It’s Hard To Believe…

…that this is an improvement to how her house has looked. But it is way improved! (She won’t show you how it looked at its most chaotic).

Lots yet to do

Little Red-Haired Girl is always by her side

She could be ashamed, but she’s not. She’s in the process of making new seat cushion covers and a drape to cover the rest of this raggedy old sofa. She picked it up for free for her sister three years ago and it has ended up back with her. It’s just too comfortable not to find a way to use. Just about everything she has is previously owned.

The carpet that came with the house when she purchased it was one of those off-the-roll-oatmeal-colored popcorn Berbers that quickly packed down and looked worn and awful. She can’t stand carpet for all of the dirt it harbors so yanked it all out early on. Her friend up the street lined his driveway with it for working on his cars. She’s been living with terribly ugly red concrete slabs with black glue from stick-on tiles; but it gets so, so cold in winter and the cold permeates so thoroughly throughout that she just buys cheap area rugs so she can bear to walk around. When they get too ugly and worn, she uses them as weed barriers for solutions while she is planning and implementing the food forest dream all around “The Compound”.

The goal is to create a mosaic tile floor and sew rag rugs that can be washed.

She helped her friend move from one storage to another yesterday and while picking up his rental at U-haul discovered that the furniture pads they sell there for $7.95ea, about 6×7, are the same felt that is used for laying commercial grade carpets; perhaps a little thinner, which is a good thing. She hopes to buy several to stitch scraps to for rugs.

Free sofa she picked up for her sister that ended up back with her. It's too comfortable not to use.

Ms. SpoolTeacher has a little house. There are seven-ish rooms in about 1025 square feet, not including TheGarageThatWantsToBeAWhereWomenCreateStudio/ (TGTWTBAWWCS) space that was converted by a previous owner to accommodate a relative. The main house has two bedrooms, one bath, kitchen, living room (including a little entry) and an extension added somewhere along the way that is divided into a laundry room (off the kitchen) and a mud room (she calls it, off the living room).

The house has lots of issues. It’s like a giant sieve; leaks everywhere, bad windows, poor insulation, ceiling cracks, etc. Too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. The heat pump is ineffective so she never uses it. It was built in 1945 and the “improvements” that were done to ready it for sale just before she purchased it were mostly cosmetic and deceptive. She saw through most of it, but was willing to take on the challenges anyway. It fit her budget.

Trying to continue on her adventure of providing her own “right livelihood”, she is suffering in place until improvements can be made.

The lead image is after a session of complete and utter chaos that she could no longer tolerate.

Throughout her career as an Interior Designer, she has accumulated hoards of fabrics and sample swatches that she intends to use to create one-of-a-kind items to list in her online Etsy shop.

Because TGTWTBAWWCS is so, so cold during winter, she tried to make the living room work as a sewing center for doing client alterations and creative sewing, but it just got to be more than her nerves could bear.

So, out to The Studio went most of the chaos…

Almost all of her sewing resources and implements are out in The Studio now, waiting to be fully organized. She has long been working to reduce the contents there and has made some really good strides toward getting it to where she wants it to be; giving stuff away, offering some of the remaining contents from her now closed Lollipops & Polka Dots Variety Shop to a young friend to sell in her own Etsy shop … donating to local charities, staging collectibles in the carport for posting in the shop as well, etc., etc. …

The Carport Project

The Carport Project

Spring being as near as it is has diverted her attention a little as it is already getting a little late to be starting seedlings, but one step at a time. Her house being the sieve that it is, she needed to build the warming tray using incandescent rope lights she had seen a link to online. That had to be put on the front burner. Next will be to create something from all of the containers she doesn’t throw away to hold the seeds for sprouting .

Seed warming tray with incandescent rope lights

She has a serious spring “bug” and would so much rather be out there with her hands in dirt.

A post about Bealtaine Cottage resurfaced again on Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Facebook Page lately and she made the mistake of following the link which served to stir up restless inspiration in her to get with her own dreams of creating a “food forest” on her little property.

At this point, food growing is not feeding all of her needs. Doing sewing and alterations for clients is random and unpredictable. Her career working for others in the design business was given up long ago, mostly so that she could pursue creating her own right livelihood; “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow“. Her soul could no longer bear the part she was playing in the non-sustainable consumption dilemma Corporatocracy insists is the only way to build an economy. Not that she wouldn’t revisit that option if she could sell products that meet certain criteria; but so many of the businesses she utilized once upon a time have changed their structures to more of a DIY model and employ low wage workers to act as counter clerks filling in the blanks of a computer generated ordering system. Of course, the quality of knowledge and service is sorely lacking, and the merchandise is of questionable integrity to her, but people are motivated by the imagined discounts they get this way. Many of the businesses have simply gone away or downsized. And, of course, she has gotten older. Design is one field that age isn’t necessarily seen as a deficit, but competition is fierce for the spots that are still remaining. The main reason is that the market has dwindled. Many people just don’t have the expendable income that they once did. As a matter of fact though, she did recently post a Craigslist ad for her service of using what people already have to create a new look.

So, it’s kind of a Catch 22. She moved out to a little Podunk town to live the life she imagined but it is too far from a big enough city to create an income the old-fashioned way, with a slave wage labor J.O.B.B. (four letter word). Soul bankrupting enterprises.

She continues striving for her dreams…

Some of the madness you might have expected to see if you came calling for a fitting at her house…sorting swatches for projects, thinking of a crazy patchwork cover for the sofa (too chaotic for her anymore), or shifting furniture for the millionth time. She’ll be doing most of this now out in TGTWTBAWWCS. She has finally pared down the furnishings to be just what she needs and wants to make the space practical and comfortable for herself and any visitors. The rest yet to do is improving the pieces that are there, mosiac tiling the floor, making area rugs, slip-covers and such. #WhatYouCanDoIfYouKnowHowToSew!

DSCN0882

So, she will just keep on keeping on with all of the dreams she has for SpoolTeaching classes, up-cycling clothes in to one-of-a-kind items for Etsy, working on the First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy, improving her compound, and tending to her little family of acquired, rescued, inherited and beloved pets.

Lucy playing in the sheers

Lucy, tangled up in sheers

$17 vintage thrift store find, Woodmark, crewel fabric wingchair

Vintage Woodmark Crewel-Upholstered Wingback found for $17 at Habitat Store (Sold pair listed on ebay for $1,295!)

The Mud Room

Purple-haired Raggedy Ann made by Ms. SpoolTeacher sitting in the Mud Room waiting for (an) Andy

Apricot tree pruned, ready for spring

At least she got the fruit trees pruned and ready for spring. Now to plant the fig.

It’s A Wonderful Life

From Resources That Already Exist

Sleeve It To Me handbag

“Haute Handbag” made from one of Ms. SpoolTeacher’s old shirt sleeves

Ms. SpoolTeacher’s goal is to always be using resources that already exist. For many reasons, one of which is to reduce waste.

Because fabric is expensive and sewing labor is so hard to recover, to be profitable, Ms. SpoolTeacher deconstructs clothes to up-cycle; seams, hems to use as fringe, the bigger swathes will be used for … whatever.

The fabrics below are slated for patchwork purses. Here is a collection of corduroys and twills she has compiled from deconstructing shirts, jumpers, jackets, culottes (really more like gaucho pants) she decided she no longer would want to wear. .because fabric is expensive and sewing labor is so hard to recover, Ms. SpoolTeacher deconstructs clothes to up-cycle, seams, hems to use as fringe. Bigger swathes to use for whatever. These are slated for patchwork purses. Here a collection of corduroys and twills.

This collection of corduroy and twill swathes are intended for patchwork purses Ms. SpoolTeacher has in her imagination to make to mimic the ones from the 60/70’s.

There is nothing new under the sun; so when Ms. SpoolTeacher was doing her due diligence to see what her competition would be…she ran across this purse on Etsy that came very close to the one in her imagination. Ms. SpoolTeacher wants hers to be a cylindrical shape with a round bottom and some interesting inside features.

Ms. SpoolTeacher's will be like but not so like this one.

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

The closure will be different and fringe will be added. At least that is what she sees in her inventor’s mind.

The closure will be improved and fringe will be added. At least that is what is in her inventor's mind.

This bag is claimed to be “Vintage Southwestern Indian Leather Pouch Handbag with hand dyed trim and Fringe” from “HoneyBeePollen” https://www.etsy.com/shop/honeybeepollen on Etsy.

because fabric is expensive and sewing labor is so hard to recover, Ms. SpoolTeacher deconstructs clothes to up-cycle, seams, hems to use as fringe. Bigger swathes to use for whatever. These are slated for patchwork purses. Here a collection of corduroys and twills.Fringe is accumulating from the deconstruction process. These are seams and hems that are cut away from the article to free up the usable swathes of fabric for other things.deconstructing clothes to up-cycle, seams, hems to use as fringe

close-up of the seams and hems that will be used for fringe

Ms. SpoolTeacher used this technique for a Scrappy Designer Pillow she is still in the process of finishing.

Scrappy Fringed Pillow

(after she made the back with that lovely zipper, it didn’t go together the way she planned, so she is re-inventing a new back or will take the zipper out to try again.)

Corduroy and twill swathes to be used as a patchwork cylindrical drawstring bag/purse with fringe reminiscent of one from the 60/70's

Because fabric is expensive and sewing labor is so hard to recover, Ms. SpoolTeacher deconstructs clothes to up-cycle, seams, hems to use as fringe. Bigger swathes to use for whatever. These are slated for patchwork purses. Here a collection of corduroys and twills.

Ms. SpoolTeacher loves corduroy and just loves to see stacks of beautiful fabrics.

She started trying to re-organize Resource Central, (aka: her whole house) the other day and realized that she must, must, must open a new shop just to have a place to be able to access her whole collection in one room and have it all displayed for inspiration and easy reach.

So, she is extra motivated to get Spare Shelf up and running and thinks she sees a way to do it on the very near horizon. Head on over to the link above to see if you may want to be a part of this exciting new venture in 3D ad space.

Is “copy” advertising working for you?

How about a physical presence for your wonderful work?

What could be better than a 3D ad that people can see in person and order from your online Etsy shop?

Well then, let’s get started…tick, tick, tick…time’s a wastin’!