is to make sure homes are safe. Our house is built to the International Building Code and was inspected by a certified electrician, plumber, and contractor. In addition to being beautiful, our french doors serve as an easy entry for emergency personal, in case of a fire or illness. Taken together, these features help planning department officials make a better appraisal of the structure.

If you’re thinking of building a little house, check in with your city planning department. In addition, be sure you get inspections by certified electricians, plumbers, and contractors to verify the dwellings safety.

For more information regarding tiny home construction details, read Go House Go.

Kent: What would you suggest to someone wanting to change their lifestyle like you have.

Tammy: First, give yourself time. It took us 4 years to pay off our debt and downsize to a tiny house. Some of my friends have been able to downsize really quickly and that’s great. For me, that wasn’t a reality. Part of simplifying required a huge shift in my mindset and that took time. I had to stop looking for happiness at the mall. I learned to focus on cultivating my relationships instead of worrying about stuff.

Second, focus your life situation. Living in a 150 square-feet isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. Ask yourself: How much do I need? What makes me happy? What amount of space will fit my family’s needs?

Finally, you need to practice with what you have. When we first started downsizing we cleaned out one bedroom of our two bedroom apartment and treated our big home as a smaller home. For instance, Gregory Johnson of the small house society started by renting out his house and downsized to only one of his bedrooms.

Kent: Do you have such amenities as power, internet, etc? If so how do you go about getting it for a separate unit from the main house?

Tammy: Yes I have the Internet and power. However, I am still tied to the grid through the main house. We’re sharing a wireless internet connection with the land owners and we’ve plugged into their house to get electricity with an outdoor extension cord. The little house runs off a 15 amp power source.

More questions? Please visit the FAQ page at RowdyKittens.com. Thanks!


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