CT workshop link

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Diedricksen Brothers hit AUSTRALIA (Tiny House Building Workshop)

Boom! Hells yeah!- My brother (Dustin) and I are Australia bound! The Workshop's almost sold out too- only like 6-7 spots left (all before it was really even announced!)... gonna be fun! Again, its HANDS-ON building, and me trying to decipher Australian slang (and them not understanding half of my nonsensical American catch phrases).... I just might have to make a few up just to confuse people. For instance "Can you schlep that noggy boondockle to my krantz briffle (my nizzle)?"- which I'll later explain as meaning "Can you pass my knucklehead brother that 2 by 4?". The later phrase would be quicker, yes, but far less fun to say! 

The people we've been dealing with (who set this up) are GREAT and the build will be in conjunction with this place called "The Bower"- which, more or less, is like a super-cool salvage warehouse/re-store. Commence drooling.... salvage-goods EVERYWHERE!

And MEGA-THANKS to pimp-daddy extraordinaire KEVIN FITZPATRICK from www.KMGIllustration.com- he's done MANY workshop flyers with us- the guy is damn reasonable, prompt, friendly, and sexy as all hell! ;) Check him out if you need any artwork done- he's got a really fun style, and great ideas. I highly recommend him....

And if you don't happen to live down unda'- Dustin and I (with MANY guest speakers, teachers, and more!) have a workshop in Putnam, CT- THREE DAYS long- fully hands on! We'll build and design a tiny art cabin (INSIDE an art gallery downtown), work on a LARGE collaborative art piece or two, and potentially even build a little side project or so.....  so many things to do, see, hear, learn!

Putnam, CT is also home to a converted railroad boxcar which serves as a museum for the author of "The Boxcar Children" book- Gertrude Chandler Warner. We'll probably be touring that too!

The gallery will also be hosting an opening for the awesome artwork of Maltee Sinanan while we're they're as well.... not to mention other cool happenings. We're excited for this event and want to thank  both Paul Toussaint and Ann Monteiro for letting us do this project in their super-cool gallery- "The Empty Spaces Project" (photo of the "build room" below- one of two floors we'll get to use!). Putnam is a GREAT, quaint, little town too! Great food, antique stores, a live music venue next door to our build, and so much beyond that....

If interested in details or signing up, click on the workshop banner on the top of this page before May 1st....

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Porcupines? A threat to Tiny Houses and Cabins?? Yup....

Its not like we have enough things to worry about and maintain as homeowners, weekend cabin builders, and tiny house enthusiasts, but yep.... I've been waging an ongoing battle with porcupines on my land in northern Vermont, and I'm slowly, and barely, treading water in this battle.
In several areas of the country, porcupine are so damaging to cabins, stored materials, sheds, and tools, that you're bound to get a heroes welcome if you bag one. Beyond that (and I talk about this more in my book "Humble Homes, Simple Shacks") in some regions, the porcupine problem has gotten so bad that an introduced species (Fishercats- almost looking like descendants of Wolverines), have been brought in to combat this woodland problem.
They say that if an axe was left unattended in the woods for a long enough time (and not even THAT long, I imagine), that its handle would be eaten clear off by these spiked critters. Porcupines, you see, LOVE salinity, whether it be the oil in your hands that is left on an axe handle, or the salty and aromatic glues used in most plywoods on the market.

The aim of the video above wasn't to illustrate the "Porcupine Threat" point (and yes, I realize that they were there first), but you'll get to see a mere fraction of the damage that one porcupine did to our backwoods tree house sleep shelter in Vermont while we were away. This peek of the damage is shown once this short tour moves to the interior of this little tree house.

Notice the metal collars on the poles of this structure? It helps (a bit) to keep them at bay.... keeping nearby trees at a distance (to keep them from climbing a tree to get onto your structure) is also a very good idea too....
As for other techniques to keep Porcupines at bay- I list a few further below....

And should you happen to catch a porcupine red-handed, here's a recipe I found for Porcupine stew- kidding.... somewhat....  Many people in this region shoot these animals when caught, so if that was to be your choice of action, why let the animal just go to waste? I don't hunt, but I also don't like seeing anything wasted, IF someone was to bag a "quill-dog".


As for my book, where I get more in depth with my dealings with Porcupine, you can check it out here....
They ARE fascinating animals, with an amazing adaptation for survival, but man oh man they're a pain in the butt!

(a short list of what works and what doesn't- (I've tried EACH of these techniques for long durations after they were recommended to me, or researched online).

SPREAD HOT SAUCE ON THE AFFECTED AREAS- DOES NOT WORK (hot sauce is loaded with salt, I could almost hear them laughing at night)

PLACE MOTH BALLS and MOTH FLAKES around the base of your cabin and near the damaged areas... DOES NOT WORK- made no difference...still LOTS of damage....

CLAD THE LOWER AREAS OF YOUR CABIN. They seem to like pressure treated wood and cedar less (they WILL still nibble on it), but metal is a deal-breaker for them, whether it be corrugated panels (our entire outhouse is now clad this way), hardware cloth (screening), or pole sleeves (metal). DOES WORK or at least slows 'em down...


HIGH SPEED METAL COMING FROM A GUN- DOES WORK, but you'll get new visitors in your territory soon enough....

Fox Urine- seriously, they sell it online.... HAVEN'T TESTED, but I hear that they results are mixed, and you need to reapply at the base of your cabin frequently (and it stinks!).

Porcupines are nocturnal too, so they can be hard to nab. They are very slow though, and have no real enemies, aside from the Fishercats, and fox, by occasion.

Also (above)- "MICROSHELTERS" is my NEXT upcoming book- now on pre-order for a September release....

Monday, February 9, 2015

For the cottage-industry/self-employed folks saving for a tiny house.....

     As you might have noticed by now, after 5+ years of rather eclectic posts, Relaxshacks.com is not JUST about tiny houses, shelters, forts, tree houses, cabins, and campers/rvs, but about a money-saving diy, thrift, and craft-based ethic. Its for this reason that I occasionally post on subjects that are decor, homemade-art, craft, or self-employment related- all of which DO fit in with the free-spirited, creative, and resourceful ethos of the tiny house movement. Running a cottage-industry business? Well, this idea might just save you some money, or save you in a pinch, when you're out of packaging, out of time, and just don't want to run to a store to buy factory-made mailers.

So, here's a little money-saver that some of you who sell and ship through Ebay, Etsy, or who self-publish from home, might appreciate. These homemade mailer packages are EASY to make, as you'll see, cost nothing, and are made from recycleable materials you often already have right in your very home.

Enjoy- and if you dig it, pass it on.... it'll keep a few more cereal boxes out of the waste stream, even if just for a bit, and prevent the need for plastic packaging, and the wasting of your hard-earned money....

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Thursday, January 29, 2015


SHARE THIS POST on Facebook and tag "Relaxshacks Tiny House Hub" (and join/"like" us if you haven't), and you're entered to win...... SIMPLE AS THAT!

"Tiny House Builders" is a one hour show by host/designed Derek "Deek" Diedricksen, alongside his brother Dustin, and their backwoods construction crew (Creature, Jim Shippey, Jonny "Milwaukee" Lyman, Phil Laplante, and Melissa Teper). 

FIRST PRIZE- a slot at our 3 day HANDS-ON "Tiny House Building" workshop in Putnam, CT (see the flyer below)... we'll be collectively building and designing a tiny house/cabin INSIDE an art galleries front window in downtown Putnam, CT.

SECOND PRIZE- A copy of the new hardcover book "Wonder Walls"- on small space decor and design with repurposed materials (see below)

THIRD PRIZE- a Micro canvas tiny house art piece (painting) done by Deek....

FOURTH PLACE- a virtual handshake.... no, there is no 4th place....

Winners will be announced Monday, and posted on the "Relaxshacks.com and Tiny House Hub" Facebook page.....

And.... May 1,2,3 in CT- HANDS-ON Tiny House Building Workshop!

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Relaxshacks.com MAY-2015 Tiny House HANDS-ON Building and Design Workshop- CT!

Workshop will be limited to 30 or so attendees.... we want to keep these intimate and make sure you get a lot of personal attention and instruction. 
FRIDAY MAY 1st-3rd Putnam, CT (Providence RI, Hartford, CT, or Worcester, MA are the nearest airports)
Hosted by Derek "Deek" Diedricksen, whose work/design/hosting has appeared on HGTV, The DIY Network, The History Channel, NY Times, and beyond....
With Dustin "Dr. Demolition" Diedricksen (TV's "Tiny House Builders") and MANY MORE tba! 

(click to enlarge)

Alright, its official, and just having trekked out to Connecticut to visit and fully scout the building site, we're good to go, and its going to be one heck of a cool workshop! We're building INSIDE an art gallery (have the whole run of both floors of the place for two days), and building/designing a really cool bolt-together cabin that will be displayed RIGHT in the front window of "The Empty Spaces Project" Gallery right in downtown Putnam, MA. The location couldn't be cooler too- we're within 100 feet of several good restaurants (which might be offering attendees discounts), AND two doors down from a great, super-funky, pub that has live music. We're also about 100 feet from the New England-famous "Nikki's Dog House"- if hot dogs are your thing....  We're RIGHT on a river, near a gorgeous park, in a historic town, WHICH (tiny house-tied) is home to the author of "The Box Car Children"- there's even a little museum there- yes, INSIDE an actual boxcar! 

Its a three day workshop with MANY instructors, guest speakers, hands-on building, collaborative art and decor projects, AND even a live musical guest on night one- which also coincides with the gallery opening for Maltee Sarinan- a VERY talented NYC artist. What we build will also be on-display to the public, and donated to this gallery to help them maintain their space and mission.

LOTS going on, and they'll be long and action-packed days of building (without having to worry about the weather!!)

Below: Video that NPR and Make Magazine did from one of our past workshops in VT (thanks Jon Kalish!)

We'll have the full listed details soon, but for those who know the style and scope of our past workshops, and want to get the jump on signing up, do your thing at the big green link above....  EVERY SINGLE ONE of our past workshops has sold out, so be warned.

THE SPACE.... (upstairs- ALL ours to use!)

FEW workshops offer actual hands-on building too, so this is a GREAT way to learn and have fun. We've also been doing these since 2010, so "this isn't our first rodeo". We're no 9 to 5 class either- our days are long ones, but very eclectic, engaging, and loaded with tutorials from many different teachers. In fact, we've had SEVERAL people take our workshops two or three times JUST for the networking and fun aspects of it, which should speak volumes.

We'll also have a big ice-breaking pizza party, with some initial guest speakers on Friday night of our three day event.... If you can't make Friday, no sweat, we'll get you up to speed on everything the next morning.

COST: Three day, multi-host workshop is $399. Price includes materials, tools, workbooks, pizza party, daily coffee/snacks, Door prizes (books and tool giveaways) and more....

GOT A TINY HOUSE? SUPER COOL MICRO SHELTER ON WHEELS? Let us know- we'd love to have you out, and potentially even shoot a fun tour video of it for our youtube channel. We'll feed you and kick you gas money, etc in turn too....

NOTE: REFUNDS- FULL refund up until March 31st (one month prior), beyond that, you'll get a rain check to any other future workshop we do under the Relaxshacks banner (that we run, etc). Its worked out well in the past, as you still get your money's worth. Regardless, PLEASE make sure you can make it before you sign up.... if you do that, there should be no problem.

WANT TO SPONSOR US? You'll appear in our related videos/tours for the event (we reach A LOT of people), and we'll include you on the display placards, hang a banner, AND work you into our blog and press- contact Deek via kidcedar at gmail.com

THE SPACE (from the street)

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Monday, January 26, 2015

A New Tiny House Painting- Cabin In The Woods (For Sale)

Here's a little 12" by 12" painting I just finished up. This was an illustration/pitch piece I was going to use for a meeting with a board for an upcoming Rhode Island Home and Garden Show- and instead of sketching a mere cabin on paper, I figured I'd try my hand at painting one.

Anyway, its for sale now, and the funds will go towards buying supplies for a community/public (free for ALL to enjoy!) geocaching installation I'm heading up that will be anchored in Stoughton, MA. This project will be a bridging between geocaching and art.

Asking- $150. If interested PM me through my Facebook page- probably easiest- "Derek Diedricksen"....

And if you hadn't heard!!! Can't wait for THIS!!! Space will be limited and we WILL build a tiny cabin together!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tiny Backyard Office Cabin Built Under $1000!

If you haven't checked out this video, here's a backyard reading cabin that we built in just two days (fully hands-on) as part of one of our "Relaxshacks.com Tiny House/Shelter Building Workshops". We do have another one coming up in May- Putnam, CT- so stay tuned! These SELL OUT FAST!!!

Video is below....

And the workshop- sign-ups will be active SOON....

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Salvaged Industrial LVL Block as a side table or plant stand?

Just a quick share from my factory art studio here. Figured that something like this could make for a plant stand, side table (just add a top, or not), OR, you could use an anchored series of these (at incremental heights) as a table-topped step-way up to a loft in a tiny house.

What is it? Its a large scrap chunk of a huge LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) beam that was being tossed in a dumpster at a worksite.

The price was right, and I just liked the colors and industrial feel it gave.

Like I said, just a quick idea I wanted to share....

(hey also, and we'll have the registrations up and running soon but here's our next HANDS-ON TINY HOUSE BUILDING WORKSHOP!) We'll give you more details soon!

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Monday, January 12, 2015

SALVAGE as art/decor (some tiny house, budget, decor ideas)

So this past weekend I had a chance to check out the new salvage/maker shop "Farnswood" in Worcester, MA, run by Craig Farnsworth and his wife Karyn. Farnswood really is a family affair as each weekend, with their kids in tow, the shop opens it doors to display its array of funky, one-of-a-kind, unusual, and repurposed wares, gifts, and furniture. I had a blast checking the place out, picked up a few items (the funky tool box lamp you see in the photo below), and a stool made from a model t axle, and immediately saw the potential in this cool industrial space for the possibility of a future workshop..... we'll see..... we'll see.....

Whatever the case, get yer keister down to Farnswood, tell 'em I sent you, and support this family, who are doing something very cool and creative! 

They're at 100 Barber Ave- Worcester, MA

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Friday, January 9, 2015

Great Idea for a Tiny House with Cat/Pet Owners....

Just wanted to share this quick little photo- Its what looks like a heavy duty basket (the kind often used to hide plant pots), but mounted to the wall and used as an "aerial cat bed", making for a neat little, off the floor, hiding and napping spot for your cat.... saw on pinterest, from a non-credited source, but I wanted to pass it on....

Just a quick share....