Author Archive: Justin Dechaine

I made myself a magnetic knife board thingy

Kinda neat eh? I had some old wood laying around I picked up a few years ago so decided to add some magnets and BAM cutting board…and then had another small piece BAM hooks to hang jackets or whatever else. I was going to do some instructable type stuff but honestly it’s pretty straightforward….but pics cause I think they are pretty awesome….

 

Tiny House Stuff

I realized that I have actually neglected updating this personal blog about the Tiny House activities I have been involved in here in Edmonton, last year a couple of us enthusiasts noticed that a few people in the area were starting up websites and started to get really interested in Tiny Homes. Rather than competing against each other for attention we opted to join forces, such as it were, and launched http://yegtinyhome.com. We also have our Meetup Group as well which I suggest anyone check out if they want to know and for those of us that are more “social media minded” you an check out our facebook group.

It’s actually been an exciting ride the last year or so, our group went from a handful of people at a pub to pretty much taking over entire coffeeshops and seeing such a wide range of different people who are interested in this “movement” for a huge amount of different reasons.

Some of the top reasons in my opinion:

  • Lower costs
  • Better Community Support
  • Solve Homelessness
  • Retirement Options
  • Sense of home ownership with mobility options

I’ve had the pleasure of being in a few Tiny homes and am actually visiting a professionally built one tonight. It’s also allowed me to expand my social circle in unexpected ways. Recently I was interviewed by a local radio station:

Click here to listen!

and the Edmonton journal spoke to us recently as well:

edm_journal

Edmonton Journal Article

So I’m very excited to see where this movement goes, whether or not most people will end up living in a Tiny House I think is secondary to us building a strong like minded community.

 

I’m also going to get more involved in a meaningful way with our local minimalism group here in Edmonton. A video I watched once mentioned that “editing” is going to be one of the most important skills for the new century and I’ve ponder that for a long time. Humanity has fought tooth and nail for centuries to get to a point of abundance and now we’ve (at least in Western culture) have largely hit that point and moved past it to excess. This excess is turning out to be just as dangerous and hunger in many ways.  Learning how to ‘right-size’ your life and make it fit is a brand new skill for us humans and one we are going to need to pick up if we want to be around in another century.

Peace out! Well wishes to all!

Craik “Eco-village”

One of my primary secondary goals was to visit the village of Craik Saskatchewan during my roadtrip back home this summer, and while I didn’t manage to hit them on the way back I did mange to stop by and catch a few people’s eyes on the way there.

Link to a neat article on Craik can be found here: http://www.greenenergyfutures.ca/episode/craik-eco-village

One of the things that really stood out to me on my roadtrip was how much smaller communities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were suffering and , frankly, slowly dying. Town after town we passed to see all the main business’s boarded up along the highway and churches simply abandoned.

Craik is a forward thinking small village between Regina and Saskatchewan that decided to try to address this problem by offering small parcels of land to people who wanted to do innovative things and relaxed the building codes to facilitate this. Among Craik you would find all kinds of different buildings…from have completed Sea-can (no idea how to spell) inspired houses to barns to strawbale to tiny houses…  One of the people I met there described it as a workshop experiment on living and after spending an afternoon there I would agree. Some of the homes were owned by pretty “white picket fence” type peoples while others were owned by “back to the earth” permaculture types letting grass grow wild.

I’d like to thank the people of Craik (those I ran into) for allowing me to snoop around their small community and get a grasp on the sheer amount of fortitude and work that would go into something like this. You will often see me stress how important community is to achieving a level of satisfaction in life. I hope to be an annual visitor to your small and promising community!

 

I made a desk!

Check it out…I’ve been feeling a bit more manly lately and when Janelle asked me for a desk so she could do some stainglass and crafts on I thought “well I could go out and buy some ikea junk that will fall apart or….KA BAM”

Building stuff gives you such a sense of accomplishment sometimes that I really think I should have been in the trades (or still might). Last week I decided to get something together so I started asking if anyone knew of any doors that were in a back alley waiting for me to go *yoink* and low an behold one of my friends mentioned she had a lovely door in her basement she had no use for anymore.

Now this doesn’t happen to be just any door…it was actually removed from an old farm house circa built around 1920 before it was being torn down. The legs were acquired from the bargain discount bin at Rona..and I even managed to bargain them way down to $10 a piece because one of them was missing some parts! Remember…don’t be afraid to ask!

Some good old varnish and I have a pretty stellar unique desk with a bit of a story all for less than $25! Beat that Ikea!

Now…Janelle and I did also discuss whether we should put a big couch or sofa in our small living area but we decided to go with a desk…because a desk is active while a couch is passive. Couches are used for when you don’t want to interact and just want to sit and have media beam things into your skull…a desk is used for creating…working…accomplishing…it’s by far the better choice..

We’ve been without a couch since we moved at the beginning of summer and I’m not sure if we are going to be in any rush to get one.

 

Pesto

Fresh ground up basil from the garden (and some from Sparrows Nest Organics)

 

The trick is to not use a food processor…just use a mortar and pestle (btw…pestle…pesto….why do you think it’s called pesto?) and use as fresh ingredients as you can. 1/3rd cup of pine nuts….some parmesan if your wife doesn’t eat it all…some garlic to taste and then start smooshing. I love it! I’m really trying to limit the amount of kitchen gadgets and machines that we have.