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. $45 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!

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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 Velma 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 Velma 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.