Andrew MorrisonWelcome to StrawBale.com

My name is Andrew Morrison and welcome to my straw bale building site dedicated to anyone interested in building their own straw bale house. If you are brand new to straw bale or are a straw bale construction specialist there's something for you at StrawBale.com.

Click here if you are NEW TO STRAW BALE BUILDING and want to know the basics about straw bale construction.

I have a ton of information for you including: photo gallery, step-by-step instructional videos, information about straw bale workshops around the world, free straw bale articles, free straw bale social network, and a full straw bale building blog.

Be sure to sign up for my e-mail updates and my free 16 day straw bale e-course so we can keep you posted of the latest developments in the ever-changing world of straw bale.

Happy Baling!
Andrew

p.s. If you are eager to fast track your education in straw bale construction, click here.

My Latest Blog Entries Are Below

Love Those Around You…Always

Please share your love with everyone you see today. Love your friends, your fmaily and your neighbors. Love those you would consider your enemies. We cannot continue down the path of violence we seem to be creating in this world. I choose LOVE and I hope you will too.

The road to peace starts within each of us. First find peace within yourself and for yourself and share it with others. Forgive yourself for mistakes you have made and forgive those who have affected you with their mistakes. Forgiveness and love is all that we have to brighten this world and it is all that we need.

My heart bleeds today for the families of those killed in Connecticut and for the families of the survivors who have so obviously been emotionally battered by this tragic event. I offer my words of love and support to ALL OF US as we have all been affected one way or another. Whether you have kids or not I would venture to bet that you can feel the devastation of the loss the parents of those children must be enduring today.

Please, find a way to love those whom you might otherwise not offer such emotion to and love yourself in the process. Make this world a brighter place for us all to share.

The Key to Success

I believe that this quote from Albert Schweitzer speaks volumes to the confusion that many people have in regards to achieving success.  I LOVE what I do and I hope that shows in my work. I trust that it does.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Do you LOVE what you do?  If not, why are you still doing it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  I imagine there are some different beliefs that float around the “need” to do a certain job or a certain deed. In my experience, when I hear my inner voice say I “should” do something, it usually means I’m holding on to a fear that if I don’t do it, something bad will happen. That’s just me though. What’s your experience?

Sale Ends Friday, November 30th at 9:00am EST

We are having a sale on everything in our store including workshop tuitions (up to $200 off!), all of our How-To DVDs, my new book: “A Modern Look At Straw Bale Construction,” and two sets of professional construction plans for small or tiny houses. You’ll even discover that I have created discounts on the three most popular ways to work with me directly. You can get my help with a construction plan review, have me come to your site and train your baling crew for three days, or get both of those plus a year of consulting and more. Please visit our store today to get in on the sale and learn all about what we are offering.

Here’s a look at the 2013 workshop schedule for those of you interested in learning hands-on in the coming year.

April 8-14 in Little Rock, Arkansas

April 20-21 in New York (Comprehensive Design Seminar)

May 13-19 in Wheeling, West Virginia

June 17-23 in Ashland, Oregon

July 8-14 in Taos, New Mexico

August 12-18 in Florence, Montana

September 9-15 in Meadville, Pennsylvania

Sept. 30 – Oct. 6 in Sacramento, California

I hope to meet many of you this year at a workshop or by helping you on your own project. I love the experiences I have both with consulting and with running workshops. I truly love my job and I hope to share that enthusiasm with you soon!

Happy Baling!

-Andrew

Pure Inspiration

This video is worth watching, especially if you think, anywhere inside of you, that you “can’t do it.”

What Is Stopping You From Achieving Your Dreams?

It doesn’t matter what the dream is: building a straw bale house, a tiny house, a small house, changing your job, changing a relationship, or anything else. The answer is always the same. You are.

It’s so simple and yet so often can seem difficult to change or overcome. The truth is that you are always able to create the vision you dream of. Always.

I would love to hear about your personal experience with this. Perhaps you have a story to share that exemplifies this point. Or maybe you don’t agree with what I’m saying, don’t understand what I mean by it, or otherwise want to share your feelings about it. Please join the conversation in the comment section below no matter how the statement has landed on you.

November Free Workshop Drawing Winner

Erin is our most recent winner in our Free Workshop drawing. Congrats…we are really looking forward to meeting you in person! World, meet Erin, a cowgirl poet… (by the way, this beautiful photo was taken by her partner Matt Main www.MattMain.com)

I am a farm girl by default, born and raised on a homestead in Nebraska, but given to the beauty of the mountains.  College took me west in search of bright lights and big city, but the wilderness and grandeur of the places I’ve lived keep me here in the Rocky Mountains.  Travel, horses, and the trail ahead kept me moving in the last years. Seasonal work – car packed and on the road almost every 6 months to experience new communities, jobs, relationships, and self exploration has been both an asset to my development and a challenge.  For work I’ve done almost anything you can name, but consistently have worked as a wrangler, guide, and outdoor educator.  My path points to education and continued wilderness study.  I’m certain that horses will be a part of the mix as well.

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Where Will I Meet You?

We are excited to announce our 2013 workshop schedule this coming Friday, November 23rd at 9am Eastern Time (our Pre-Launch Sale kicks off Thursday, November 22nd at 9pm Eastern Time. If you’d like to sign up for that, please click here.). We have some great locations and projects set up this year, and I trust you will find the perfect option. So the question then becomes: when and where will I get to meet you? You may think that depends on where you live; however, I have seen people travel from great distances to workshops for many different reasons. Some come for the location, and others for the project. What will make you travel? Let’s see what the workshops have to entice you…

I’m not going to give away locations or dates yet, so you can just have some fun with the general feel of each workshop. I guess this is an exercise in intuition. Feel into the short descriptions below and see what resonates. This may not be the class you end up attending, but then again,it just might be. So, in no particular order, here are some details to get you moving.

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Want a Free Copy of My New Book?

My brand new book, “A Modern Look at Straw Bale Construction” is complete! We sent it off to the printing company this morning and printing is underway! If you want a chance to get a free copy, be sure to read this whole post (or skip to the end if you prefer!). The book rings in at 214 pages, contains 113 photographs to outline various points and steps, and has 22 professionally drawn architectural details created by Chris Keefe of Organicforms Design. I’ve written this book so that you can get a precise look at the details I recommend for building a high quality, long lasting straw bale home. These are the construction techniques I have used and fine-tuned over the years building, teaching, and consulting on hundreds of straw bale projects from Australia to Europe and Canada to the United States. The book discusses, in detail, many aspects of working with straw, including the following:

  • Advantages and debunking myths
  • Working with lenders and building departments so that they become your allies
  • Building your foundation (raised floor, rubble trench, concrete slab)
  • Finishing your floor (earthen floor, acid staining, radiant heat floor systems)
  • Engineering options (lateral, knee & X bracing, moment & brace frames)
  • Working with subcontractors (electrical, foundation, radiant heat, plumbing and cabinetry)
  • Framing (post & beam, timber frame, toe ups, openings, box beams, multiple stories, hose bibs, wall heights, humid climate considerations)
  • Solutions and strategies for challenging/extreme climates
  • Baling techniques including notching, re-tying, efficiency, and stacking bales
  • Truth windows and niches
  • Proper wall preparation for plaster
  • Window and door flashing to keep your home investment safe
  • Meshing and simple but super comfy window seats

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Living SMALL In A big World

Grab your favorite mug, fill it with delicious tea or coffee and enjoy this video interview we just created on the topic of “Living SMALL In A big World”. In it, a lot is covered from how we converted our closet into a master bedroom, to living in a 125 sqft pop up tent trailer in Baja with our 12 year old daughter, to designing your home to reflect your personal connection and love with nature, to the role of straw bale construction in the tiny house movement, and how to create your own off-grid forever home with your own two hands.

Living SMALL In A big World from Gabriella Morrison on Vimeo.

“A Modern Look at Straw Bale Construction”, our new book, is set to launch on November 23, 2012. If you’d like a free chapter from his book, please click here. You’ll also have the chance to enter your name to be one of the 25 people that receives the book for free.

Tips to Making Your Plaster Beautiful and Durable

Plastering is perhaps the hardest part of the entire process when building a straw bale house. Think about it, your framing, although difficult, is hidden within the walls nine times out of ten. As long as it is structurally sound, you will be fine. Furthermore, it is inspected (in many cases) so you end up with a “free” set of helpful eyes to make sure you are doing the work properly. The same is true for the other major systems of the house: plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and so on. As long as the systems are built properly and they meet or exceed codes, you are all set. What those systems actually look like is mostly irrelevant.

The same cannot be said about plaster. That’s a system that not only has to be structurally sound and function in a way that protects the bales, and ultimately your entire house, but it also has to look good. After all, when have you ever heard someone say “Wow, you really did a great job with the rough plumbing in this house. It sure is beautiful.”? Probably never. How about someone commenting on plaster? Now that’s one that you have likely heard or even uttered yourself. “Man, that plaster looks amazing!”

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