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Meb Boden HomesteadFive years ago, following colon cancer surgery,Tom had just finished chemo and radiation. He had hollow cheeks, sunken eyes and bony shoulders after fighting a near-deadly infection.

Nonetheless, he came with me to exhibit in a new-for-us craft show in Charlotte, NC. We’d just received assistance from CERF+, which helped us to afford the 1,700-mile trip and to pay workshop helpers who’d taken over Tom’s part of our woodworking business—and the American Craft Council donated our booth space as part of CERF+’s program to help artists in trouble.

Our hotel was on the 11th story with floor-to-ceiling windows facing downtown’s inspiring cityscape. We dragged the long desk in front of the windows and Tom spent the days drawing while I sold our work at the craft show. Each night Tom showed me his designs for a home using our natural resources for energy storage and efficient waste disposal.

For the past four years, with the help of friends, we’ve worked on the house when the weather is fair and in the workshop on stormy days. Tom feels that his dream of building an earth-friendly house saved his life. We still have a lot of work left, but each step brings us closer to our goal.

Meb Boden & Tom Vaiciulis, Meb’s Kitchenwares


“I guess the latest happening for me is that I donated an article to the book “Craftspeople: In Their Own Words” to benefit CERF+. It compares the “Sailor’s Net” from our live-aboard days to CERF+. The article and response from my spoon customers has inspired me to finally make and stick to a writing schedule. First the “Liveaboard” book, then Homesteading in the 21st century, then The Craft World ….picture of home construction sent with update. Long-term project unrelated to emergency assistance.”