around the platz, april 2014

Wow guys. I finally posted something that even those having trouble seeing my new posts could actually find, and all the “we missed you” and “yeys” I heard in return were awesome. Thanks for the high fives. Back at you.

Today I’ve got a few more photos of life on the Platz, though at this point they are a bit old. Instead of freshly agitated dirt, we have grass so green it looks fake. The herb garden is flourishing (and possibly saved the lives of the two sage plants I raised from seed).  So yeah, old news, and I’ll have to get new photos in the works, but hey little steps.  At least now you’ll get to see the progession.  Spring is the best time of year at a Wagenplatz.

For those you you who still can’t see the newest posts without a link from that damn year in books post, I’ve listed all the posts of 2014 below for you to get clicky with.  As well as a few morsels from Book Punks, my new book blog.  Huzzah.

The herb garden.  All these rocks were just laying around the property.

A new porch!  It still needs a few details and better steps, but they are on their way.

Like I said, all that is brown in this photo is now bright green.  The rocks have been replaced by mulch.  It is SO good.

Posts you might have missed:

If you can see this post you’ve won a prize/Kitchen photos

Oh the places we’ve been

A very tiny kid’s room

Daily life February 2014 (a low moment in time)

And then we had a kitchen and life was suddenly all marshmellows and cartwheels

Put on some rabbit ears and dance

Since I spend most of my time thinking about books

Book Punks posts you might enjoy:

Shelves of magic and wonder

German SF awards announced

News from dystopia

Wednesday May 07th 2014, 1:01 pm 12 Comments
Filed under: daily life,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


if you can see this post, you have won a prize. and also: our kitchen!

And the prize is that you can see this post.  SIGH.  My radio silence lately has been the result of some technical issues.  I would describe them for you and whine a bunch in vivid detail, but really, who fucking cares?!  I owe you some pictures of our new kitchen, and today I am here to deliver.  That’s right.  Uh-huh.  Look at these beauties.

You’ve seen the outside at least a dozen times already, but, yeah, it is still awesome.

No fictisiously clean kitchens in my photos! I am not fast enough to take pictures during the three seconds that is remains orderly before the next Hurricane Pickle/cooking strikes.

I think food makes the best decoration in a kitchen. So I built narrow shelves and lined them with my extensive collection of glass jars. The jars also help keep the grocery moths at bay. I fucking hate those moths.

Note the beautiful floor. Done by our awesome floor who used to live in this space.

I still can barely fathom the luxury that is having a full stove with three burners and an over. OH HELLS YEAH. Also: isn’t the stove cute? I am in love. The Beard found it for sale online for 25 euro bucks.

Love.

I still think hanging shit is the best way to make use of your space in a small kitchen. And it looks pretty too. See that cow head hanging there? It makes toast. On the wood stove. More love.

Ikea. Making the world boring, but with a real nice selection of hanging bobbles for kitchens.

Like these hanging drying racks. Such good use of space. Now we just need to get a sink in here.

Another hanging drying rack, one I got for free from freecycle, but also originally from Ikea. It also folds up. Genius.

More glass jar porn.

This is where we store towels and things.

Pancake forms. Pigs, hearts, clover, bears. Cute as fuck. Making cooking fun again.

My coffee grinder will still work after the apocalypse. Will yours? Ok, ok, you’re right, there won’t BE any coffee to grind. So what. I still love this thing.

Ta-da! What do you think?

NOTE NOTE NOTITY NOTE: I started a book-ish website, and I would love it if you all came by and said hello and liked our facebook page and stuffs. Going to keep most of my book ramblings over there from now on, and the tiny house ramblings will all still live here. Once the CCG redisgn that is happening RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE is done (whoops, cat out of the bag huh?), even more so.  GO VISIT IT ALREADY: Book Punks.

Thursday May 01st 2014, 11:58 am 15 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


tiny house movement: a very tiny kid’s room

Imagine you live in a very small space. Let’s say seven by two meters, to take my own example. Your kitchen and bathroom are in another building, and you even have some space in another trailer for books and guests and piles of things, but those fourteen square meters are where you and the two other members of your family are going to spend the majority of their time. How do you divide it up? How do you make the most of the space? Where do you store shit? Fuck! How is that even possible?

When Pickles was born, she didn’t have her own room. She didn’t even have her own bed. She slept in our bed, and we built shelves with a fold-out changing table and quickly settled into the space as a family of three. You would think you would feel cramped, living in such a small space with so many people, but you would be wrong. It does help if you really like each other though. And did I mention how much money you save when you don’t have to buy any extra furniture? Seems to me that babies don’t need much besides their parents at the beginning. Very young children are generally only expensive if you want them to be.

Now Pickles is almost two, getting bigger and bigger, collecting more and more toys, and kicking us all over our bed. She’s not ready for her own trailer just yet (some kids could deal right away, I am talking her specifically right now), as she still doesn’t like to be far from the parentals, and I would be very very unhappy if I had to get up and go outside every time she woke up during the night, something that still happens at least twice every sleep cycle. But we are ready to start transitioning her into her own bed, and we needed a better system for storing her clothes and toys.

So I got obsessed and started planning a little room for her on the far side of our trailer. One side for her room, one side for the Beard and I’s room. I call them rooms, but there aren’t any dividing walls. Everyone has their own special little space, and when it is time to sleep, we still only have one wood stove to light and tend. (That’s a factor that I see keeping our sleeping room in one trailer for a long time to come.) She’s not spending the night in her own bed yet, but she has started napping or starting the night there.

The last little bobble I needed took forever to arrive (something to keep her from falling out of the lofted bed I built for her). But when we returned from America it was sitting here waiting. I got out the screwdriver and put on the last touches in a few minutes. I remember to take pictures when things were clean-ish. And I am very proud to present to you: Pickles room. In all its four squared metered glory. Turns out four square meter is huge for a two-year old.

And I am going to tell you all about it.  But first, behold!

Hanging storage, shelves on both walls, baskets to keep the toys organized.  And the bed!  I was inspired by images like this one, and lofting the bed helped us keep all the floor space free for toys and playing.  Who wouldn’t want a bed that looked and felt like a treehouse?  Like a little secret hide out? Like a blanket fort?  Every time I put Pickles into her new bed I get a little jealous. The pictures really don’t do its cuteness justice.

The building process. A neighbor had given me his son’s old mattress and part of the bed frame, which I put up on two long legs, attaching the wall-side right to the wall with a few metal “L” bits. The walls are tongue-and-groove boards. Then I painted.  The entire room took me one long weekend to set up.

The little window makes me really happy, and Pickles likes to play peek-a-boo through it. She sits up there and reads (it was too dark inside to get a good shot, but there is a small, narrow shelf in there with books) or relaxes with a drink. She’s not a kamikaze baby, so I’m not too worried about her just jumping out, but there is an accordion-like wood thing that I can pull out and secure the “door” with so she can’t fall out by accident.  It’s actually meant to keep dogs from leaving whatever room you want to trap them in, and it wouldn’t hold her weight if she decided to throw herself against it, but the point is not that she can’t get out, but that she can’t fall out by accident while sleeping.

I took down the shelves that had been a part of the fold-out changing table, painted them, and put them up across from the new bed.  We keep a lot of the small bits—socks, underpants (dude, she suddenly just started potty training herself, a story for another day), and the like—in baskets, and even more of the small bits—cloth handkerchiefs, burp cloths (which are useful for pretty much everything you can think of), small toys—in the hanging net tube pictured below.  Everything we have fits perfectly, in part because I make sure I don’t buy more than we can fit on her shelves.  Whoever said our stuff grows to fill whatever space we live in was right.  And it also shrinks.  (Or should, lest madness ensue.)

Beneath the lofted bed are more shelves, both filled with toys and books.  Below it I strung two pieces of cord.  I laminated a handful of pictures I had printed out at a nearby drugstore, and hung them up with safety pins.  Pickles likes to take them down and look at them or play with them.  It was cheap (20 cents a print, 7 euros for the laminator at the flea market—though I think you can get this done somewhere for pretty cheap as well), and the string and clothespins were just laying around the house collecting dust.  And how fucking cute right?  Best part is, we can change the pictures easily and often.  And, yeah, more baskets for organizing and because apparently I’m obsessed. (All of which came from the flea market, by the way.)

The space is small, but it is Pickles’ own, and she loves playing in her bed and spreading her toys across every surface in the trailer.  But because we finally have a great system, it is easy to stay organized and keep the madness at bay another day.  I don’t know what we will do when she outgrows her treehouse bed, but it is going to be a sad day for me.  For now, though, we’ll enjoy every second and every square centimeter.  Here here!

Questions?  To the comments with you!

Thursday January 16th 2014, 6:45 pm 14 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,diy,gorilla parent (year two),tiny house livin',wagenplatz


more tiny house toys

The internet is full of Bauwagen toys.  (And by full I mean “contains about five different kinds upon being googled.”)  I found this one here.  Steep price for a play house that you could easily, and perhaps more charmingly, build yourself for under 100 euro.  Still, I like the idea.  Peter Lustig is probably to blame.

Friday November 15th 2013, 8:00 am Leave a Comment
Filed under: daily life,gorilla parent (year two),tiny house livin',wagenplatz


the third wagen has landed (seeing is believing)

We interupt your regularly scheduled report on the 2013 World Fantasy Convention to bring you OUR NEW FUCKING WAGEN.

Holy shit. It is finally here. The work is finally done. We sold cursed (that’s pronounced curse-ed) Wagen to someone else, and then *magic* bought this one from a good friend. Holy holy shit.

It is never easy to move a tiny house, but this particular move was easier than most. We spent the day before Day Zero (Moving Day) in Mainz getting her ready. She had been our neighbor for something like four years. We had hung out in her and slept in her when we’d stopped by. There was a lot of shit to get out of the way, but our old Platz-mates cleared our path (ten trazillion high fives for everyone who helped with that). Still, it took a hand or two full of hours to get her ready and moved and parked out on the street, ready to click onto the truck that would pull her home early the next morning.

The Beard got up at 4 am (there’s been a lot of 4 am going around, huh?) to ride out with the driver, a friend, to pick her up.  They were back by 9 am, barely an hour after Pickles and I had gotten up.  Go to sleep with a house one size, wake up with a new addition.

You’d think that that was when the hard part was over. We parked her on the grass and waited for another friend to come by to drive the tractor that we would use to put her in her place. But it turned out that the tractor was broken. Surprise!

After quite a bit of tinkering around, we decided to do it the old-fashioned way. We called some friends and rounded up a handful of Platz-mates, and we pushed the damn thing by hand. It’s hard to push a trailer with only one axel by hand: you have to hold the thing upright and push at the same time.  There were ten of us.  It was enough.

Now she’s in place, ready to be turned into a kitchen. My head is full of plans and ideas and paint and cabinets But instead I’m getting ready for a two-month trip to the United States. (We leave on Wednesday.) I guess the kitchen will have to wait.  But, still, isn’t she purdy???  Swoon.  So much to look forward to.

Sunday November 10th 2013, 8:00 am 4 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


tiny houses for tiny people (aka bauwagen toys, squeeee)

Oh my cod. Thank you thank you thank you to Mama Anders for pointing out another too-fucking-cute Bauwagen toy for the toddler in your small-housed life.  I know what Pickles is getting for her birthday next year.  Though of course the one we’re going to build her is going to be at least 13 times cooler.  I love that there are people out there designing, making, and selling this shit.  Huzzah.

Monday October 28th 2013, 5:45 pm 2 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


holy shit, it’s a bauwagen dollhouse

Why didn’t we think of that?!?! We had even talked about getting Pickles a dollhouse. (Well, someone had offered to give us one, and we said yes.) But a house? Why the hell would we get her a dollhouse? Pickles’ dolls would obviously live in a Bauwagen.  Just like us.

The Beard was on tour for five days last week. In Freiberg this dollhouse was at the venue where they played. When he told me about it on the phone I begged for photos. Next summer we are so building one of these.  Miniature things have always excited me.  I can’t explain why.  Just…little things!…squeal!  That is basically how it happens in my head.  If you see an explanation in there somewhere, let me know.

Friday October 11th 2013, 8:00 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,gorilla parent (year two),tiny house livin',wagenplatz


click clack gorilla on tiny yellow house tv

Oo la la!  A video that we filmed almost three years ago about my Wagen and renovating it and how I dumpster dived the hell out of the building supply store.  Deek of the blog relaxshacks and the book Humble Homes, Simple Shacks turned that footage (with help from some other excellent folks whose names you will find in the credits) into another lovely segment of Tiny Yellow House TV.  Ever wondered what my voice sounds like after reading so many silent words on a screen?  Well, now you know. Enjoy…

Monday May 13th 2013, 7:30 am 11 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


while we’re looking at old photos…a little tiny house nostalgia

The very first tiny house I ever inhabited. All thanks to encouragement from a friend at just the right moment.  Here you can read about how I decided to move into this adorable blue shoe.  Oh, and if you’re wondering what the hell a Wagenplatz is, I explain it in detail here and here.  (Hint: It is an autonomous community of people living in various small houses, “common” to Germany.)

My second tiny Wagen was in a different community in a different city.  I shared it with my partner.  (Still do, as a matter of fact, though now there are three of us living between these red walls):

Some black cats are good luck. Though be wary if you catch them drinking vodka.

After a while, I was offered this Wagen for free (the one with the black door in the picture below). I took it and spent about a year renovating it (and learning everything about building from scratch while doing it).

It looked quite different when I started. For one it was green. But you can read about the entire refab process here.  (Pictures too.)

Then we moved to another city, they very same where my tiny house adventures had begun, but to a different community.  And we bought a third Wagen that I am planning on Frankensteining onto the red Wagen, our main living Wagen, this summer.

And now, I can barely even fathom even living in a house again.  Although I sometimes do dream about little cabins in the woods. Sweet, sweet, summer tiny house life.

Oh, and if you’re coming over after having watched Deek’s Tiny Yellow House feature on my little house, then by all means, subscribe to the rss feed.  Come back soon now.



my first tiny house

Reconstruction Lenape Hamlet, Waterloo, NJ, the eighties.

My Dad is an archeologist, so as a kid I spent a lot of time doing things like this. Family legend has it that I won a prize at this particular event for eating more than my weight in roast buffalo.

Anybody ever built one of these?

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Wednesday May 08th 2013, 8:00 am 3 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,tiny house livin'