Tag Archive: indiegogo

Big Changes

As I can feel the seasons changing around me many emotions, both good and hard have come up. It has been a full summer of building, working on both my own and other people’s houses. My friend, Rena, had her straw bale raising last weekend, and Amy, another friend and a hammerstone client, has been helping me and my coworker put up her beautiful Shou-sugi-ban siding on her tiny house and prepping her house for an interior trim class which is running this week. Their houses are lookings beautiful! And I am proud to be able to support these women in making their dream homes; to share in their excitement, to commiserate together when things are hard, to witness their processes, and to actually have lent a physical hand in the building of their homes.

But as the seasons begin to change I am feeling a pull to give more time to my own dream home.  After much thought I have decided to take some time off from working for Hammerstone in order to be able to focus more fully on my own house. I am incredibly grateful that I am able to do this with Maria’s blessings (Maria is the owner/operator of Hammerstone). Asking for this time off was, and still is, a bit scary as it means giving up my main source of income for a while and letting go of a certain amount of job security. But both Maria and my own intention is that this will allow me to finish my house sooner and give my full creative energy to it, and then I can return to Hammerstone and my other passions with more to give.

As many of you know, this tiny house journey has worked on me as much as I have worked on it. I do believe that everyone deserves a chance to go for their dreams, but actually asking and allowing myself to receive support for my own dreams is not always easy. And I know I am not the only one who struggles with this. But what I hope to inspire through living this journey, is a world where more individuals feel it is well to take care of themselves, to do what makes them happiest, and live their dreams and passions, as I truly believe that if we each are able to do this we will find that actually all of us benefit, for it is true that we can only love each other as much as we love our selves.

The outpouring of support I have received all throughout this tiny house journey has helped me to believe that indeed I too am worthy of manifesting my dreams. And yet up until now I have chosen to work on the houses of others almost 30 hours a week and work on my own on average probably only 10 hours a week. For a while that felt ok, and even good in the beginning stages of my build.

But recently I have felt like I have less to give to both the projects of others and to my own. This has shown me that it is time to shift the balance and to really be able to pour my heart and soul into my house to bring the birthing of this dream to completion. My tiny house is no longer just an idea. It is a reality, with four walls, a roof, windows, and a door. But there is still so much to be done. And much of it are the things I am the most excited for, including the interior design and finish carpentry, and interior and exterior finishes, where I get to truly express myself artistically. But an artist cannot make her masterpiece if she feels rushed and financially constrained. And so I have decided take the leap of taking a break from hammerstone and doing another fundraising push in hopes that you, like me, can see the value in what I am creating and feel inspired to support it.

My fundraising page is still igg.me/at/tinygogo and there are still perks available, including a weekend getaway in my tiny house when it is done!

Some of the particular artistic flourishes I hope to be able to implement that you could support are a stain glass insert in my octagon window made by Tony Serviente, a local stain glass artist, and a zen like tatami mat room under my loft, as well as a small ofuro style bath in my bathroom. I also am working on a passive way to heat my water with my tiny wood stove in the winter and with the sun in the summer, but to implement this will require some fancy custom carpentry and plumbing work.

The two stain glass designs I am considering for my octagon window

The two stain glass designs I am considering for my octagon window (colors are approximations, as glass is more subtle and dynamic than sketch-up will allow me to do).

All these things take many hours of labor, most of which will be my own labor. But I have decided it is worth my time and energy and it is where my heart is, and so I am taking the plunge to work on this project full time from now until it is done. Will you support me to do this?

If yes, please visit igg.me/at/tinygogo or if you are more comfortable sending a check directly e mail me at miwarobbins@gmail.com and we can arrange that.

In so much gratitude for all that this world offers and the ways in which we are all interconnected.


Today I made it to my IndieGoGo goal AND I finished my floor! What a day.

I am so happy to be at this stage and feel like I can breathe a sight of relief. There are many days where I wish I was further along but yesterday I was looking through my earlier posts and realized I didn’t start construction until Sept. 18th, less than 2 months ago! So considering that, and also working, and taking a week to to go do my cabinet making course, I am quite pleased.

This feels like a day worth celebrating:

Me with a big smile after my grandma called to tell me I had reach my campaign goal! As you can tell, it was a bit chilly this morning, but hearing that news got me going!

Me with a big smile after my grandma called to tell me I had reached my campaign goal! As you can tell, it was a bit chilly this morning, but hearing that news got me going!

By the end of the day I had warmed up and my floor was finished!

By the end of the day I had warmed up and my floor was finished!

This was worth celebrating!

This was worth celebrating!



Now I can...

Now I can…



Good bye tiny house, until tomorrow, when we hope to turn on the solar array and say good bye to the generator!

Good bye tiny house, until tomorrow, when we hope to turn on the solar array for the first time and say good bye to the generator!

Hello family, friends, supporters, and followers. I have decided to run an indiegogo campaign for myself to help insure that I can put all the love and energy that I want to into this tiny home project. This is an edge for me. Heck, going for this dream is a huge edge for me! But with the continued encouragement of of all of you I know I can see this project through.

My dear friend Tara sent me this poem yesterday and it feels like a fitting one to share at the point:

knowing your power
is what creates
not knowing your power
is what creates
— ego, nayyirah waheed

I am SO humbled already by this project and all the lessons it is teaching me. As much as this project feels like me stepping into my power, literally and metaphorically building myself a solid foundation, it has also already humbled me time and again, showing me how much I need the support of each and every one of you. Truly, every little word of encouragement and shared enthusiasm helps to keep my own sails full, especially on those cold wet mornings, like yesterday, when I went out to my site to find my tarp had blown off and water had pooled in my now water sealed floor frame!

At my floor flipping party I looked around and was filled with gratitude, seeing how each person there had helped to make this first big moment possible: John, with his constant support, giving me building advice, acting as a sounding board, scooping me up in mornings for work and fun adventures, and allowing me to build on his land; Amy, for being a team mate in this whole project and sharing my commitment to this project and giving me moral support; David for lending me his car and his electric bike countless times and for showing up when I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough people, and for listening to my ideas and problem solving; Kim for his clever problem solving abilities and interest and support; Jim for so generously offering to film this whole journey; and Sarah for coming out and bringing her kids and showing me that I can inspire other’s through my actions!

Now I am asking for some monetary support to insure that I can make this home as beautiful as possible and stick to all my principles of using environmentally friendly materials. This home is just the seed of something much larger: It is part of a larger movement to live more simply and in harmony with the earth. And for me it is integrating all that I have learned and discovering my own artistic style and process as a builder so that I can then offer my skills to others and help them create their dream homes. Will you support me it realizing this dream to it’s fullest potential?

This is my indiegogo video

 And the link to go to the campaign and donate is http://igg.me/at/tinygogo

I want to thank all of our supporters for your contributions. As of this writing there are 106 of you. We have raised $5,809 on the campaign site and $3,315 donated directly to the theatre with potentially an additional $350 promised as a result of the campaign. That bring our potentcial total up to $9,474.

We are hoping to raise at least $10,000 +.

Any help you can give by telling your friends will be greatly appreciated. Shortly, our indiegogo campaign will come to an end, however our fundraising efforts will now. People can call in contributions to 212 724 0677 or mail checks to The Shadow Box Theatre,325 West end Ave, New York, NY 10023.

Though we are noticeably short of our stated goal of $27.000, in good faith, Earth & Me has gone into rehearsal. The opening date is April 17th at Hostos College in the Bronx. We have already booked 3,140 inner city school children booked to see the shows in all 4 boroughs. Our goal is 6 to 8,000 children.

Hopefully between additional fund-raising and ticket sales we will be able to end our season in the black and bring a wonderful show supported by many to our young audiences.

We hope to see many of you at a performance.

Know how deeply appreciative we are of your help. You literally will have inspire many children to care for our earth as well as making many children smile.

And know that the campaign has done more than just raise money. It has lifted the spirits of us in the theatre, reminding us why we do this work! Our Inter-generational joining of hands has made a small miracle happen.

Thank You!

Miwa Oseki Robbins, Sandra Robbins,  and the many children we serve

Previous posts on this topic:



TEACH PEACE: We are doing it!

I am Sandra Robbins’ eldest grandchild and have just graduated from Cornell University majoring in environmental science. The Shadow box Theatre changed my life and has shaped me in more ways then I can imagine. But more importantly I see the impact it has on each child that is blessed with the opportunity to experience SBT. Children love my grandmother’s shows. When I go to her weekday shows full of public school children I am amazed at the reception her theatre receives. They sing, dance, and clap along. In The Earth & Me they all join hands at the end of the show and sing “Hand in Hand,” making a commitment to peace and the earth. As a child I remember listening to the sound track of The Earth & Me and re-enacting the whole play with two little stuffed animal seals I had, entertaining myself for hours. I knew all the songs by heart and especially love the closing song, ‘Hand in Hand.’

Today when I see who I have become, an outdoor enthusiast and a passionate steward of the natural world as well as an empowered individual with great concern for the earth and its people, I have to look back and thank my many influences, but particularly my grandma, who has always been one of my strongest woman role models. Her passion to bring theatre with important messages to children is a great example of a life’s work well spent. When I heard that The Shadow Box Theatre was in a financial crisis due to Hurricane Sandy and considering canceling its spring show of The Earth & Me, I knew I had to help. Now, more then ever, I think children need this show. With many in NYC having seen first hand the darkness brought by extreme weather, children need a message of hope and a guiding light of a way to live in peace and harmony with the earth. This show provides just that and much more. Anyone who experienced the power of theatre and the magic of its’ “Story-telling” as a child, knows that it stays with you forever. Thank you for helping us make this fund raising effort a great success.

View the full campaign here: igg.me/at/EarthAndMe

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about my grandmother’s theatre and the financial crisis it is in due to Hurricane Sandy. Well, today I am writing to let you all know that we have launched our fundraising campaign and are off to a great start having raised $2,253 in our first week. But, we need to keep going, as our goal, which is what the theatre needs to be able to weather this storm, is $27,000. We have raised about 8% of what we need.

There are MANY ways you can help and not all of them include money.

Perhaps the most important thing is to increase our visibility, or as IndieGoGo calls it, our GoGo factor. Doing this will have a snowball effect in that it will help make our campaign come up higher in search results and possibly even make it reach the home page of IndieGoGo, which will lead to more donors! You can all help us do this just by clicking on our page (click on it every day if you can!), sharing it via facebook, twitter (and retweeting our posts), using google+, e mail, and word of mouth and by getting creative. You can reblog this post or my previous one or write your own blog post about us. Or call up someone you know who supports the theatre arts and has some money to spare. Or write an article for your local paper! All of this will help us reach out goal. I know my audience here on my blog is at least somewhat internet savvy so I am asking for you help in spreading the word!

And it is not just about the big donations. Any donation does and will help. This theatre touches over 30,000 school children each year. If each child had someone donate just $1 in their name we would be past out goal! So, even if $1 is all you have to spare, consider donating for a child. $7.50 is the price of a ticket for a child when they come as a school group, so donate $7.50 and one more child will be able to come see our shows! This is called crowdfunding and numbers are the name of the game.

If you do spread the word or donate let us know about it! It brings smiles to our faces and keeps us going here at the theatre to know that others are working on our behalf. You can comment on this blog, send me an e mail at amo48@cornell.edu, or comment on our indiegogo site and help inspire other supporters to also spread the word!

Thank you and I hope you will support me in this effort.

With warmth and Light,

Me and my grandma, Sandra Robbins

Me and my grandma, Sandra Robbins

Miwa Oseki Robbins (and the Shadow Box Theatre)

To view the full campaign visit igg.me/at/EarthAndMe

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Creating "new" from old has been a preoccupation of mine for a long time, but turned into a full-time adventure in building and living in a tiny "reclaimed" house. Beginning in 2012, I will live in this 120 square foot space for the length of my PhD studies in Literature and the Environment, and perhaps beyond. In this way, I hope to live a little smaller, leave a little lighter, and learn in what ways formal study can be acted in the every day.

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