Busy As The Bees

Product development is ongoing at Ms. SpoolTeacher’s house every day.

These yo-yo’s someday want to be a quilt like the one below this image. Someday to be a Yo-Yo Quilt

NewVintageOldSkins

Image: NewVintageOldSkins on Etsy

These twills and corduroys someday want to be a patchwork purse with fringe…

twills and corduroys

seams as fringe

…with these as inspiration:

image from Barbara Vaughn’s Etsy shop:bvaughanhandbags

image from Barbara Vaughn’s Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/bvaughanhandbags

View on: honeybeepollen on Etsy

View on: honeybeepollen on Etsy

Lately she got hooked on T-shirt yarn and got carried away making things…

how to make t-shirt yarn graphic

Where did she get this image?  She’s like to give credit where credit is due.

The first step is to cut off the hems and the top, under the sleeves. Save those though. The tops can be cut for strips and the hems used for other projects.

product development, making t-shirt yarn, tarn

The collection of hems from the rolls below

There is one step missing in the graphic above…stretching it after it is cut. It curls in on itself and gets much longer. There are lots of things to do with just the un-pulled fabric as well; but for yarn, seems best to stretch.

T-shirt yarn, tarn, pulled to stretch and elongate

The turquoise failed to turn in on itself and was used for a project you will see below.

Here is the pile she started with. All from shirts she had on hand and planned not to wear any longer.

collection of t-shirt yarn, tarn, rolls

This was her first project using the “Tarn”. You can see the details here:“Throwing a Tarn Bowl”, (though it is more of a basket).

Wabi-sabi tarn bowl, 21st century, thrown on an "artists" lap

Wabi-sabi tarn bowl, 21st century, with handles and a touch of purple

Handles!

Wabi-sabi tarn bowl, 21st century, thrown on an "artists" lap

Bottom up!

Wabi-sabi tarn bowl, 21st century, with handles and a touch of purple

Strings have since been woven in.

And then she started braiding….
Braided rug fom t-shirt yarn.

…and braiding,

T-shirt yarn, tarn, braided for a rug

  and braiding…

T-shirt yarn, tarn, braided for a rug

She will try to post a tutorial of sorts to describe how efficient she got at braiding with rolls. The best rugs are made with “continuous-cut” tarn/yarn that is then rolled into balls, but the braid gets tangled if you don’t have a technique. And then when you do run out of the longest strips, there is a great way to splice a new run in.

There are several ways she has seen others splice pieces; but by far, the best way she has seen is to do it like it is done with bias tape. Click this picture to go to a how-to if you like. It’s for bias tape, but use the same method for the tarn.

Be sure to put the right sides (the original right side of the t-shirt) of “tarn” together when doing this as you want the seam to be inside the curling of the t-shirt yarn.

She did this herself and it worked like a charm; no lumps, bumps or knots (though that could be a design decision and even desirable, you be the judge).

As for how she braids…she can’t figure out how to tell you so that it will make sense, so maybe someday a video. Don’t hold your breath.

The main gist is to pick one ball to be the one to pull through the other two strands every two laps. Otherwise, you get a second braid forming below and it’s a tangled mess. If you get in a rhythm, it goes like the wind.

Lots of sellers on Etsy are stitching the braids together with zig-zag stitches on their machines. Ms. SpoolTeacher thinks they look nice this way. She hasn’t mastered (let alone even tried) this technique yet. She keeps hoping the braid will sew itself together.

Meanwhile she surfed the internet looking for that tutorial for joining the ends, didn’t find it, but found this Adirondack lady, Helen Condon, who makes some awesome rag rugs the old fashioned way. You can view a video of her working here. There is nothing like authentic craft, but Ms. SpoolTeacher likes modern adaptations as well… as seen here in a rug that inspires her:

For the old fashioned, lacing way of doing it, here is a great tutorial video, (Poor quality video, but useful for the information).

So as for that darned piece of t-shirt yarn that would not curl….she just used it as it was and imbedded it within this cotton macrame cord and made a few rows in single crochet with it as well as she went along. Pretty pretty, eh?

100% cotton macrame cord and t-shirt yarn crochet basket

100% cotton macrame cord and t-shirt yarn crochet basket

100% cotton macrame cord and t-shirt yarn crochet basket

There just aren’t enough hours in a day to do all the wonderful things she wants to do. She doesn’t understand how anyone gets bored.

She stays as busy as the bees…

busy as the bees

they say bees like green water…check out this blog: http://citybees.blogspot.com/2010/03/spring-bees-slurp-algae-and-forsythia.html

The Star Client

Star Client

Ms. SpoolTeacher posted an ad for her Peripatetic Design services on Craigslist recently and had no idea what would come of it.

Would you like a new look without purchasing new things? It’s amazing what can be done by rearranging things you already own for a completely new, fresh look. Just need more organization? That too. Is clutter an issue? No need to throw things away (recycle) unless you want to. There is always a way to make a lot of stuff look better. Groupings, consolidation of like items will minimize the impact and can create a museum quality. $35 p/hr plus mileage trip fee to and from your home from Benson, AZ. Skilled, professional, life-long designer/decorator with great color sensibilities and exceptional organizational skills. No implements required, we’ll use what you have.

This she could do 24/7. She loves, loves, loves to deal with the details of “things”.

true freedom

Lone Mountain Collage, San Francisco, CA

Her first real job after returning from a little summer scholarship at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, (right after graduating from high school), was as a “store decorator” at Levitz Furniture. She was only 18, and very intimidated by the others who seemed so confident of their design skills. Her duties were to daily make rounds of all the aisles and replace any items that had been sold out of the vignettes.

The store had a wonderful stock room full of accessories and that was her domain and resource center.

Looking back now she can see how, even then, she enjoyed focusing on the smallest of details. For some reason, it soothed her anxieties.

She could often be found rearranging the contents of a china cabinet to get all of the elements just right. She also loved to clean the stockroom and reorganize it.

When Ms. SpoolTeacher asked Star Client how she found her ad, Star Client explained that one day she was placing accessories and she had her husband hang a collection of stars above her cabinets in the kitchen. After which, she plopped down on her sofa and felt exasperated. She had had enough. She was feeling overwhelmed with all of the “stuff” that she had kept as her most favorite of things that were the result of her downsizing event some time before.

She didn’t want to get rid of a thing, but she had had enough.

Very often, it is just an objective perspective that is needed to reignite the passion to complete the task.

Star Client asked her husband to, “Please get on Craigslist and find a decorator”.

When she rolled across Ms. SpoolTeachers ad, Star Client told Ms. ST that “That was it.” The words of the ad expressed exactly what she wanted.

The email from Star Client to Ms. SpoolTeacher said, “I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better.”

Star Client and Ms. SpoolTeacher had a wonderful time working as a team, going through her treasures and finding their new homes.

If Ms. SpoolTeacher had put an ad for a perfect client, Star Client would have matched the contents to a T.

The minute Ms. ST arrived, Star Client took her on a “tour” and they dug right in. Ms. ST looses herself easily, and they had finished the first room before she thought to take “before” pictures and got so busy in the end taking the ones she did, that she forgot two rooms! Oh well.

Here are the results of their team effort in the main areas. They pretty much touched and moved just about every accessory and numerous furniture items, except of course, the stars!

I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better. I have a lot of stuff that needs to look better.

They only took one little break and back at it again, the pups wandering in and out and around their feet. Mostly they just laid around and snoozed.

Mostly they just laid around and snoozed.

This time when Star Client plopped herself down on her sofa, she said, “Whose house is this? Much better!”

"Whose house is this?"

“Whose house is this?”

The thing about it is, it looked very nice before. And she had lovely things to work with.

Ms. SpoolTeacher says that this is The Star Client you always hope you will get the chance to work with.

What a fun day!

Imagine

Imagine knowing your baby will be secure for life?

Imagine knowing your baby will be secure for life?

“Imagine you are being born and society tells you ‘Welcome, you will be cared for, and asks you what you want to do with your life, what is your calling? Imagine that feeling, that’s a whole different atmosphere “ – Daniel Straub, Co-founder, Basic Income Initiative

Switzerland may start paying every adult (whether they work or not) a salary of over $2000 per month, based on the idea that their citizens will have more time to devote to things they are intrinsically interested in, instead of spending the majority of their time worrying about how they are going to survive, as many individuals with entry level positions find it hard to meet their needs. The income initiative promises every Swiss citizen a living wage , so they can always survive without basic financial worry.

Read the article here to consider pros and cons.

Ms. SpoolTeacher has always thought that as citizens, we own the commons. That means that the resources in the ground, air, water, nature, etc. belong to the people who inhabit the land.

Inhabitants of the land, the commons

Inhabitants of the land, the commons

She doesn’t believe that Corporations own them. She knows that it takes capital, small “c”, to make these resources viable for the citizens and that those engaged in making that happen deserve a “living wage” and their expenses paid for doing it.

Corporate Feudalism: The End of Nation States

“Corporate Feudalism: The End of Nation States”. Click picture to read the post by Steve Lovelace

She believes that any investment in research and development is an expense and should be funded by “the commons” who will benefit by the progress. If the commons won’t be benefited, it shouldn’t be being done. Period. If it does harm to the commons, it shouldn’t be being done. Period.

She doesn’t believe that those managing resources as profit making Capitalists should recover money for the investments that “the commons” provided initially; i.e., monies our government has already funded for research and development that is done before profit making Capitalist do what they do. You know, like all the work our government did to bring the internet into viability for Silicon Valley to further improve and develop. And that those same profit making Capitalists owe the commons a portion of the wealth they extract from the commons. It is, after all, our resources that they are given the privilege of “harvesting”.

The whole world is askew. There seem to be two basic camps of thinking…

Precision Nutrition. Click image to read post

two camps of thinking image courtesy of Precision Nutrition. Click image to read post (about food)

Will the chocolate cake be put to the Right use on the Left, or will the Right leave the Left with no chocolate cake at all? The cupcake is pink, so it must be of no use at all or maybe, just maybe Left on it’s own, the pink cupcake has all the Right ingredients after all. Right or Left, Left or Right? Maybe we should be thinking Pink?

Ms. SpoolTeacher believes with her whole heart that all new parents want the best possible for their babies. They don’t want their babies to spend their lives worrying in excess or unnecessarily. The right kind of stress is a good thing. Being in a chronic state of stress with survival worry is not.

They want their children to be free to grow into the beings God intends for them to be.

Well, the most important thing is that we all have food. So let’s quit worrying about all that other stuff and get out there and at least 1% of us plant some food.

White House garden

White House garden: Image courtesy of One Green Generation. (click image to read post at http://1greengeneration.elementsintime.com/?p=982 )

This looks like a pretty good plan, don't you think?

This looks like a pretty good plan, don’t you think?

And live a little more simply, and want a little less in material goods, and start wanting more for each other?

Are you planting this year? Are you helping someone else plant? Are you buying from someone who grows in your community?

That’s where imagining a better future starts. At least Ms. SpoolTeacher thinks it is.

Imagine. Just imagine.

Working From Home

I Sell On Etsy

Working from home. Type those words in your browser and what you get is a bunch of gimmicky ideas for how to “Get Rich Quick” or “Girls Wanted” kinds of things.

Type in Etsy.com and a whole ‘nother story arises. Amazing evidences of wonderful success stories of people who have had an idea and found a niche within which to market it; and who are finding great success doing so and mostly all from the safety, comfort and very cost effective usefulness of their own homes.
Working from homeMs. Spool Teacher is trying to find that one thing that will work for her to do the same, work from home and have success. Success to Ms. ST will be a living wage. As it is now, she does work from home. Yes she does. She uses the moniker of Ms. Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher because at present, she is willing to do whatever her talents and skills give her the ability to market so she can at least keep her head above water long enough while she is Finding That One Thing that will be her turning point..

Ms. SpoolTeacher has a childhood friend who has managed to find her one thing and is working from home, mind you, doing what she loves, loves, loves…she is an ornamental horticulturist and worked long and steady in the business of selling on the road for nurseries. When she finally decided she wanted independence, she barely looked back. She has worked extremely hard to get to where she is now. She’s made it look easy; but Ms. ST knows for a fact that she works relentlessly and with great skill and acumen, and does not waste a minute and that it was not an overnight success. She has tried many roads to get to where she is now.

Succulent Heart Wreath 13 inch diameter

She makes the most beautiful succulent creations, markets and sells them at her shop, Succulent Salon, on Etsy.

She also sells cuttings for people to make their own creations.

Ms. SpoolTeacher really admires her in complete and tries to follow her advice and example.

Ms. ST’s passion is sewing, so of course, the succulent thing would not do for her, though she has a minor collection of them that Friend-in-CA has sent and she treats them like babies bringing them in and out daily because they aren’t hardy in the harsh desert winter night freezes. She loves them. Lately Friend-in-CA sent her a box of clothes she thought Ms. ST could use to up-cycle and sitting there on the top was a little ray of sunshine from California to brighten up her winter months of doldrums.

succulent salon, ray of sunshine from CA

It looked like a sunburst and Ms. ST quickly went out to get some cactus potting soil and put it in a pot almost the same color as itself.succulent salon, ray of sunshine from CA

One of the vendors that Ms. SpoolTeacher follows on Etsy is AllThingsPretty by Debra Dorgan. She thinks this girl has it together and loves the creations she comes up with using all kinds of found resources. It isn’t often that she “favorites” shops that are so global because she really wants to do what she can to support her USA compadres.

But this girl strikes a cord that speaks to Ms. ST’s own aesthetic and resourcefulness and she likes to see what she comes up with next.

AllThingsPretty on Etsy by Debra Dorgan

AllThingsPretty on Etsy by Debra Dorgan AllThingsPretty on Etsy by Debra Dorgan

She feels inspired just looking at her wonderful work..

For now, Ms. SpoolTeacher is utilizing the resources she has on hand to their best use as she sees it. She is developing her own aesthetic and a repertoire of creations to draw new inspiration from.

It’s a process.

puffy hearts on sale at SpareShelf on Etsy

Of course, it’s near Valentine’s Day, so she focused on hearts for the moment.

WillYouMarryMeHeartPocketPillow

pocket, Will You Marry Me heart pillow

using the resources she has to their best result

The longer one works from home, the bigger home one seems to need but one must maximize space and carry on. Bigger is not always better.

You always need a dream anyway, right?

“Long-haired freaky people need not apply”

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Ms. SpoolTeacher went in to a new local store to see what it was all about and if they might be hiring. Of course, she knows it will be an online application process; but she likes to do things like they were done when she was just a lassie, looking for her first jobs…(around the same time as this song, “Signs”, was first released by the Five Man Electrical Band.) She was thinking she might try to seek out the manager and chat him up before he got the clue that she was interviewing him for a job.

As she approached the check out counter with a big bag of her favorite dog food in tow, she said to the 20 something girl there, “It looks like they don’t hire anyone over 20?”

“Oh yes, there is one man who is in his 70′s.”

She wanted to ask if he was white and 200lbs because it has been her experience that those are the most popular attributes for being hired…white male, 6′ tall, 200 lbs. But she kept her trap shut.

The other 20 something girl standing nearby (both of them wearing cowboy boots to tromp all day on concrete in) said, “If it will make you feel any better, we are both over 20.”

No, it didn’t make her feel any better, or worse for that matter; because, Ms. SpoolTeacher knows in her heart of hearts that she is doing what she should be doing. What she loves.

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow

Yes, sometimes it feels like the money will never follow, but it does. Miraculously, minute by minute, day by day, week by week, somehow her needs are always met. “Thank you Lord.” She puts money in her account and goes and pays a bill. It is keeping her very humble. But it has miraculously worked for at least 10 years now, really more, all her independent entrepreneurial times accumulated.

So she knows too that she is not a Long-haired freaky people, wait a minute, yes she is; but she is as old a Job and that isn’t what employers are really looking for these days. At least not in significant numbers. They want people who haven’t already been worn down by a system that isn’t working. So she plods along on her entrepreneurial journey, sure it will pan out soon. Sure as sure.

She made another “sale” on Etsy yesterday! Yeah! “It works if you work it so work it you’re worth it” she says to herself. She knows that’s an AA chant, but it works for lots of applications. She uses whatever has proven to be a success tool. And one tool she has found to be successful is reaching out and helping others. First. Not after you’re successful, but while you’re gettin there. First of all, it feels really good. Second, unexpected doors fly open. Lately some hollow core doors flew open, metaphorically speaking. A friend wanted some signs made and couldn’t manage the hollow core doors herself and asked Ms. SpoolTeacher if she would like to make some money. “Did someone say MONEY!”

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

So Ms. SpoolTeacher, hoarder that she is, took her 1972 angled-bristle-oil-painting brush, a Purdy flat brush, some rags and a bucket over to be a sign painter for 1 day that turned into 2, (this is a friend whom she has helped many times for what was supposed to be free, but somehow Friend always finds a way to pay her some how; money or things or referrals or such). And on top of this gig being a paying one, it put Ms. SpoolTeacher in her “Happy Place”…mindlessly smearing paint on something, anything.

In the old days of Home Depot, signs were all hand-lettered by employees. Now she thinks they are printed; but in her days of working for them, she was often called upon to letter signs because she was pretty good at making them legible.

She got to make a couple of “artistic” signs as well…Ho, ho, ho, Home Depot

She got to make this collection twice. And they even paid her to work from home. Talk about “Happy Place”!

Ho, ho, ho, Home Depot

Friend had managed to get the paints (from the city dump) Ms. SpoolTeacher recommended, Red, Yellow, Black…well, sort of (colors that are frequently used for stand-out signs), Friend got a near chartreuse yellow, and a bright pink, exacalacally “the colors people look for when scouting yard and estate sales” Friend told her. As it turned out, they worked pretty well to stand out, the yellow from the red, so to speak.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

First she slathered on the pink with her favorite Purdy flat brush…She doesn’t like using a roller, too messy and much more fun to slather.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

Then she free-hand painted on the letters with her hoarded 1972 angled-bristle-oil-painting brush and thought she was finished…until she opened that trap of hers and said what Friend was thinking…”I think the letters would look better outlined in black”….

Yep. Day 2: outline all the letters with felt tip black marker! Still, she was in her “Happy Place” so even though it was now a $5 p/hour labor (of love), she knows it will open some more hollow core doors. She’s sure.

Friend said, “Why don’t you sign the bottoms and make up a flyer and I will tell everyone about all the things you do, Ms. Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher”. Well, Friend actually called her by her real name. So she signed the bottom and put her SpoolTeacher.com website on it too and off she went to the next entrepreneurial-school-of-doing-what-she-loves-the-money-will-follow-her-everywhere-she-needs-it-to-fun-and-adventurous escapade, (see the escape in that last word?).

Are you doing what you love, even if it means freezing in place cuz electricity to heat is a luxury while clothes upon clothes are not?

Here’s an interesting concept of existing (better) without money…

and here is the sign before black outlines. Better with black, eh?
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

What do you love to do? Are you doing it? Why not?

Merry Christmas Holly Wreath Graphic

Sew Much To Do

Sew, it’s either feast or famine.

For about a month, there was a slight panic that enough work wouldn’t come in for her to keep her utilities turned on or the computer running.

She knows better than to worry. Her needs are always met. Manna from Heaven, don’t ya know?

Suddenly there were people coming two by two with arm loads of things to be hemmed, nipped and tucked, collared up.

ss.sewmuchtodo 013

Twelve pair of jeans to be shortened a few inches. She made an afternoon and into the late evening, assembly-line event out of this “fun” chore…

  1. Measure and cut X12, √
  2. Finish raw edges with special cam stitch X12, √ (since she doesn’t have a serger and believes in using what she has with a little ingenuity, √)
  3. Change bobbin and thread to black for X5, √
  4. Fold up 5/8″, stitch line 1/2″ X5, √
  5. Re-thread bobbin half way thru X5, √
  6. Change bobbin to gold, thread to blue for X7, √
  7. Repeat line 4 X7, √
  8. Lay down and collapse with stressed out shoulders X2, √ (with pride for a job well done, √)

ss.sewmuchtodo 008

She asked Client if she wanted a double hem or if it would be acceptable to finish edge and turn over once?

Unless you have an industrial strength machine, it is near impossible to get even a heavy duty needle through that lump that is 3 layers of “flat-felled seams” sewn over. She does do them this way but adds extra time/$labor to the job to clip and trim seam (in inconspicuous ways) and do some fancy footwork to get her machine to make it through the bump that is by that time reduced a little. ss.sewmuchtodo 007

A true flat-felled seam can be made on a home sewing machine. It is done by special machines in industrial settings. True flat-felled seam

Industrial machine and flat-felled seams

Industrial strength machines can make it easier at home, but an alternative mock flat-felled seam is more commonly done when sewing for fun.

ss.sewmuchtodo 009

And Ms. SpoolTeacher saves all the cut off scraps for….???… something. Did she ever tell you she is a Pack Rat?

ss.sewmuchtodo 010

X2 Sous-Chef uniforms snap heads replaced, √
X2 for same client, Sous-Chef uniform sleeves shortened and later the lengths overall shortened also, √

ss.sewmuchtodo 012

Hems, loops, take-ups, take-ins, X1, X1, X2, X2, future √

ss.sewmuchtodo 002

Old favorite work clothes, some of which she has already put patches on, to have new patches put over the old ones and some other things done…like to “collar up” an old shirt whereby the existing collar is hanging on by strings of threads. sew much to do
(see how she did this here)… another future √ (the picture is from his last batch of which he was very, very happy with the results).

Sew, so now she is a bit oversewhelmed! But grateful and glad it isn’t Cleaning Lady duties. (happy face) (she likes being home with the puppies) (they like it too). She’ll take those too though, Cleaning Lady duties. She’s Ms. Jackie of all Trades don’t ya know!

Today was Driving Ms. Margie day and that is always a reprieve. Ms. Margie likes to go to lunch after and talk like friends for awhile. It doesn’t feel like work at all, but she insists on paying and even for lunch.

And then Ms. SpoolTeacher brought Ms. Margie’s new Wally World cell phone home to have her number ported….cuz how can they possibly expect 90 year old lovely ladies to go through all those silly gyrations?

……    ……     …….. z z z z, trolling, trolling, coffee, ……   !!!!!! X#@$ !!!!

……, about two hours into the phone conversation, Ms. ST said, “Do you have a supervisor?” Then she said to the supervisor, “Do you have a supervisor?” And then she said, “Can you transfer me to the refund department?”……For some reason that girl didn’t need to put in an order for a system check for a 24-48 hour follow-up return phone call to explain why the port wouldn’t go through. By the time Ms. SpoolTeacher got Ms. Margie’s phone charged and back to her, voila! the number had been ported!!!

Oh, the power of “do you have a refund department?!”

It’s either feast or famine, and always Sew Much To Do either way.

Dali-like Dreaming This Morning

Dreams are funny things. The ones you have just before you awake and remember, are near impossible to explain so that anyone can get the gist of what your experience was. Dali, I guess, tried to explain his in his paintings.

Salvador Dali painting hand re-painted by quality artists

When Ms. SpoolTeacher was 17, she was given the gift of a scholarship summer retreat to a college in San Francisco to study art for six whole weeks. It was a magical time. A time that set her sails.

As the wind blows, you must set your sails.

Image courtesy of Edenchanges. Click image to “attend” a lovely motivational blog. Words by Thomas Fuller.

She dreams of that event time and again, but they are always one of those kinds of dreams where you want so badly to get somewhere but your feet feel like lead. They won’t move. You are stuck and distressed.

She was so young when she went and she was not at all well emotionally. It was one of the best experiences of her life in spite of her emotional state.

For the two years that she prepared for the competition, making an art portfolio to send for evaluation, she was in that same emotional state and everything was a lead foot kind of struggle. It would be called depression now. Everything she did for those two years was geared for the hope that she would be selected. She worked after school to earn the money it would take to pay for her room and board and anything else she might need; some more supplies, extra food stuffs, souvenirs. Her wonderful art teacher made sure to give her plenty of supplies from the school stock that met most of her list of required art tools and paints to bring along.

Near the deadline to submit her work, she was missing one piece of art (a requirement on the list for judging) and had to hurry up a pastel chalk drawing she was struggling to complete. Because it didn’t quite fit in the portfolio, a neighbor took a Polaroid picture of it for her to send with the others. (She thinks it was that last drawing that gave her sumbission the edge it needed because to that date, it was the best she had done). She packaged her portfolio just how they said and drove to a third class postal center way out in a remote burg outside of her own little Podunk town to get it sent off.

Art PortfolioBy that time, she had amassed the clothes she would need to take with her should she win. She had sewn her own outfits those same two years waiting and preparing. As it turned out, once there, she bought a pair of overalls and pretty much never got out of them, painting them up as she went.

The dream she had this morning before waking was a little happier than others have been. She was in San Francisco with a friend and had a nice place to stay. It was a bright colorful dream unlike ones before that have mostly been dull and dreary; but there was still a kind of hunger in her soul. She couldn’t get satisfied. She wanted something she couldn’t find. It was the friend’s event this time. The friend was taking a pleasure trip and there was a satchel involved that always had to be kept track of. It was orange, an upholstery weight fabric and had all of Friend’s needed things in it. They decided to go see a movie. Friend somehow got in ahead of her because Ms. SpoolTeacher was busy talking to her sister (who in reality passed just this last Feb. 2013). She was so delighted to see her sister there and had lost track of time and of Friend. So when it came time to get into the movie, she had to climb a funny stair case in a funny building and open a window so that she could crawl in over the head of a bed of a sick person laying there. The sick person’s relative was sitting by her side complaining why the theater did things like this and Ms. SpoolTeacher backed out and went back down to see if she was doing it right. They told her to go back, it was the only way in. But Ms. ST spotted a different, ground level entrance and sure enough there was Friend with her orange upholstery satchel, contents spread all over a table she was sitting at eating with other people and the concession stand was in front of them, behind the table. Ms. ST looked over and it was some kind of spaghetti stuffed in a bread roll oozing with Velveeta cheese and other things she will not eat.

Of course, this barely depicts the vivid colors and autumn charm of the scenes of this made-up San Francisco Ms. SpoolTeacher had going through her brain circuitry just before she woke or of the peculiar emotions she was feeling. Dreams are so funny. She wishes she could paint like Dali to depict the scenes because they were wonderful.

It was a better dream than some she has had, remembering or longing for her wonderful summer scholarship trip to San Francisco, but she thinks it is because she is much better emotionally now and has lots of hope and great expectations for the life still ahead of her.

Lone Mountain College, San Francisco 1972When she came back from that trip to San Francisco, she had wonderment in her mind. She was sure she would be some kind of artist, she was determined that she would be. She had to get a job right away because her family was poor, monetarily. Her mother had already lined her up with a prospect to inquire about and sure enough she got the job. There she would work for about a year as a Girl Friday, working with artists of various kinds. It was a pre-Kinko’s kind of place. The man who had the business start-up had his hands in everything, a true entrepreneur, but one who was more charismatic than successful at that time.

She has had many J.O.B.S. since then, but has always been in pursuit of some way to be free to express her creative side. She thinks this might be the reason why her dreams are more vivid and satisfying now. She has given up giving in to forgetting her dreams and has found that once her sail was set way back then in San Francisco, there was no turning back. She wouldn’t go off blowing in the wind, but she wouldn’t miss any opportunity that would show itself to her that would help her live the dream that she had set her sail on. No one should, give up their dream, even if it is Dali-like.

What to Eat Don’t Eat

Eat Don't Eat on FacebookMs. SpoolTeacher has started a page on Facebook, Eat Don’t Eat, where she hopes to coagulate all the tornado of advice being whirled at us for what to Eat Don’t Eat? That is the question.

Check it out and give her your 2 sense! (yes she meant to spell it that way).

She has been doing her level best to produce her very own organic food, (formerly known as food) because she lives in an organic food desert.

And being in a literal desert poses lots of great challenges.

Aside from that confusion and continual learning curve, she is very often confused as to what to Eat Don’t Eat in the first place and therefore, what to plant. But she has pretty much concluded that if it can be grown, it should be eaten, save poisonous things and strictly ornamentals. So very many conflicting “facts” and figures.

The two videos at the bottom of this post she found lately. They seem to sum up the gist of it all very well and she encourages you to have a look see. They are great and informative short enough videos. They are also posted on the Eat Don’t Eat page on Facebook.

permaculture gardeningShe very much wants to garden Permaculturally, but she knows that it will be a very gradual process and is willing to go the distance. She found this lady who has some awesome things to say about it. This was the first of her posts Ms. SpoolTeacher read and will continue to stalk her for advice: “Why Permaculture Inspires and Motivates Me”

She also found this video of a man in Quebec, Canada who has it all together: Miracle Farms, a 5-acre commercial permaculture orchard in Southern Quebec…

Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture. He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing maintenance. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 cultivars of apples, plus several types of plums, pears, cherries, and countless other fruits and vegetables.

Don’t miss this “miracle” of nature (oxymoron?) Nature is in itself a miracle, don’t ya think?

He likes to share his abundance with the insects and animals, (as well as his customers), because they did a lot of the work to accomplish this awesome feat; “They’re working day and night to take care of your orchard for you.”

“Problem with these plums is that you can never eat just one”, he says.

Ms. SpoolTeacher knows that problem well…  Period of Stagnation Period of Stagnation

What’s wrong with what we eat? – MARK BITTMAN

How to live to be 100+ – Dan Buettner
And here’s a great one of how mushrooms are going to save the world. Awesome video. Awesome. Talk about permanent culture…

and if all that doesn’t blow your mind, what about this… “tomato tree”. Is it possible? Is it a perennial tomato? Is there such a thing?tomato tree How could it possibly grow this much in one season?

Leave your 2 sense/cents in the comments below if you will. This SpoolTeacher wants to know. And be sure to visit and like Eat Don’t Eat on Facebook, if you will please. Thank you. (Happy Face)

Thanks Giving

Christmas-Tree-Nature1024-226431

“No Christmas until after Thanksgiving”, is a common refrain when the stores first start putting the displays out even as they put up fall and Halloween. But at the first signs of chill, we all start anticipating our family gatherings for Thanksgiving and soon thereafter, Christmas. The first chills after a nice long hot summer make us all want to blanket up and start the fireplaces.

Ms. SpoolTeacher is trying to make her way “off the grid” so she can accomplish her goals to live simply, live with less, make do with the least of things and have more time, not exchanging her labor for money but using her labor to effect the changes in the world she hopes to see. At the least she wants to make the changes in her own life that will reflect the values she holds, organic food grown by herself, time spent studying things that will broaden her perspective, studying nutrition and health so as to avoid the pharmaceutical fiasco, spending time loving other people and building relationships, sewing, caring for her animals, keeping her own house up.

Little Red-Haired Girl and Gertis The Mertis TurtleSo instead of running expensive utilities for heat, she just piles on more clothes. She has done this now for several years, and it is doable. A little uncomfortable, but doable.

She resents that prices keep going up on everything. Especially insurances.

She thought lately about dumping cars and getting her bicycle in gear to make her rounds about town for the essentials of her life…

But, just yesterday, one of her elder clients who hires her for housekeeping, had gotten so ill he was taken to emergency for what turned out to be pneumonia, again. He had called her up to make his bed with new sheets. When she first saw him he was grizzly with an unshaven face and mussy hair. He was laboring to breath. She patted him on his skinny little arm and said, “You feel so bad, you haven’t even shaved?” To which he replied, very slowly and labored, “I feel so bad, I couldn’t even take a shower.”

Levon HelmHe’s a handsome man, looks a little like one of her favorite actors/musicians of all time, Levon Helm but with much whiter hair.

While she was scuttling about making the bed, another friend came in and together they decided that he should go to emergency hospital. She finished her chore and left just ahead of the two of them.

It wasn’t much later that Mr. Frail Client called her, “I hate to ask you to do this, but I’m waiting for them to give me a shower. Could you bring up a pair of shorts and a T-shirt?

“Of course”, she responded. He gave her detailed descriptions of where to find and what to bring. She would need her car for that.

She no sooner got home from doing that when he called and said, “I’m sorry to bother you again, but I should have thought, I will need a pair of pajama bottoms too.”

Well, she would get one thing to him and he would think of two or three other things he had forgotten… brush, deodorant, razor; steak in the fridge that needed to be cut and frozen for when he came home; sleeping pills and more shorts and T’s for the days he anticipated staying.

She must have made five or six trips. “I’ll catch up with you for money when I get home, is that okay?”

“Of course”, she said as she thought of how she gets to be too friendly with her clients and hates to even charge them for things she does for the love of them. But she knows they love her also and want to keep her going and handy and wouldn’t think of not paying her.

But she sure did need her car for all that. So the insurance that she just changed, probably two months ago because of rate changes, has gone up now too. She sure would like to dump it. She hates (strong word but accurate), hates, hates insurance. It’s a racket and completely unfair to consumers. She thinks regulations aren’t strict enough. She’s assured by seemingly everyone that “that is Capitalism at work”. Where’s the competition if the only competition is a tiny discount to get one moved over and then two months later they raise it to “allowable increases” at the first opportunity? Maybe she'll get a Harley and ride off into the sunset

Well, she will get rid of car (or maybe she’ll get a Harley and ride off into the sunset with Old Harley-Davidson-Riding Boyfriend) as soon as she can find the right things to make with her abundance of resources (of which she wants to rid herself) and is able to sell them on Etsy or at a fair or some such way.

And she wants to write a book. Those are all things she can do without a car.

Car is dying anyway and that would require more labor for wages and a trap she could never get out of if she started that cycle again.

She marches on.

So she is giving thanks for all the things she does have that make it possible for her to keep on living the life of which she has become accustomed; off the grid, simple. Great friends, Old Harley-Davidson-Riding Boyfriend, (who came to visit lately and took her for a day of fun), family, pets and God.

Thank you God for everything.

Thanks Giving. It’s a good practice to keep everyday, don’t ya think?

Hot Pink, Fairy Zinnias and Christmas Candy Bar Stockings

Red Gingham

For the love of anything red gingham or Red Gingham Calms Her Like Yoga

It hadn’t turned cold yet. Ms. SpoolTeacher wanted to go out and do some work to make her summer liter-strewn yard look a little more presentable for the clients who show up for mending and alterations.

As often she does, she grabbed whatever “felt” good to her at the moment to wear.

She happened to have on a pair of hot pink tights she’d cut the feet off of (because she can’t stand the pressure of anything bearing on her toes or her feet feeling confined). She had been to church that morning and had started out to wear an ensemble that they accented. She had decided not to wear that outfit, had put long pants on instead and didn’t want to bother to take the pink tights off so wore them under the pants. She didn’t bother to take them off when she got home either so just pulled the red gingham overalls over them. She had on a hot pink long-sleeved T-shirt as well. When her friend showed up later he exclaimed, “Woah, wow…shades of Marilyn Manson, I mean Monroe!”.

Red Gingham bombshell kinds of thingsShe took it as a compliment and went on raking.

She had already previously corralled things into heaps of decaying debris for compost but was letting leaves dry so they would more easily fall from the branches and stems.

Gertis The Mertis Turtle Branches, sticks and debris Branches, sticks and debris, Compost debrisThis day Gertis the Mertis Turtle was helping as much as she could, (following Ms. SpoolTeacher around keeping her company).

She got finished with as much as she could do for that day. Now she needs to turn the compost heaps and add the debris she has corralled and shaken, stomped, rubbed off the branches and stems to what already exists and hope it’s ready for next spring. Leaves haven’t fallen quite yet, so there will be much more to add as fall continues. Most of what she corralled this day was from a giant branch that had fallen from a tree. It fell on the patio roof and was still attached at the crotch til friend came with chainsaw and finished “felling” it. Now she will need to hand saw the bigger branches into firewood size pieces. She has a chainsaw, but likes the exercise and the lack of noise and not using fossil fuel. Simplicity. Doing with the least of things. Minimalism.

Vintage Christmas Stocking Pattern

The last she mentioned in her Gingerbread-aholic post, she was on her way to making some Christmas “candy bar” Stockings. Well, she’s been working on them and isn’t so sure she’s gonna bother to go very far. Sewing is a very laborious task and very hard to ask for enough to make the time spent pay for itself. She’s been ironing the bugs out to start; making a pattern she likes, getting it sized right and curves that please her eyes, testing techniques for adding embellishments and finishing treatments (hiding seams, raw edges and such).

ss.christmascandybarstockings 022ss.christmascandybarstockings 025Fronts and backs. Size about seven inches long, just enough for a large candy bar.

Which one do you like the best?

She found a vintage item on Etsy and used it as a “model” to sketch her idea.

Vintage Christmas Stocking PatternIt’s a lot more work than she thought and she’s not sure she likes the results. The one from her childhood mentioned in last post was felt, seamed on the outside with pinked edges and glued on glitter in her initial. But she wants so to find a good use for all her millions of fabric sample swatches from Designer days of old.

Her favorite thing is to be out in the sun, digging in the dirt. Maybe she’ll take her sewing outside…maybe not.

Hot Pink Fairy Sister Zinnia

The Hot Pink Zinnia that volunteered in her back yard she thinks was a seed her Fairy Sister flew over from the front yard to under her clothes line and planted to remind her that she isn’t so far away after all. (Her sister passed not long ago). It’s still there after all the ones in the front have expired! Hot pink was her favorite color!

Hot Pink Fairy Zinnias. She loves zinnias. Wasn’t that sweet of her sister to do?