Relaxshax's Blog

EIGHT really cool tiny houses/cabins from NANO HOUSE
April 30, 2012, 6:26 pm
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Here’s a cool little photo gallery of EIGHT pretty amazing little homes/tiny houses from the new tiny homes/micro cabins book “Nano House. I thought you might get some ideas, inspiration, color and form schemes, and who knows what else, from checking these out….Its definitely a good book- TONS and TONS of color photos….   -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen


TINY HOUSE SUMMER CAMP- Building/Camping/Learning/Networking- 2012 in VERMONT…
April 27, 2012, 9:17 am
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JULY 6-9th- FOUR DAYS of Tiny House Building, Learning, Touring, and MORE!

(Photo by Bruce Bettis)

     Here’s pretty much the final bill (well, unless we get crazy and add another person or two as speakers- which could very well happen!). I’m out the door in minutes for a Tumbleweed video and photo shoot in Boston, so I’ll add some specific photos later of the cabins you’ll stay in, the one’s we’ll visit, videos of the premises (the 10 acres where this will be held in Northern Vermont) and more details. Its a FOUR DAY workshop (last day isn’t a mandatory monday, its more of a fun, wind-down day, with some last min building and touch up, and a field trip to a tiny house/camp compound in a neighboring town). The workshop runs from 4pm on that Friday (sign up and set-up (where you’ll stay or camp), with a meet n’ greet campfire dinner, some touring of the grounds, and a campfire speaking/discussion group at night, and runs until 4pm on Monday. LOTS we’ll be going over- with some AMAZING guests……YES, we’ll collectively be putting together a tiny cabin too!

Mariah Coz and her "Comet Camper"- a revamped Avalon (Tiny House On Wheels)
April 26, 2012, 8:50 pm
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The current, and/or “Before”, look of Mariah’s “Comet Camper”….

     I met Mariah last summer when she attended my sold out, backyard, tiny house and shelter building workshop. She was an instantly likeable person and VERY excited about her future prospects of making the move to living a tinier, simpler life. Well, she’s putting her money where her mouth is, and has been very busy. She’ll also be guest speaking at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Boston, that I’m heading up/teaching, on May 19th and 20th AND will be coming up to my “Tiny House Summer Camp”- July 6, 7, 8, 9th in Northern Vermont– for more info on that, click HERE.

Anyway, I figured I’d hand the reigns to Mariah, so that she can explain what she’s been up to….

“Hi All, and thanks Deek! I’m Mariah: builder, maker, do-it-your-selfer, designer, tiny house and vintage trailer enthusiast, and student studying mobile and alternative dwellings (I design my own curriculum and major at school). I am building The COMET (Cost-Efficient, Off-grid, Mobile Eco-Trailer) as a response to the combination of dwindling resources on our planet and, ironically, the incredible amount of waste and excess that makes it’s way into the dumpster and the landfill every day. The plan is to turn this 1960’s Avalon travel trailer into an off-the-grid, self-sufficient, mobile tiny house that has virtually no impact on the environment and a big social impact by serving as a mobile green classroom. Using mainly re-used, free, and repurposed/recycled materials, and sustainably produced products where necessary, The COMET aims to empower, educate, and inspire people to live TINY, SUSTAINABLY, FLEXIBLY, AFFORDABLY and HEALTHY. In less than 112 square feet I will have 555 Watts of solar power, a self-contained rainwater harvesting/filtration system, a waterless composting toilet, solar shower, bumper garden, and most importantly, a HOME (all for under $8000!).

      I encourage people to follow the COMET and it’s progress at, as the website itself is meant to be a resource and tool for other DIYers who want to explore sustainable, tiny living. There will be tutorials and how-to’s aimed at empowering others to build their own composting toilet, solar power system, and build with re-purposed materials. My background in vintage trailer restoration and love for the Tiny House movement have brought me to this project.  When The COMET is done, we’ll hit the road, stopping all over the US doing open houses, tours, info sessions, and workshops. My hope is that people who see and experience The COMET will be inspired and empowered to live tiny and more sustainably.
I’m REALLY excited to be bringing The COMET to Deek’s “Tiny House Summer Camp” workshop this summer too. I’ll be showing you the camper itself and some really neat new stuff in sustainable building techniques, showing off my free and recycled finds that will be going into The COMET, explaining why vintage campers make great tiny houses,  talking about how to save $$ in your tiny house by having an entirely DC photovoltaic solar electric system like The COMET, and more! See you there

The Pine Crest Motel and Cabins in Barton, Vermont- TEN TINY HOUSES….
April 26, 2012, 7:40 am
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A post on Mariah Coz and her Comet Camper- appearing at this year’s TINY HOUSE SUMMER CAMP ((July 6-9th in Vermont)- kidcedar at gmail dot com if interested)) will be coming later tonight most likely….

But first, another video I edited the other night, but one I actually shot last summer….its on a really cool campground or tiny house/cabin complex called the Pine Crest Motel and Cabins in Barton, Vermont. I’ve stayed there before and LOVED IT.

And for those who missed it, since I buried it so quickly….. “TINY HOUSE THRIFT #3”

Another New Video- Tiny House Thrift #3- Storage and Shelving Solutions for your Home/Cabin
April 25, 2012, 7:24 am
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Pretty self explanatory, but here’s a brand new video showing you two ideas on utilizing otherwise ignored or neglected space in your home, and turning it into storage….. more to come, much more, and these are among the MANY things we’ll discuss at my “Tiny House Summer Camp” hands-on, building workshop in Vermont this summer- July 6, 7, 8, 9th….. kidcedar at gmail dot com if interested. We’ll have the full bill/roster tomorrow…          -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

My Cool Campervan- Book Review and Photo Gallery of Travel Vans/Road Campers
April 24, 2012, 8:03 pm
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     I’ve been reading through the newish release “My Cool Campervan”– a side-themed sequel, of sorts, to “My Cool Caravan”, and yet again, its a total score for your personal library in terms of a pretty damn amazing array of color photos- especially drool inducing for any VW bus/camper van fans- not to mention many of the lesser known camping/living vehicles- A Skoda, Bedford Cf, Toyota Devon, Tonke, Ginetta Car Camper, Winnebago Brave, GMC Motorhome, Dormobile, Ford Road Ranger, and more, they’re all represented in the book…. (Pavilion Press)- and for more info…

               Its a total avalanche of some bad-ass eye candy for all the campervan nerds out there! 

       I have some photos of the interior of the book below….
Haven’t seen “My Cool Shed” yet- the newest of the “My Cool…” books, but I’m sure its pretty awesome…

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

Gaby Sunheart’s "How to Save THOUSANDS towards your cabin/tiny house" with domestic thrift
April 23, 2012, 8:55 am
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     Gaby Sunheart, one of the readers/contributors on our “Tiny Yellow House and” facebook group/board, recently took up the offer to provide us with a guest post here on Relaxshacks, and one that I think you’ll find beneficial, in a HUGE money saving way. SO MANY PEOPLE ask me, whether its by email, at the workshops I’ve hosted, or in our discussion groups “But Deek, how do we go about saving for our tiny house when we’re stuck in a debt trap in the meantime?”. Well….here’s some of MANY approaches you might be able to employ….

A dollar saved is a (tax-FREE) dollar earned! Want to build yourself a cabin but don’t have the money saved to make it happen!? Here are some easy, environmentally friendly, ways to save over $10,000 in just one year!

Use cloth napkins and save $156 a year. PLUS save an additional $100 each year by using bar rags instead of paper towels (I save my paper towels for the really disgusting tasks!)- this is factoring in washing, etc.

Bring leftovers to work for lunch and save a minimum of $1,200 a year. And that’s assuming your buying a low end fast-food lunch.

SAVE $1,000 – $1,800 EACH YEAR ON SNACKS!
Replace junkie snacks bought out of desperation with cut up veggies and save up to $1,800 a year. Less junk, more fresh stuff!

SAVE $1000 A YEAR!
Drink filtered water and save $1,000 a year. Why drink water out of a one time use plastic bottle? The plastic breaks down … leaving you to ingest harmful chemicals. I boil my tap water and add a couple of slices of fresh ginger to it. Gives my water a fresh zing. You could also add lemon or lime to it! 
             (Deek: Also check out the book “Bottlemania”- which shows just how dishonest and unenvironmental most of these bottled water companies are. I try to never buy/drink bottled water- far too many negatives behind it).  

Make it a no-buy year. Books, magazines and CD’s. Instead get them from your library for FREE! Even if you only buy 1 book a month at $10. That’s another $120 dollars saved!
Let the cable company keep their commercials! Most of my favorite shows are now offered online for FREE and with less commercials! Save up to $70 a month! I shut mine off on New Years day. And I have already saved nearly $300! BONUS! I’ve spent hours upon hours of my life doing far more important things!
Save anywhere from 5%-10% off of your electrical bill each year simply by unplugging appliances while not in use! Consider unplugging your; desktop and laptop computers, TV, DVD player, stereo, radios, coffeemaker, lamps, toasters, phone charger when not in use, microwave. And whenever possible unplug your washer and dryer.
By simply shutting your closet doors, you will reduce the amount of heat/air conditioning your household uses.
  (Deek: Or simply air condition only one centrally used room during the day, and save even more!)

It’s starting to warm up! Why not let the sun do what it does best and dry your clothes! Or try this cool trick … I made hang drying easy on myself by installing a clothes rod hanger above my washing machine. I simply hang my clothes on the hangers and hang them up. Then I put them away when they are dry! No folding, no ironing (which saves a little additional electricity + your precious time!). Simply hang dry your clothes and save just over a $1 a load. You can multiply that $1 by how many loads you do a year and bank the savings!
BONUS: Hang up your towel in between uses. When you use a clean towel to dry your clean body off after showering…the towel is still clean. It’s just damp. You can use it for a solid week before it needs to be washed! Don’t hang it on a peg…that does not help it stay fresh. It needs to be completely aired out, over a towel bar. When possible hang it outside. You will save time, water and energy.

Take the bus, ride your bike (most buses have easy to use bike racks). This may not always be practical depending on where you live. But most cities are set up with convenient mass-transportation. When my car broke down a couple of years ago, I started taking the bus, the train (I’ve made some great friends on the train, caught up on work etc.) and have saved myself at least $500 a month. When you account for gas, insurance, car payments, registration fees…in all likelihood it’s far more than that.
$104-(for tea out of the tin) or $730 if your buying cans/big gulps.
Instead of buying overly sweetened tea out of a can or a big gulp of overly sweetened tea at some fast food place … or even pricey cardboard boxes or tins with 20 or so tea-bags inside for $3-$5 … You can easily grow your own tea herbs / and use fresh ginger to make tea. That is something I just started to do. And the quality is so much better. Get yourself a cool metal tea ball, stuff it with fresh mint and your good to go! BONUS: Save money on allergy medicine! Use a little of your savings to buy organic, locally sourced honey. It will help reduce any allergies you may have!
Brew your own coffee at home and save $700 per person a year.

Buy or download a copy of one of my books! “Feed Your Family on $25 A Week! (no coupons)!” And/or “Gluten-Free on $5 A Day!” Both books are packed with easy-healthy recipes, menus, shopping lists and more. Everything you need to get healthy while saving money on food! Or just check out my website for free recipes and money saving tips! 
A little about me … I love to save money, cook for and feed the homeless and I really enjoy teaching my money saving workshops. But most of all; I love my child collection … they are my world 🙂 For more about me, free recipes and my online bookshop go to;
For MANY thirft ideas on saving a heck of alot of money and time on building materials, check out my book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” as well…