Converting a Step Van into a TINY HOUSE!

I began this process a few weeks ago when I purchased a pre-converted 1990 Grumman Olson. The interior was not at all to my liking. Over the past week, I have torn out the interior, kept the appliances, and begun design on a new layout. The van came with a cosy wood stove which I will be keeping. That and the immoveable wheel wells have informed the design process. I’ve used Google Sketchup to create a few layouts. These two are the current winners.

Tree Frog Tattoo by Sylvie le Sylvie

pacific tree frog tattoo by sylvie le sylvie

My first tattoo. Inked and finalized by Sylvie le Sylvie.

Pacific tree frogs (Pseudacris regilla) are the most commonly heard frogs in British Columbia. They can change their colour in a matter of minutes. As amphibians, they live their lives in two worlds: the submarine life of a tadpole and the semi-terrestrial life of a grown frog. They embrace the elements of Earth and Water, making their homes in each.

The hind legs of my frog are represented by a feather and a leaf of the broadleaf plantain (Plantago major). The feather is a representation of elemental Air. Broadleaf plantain leaves are used to soothe stings and small cuts. They are like natural bandaids!

The square together with the intangible circle represents the altar, a sacred space, with its magickal circle of power.

Surrounding the altar are four offerings. In the upper left is the flower of the bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), an edible, if bitter, taproot. Following clockwise is a representation of solar Fire: the sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani). An ammonite fossil (Ammonoidea) resides in the lower right corner. As the remains of an extinct mollusc, ammonites represents the element of Water and mortality.  Elemental Stone (or Earth if one prefers) is represented as a quartz cluster (SiO2).

These were not the original symbols and meanings, though the central image of a frog and its connection to the four elements has remained consistent throughout the three year revision process.

From the beginning I was keen to design the tattoo myself and have that design translated by a tattoo artist to better fit the medium of skin and ink. I wanted to have the tattoo inked in my home town of Nelson, BC. After careful consideration, I found the work of Sylvie le Sylvie, of the Timber Tattoo Co. Animals and plants are plentiful in her work, which has a rich, black and white, aesthetic. After a consultation, she made several changes to the design, arriving at the finished product a week later. The tattoo was inked on a drizzly morning on the day after the vernal equinox.

This is my first tattoo. It may not be my last, but for now I could not ask for a more magickal connection to nature, the elements, and the mineral, floral, & animal kingdoms.

Maximalism, Minimalism, and Creating Personal Space

I am moving soon, to return to the city of my birth, after nearly three years living in Vancouver, British Columbia. For the last two years, I have rented a room in a truly unique and wonderful house. Varouj, the man whose house it is, has been gracious in allowing me to decorate in ways few others would allow their tenant. As a result, my space has truly felt like home for the first time since I moved away. That sense of home is such that its importance cannot be overstated. Home is not where the heart is; home is where the heart feels at peace.

Decorating our houses is only one way that we help to create a home, but it is an important part. If we are uncomfortable with our surroundings, how then can we be at home within them? Decor can, however, be a difficult thing to create. Our tastes change as we do and an ever changing person means and ever changing ideal. That inner ideal is what we strive to manifest around ourselves in the form of decor. That which is within is shown without to create a personalized space. The room which I have spent the last two years creating is a reflection of that past ideal. Heavy colours, dark wood, and shaded lighting creates a cozy, dark atmosphere. I have always loved baroque and elizabethan interiors, as well as creating my own pieces (see the tv cabinet, hat rack, bookshelves, and bedside shelf below). Continue reading