A Thing Called Love

Garden Perfection

image courtesy: Better Homes and Gardens. Click picture for link

It’s not a picket fence, but it’s white and it looks like the perfect garden of her mind’s eye. Images she has deep in her psyche of the ideals set forward in her youth of what it is to be successful and happy. Especially the woman watering by hand. The slow life. The life well lived. Time to smell the roses, so to speak.

In her last post, Canning and Freezing, she posted another image:

Permaculture GardenThis one is of a small dwelling in the midst of what appears to be a permaculture type of gardening style. Ms. SpoolTeacher is trying to accomplish this; and even with a limited property, this is possible.

Little Red-Haired Girl helping

Living in a desert poses some obstacles that are trying at best. She’s trying her best to create what she calls “micro-climates”. In other words, ways of cooling the air so evaporation doesn’t exact its harsh torture any more than she has to let it. She is letting indigenous trees sprout and grow  and only removes them when it is clear they will have a negative rather than positive effect. They grow like weeds, offer plenty of leaves as they are deciduous. They don’t release themselves from the ground without a fight and that is why they are so worthwhile if they don’t overtake the strategy she has in mind. They grow without any attention at all and need no additional water. They grow straight up and in stands if you let them. A lot of her neighbors abhor them. She has grown fond of them.weed trees

But there is nothing that is as rewarding in gardening then that something you do makes someone or something else happier than they were.




“Thanks Mom for making me a dirt pillow and a cool place to lay.” Sweet Little Old Red-Haired Girl deserves to have everything exactly the way it makes her happy. She is a senior and we want no regrets.

Happy Little Red-Haired Girl

The birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees….

birds,bees,flowers trees

And a thing called Love.


Canning and Freezing

Canning and Freezing

Oh in about 2002, Ms. SpoolTeacher decided that she had had enough of juggling finances to stay on top of the can of worms she had opened for herself. A childhood friend had come to visit her and talked and talked and talked to her about a piece of land he had in Northern California and how much he loved it there. He shared with her his dream of putting a Quonset hut on it to live in. He got out his hunting/sporting magazines and showed her what they were and how he intended to use one.

If you remember, Ms. SpoolTeacher had made most of her life long earnings doing “Design” work helping clients furnish, decorate, remodel their homes. This whole idea of designing a living arrangement from scratch with a metal can (so to speak), to say the least, intrigued her. Before long she was chomping at the bit.

They decided they would try to develop the land together. He had the land, she had a little capital.

The Beverly Hillbillies

Sight unseen, she packed her truck like The Beverly Hillbillies and off they went. Literally, there was a chair hanging off the back of her truck.

She had two dogs, two cats and a two room tent. Jack (not his real name) drove the truck, she drove the little car. Cats and dogs all over. None of them happy. All of them on medication to make them groggy. They drove and drove and drove.

And drove, and drove and drove.

In the middle of the night, Jack delivered her to a little travel trailer at a friend’s house and she and the critters collapsed in cuddles.

The next morning when she looked out the trailer window to see a forest of trees, she panicked, “WHAT HAVE I DONE!!!!” All of a sudden her pioneer spirit escaped her and she felt dread and fear. She felt homeless.

Of course, it didn’t last long.

Before long, they were at Home Depot getting wire fencing to make a yard for the puppies. The kitties were imprisoned in the tent (for as long as the zipper on the flap lasted). As it turned out, kitties don’t like to scale wire fencing and Peter Rabbit just sat inside the fence with the dogs looking at him sullenly, until the dogs made their magic get-away hole. Annie lodged herself in the mesh on the ceiling of the tent and managed her magic of never being seen again, (until they quit and went back to Southern CA).

But by the time they were ready to quit the project, the Quonset Hut was being delivered.

She packed it in a U-haul and brought it back down to Southern CA with the four critters on drugs again.

tractor trailer

And a few months later she packed it in a tractor trailer, with all of her other worldly treasures, and brought it and the four critters, the car and truck,  to AZ to try a different adventure near her sissy.

She has had it now for 11 years and has moved it, finally, never having been set up, to her current property and it lays there in pieces waiting for the perfect opportunity to “Design” a living arrangement whereby she will be able to see that original imagination come to fruition.

She’s always thought they look space-aged and awesome sitting out in a field with the sun streaming off of them, gleaming. The ones she visited before she purchased hers were usually for barns or vehicle storage and weren’t insulated so were either scorching hot, or freezing cold.

All she cares about is that she may have a little piece of land, her “tin-can home” and a swath of land to permaculture garden with critters to collapse in cuddles with at the end of a hard days work. Freezing or scorching, she’ll find a way to survive. As long as she can plant and think and feel like she is free.

Tin Can Home

Tin Can Home

Tin Can Home near Taos New Mexico http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_can_wall

Canning and Freezing



This is what hers looks like, but it is only 30X30X14H, skylights, end walls with garage door size openings.

She’s got a home now and is happy. But someday, she’d like to just erect this thing to see what she can do. It helps her get up every day, having a thing to look forward to.

What’s your crazy dream?


Permaculture Garden

Throwing a Tarn Bowl

Wabi-sabi Tarn bowl

Ms. SpoolTeacher has never worked on a potter’s wheel; but throughout the process of crocheting her Tarn Bowl, she got a sensation that it was a similar experience.

She started out making what was to be a round rug, but after she got to increasing every 8 stitches, she changed her mind. She has never crocheted with tarn (t-shirt yarn) before and is quite certain that she should have been using a larger needle and one that had more traction, (wasn’t metal). Crocheting is something that only through practice does one pick up on the subtleties that can be manipulated to create variables that are either desirable or not , intended or not, and/or an expression of creative license, i.e., art.

She was quite having fun. She was utilizing her acumen and a very good video to remember even this beginning stage of crocheted creations.

She had previously made some t-shirt yarn, tarn as it is called; and as it turned out, the denier was variable as she had differing weights of t-shirt material and she had cut some a little different width than others.

This is all new to her.

T-shirt yarn. Each ball represents a whole shirt

The ball of t-shirt yarn she started with, a muted green/aqua, was cut after the rolls in the above picture. It had seams but she decided to go ahead and try it.

She’s on a learning curve with this and wants to be able to tell others why to or not to use seamed pieces, etc. She kind of likes imperfections anyway. Wabi-sabi! Serene Melancholy. Spiritual Longing. Doesn’t that evoke the language of Art?

[1] “If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.”[2] “[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”[3]

Wabi-sabi tea bowl, 16th century

Wabi-sabi tea bowl, 16th Century. Image courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

So as she was sitting on her bed, late at night, watching some thought-provoking recording she’d made (in the days of having TV) of something from Free Speech TV, she decided to quit increasing and make a bowl instead of a rug.

The aqua only lasted long enough to apply about 3 rows, give or take, up the sides before she had to determine which roll of tarn to use next. She chose the gray.

Wabi-sabi Tarn bowl

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

Well, as she got going, she realized that it was quite fatter denier and was making it bulge slightly. She thought about taking it out, but no, she kind of liked that idea and she rolled her fingers around the circumference as she would if she was throwing a clay bowl, seeing if she could pull it up and/or stretch it into aligning with the aqua. She used various tensions with the tarn/yarn in her fingers as she continued on making stitches up the side to see if she could control the bulge. More “imperfections”. All the while, she was thinking it was looking like a bowl some artist had created intentionally that way on her potter’s wheel.

Well, the gray yarn ran out in no time and then what color next? She opted for the white. It had printing on it, so there would be that as a subtle “imperfection” as well. She wasn’t quite sure how tall to make it; but after two rolls of white, both slightly different denier, she decided that it was tall enough.

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

Now for how to finish it off and maybe add handles? (Ms. ST just spent an hour trying to find a tutorial for adding handles to her bowl but all she got was Etsy and Pinterest links without help) After scouring all the images, she thinks she can figure it out on her own.

Oops! Never give up. She thinks she found a tutorial!

But as you can see, it looks rather simple to do.

More rows could be added to make a fatter handle.

She also saw many, many beautiful examples and some interesting ways to finish it off.

She usually likes things rather simple. Why complicate things? Right?

Isn’t this a pretty one? Not made out of t-shirt yarn, but very pretty.

So here are a few more images of her Wabi-sabi tarn bowl, 21st Century …

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

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

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

It ain’t particularly purdy, but it’s Wabi-sabi to her.

Serenely melancholy is one of her favorite colors! And now she realizes that she photographed it wrong side out. Wabi-sabi her. Tarn it!

Update! Update!!!

Ms. SpoolTeacher turned the bowl right side out and added handles in purple and white. Everything looks better with a touch of purple. Here is the near complete bowl, (just have to tuck in some tails)… and a preview of the next project, a braided rug.

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


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 yet to weave in…

And the next project upcoming, a braided rug from t-shirt yarn…

Braided rug fom t-shirt yarn.

Additional pictures can be viewed at this link.

Available for sale on Etsy:

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

Also available for sale on Etsy:

Tarn Bowl