Community is the New Deal


Spare Shelf is about building a business model that will give others a place to build a business.

Relief, Recovery, and Reform…

The New Deal was a series of economic programs enacted in the United States between 1933 and 1936…

…The programs were in response to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the “3 Rs”: Relief, Recovery, and Reform. That is, Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.

Aside from the politics surrounding creating a national or even global economy, what we will need to meet the needs of our own little community is something for a different discussion.

Many businesses today rely on a discount model, thinking rather falsely that the only thing that matters is low, low prices. True, we all look for value. And it is true, too, that many big businesses owe their success to structuring their merchandise offerings to the lowest price in town.

It is also true that they have convinced us all to believe that we are the beneficiaries of this continued lowering of quality and price.

The real truth is that a lot of the costs of there business operations are externalized in that they pass the bill for their growth on to government, ultimately we, the taxpayers. When big box stores continue to hire part-time, minimum wage workers, there are very few benefits to the employees aside from what they can qualify for in the form of a subsidy provided for by our government (us), not the business itself funding these programs; food stamps and Medicaid. We pay in many other ways as well. Far too many ways we pay and don’t see than there is room for or interest to discuss here.

The most important thing is that we can all have a way to make a living wage, that we can have good quality products that are a true value, products that are useful for years, that aren’t ruining our children’s future to have, and that we can continue to see hope that what we build today will provide for more, rather than less of the needs of our own community going forward.

Most of the original New Deal reforms of the 30’s have been chipped away at through agendas to return capitalism to an unregulated free market. Many people believe that pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is the only help that should be offered by the world, to the world. In other words, us helping us. About the only thing left is Social Security, and if big business (i.e. Wall Street) had their way, that would be turned over to them to gamble away as well.

It does seem, in this climate of deregulation and the stripping away of our social safety nets, that it might be a good idea to find a way to invest our own personal labor in a way that it is not constantly being stripped away from us with lower wages, fewer or more expensive benefits and no hope for upward mobility or even finding a job that can sustain us.

In this author’s opinion, the best hope for doing that is creating businesses for ourselves.

So, the new, New Deal is that we are in this together. We need to find ways to benefit each other while meeting our own needs.

Spare Shelf is about building a business model that will give others a place to build a business.

It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without synergy.

Spare Shelf needs your help.

Please comment as to what your needs are for building the business of your dreams. Let’s start a discussion and lets get building.

For a start, Spare Shelf is offering to provide a place to show off what you create. It will be a place to show it, sell it, and eventually teach it and find the resources for it.

Can’t you always use a Spare Shelf?
It might be better than advertising! For the most part, advertising dollars go out and it is hard to track their benefit.
Having a Spare Shelf will be like having a 3D advertisement and the results will be realized in the form of actual sales.

Contact us now to find out more or to offer your suggestions for a better way to build it. We aren’t trying to invent the wheel. We know there is nothing new under the sun, but we know that if we want to build it, we need your help.

Spare Shelf … An alternative storefront reality


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


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:

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


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:

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!

“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 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.

Thanks Giving


“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?

Learning curves. Yipes!

Accessory to Design LogoSeveral year ago, Ms. SpoolTeacher was trying to be what she had been as an employee, only this time, on her own…being a designer, helping clients with their interior spaces.

Accessory to Design – Interiors “…help to create and bring into being”.

Accessory to Design - Interiors

That didn’t work very well, as where she had moved to didn’t have the economy to support her idea, (she had moved to the boonies), and where there was an economy that would was 50 miles away.

Due Diligence isn’t her strong suit.

So she thought about teaching sewing. Ha! Although she did get a couple of students in her little “Shop Around The Corner” (of Main on Huachuca/wah-chew-ka), Lollipops & Polka Dots.


The dog food/treats did very well, but weren’t very profitable. People love their animals. She carried Petcurian, and other well researched options that fit her mission statement of all things that are round and/or well rounded… up-cycled, recycled, useful, necessary, uplifting, whole.

Dog Food/Treats

It was a variety store. She had it so full of “things that might sell” it made people dizzy.

Sewing Classes, Sewing & Alterations, Sewing Classes, Ms. SpoolTeacher

That wasn’t good. She was doing her due diligence through the school of hard knocks.

Actually people loved her shop but Wally World came in and offered tooooooo big a temptation/the economy of scale. She couldn’t compete. Everything she tried to bring in cost almost as much as it retailed for there. She even had one supplier tell her to “buy it there and mark it up”, (like she was gonna give her enemy their ammunition).

She tried to bring in things her customers would have to drive the 50 miles into a “real city” to get. Things that they didn’t have. Her customers assured her, “We love to go into the city. We can get away for a day.”

Knock, knock. School of hard knocks.

On the flip side of that, people who drove the 50 miles in to her town, for a “get away day” from the big city, opened their wallets without hesitation for whatever they wanted and exclaimed, “Who would have thought there would be a wonderful shop like this way out here in this little Podunk town!”

They might not have said Podunk.

There just weren’t enough of them and after all, her shop was around the corner of the main street and her landlord wouldn’t take her advice to paint the strip all different colors to make heads turn…

IMG_8180c IMG_8180cbkc

He did paint it after she left and gave everybody new signs, but it was still beige.

Everything is a learning curve. The graphic above took her a gazillion years to produce in Microsoft Paint and it is as crude as it can be, but it was enough to get the idea across, (she never could figure out how to do puppy feet). Her landlord actually was all for it and had a painter lined up, but gave her the command to “see what everybody thinks and get their approval”! Yipes.

She thinks he really had cold feet.

Sure enough, one girl said, “Do I have to be green, it makes me think of hospitals. Couldn’t I be the pink one?”

She had no idea how hard Ms. SpoolTeacher had worked to get the balance she wanted with the colors and what difference if it brought in customers?


Some people have no imagination.

She should have been even more successful with the pet products because she had taken very expensive samples to the pet groomer to hand out for referrals. Didn’t happen. And people who took their pets to groom were always surprised to accidentally stumble in, “I didn’t know you were here!”

Some people.

Right after she left that location, one of the shops on the main street painted their building a baby poop-green and the whole town had an opinion about the color. Made them look though, didn’t it?

Now it’s becoming a Marijuana dispensary and guess what, they painted it beige. Do you think they don’t want to stand out? Think?

Diligence. All in due time.

She trudges on.

Today she found out that you can convert PowerPoint Presentations into videos. Who knew. Learning curves.

So she opened a “free account” and uploaded one she made the several years ago that she thought she might teach sewing as an art form. Ha!

It’s really more about designing.

Well, now all she has to do is re-time it, figure out why some of the pictures didn’t load all the way, why things migrated, figure out how to get it to show up here as a video….

Learning curves. Yipes!

You can see it if you go here (she thinks/hopes). Get some coffee first. It’s a snoozer. Maybe start at the end. There are some cute animal pictures. The end is near. Oh, that was Sunday School talk. Oops.

The end is farther away than you think so if you want to see the whole thing, watch the bar at the bottom.

Pretty cool you can do that, huh? Convert ppt to video.

Anyone know how to spell huh, like when you shrug your shoulders? ↑

(alt +24) = ↑

Hand painted by Ms. SpoolTeacher

Is This Info ©’d


This is pretty cool. ↓
Everybody should know this yes/no? ↓


Alt + 0153….. ™… trademark symbol
Alt + 0169…. ©…. copyright symbol
Alt + 0174….. ®….registered  trademark symbol
Alt + 0176 …°……degree symbol
Alt + 0177 …±….plus-or -minus sign
Alt + 0182 …¶…..paragraph mark
…See More….smiley face
Alt + 2 ……☻… smiley face
Alt + 15…..☼…..sun
Alt + 12……♀…..female sign
Alt + 11…..♂……male sign
Alt + 6…….♠…..spade
Alt + 5…….♣…… Club
Alt + 3………….. Heart
Alt + 4…….♦…… Diamond
Alt + 13……♪…..eighth note
Alt + 14……♫…… beamed eighth note
Alt + 8721…. ∑…. N-ary summation (auto sum)
Alt + 251…..√…..square root check mark
Alt + 8236…..∞….. infinity
Alt + 24…….↑….. up arrow
Alt + 25……↓…… down arrow
Alt + 26…..→…..right arrow
Alt + 27……←…..left arrow
Alt + 18…..↕……up/down arrow
Alt + 29……↔…left right arrow

And then there is the question, “How do I copyright?”. ← that link will take you to a government website with lots of info.

Ms. SpoolTeacher went on a mad hunt for symbol images she could use for graphics/pictures to spruce up “the blog”. While looking, she found this ↓ and it was ♪ ♫ to her ears. Poor little Smiley has no ears. Maybe that is why he is so u+2639, (oops it didn’t work), unhappy, (she needs the alt version)….

Unicode smiley characters :
U+263A or alt(+)1 White Smiling Face
U+263B or alt(+)2 Black Smiling Face
Unicode also contains the “sad” face:
U+2639 White Frowning Face

Have A Nice DayMs. SpoolTeacher grew up in the sixties and remembers ←that guy more than the one Wikipedia says “Smiley” had his/her “first appearance” in “1963” ↓

Smiley 1963

Of course the symbol she remembers the most from that era is ↓

The Peace Symbol←The Peace Symbol

and of course ↓ …Twiggy

…who needs no description for those who lived at that time. Of course there was black and white houndstooth, pocket T’s and the Mod Squad.
Hello, is anybody out there?

Houndstooth chair

Photo courtesy of Le Home Brooklyn who has an “upcycled vintage chair section!!!

Back to Copyrighting/Patenting/etc.,etc….

She thinks she has invented the “one thing” she was meant to invent/do. The thing that is/was her passion. Her “Do What You Love, The Money Will Followthing.

So she is investigating patenting it and of course the wheels started turning and she has developed her own marketing scheme and “value-added” products and, and…. the book deal, and and…

and she thinks this will be her instant (40+ years in production) success story.

So what if it’s not, thinking so is probably waaaay less harmful than not thinking so…eh? Think?

Why not. You have to have a dream.

She had a rough week. Her car broke down while far away from home. It took her most of the time since to recover from the emotional tole she experienced for realizing more acutely/again how daunting a task it is to navigate life sometimes.

She realized how important keeping relationships healthy is.

She saw a little more clearly what it is she really wants of her life. She had a moment of clarity and felt liberated at the thought of selling EVERYTHING SHE OWNS AND RUNNING ON DOWN THE ROAD.

Suddenly all the STUFF that seems like a noose around her neck was loosened and she felt like she could ruuuuuuuun!

Then she came back to reality, or at least to this version of the dream, and decided that she just needs to let all the dust of recent losses settle around her feet and turn to fertilizer from which she may grow a little stronger.


“♫Car 54 ♪ Ms. SpoolTeacher…Where ♪ ♫are you ♪?”…

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28

“Consider it pure joy, … whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”—James 1:2-3, NIV

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow…

Rag Doll2The Sun will come out tomorrow, but there will be nothing new under it.

Ms. Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher says this all the time. Every time she thinks she has a novel idea, not so much. < Click the image left to see what she means (maybe after you have read the rest of this story).

When she had her Lollipops & Polka Dots Variety Store, she would always be working on a project of some kind while waiting for clients.

She had managed to get her hands on all kinds of fabric remnants that a local Thrift owner was selling from her collected personal stock.

Many moons ago, she had made a 25″ Raggedy Ann doll and “accidentally” gave it as a Christmas gift. She never could figure out what possessed her to do that. She’s wondering now if it was a girl and boy. Time diminishes the pain, but not so much. So she, all these years later, finally got out her pattern and decided to make herself one to keep. After doing so, she remembered why she had waited 30 years to do it again. It is a tremendous labor of love.

Purple-Haired AnniePurple-Haired Annie became the mascot of the store.

Then people started asking “How much are you selling her for?”

Not happening. But she tried to concoct an amount in her head of if she would what would the price be. She didn’t count the time it took her, but she is sure it was over 40 hours. At $10 an hour, $400. She imagined she might get away with $150, but that would mean $3.75/hr not including fabric, stuffing, embroidery floss, love.

So, she got the bright idea to cut “ensembles” out and offer classes or just sell the sets. She cut out body parts as well and marked them separately. Differing colors of skin, so customers could invent their own identity. Build-A-Bear, nothing new under the sun!


The kit she liked the most The kit she liked the most One young high school girl came in to take sewing lessons. It was about her third project that she decided she wanted to tackle an Ann Doll. So, she picked out the kit she liked the most and she and Ms. SpoolTeacher sat side by side for hour upon hour, making their dolls.

The young high school girl was so enamoured with the project, that she took it home to work on her own.

That same young girl took a few sewing lessons and is now making Haute Couture quality items. Totally amazing work she does and is still excited to show Ms. SpoolTeacher her masterpieces. She’s a genius.

IMG_8630High School Student

Ms. SpoolTeacher’s  project was a labor of love for a friend who had a granddaughter going off to College and she wanted to give her something special. How could she refuse. The granddaughter was mixed race Hispanic/Anglo, (is that PC?) So, Ms. ST tried to oblige the theme. BFFsMachita Ann being discovered

Machita Ann's EnsemblePurple-Haired Ann could hardly wait for Machita to become real. Their story of becoming BFFs is told in the “The Spooling of Two Hearts”.

Machita Ann  Machita was adopted. But they remain friends at heart.Dressed and Ready In the Spool Bus going to new home

So, Ms. SpoolTeacher thought she had a novel idea. Not so much. She did end up bringing her operation to her Home Studio and closing that real(ity) shop. She now offers the ensembles (some of them) for sale on Etsy.

Today she was updating a “Treasury List” from which several items had dropped out from/of?. She started searching Etsy for “rag dolls” when she stumbled upon another verification that there is NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN,

    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

    Ecclesiastes 1:9

and that inventing a novel idea is near impossible; but that sounds glass half empty and she is not of that persuasion, so she just tries to tweak the idea to it’s novel-ist best. The doll at the beginning of this post is made one-of-a-kind by this wonderful lady, Shae Bailey who sells them on Etsy. Check her out.

The Spooling of Two Hearts

Spooling Around

In the mean time, Ms. JoaT SpoolTeacher thinks she might win the lotto. That’s a novel idea. Say.

Her mission for Food Security made baby steps, like “the dent that a baby spider makes on the surface of water”, in progress this summer. She thinks she will start taking the advice of Markam Farm’s, Brett L Markham, from his post Planting Nature’s Way where he says, “Nature is pretty savvy. Plants and seeds in the wild just seem to know what to do and when to do it.”

Gigantic CantaloupeAfter all her massive efforts to grow seedlings, transplant, compost, weed……and on and on and on and on…tomatoes failed to set, though the plants thrived, squash got aphids this year, cucks were new but did fair well, pumpkin about six, cantaloupe one giant that she plucked a little too soon…beets nil, pepper, one teeny tiny still struggling to grow up, beans, ( supposed to be easy) all died…clearly not enough to feed herself. But she learned a lot. After all that, when the season started coming to a close, massive amounts of cantaloupe volunteered, a few tomatoes too. What up? Nature. It does it’s best if left to do what it does. We are just stewards and lovers of it.

Yummy Cucumber