While working on the “studio”, a long, long section of beige corduroy surfaced that was just lovely for starting the #ScragglyCouch project. She cut it in two equal length pieces and laid them side by side to decide whether to seam as one or not. She’s heavily sided to the separate piece theory.

The #Studio is making great strides. Lucy is often out there too to offer her candid advice,  “See, if you do that, I’ll be able to jump all the way up to here!”… Kind of “Look Mom, no hands”, happy go la la crazy little kitty.

Lucy approves most everything. She likes all the nooks and crannies and “that they can all be accessed at arms length for mommy to rescue me if I get stuck.”

Everything is out in the open so that it can all be seen, handled, found without an hour’s search.

Several boxes of collectibles went out to be mingled in to the #CarportProject, (for taking pictures to post on Etsy)..

vintage, collectible boxes, #CarportProject, EtsyThese boxes came out to be sorted/mingled. Staging area for collectible vintage to sell

The #CarportProject’s gorilla racks have been improved to make sure the rain is averted from them and that the sun isn’t doing damage.

Vintage Ceramic Animal Vases

Some favorite things (Vintage Ceramic Animal Vases) came inside and are doing much to lift the spirits of Ms. SpoolTeacher. She often goes through a blue phase when summer falls to winter. She loves and misses the long summer, sun-filled days.

It makes her want to make “Crock Pot Kitchen Sink Stew” to at least warm up inside.

Oh, my gosh is it Good, Good

Most gardening is tending to tenders or building soil. Some seeds have been sown; but It’s getting colder than normal it seems.

Nursery for tending the tenders, herbs, avocado trees, fig treeThis area is becoming the “nursery” as it gets some nice sun from am to late afternoon. It’s on the south side of things. She’s going to build a straw bale cold frame for the herbs because she has been moving them around for the right environment and it’s getting to be a big chore. They will go back to the front behind the #ScragglyTree where they will get several kinds of light during the day. She thinks the cold frame will make it possible not to have to move them around.

Straw bale cold frame with old windows

Clicking the picture takes you to the article where this picture is posted.


Hugelkultur, soil building, front yard farmingThe #1HugelkulturBed in the First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy has a layer of straw on the front that has beets and artichokes growing in the grooves where she added compost to get them started. The back half had sweet potatoes that the vines finally died once the cold came to stay. She left the roots in and just covered it all with straw. She may try to plant the grooves, (if she gets with it). South Forty Triangle Lot, mounds, Hugelkultur

The two new mounds on the #SouthFortyTriangleLot have sprouts all over; lettuces, clover, cilantro, leeks.

She is so excited to have her studio reaching the point where she can do some serious creating. She’s been separating fabrics and in the process, building “ensembles” that she intuits will make nice companions and she imagines what they will become down the road.

ensembles of things, intuition, intuit, projects

Putting them together goes a long way to triggering her memory of what she had in mind. She is so happy that she ordered those clear boxes to sell at her shop. Glad, in some ways, that they didn’t sell.

This is part of her creative process and it is rather grueling as it is truly, “work”, but she feels so happy to have found a way to keep her dream, of working from home, alive.

First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy

Clicking picture takes you to First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy on Facebook.

going under the straw

The #RaisedBed got covered with straw to help build the soil over the winter. It’s in shade most of the day, so not much would be interested there now.

In between waiting for images to upload and feeding little critters here and there, Ms. SpoolTeacher found another bag of big yardage pieces and started imagining if the cushions on the sofa should be covered individually.

should individual cushions be upholstered?

She really likes the idea of a “mosiac” of fabrics. should individual cushions be upholstered?

But she does ultimately realize that she doesn’t think she’ll love busyness on a piece that big; so they will definitely need a neutral side to reverse to.  fabrics that need to find uses quickly

She has so many fabrics. Sometimes she wants to just do a “truckload” sale of her whole house and go “Glamping” across the USA with the three #WildGirls in tow. That would just be another project of the same kind. “The grass isn’t always greener”, she recalls.

#TheGarageThatWantsToBeAWhereWomenCreateStudio is nearing a reality so might as well see it to fruition and keep moving. Nothing could be done until things were where they could be assessed for their value/best use.

The whole point is to find the closest thing to self-sustaining living as possible. Sewing has always been her “fail-safe” (as her sister would say). Her determination is to not ever feel like she spent her life doing something she was waiting for it to get over. She’s been able to do that for over 19 years now. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it.

TGTWTBAWWC, what it means: Being 60 something, being free to sew for fun/profit but not needing to, having a First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy continually progressing and becoming something she can imagine might sustain her, being able to have a “Studio” where she can pool all of her resources and talent to create things, being home to attend all of the tenders and the wonderful little critters that hover her feet following her all around the grounds keeping her company, the #WildGirls. “The grass is plenty green”, she says out loud to herself. Plenty green indeed.

It’s impossible to imagine that the world needs to be hostile while feeling that kind of personal peace. Why can’t everyone have it. Seems so simple.

“Don’t hang around and let your problems surround you…You can always go, Downtown.”

Ms. SpoolTeacher is notorious for dressing up like a bag lady and going “to town” just to get away for a minute.

Ms. SpoolTeacher as a bag lady

She loves to just put on whatever makes her feel warm, comfy and cozy.

Hope you all are farming now. It’s so good for your soul. Sewing too, if you’re sew inclined.

Product Development Deployment

Boho drapery sample patch purse

The idea of developing a product is to come up with something that can be sold…at a profit.

For the most part, she enjoys the whole process; but two days and probably sixteen hours into it, she wonders why she puts herself through this grueling process. 16 hours times $10 an hour (her minimum mentally acceptable labor rate) is $160. Debra Dorgan wouldn’t hesitate to ask this much, but Ms. SpoolTeacher is not of that caliber, at least not yet. As a matter of fact, it was viewing Debra’s lovely things on Etsy that had gotten Ms. SpoolTeacher’s muse all jazzed up to sew. That and the weather. And that most of her winter seeds had been sown. Oh sure, there were lots of projects available to do on the First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy agenda, but it was time to start thinking about earning more income.

During the summer monsoons, all of the sample books on the top shelf under her patio cover had gotten wet from leaks that occur along the joint where the cover meets the house. She had pulled them all apart and was washing and drying them to use for projects such as this one that got in her mind to do.

This day, two days ago, she was sorting samples that had finished drying suddenly two samples got her muse activated so she started work immediately.

Making a pleatThe front and back of the bag would be two colors of the same print and the sides would be a stripe piece cut in half.

She decided to make a pleat at the bottom edge to add interest and keep it from being a boring rectangle.

Her design plan was to utilize as much of the sample piece as possible. two inches up, one inch in

To make the pleat, she measured two inches up and one inch in and stitched the line. Then the pleat is pressed so that the middle meets the seam.

pleat detailThe next design decision was which side would go with the red and which with the blue. These things are more important than you would think. yellow, red, blue, yellow

Yellow, red, yellow, blue. That way the sides separate from the main body, visually.

She had sewn them together so that the bottom edges were all even so she measured all across the four pieces to make them even at the top as well, then seamed the final two edges together to form a rectangle.

The next decision was what to use for the bottom.

She laid the “rectangle” on a stack of clean samples and started flipping through them until one “felt” right.deciding on a bottom

The lining was made using all of the same measurements she’d just done making the shell.

She intentionally made all of the seams on the right side of the fabric because she wanted to use a ragged edge as a feature. As it turned out, she realized she’d rather have stitched the lining to the shell pieces before seaming them together as then the lining would have also shown in the ragged edge. This is product development. Next one, she will use that technique to improve the results.  The lining was all cut from one big piece of satin she’d ordered a yard and a half of for her store years ago. Orange with dots woven into it.

Lining made and stitched to the outer shellIn the process of building the lining, pockets were added and as it turned out, they seemed too close to the edge so a decision was made to add a top piece that would increase the height as well as cover the raw edges.

Picking a piece for the top edgeThis piece was cut into three sections and seamed together. Again, you learn through the process. When she went to make the handles, she realized that a bias joint would have been better. It shows less.

bias join rather than a straight joinIt’s very hard to explain the labor steps involved in constructing anything that is sewn. There seem to be a million little steps that are taken that are invisible to the final product.

Ms. SpoolTeacher was thinking through the whole process, “Maybe it would be better to hold a ‘build-a-bag class’ rather than try to sell them already made.” But, that has a whole ‘nother set of problems.

She’ll just make a few more and see where it goes. The first one is always the hardest. A lot of the “bugs” get ironed out in the process.

Ragged edge after washingFor instance, this little side pocket that seems rather lacking in function now that the whole thing is made; but even so, it adds interest. Maybe a place for a little list for the store, something that wouldn’t be devastating if it were lost.

She was real happy with how the ragged edge turned out. To make a secure seam, she used her stretch stitch so that even after clipping close to the seam, there were still plenty of stitches securing it. It sure would have been pretty with the orange showing. Product development deployment can sometimes have disappointments. A lot to be happy with though, as well. Slouchy angle showing lining

Product Development Deployment

Now she thinks she will add some decorative buttons to secure the straps to the top band. After adding elastic to crinkle it up, the top folds in some getting in and out of it.

Sixteen hours and counting…

When the muse gets a hold of her, it can sometimes turn into madness.

A Magnificent Obsession kind of madness.

Magnificent Obsession

Muse: Madness
Deploy: bring into effective action; utilize.
“they are not always able to deploy this skill”

Velma and Maurice

She woke up early this morning in the middle of a dream. Lucy was meowing, Little Red-Haired Girl was whining, they thought it was time to eat and were determined to get her up. She wanted to go back to sleep and finish the dream, but by this time she pretty much knew what it was trying to tell her.

The dream had a lot of red bricks and mortar and flowers, ceramic figurines, cakes and cookies and it was a house from her own childhood neighborhood; but it was different, it had evolved. It seemed to be a “business”. It had a driveway that was serpentine and it took her by a new building that was in the making and she could hear a radio playing and someone, a man, humming. She had walked down the drive because she was walking in the neighborhood and it didn’t look familiar until she saw this house and even though it didn’t look that familiar either, it had the telltale signs of being Velma’s house; flowers planted all along the borders and paths, something constructive going on, and Maurice tinkering somewhere. It was the house of one of her childhood neighbors who was up the lane from where her little cracker box house was, and on the street where people of better means lived. She liked to find her way into those homes and she did because she was the “good kid”, the “sensible kid” of the neighborhood. Parents liked her. She chose her friends by the homes she wanted to be a part of, as it seems now.

Lancaster Lane Cracker Box House

Cracker Box House

Velma was a large lady. Big boned, they called it. She had a little voice, soft and she spoke gently. She was kind of meek, always busy doing something, seemingly in the background. Always something constructive.

She was married to Maurice. Maurice had a good job with the civil service out on the military base only four or five miles away, where her mother also had a position as a clerk in the same building where Maurice worked. If her mother’s car was malfunctioning, Maurice would offer her a ride. It seemed Velma didn’t like that much, so it stopped at some point.

It was a military town so most of the inhabitants were rather poor and somewhat transient, though she remembers the neighborhood being pretty stable all through her growing years. She had the same friends until graduating from High School.

Maurice might have been an engineer. He had a prestigious position on the base and a personality that collected others to him. He laughed a lot and seemed to have a lot of answers.

Velma and Maurice had a daughter who was a year or two ahead of Ms. SpoolTeacher in school. Ms. ST’s older sister had had run ins with her so didn’t like her and neither did Ms. ST’s mother; but Ms. SpoolTeacher liked Velma and Maurice and their big beautiful house and the fact that they “did things” and made things and were constructive and all about home and family, so, somehow Ms. SpoolTeacher became friends with their daughter.

Maurice was always building on to their house or re-configuring it or helping his friends in the neighborhood do the same thing. Ms. SpoolTeacher wanted to know how to do things. She loved to sit around with these adults and hear them talk. Being friends with their daughter had her in their living room many nights when many of the neighbors were there as well and they were all talking shop. They liked to have Ms. SpoolTeacher there as well because it gave them a window into the more seedy side of life. They loved to gossip and they were always trying to get information out of her about the happening of any trouble she was aware of going on.

In the dream, before she had gotten to Velma and Maurice’s house, she had been involved with a project that was developing in what seemed like the plot of land that ran behind her immediate (childhood) neighbor’s house and her own. It was a bunch of mucky mucks and a lot of creative people planning out a venture of an open-air display of their crafts and the mucky mucks were clearly trying to gain control and diminish the profitability of the “little people”. There was a lot of vying for position among the little people for rewards and associations with the mucky mucks. Ms. SpoolTeacher has always been turned off by that and she was wanting to flee. After all, it was her idea they were developing and it was getting away from her and no one seemed to be giving her credit. At first she had been thrilled that her dream was coming true, but then someone started to take it away. That was why she was walking the neighborhood, to vent and look for someone to sound off her feelings to. She was mad that her ideas were being stolen and she wanted to flee and do her own thing or find a way to stop them and take back the control.

When she stumbled upon the bricks and mortar and flowers and new building going on, a sense of peace and contentment came over her. She passed the building with the humming and arrived at a french door opening to a kitchen. She could sense Velma nearby but was first greeted by two or three other girls who said immediately, “Oh, you are the one they talk about all the time”. When Velma finally appeared, she had a bouquet of flowers in her hands and went about putting them in a vase on the counter where there was a large collection of baked goods sitting. They offered her a piece of cake that was frosted with a thick white coconut icing. She declined and started asking questions about what was going on there. They were building a store for Velma to manage all of her constructive things. It had french doors too and Ms. SpoolTeacher went over to investigate. The first thing she saw was a large ceramic brightly colored rooster sitting on the floor of Mexican pavers.

That was when Lucy’s meowing broke her slumber and forced her to relinquish her dream state.

She loves waking up from dreams like this. Dreams that remind her that she has always known what she wants to be and has always been doing something about it. It makes her happy to recall that even as a girl, she was determined, constructive and tenacious about finding the “answers” to how she could get from here to there. Had she been born living up on that street where people of better means lived, would she have learned to be so creative? Would life had been as much fun, even with all of the challenges? The peace she felt in the dream when she stumbled upon Thelma and Maurice’s conglomeration of goings on, was the peace of stumbling onto her own life; a life she has created from all of the influences from her past, among them and especially people like Thelma and Maurice. There were many such people, but this dream was for them.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent and hopefully get better search engine results, ha!)

No regrets.