Saturday, March 7, 2015

Living Large In Small Spaces - Weaving A Cabin Life



Twenty-third post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"






Hello and welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

My guest today Ronda of the blog Island Mother is unlike anyone I've ever met. And her small home on a remote island in British Columbia is unlike any I've featured.  It's as unique as her personal story.

Ronda and I became acquainted in January when she left a comment on one of my posts. It took only a few email exchanges for us to become friends.  I have so much respect for this creative, industrious and compassionate woman. She's a single mom, a professional weaver, a knitter, an extraordinary DIY'er, and an active humanitarian.  

In the fifth week of her pregnancy Ronda's partner left and she found herself alone in a tiny cabin with a leaking roof. Rising above her unfortunate circumstances, and with unparalleled determination, she added a second floor to her cabin and continued to work on building not just a cozy house, but a fulfilling life for her daughter and herself.  I know this wonderful woman's story will inspire you as much as it has inspired me.  

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My ex-husband and I bought the cabin and moved here when I was 23. When our marriage ended in divorce we split up our property and that is how I ended up with the cabin. I will be forty this month and my daughter will be three. Her birthday is the day after mine.

The cabin was originally 344 square feet. With my two large looms there was no room for a crib. I single-handedly took off the roof. I added on another floor, then framed and put on a new metal roof. I had help lifting the floor joists up, lifting the walls up, and screwing down the last sheet of roofing. My helper had to hang off a rope to do it. It was important to me to do everything myself, unless I thought it too heavy or in the case of the sheet of roofing, too dangerous. 

With the renovations the cabin is now 750 square feet and it's the perfect size. I was about four months pregnant when I finished putting the roof on. I'm still working on the cabin and one day my dream is to complete it. It's the last "hippy" cabin remaining on this end of the island. The island is off-grid; I use a generator for our electricity and have a rain water catchment system. 

My life story is in this cabinThis island and cabin have been a tremendous blessing to me as they have allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom and also to work in order to support my daughter and myself. I work seasonally on the island and I am able to bring my daughter with me. God has blessed me with the physical strength to carry her first as a baby in a Snugli, then as an older baby in a backpack, and do my work. Of course, now that she is walking it has gotten easier. He was with me when I did the renovation. He gave me the strength. 1 Corinthians 12:9: "..my strength is made perfect in weakness." 


I also weave to support us. In the past couple years that has been rug weaving, but now I have returned to tapestry weaving as motherhood permits.  

This is my kitchen.







I love bottles...but I never buy them...I only collect what I find, usually when digging. I've been lucky I guess; I've never broken one with the shovel. . .yet.






This is a floor loom in my kitchen. It's really handy having a loom here; it works for me. My name means river and this tapestry depicting one resonates with me. I've carved out my own life - my own river. 






Driftwood wall in the kitchen.








I plumbed in the drain plumbing in my bathroom sink last summer. Someday it will have running water.


Bathroom Sink









Stairs I built from reclaimed lumber and driftwood railing.










Hanging over my daughter's bed is a mosquito net. We have a few of those -- both nets and mosquitoes. The afghan I knit for her first birthday, and the quilt was made by my late grandmother. It was on my bed for many years. There is also a quilt made by my mother and another made by my great grandmother. The floor rug I wove.









This is my weaving area with a second loom I built with my toddler. I have baskets of yarn everywhere and the table runner is one I've woven. There is a tapestry on this loom that I've been working on since mid December. It's finished now. I cut it off the loom the last week of February. Weaving tapestry is a slow process and living this way has given me the mindset to follow that path.






This is one of many recycled cotton rugs I have woven and sold locally. Last summer I became aware of BC high school kids who have been abandoned by their parents and our government. They have no home and are known as couch surfers. They live out of a backpack and stay at their friends' homes. I donate 40 percent of my weaving sales to purchasing clothes for these kids.  In this school year we have helped 12 kids. My mom shops at thrift stores and buys what is needed. The clothing which is typically nearly new is then laundered by my mom and mailed to the Vice President of the school who distributes it. I work closely with both my mom and the VP and only those items she requests are purchased. Other items like underwear, socks, hats and gloves I purchase new, and mail them to the VP. I am so thankful for the island people who have supported me. In the future I will be opening an online shop where people who want to make a difference can purchase handwoven tapestries. This is very close to my heart.





These kids need our love. How can we expect the world to be a better place when these teens only know rejection?







Crocus now blooming outside the cabin.


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Thank you so much, Ronda, for sharing your life and home with us. Your daughter is very blessed to have you as her mother. 

Ronda writes and shares photos of island life with her daughter on her lovely blog Island Mother. Stop by and say hello.

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces


See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.




From the comments I've received, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives shared here.
If you live in a small space I'd 
love to feature your story, too.
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for my email address.)



41 comments:

  1. Thank you Nancy. It's been such a joy working with you. Hugs Ronda

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  2. What an inspiring story! Ronda has managed to rise above a very difficult situation and turn it into a blessing. Perfect feature Nancy!!

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  3. Wow, what a remarkable story of a very remarkable woman. What an enjoyment to read about this amazing person. Thank you for bringing her story to us.

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  4. Dear Nancy ... Ronda's story warms my heart. She is such an inspiration. I love her little cabin and especially with all of the love that she has put into it. Thank you and Ronda for sharing with us this heartwarming story.

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  5. Nancy,
    Ronda's story is not only inspirational but reaches deep into our heart. I've been reading a lot of emotional blogs today and this post makes me realize the strength of ones soul and the determination of ones heart out of heartbreak. Thank you for posting this.
    xoxo,
    Vera

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  6. A beautiful home. Loooove it!

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  7. What a pleasure to have "met" Ronda today, Nancy. She is truly an amazing lady. I just popped over to her blog and got lost there for a while. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story of cottage life.

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  8. What a lovely story and a gifted and talented person Ronda is. Her home is so warm and charming and I love the room that has the window down to the floor. Such a unique home. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Nancy,
    Thank you for sharing Ronda's cute home but most of all thank you for sharing this wonderful and inspirational women with us. I hope she begins to sell her tapestry on line to help bring more to so many.
    Lovely post today Nancy. In a world where there is so much sadness this is a wonderful story of someone that is making a wonderful difference for those kids. God bless her.
    Kris

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  10. What a beautiful feature of a most exceptional lady Nancy! She and I have been communicating as well and I was so excited to see you feature her today! I had only seen bits and pieces of her cabin through visiting her site, and it was so nice to see the pictures and read her story. Such talent - I can't even imagine remodeling a house while being pregnant, let alone doing it alone, that is amazing! And the beautiful tapestries - wow! Ronda - my hat is off to you! And even more touching is the fact that you are reaching out to others less fortunate than you. May the Lord continue to bless you Ronda in all you do, and Nancy - thank you for featuring this very special, amazing lady!!!

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  11. Nancy this lady is amazing in her own right. The determination that she has to take care of her daughter and herself is incredible and all by herself. Wonderful story. I will pop over and meet her. Thanks for spotlighting yet another great blogger. Hugs, Jo

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  12. Good morning dear Nancy!

    I am happy to find your new post this beautiful Sunday - this has to be one of the most extraordinary DIY projects I've ever read. Years ago, I remember reading about a darling little lay out in the woods of I think Tennessee (can't remember where) who renovated a tiny, itsy-bitsy white shabby cottage. Her story made the headlines and her photos are still extremely popular on Pinterest. She too had an incredible story attached to her project. This story is yet another that is bigger than its subject - it's about human determination and God's intervention. This is so striking to learn that a pregnant woman built and hauled the materials, that she is able to make a living from art, that she is able and most willing to care for the rejected...this is so special, and YOU are just as special for sharing it. I am going to go meet her and learn even more about her!

    Bless you dear Nancy! May your journey also be filled with extraordinary moments of God's grace! Anita

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  13. I agree with you, Nancy, when you say that Ronda's daughter is blessed to have her as a mother. What an incredible role model! I have definitely learned something today about tenacity, generosity, and Christian compassion. Thank you, both, for sharing this story...it has truly touched me!

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  14. Wow! Never underestimate the determination and spirit of a woman! I love her strength to go through and forward all she faced and build a home while pregnant! Amazing!

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  15. Now this is what I call a Beach Cottage. What an inspiration Rhonda is to me. Thank you for featuring her and her home. Debbie

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  16. I just found Ronda a couple of weeks ago and am completely entranced by her story and her work ethic. She is an amazing woman and I wish I lived close enough to visit her and her sweet little girl. Thanks for the feature here, Nancy. xo Diana

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  17. Amazing... Ronda is an exceptional woman whose life experience—though wrought with hardship—is a beautiful example of stamina and "digging deep" into the depths of the soul to claim God's promise to be with each of us always. As Ronda knows firsthand: "His strength is made perfect in weakness." Thank you for the introduction today, Nancy. This is an amazing life story and "small house" story!

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  18. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for sharing. Ronda is an amazing women. I enjoyed reading her story. Her cabin is full of love.
    Carla

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  19. It is me again. I mean to say --- woman. Ahhh! Ronda is an amazing woman. :-))
    Her story is inspiration.
    Thank you again for sharing.
    Carla

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  20. Nancy, thankyou for sharing Rhondas story. I will be watching her inspirational life with interest. It just goes to show what the human spirit is truly capable of. Her home is so warm and inviting, it just makes my heart sing. Mimi xxx

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  21. Wonderful life story. And how kind to help those kids. What a clever and thoughtful person.

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  22. Wow! What a strong and determined lady! Thanks for sharing her cozy home and her inspiring story!

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  23. What a beautiful home and an inspirational story. I love the homely, crafty things she surrounds herself with, especially the loom.
    Amalia
    xo

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  24. Her weavings are beautiful and her home lovely.

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  25. Thanks for sharing Ronda´s home,it´s so beautiful.Her story is so inspirational.Thank you for posting...
    Hugs
    Caroline

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  26. Thanks for introducing us to such a fabulous and interesting woman. Love her home and weavings.

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  27. I wish her all the success in the world. It's rare to find a woman that determined and selfless.

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  28. What an inspiration!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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  29. Wow! You will have to let us know when her shop is up online. I love hand woven rugs and have a few that a friend made. They last forever!

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  30. What an inspiring story, Nancy! Thank you for sharing it!

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  31. Wow, what a home life and what an inspiration. Thank you for sharing both on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week! :)

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  32. Hi Nancy,
    What an inspiring story. I don't know if I would have the strength physically or emotionally to do what this wonderful woman has done. I admire her very much. Thanks for sharing her with us. I always love reading your series.
    Hugs,
    Linda

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  33. Hi Nancy,
    What an inspiring story. I don't know if I would have the strength physically or emotionally to do what this wonderful woman has done. I admire her very much. Thanks for sharing her with us. I always love reading your series.
    Hugs,
    Linda

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  34. Wow, Ronda is a truly remarkable lady, determined and obviously extremely talanted. Will be heading over to her blog to see more. Love her quaint little cabin, amazing she built an entire floor herself!

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  35. Good grief! I think I am being handy if I can successfully get a nail into a wall to hang a picture!

    She's absolutely amazing. What a story!

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  36. I looked under Island Woman and could only find a blog about mid-wives. The lady's name was Robyn, not Ronda. Any idea how I can log on to her blog? Thanks

    Cate <><

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    1. P. S. Please reply via my email address: kasilofcate@aol.com. I have NO idea what that goggle address is they have for me. Thanks.

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  37. I just discovered your wonderful blog and I am joyfully reading about each beautiful cottage. Ronda's story, as well as her cottage, is just absolutely incredible and inspirational. Thank you!

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    1. Ronda is an inspiration. I so admire her lifestyle and what she has created for herself and her daughter. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation. xo

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