Category Archives: Small and Tiny House Ideas

Ditching the Tree for an Alternative

The first snow of the season was a beast. A snowplow busted the mailbox right off the post, a total of about 18 inches fell, and part of the lilac bush in the front yard of the house cracked away from the rest.

Solstice tree

When my dad was here for this past holiday weekend, I told him how I was thinking of bringing in the busted part of the lilac bush, a large branch indeed, and using it as a seasonal tree inside the house. Dad used the big snippers took the branch off the rest of the way, and upon closer inspection, there are buds on there.

Solstice tree

We’re forcing narcissus and amaryllis bulbs, the ones in the pictures below, and Colin thought maybe the branch would leaf out if treated the same way.

Solstice tree

Solstice tree

I collected some stones from the gravelly roadside. I’m lucky that the plow has uncovered a bunch of good stuff on that will work for this purpose. After carefully rinsing all of the rocks of any potential road salt, Colin and I used them to hold the lilac branch upright in a planting pot. The planting pot, inside of a bucket, is super stable and can hold water without making a mess. I can also see the level of the water, should it need refilling.

Solstice tree

It came out great. There are some advantages to having a tree like this in the house. No dried out needles all over the floor, completely free of cost (you could use a downed branch easily), and you can see the ornaments really well. Things work a little differently, like how the lights can be strung. In some ways, this branch is stronger and can hold larger ornaments in places, but instead of the structure going from wide to tall as it goes up, it’s the opposite. I went for wrapping the main sections of the branch only. Still plenty of lights.

Solstice tree

Solstice tree

Solstice tree

Solstice tree

I don’t have a lot of holiday stuff, as I’ve worked down a lot of my not-so-needed possessions. I hold myself to one storage bin worth of stuff for this holiday, ornaments, lights and all. I do have some knick knacky things, and I like to subtly have the same things as always in the space, but done up a little to brighten things up, like putting tiny fake lights on things, or having books around and about that are holiday themed.

Solstice tree

Solstice tree

Decorating isn’t that important to me, really. Marking the season with some kind of ritual is. I’m looking forward to the days getting longer and for some news from people via mail and holiday cards. That’s the important stuff. Don’t sweat trees or buying ornaments if you don’t have the means, the room, or the energy. You’re better off taking long walks in snowshoes, or making sure you feel the sun on your face if it gets warm one afternoon, know what I mean? It’s what you do, not the stuff, that helps you mark the year and welcome the season.

Elizabeth City has great lights.

Assembling a Tiny Dressing Vanity in a Small House

Finally settling into the land dwelling, new to us this past spring, because we were sailing all summer. I’ll talk about summer later, when I need the warm-thought therapy, but for now, it’s nice to get to personalize the wee house on the back road only 10 minutes from the winter dock where Mimi Rose is tied up.

I’ve always wanted one of those dressing vanities in my room with a little matching stool in front of it. A place to keep the few feminine things I have, a space just for a few treasures and pieces of jewelry. My new tiny room kind of precludes having anything like that or even a little reading chair of some sort.

Here’s a low-profile, zero-footprint version I improvised from found objects. A slightly fancy mirror ($5, thrift store a couple years ago) and what I think is a set of bathroom shelves for hand towels and lavatory sundries ($12 at an awesome junk barn here in town) combine to make a wall-mounted duo that serves the purpose of a table and stool without taking up all the room.

The new little dressing "table" I assembled from a couple of found things.

What I’m stowing here isn’t all dressing-related. Some of it is inspiring family treasure, or little bits and bobs that make me think, but these shelves are also clearly a good match for neatly storing some jewelry.

The new little dressing "table" I assembled from a couple of found things.

Necklaces stored without tangles.

The new little dressing "table" I assembled from a couple of found things.

Even spots for post earrings!

I’m keeping some stuff in little glass trays, too. The lips of the shelves protect the big stuff from getting bumped while walking by, and then the random pins, glass marbles, and ephemera are contained in a couple of these. Clutter with a semblance of control.

The new little dressing "table" I assembled from a couple of found things.

I also dig repurposing jars as earring holders. Inside: sea treasure. Along the rim, a few of my earrings are neatly displayed and ready to grab.

The new little dressing "table" I assembled from a couple of found things.

As I use it, I’ll probably switch out or give away some of the extra clutter and replace it with other things that have a more pressing need to be out and ready to grab. For now though, it’s definitely a nice addition to the room. Now to use these newly-acquired sewing skills to make a curtain for the closet.

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