5 years ago today…


I purchased an 18′ car hauler trailer, and stared at it obsessively, frozen in place and gripped by an inward explosion of pure excitement and apprehension. 5 years ago today this tiny journey began šŸ™‚ I know this less because I remember important dates in my life and more because I’m now officially late paying my 5 year, $10 trailer registration that somehow missed getting paid, despite being placed in a totally appropriate pile somewhere in the depths of my (ahem)Ā very clear car…

Ā I found it today though so how great is that?

It’s been ages since I’ve written but with the timing I couldn’t help but write just a little. I am doing well.Ā January’s pain passed and becameĀ February which became May and July and August and life goes on. Music and art have filled my heart to the brim and I am a pretty happy camper in my tinyĀ coastal life. All my creative outlets that have laid dormant forĀ so longĀ have returned in force to surround my consciousnessĀ in a constant stream of creativity. Art, music, songwriting, sewing, jewelry making, leather work.

I have finally acquired a sewing machine. I say finally because I had to have been close to the last person in the modern world who sewed my entire, albeit tiny, closet of clothesĀ without one. Entirely self taught (who knew youtube was useful for more than cat videos?) I spent hours and hours and years and several more hours discovering the wheels of sewing, pattern making and all that goes with itĀ  It didn’t seem right then, with my antiquated love of holding a needle and thread, to get a white plastic, computerized box, so I bought the oldest machine that still functioned for my purposes.

It (he) is a beautiful German made zigzag, a Meister Klasse 101 that my best guess puts at around 1949-52ish. I have named him Meister and I am a little bit in love. Having sewn everything in my life by hand and literally never used a sewing machine, I feel much like how I imagine the first woman to own this machine must have felt at the marvel of it’s speed and precision, an amazing and life changing invention.

So damn fast and shit. It’s pretty amazing. When I first gotĀ itĀ I somehow thought that I would just use the machine for sewing things for other people, I would surely still sew my own clothes by hand (que hysterical laughter).

I went backĀ to Scotland in April for the first time since my return in June 2011. It felt wonderful to be back, so many memories of my years there. I made a ridiculous leather coat for the trip and sported it around, weighing several kilos more than usual. Great for the calorie burning.

Self employment seems to be going quite well enough, and I suddenly struggle to recall how or why I ever bothered to work for someone else. Well, it was because of regular, consistent income but never mind. I find the uncertainty of my monthly financial situation delightful. Somehow it keeps working out, and theĀ slow, thrifty life suits me just fine. But really, with the thrift. Life appears so much more affordable when you don’t buy anything.

My house is still standing, and I have a renewed gratefulness for it this year. It seems extra beautiful to me šŸ™‚ It evolves with my needs and continues to surprise me.

I have a super basic website up for my music,Ā www.ellaharp.com, and I’m on instagram now and can be found at @ellaharp if anyone wants to follow my rambles in picture form. Oh how trendy!

A little story and I’m off to bed.Ā I was given a small potted plant of daffodils several years ago, which promptly died in my care. I was extra sad because daffodils are my favorite and it never feels good when your favorites die. I chucked them into the wilds of the back field and called it a bad day for gardening.

Imagine my surprise when I chasedĀ Lobster behind the houseĀ thisĀ spring and beheld the most darling little splash of daffodil yellow, risen up on their own and thriving. Nature is amazing.Ā Lessons to be learned there ā¤

About EllaHarp

San Franicsco Bay Area based harpist, singer/songwriter of blues, folk and pop influence. Debut Album 'Who Asked You Back' is out on all digital platforms and physically at www.ellaharp.com

23 responses »

  1. Congratulations! I have followed your story since almost the first day, I can’t believe its 5 years and your heartbreak post passed me by. I have been having a traumatic year too, but hopefully we are climbing out of it now. Virtual hugs for you Ella and may you go on from strength to strength. I will read your heartbreak post now, will it make me cry?

  2. If you are going to sew for yourself, save some money and do it right. go to sure fir designs. com and learn the correct way for you. You will never buy a pattern or ready made again. Mary

  3. Gorgeous! Love the lifestyle of living small and understand the heartfelt fulfillment as I have recently moved back to my roots in the Midwest farmland.
    My home is a bit larger but in a small community and I seldom have the desire to head into the city. I could so do your lifestyle, so enjoy the moments as the come because they pass so quickly.
    Cheers to you!

  4. So glad you are posting again! I always loved your little home. I have a friend who also does a major part of her sewing by hand. She does lovely things mainly using various weights of linen. It’s always a treat to see what she is working on. You’re not alone! I love the sewing machine. A good solid machine with no plastic parts. Pretty much my dream.

  5. Thank you for your update. It’s nice to see how well you are getting along. You are a lovely person and I’m glad your life matches. Take care, and looking forward to hearing more updates periodically of your life’s journey.

  6. I bought my current sewing machine about 20 years ago and, even then, it was impossible to buy a machine as simple as I wanted. So I have a machine that has a dial for 30 stitches and I only know how to use two. I haven’t made a buttonhole in 20 years because I don’t know how to use the automatic buttonhole maker no matter how many YouTube videos I watch. Backwards, forwards, straight, and zigzag – that’s all I wanted. Hang on to that machine – it’s an irreplaceable gem. I hope you have many years of happy sewing!

  7. Hi! I hope you are doing better this month! Those daffodils are like you, thriving wherever they are and surprising everyone with their beauty!

    I wanted to say hi! I am so excited to announce that my tiny house at Tumbleweed Tiny House is almost done, and your house was the one that made me KNOW I had to be a tiny houser!

    I thought of you today because I emailed Tumbleweed to make sure they were venting my roof. HAH. Anyways, drop me a line if you’re down near OC!

  8. There is something inexplicable about following the calling of one’s soul. A thrifty life, if lived with love and joy, beats having a job for the means of a paycheque any day! Sadly, too many of us do just that. Loved reading about your journey – it really resonates. Wish you the courage, wisdom and strength to always do it your way.

  9. Hi Ella,

    I love your story, its been a while since I stopped by your blog – you were one of the first people to introduce me to tiny houses – I’ve always loved your story! I’m hoping that you might be able to help me with a project I am working on. I am a Corporate and Public Communications graduate student at Monmouth University interested in studying the sense of community inspired by Tiny House Communities (THC). For my graduate thesis I am looking at how people communicate about tiny houses, what the community does for them, and why they choose to get involved with the movement.

    If you or anyone you know who is a part of or who is interested in tiny houses could spare 15 minutes to complete my survey, I would really appreciate it! Thank you for all you do for the THC

    You can find the survey at: https:/monmouthpolling.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6PTVeWKLsH1j4QR

    Your your sewing machine is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you make with it. You’ve been such an inspiration to me over the past few years, thank you for sharing your story with all of us!

    All the best,
    -Ashley Medina

  10. Hi Ella!! I am now a proud tiny house owner since I saw you on the internet many years ago!! I would love to share photos! I have a random question… do you sell your wool dresses? If not, do you know where to find similar ones? I love them!

    Thank you!! Let me know if you want to see pics or a video of my Tiny! I am so excited… I am hoping to move in full time this summer!

  11. So lovely to read about someone just like me,that wanted a tiny house,that likes to sew her other clothes and that loves Celtic/ Gaelic things.I think you are truly an antiquated old soul and a kindred spirit.

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