Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Party Cancelled!

As you probably guessed by now we're cancelling our holiday party due to the weather situation here in Seattle. We don't want you out in this weather trying to wrap soap when you could be home safe. The party may be rescheduled so keep your eyes open for upcoming messages!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Change of Time for Holiday Party

Folks, due to weather and other commitments we're pushing back the holiday party to 7:30pm, Thursday December 18th at the Giving Tree. Depending on the weather we may need to cancel altogether but we'll let you know as soon as we know more. Keep checking here for more information!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Even More New Classes

We've added four new classes today! Three Facilitators classes so you can learn how to share your skills (one in January, February and March each) and a class on Getting Your Irish Citizenship in February for anyone with a parent or grandparent born in Ireland. Check out the classes page for more information.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Classes!

It's not the new year yet but we do have two classes coming up in 2009. The first will be a much anticipated repeat of the Beekeeping class offered this year. If you've been waiting to keep bees come to this class. By holding the class in January you should have plenty of time to get things ready to keep bees this year! Here's the info:
Time: 5:45 PM to 7:45 PM
Location: Greenwood Library
Covering the basics of beekeeping in the city, from getting your bees to extracting honey to getting your hives ready for winter and everything in between. Join us at the Greenwood Library for an into to beekeeping and get started this year!

Also upcoming in March is our Keeping Chickens in the City class. Taking it in March will give you plenty of time to get ready for chickens this spring.
Keeping Chickens in the City
Time: 5:45 PM to 7:45 PM
Location: Montlake Library
Covering the basics of keeping chickens in the city. Includes information on starting with chicks. Come to this class and be ready to get your chickens this spring!

As a note, both of these classes have registration forms just to make sure someone is coming, so please register by going to

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

White Lists, Black Lists

Ah the fun of starting a new listserve. For those of you that don't know many companies block bulk mailings so you don't get spam. While this is great it also means many of you didn't get your Seattle Free School update yesterday. If you have ATT, Comcast or Clearwire for your email service provider you were sadly left out of the loop. We're working now to get put onto the white lists for these companies but in the meantime it's a good reminder to make sure that is marked as safe in your email program.

For those of you that did miss the email I'll recap briefly here...

Our new website is live and is awesome. Check it out at

We've got a new mailing program that once this white list stuff is worked out will be perfect!

We're having our Holiday party! We'll be wrapping the soap we've made for shelters and having a bit of a potluck. If you can make it please email us at

More classes coming soon!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Website!

That's right folks, very very soon (as in this week) we will have a brand new website! We'll tell you more about how this all happened (for free!) and give our thanks to our wonderful web guys a bit later this week. In the meantime keep your eyes open for the new page and kiss the old pages goodbye!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our latest newsletter

Haven't been posting these for a while but this one is so chalked full of information that I figured I'd put it up! So here it is:

Seattle Free School Update

Waste Free Holidays/ Celebrate Local Classes! Seattle Free School is participating in this years Celebrate Local celebration and pledge drive. You can learn more about the drive and Celebrate Local here: Check it out as you can win FABULOUS PRIZES!

In keeping with Celebrate Local and Waste Free Holidays our wonderful instructors Clare and Grace have put together a list of classes to help you celebrate the holidays without creating a bunch of waste. What could possibly be better then a homemade, heart felt gift for the holidays? As always you can sign up for one of these wonderful classes on our website

Friday November 28th Leg warmers and arm warmers Class time and location: 1pm -3pm at the Giving TreeLeg and arm warmers are not only fashionable and easy to make but keep you warm and cozy. An easy Holiday gift to make for yourself or others! This class is also a great opportunity to exchange fabric and with class mates.Materials Needed:Fabric (old sweaters or long sleeve shirts work best), yarn, ribbon, or elastic from old garments or bed sheets, sewing thread, sewing needle, decorations (more ribbon, buttons, bows, etc)

Saturday November 29th Felt Gift bags Class time and location: 1pm -3pm at the Giving TreeEver wash a nice sweater in a machine, not realizing that the sweater was wool. Were you intrigued by the outcome? Well, my friend, you discovered felting and this class is for you!In this workshop students will use hand stitch, crochet, reweaving and other possible techniques to embellish and recreate wool scraps into bags of various types and uses- small little envelopes for tiny personal gifts (earrings, scrip cards whatever) and lunch bag size felt bags for bigger more substantial giftsMaterials needed:Multiple Felt pieces at least 5"-7." Smaller felt for embellishmentEmbroidery flossEmbroidery needlesSize 6-8 crochet hook (optional)Buttons Assorted trim Notebook and pencil

Saturday December 6 Rag rugs and bagsClass time and location: 1pm -3pm at the Giving TreeYes - another textile recycling class! This time we will deconstruct wool and cotton work shirts into durable natural fiber rugs. These work up quickly through crochet, knit or braiding techniques just in time for frugal Christmas and other Holiday gifts. Students should have a basic understanding of knitting and/or crochet or a willingness to experiment. Materials list:Old clothing and fabric suitable to be cut into strips, preferably 100% cotton or wool.Scissors or rotary cutter and matNeedle ThreadSize 11 knitting needle or size j or k crochet hookBraiding bodkinsNotebook and pencil

Saturday December 13 Draft BustersClass time and location: 1pm -3pm at the Giving TreeSave energy and keep the cold out with sustainable draft busters! These terrific home accessories reduce heating costs by keeping heat inside your home while using materials you might otherwise throw away.Materials Needed:Fabric (old clothes, blankets, pillow cases work well), yarn or ribbon, sewing needle, sewing thread.Materials list:FabricNeedle and threadSaw dust to stuff the things (provided by the giving tree)Notebook and pencil

Saturday December 20 Aluminum Candle Shields/OrnamentsClass time and location: 1pm -3pm at the Giving Tree Create Aluminum reflective shields for tea lights to light the long winter nights, (not to mention - find a use for all those extra pie tins and roaster pans that have one more use left in them) Students will emboss, cut and hole punch stars, angels, and other winter totems to fashion beautiful items to keep and share.Materials:Aluminum pie pans or roasting panStylusAll purpose scissorsTea lightsNotebook and pencil

Saturday December 27 Wine cork bulletin boards office sets and TrivetsClass time and location: 1pm -3pm at the Giving TreeA worthy project and not for the faint of heart. This is one of those times to imbibe and know that in the New Year you will be better off for it as you collect wine corks and other do dads to create items that will help you organize the year. The corks and frame will be transformed to a bulletin board. Salt boxes, pringle cans, and oatmeal boxes will transform into a matched office set for organizing pens and pencils, paper clips and who knows what else. Corks - lots of them at least 20 for a small boardWood picture frame Cardboard boxes and cans.Mat board to fit the size of your frameOld Maps2008 CalendarsNotebook and pencil

Seattle Free School Holiday Party!!!Don't forget to mark your calenders for the Seattle Free School holiday party and wrapping event. If you've gone to one of our soap classes then you know that all the soap made in these classes will be donated to local shelters for the holidays. So on Thursday, December 18th meet us at the Giving Tree and help us cut and wrap the soap we've made all year. If you'd like you can bring fabric and string and even something to eat but none of that is required. So come help us celebrate the holidays and give back to our community. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just a note- Holiday

Just wanted to let everyone know that Jessica will be on holiday until December 5th. If you're looking to get in touch with her specifically she'll get back to you then. Otherwise Dani will be answering Seattle Free School's emails and will be able to help you with anything you need.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feedback from Clare on our Plastic Knitting class!

The class went great - it was a beautiful day. The original vision was to have a 2 part class, the technique of working with plastic as session one and problem solving and sharing creation ideas during the next. We did have session one in September, but no one signed up from one session to the next. I assume that I did not clearly define my vision with the original class description. This is one of the reasons that I love Free School - I am learning to more clearly define my vision test our various hypothesis, the other reason is that it brings a new twist to the work here at the Giving Tree.

For this last class, we had 26 students who signed up through the web site. I sent out 2 reminder emails; one in late September, one in early November. Over half of the potential students responded and 9 students committed to the come on Saturday. Of the 9 committed students, 2 cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances during the week. We decide to prepare for 10 students - basically because that was nearly all the chairs we had on hand - and that is how many students came. I learned through the mail that not everyone was familiar with how to crochet or knit, so I planned to change the pacing of the class, and focus mainly on preparation of materials and an overview of project planning.

The class went according to the outline with no major variation. Each student brought bags, volumes of bags, even the students who did not think they could find enough material were able to gather grocery bags and other bags through friends and neighbors. First step was to fold and cut the bags into strips, resulting in long loops of plastic. These were linked into a chain and rolled into balls of plastic fiber. Students cut, looped and rolled 5 grocery bags each and this took nearly an hour before we could even get to the real work. Now the challenge of working with plastic is getting used to the "feel" of the fiber. Grocery bags have a resiliency, and are somewhat elastic, this tends to exacerbate tension issues for tight knitters and crocheteers. There is only one way to make sense of this and that is through experimentation - by trying different needle/hook sizes, different stitch patterns, until it "feels" right, loose and relaxed. Class was nearly over by the time everyone had a chance to cast on, knit a row or 2, or chain a few. A couple of students looked as if they had made that transition from experiment to project planning and the rest seemed to have a good grasp of the whole process.

If I would teach this class again, there are a few things I would do differently - I would leave more time at the end of the day for reflection and sharing for one. I wonder if students had any ideas of where to go with plastic knitting and crochet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What to do tonight

Here's how you can help the Cascade People's Center (and thus the Free School) this evening:

As you may have heard, the Center got some unfortunate news late last week - The City has decided not to include the $75,000 we were requesting in their 2009 budget. Without this public funding, we will be forced to close our doors for good on December 31st.

We need your help to keep this from happening! Please join us at Cascade People's Center (309 Pontius Avenue N) at 6 p.m. this Wednesday, November 12th to discuss what's next. As we have always tried to do, we want the decision about what's next for Cascade to be a public decision, with YOU'RE voice present in this decision-making process. Please join us with your friends, family, co-workers, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

If you have any questions, please call the Center at (206) 587-0320. Thank you for all your support.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Many of you have attended Seattle Free School classes at the Cascade People's Center. Without the Cascade People's Center many of the classes Seattle Free School offers simply would not be able to happen. Unfortunately the City Council hasn't put the Cascade People's Center into next years budget, and without this funding the Center will have to close December 31st.

Many people ask us what they can do to help Seattle Free School and now we're letting you know that helping Cascade People's Center is indeed helping Seattle Free School. For more information about how you can help please read this information from Cascade People's Center:

Save Cascade People’s Center!
Call and/or email all City officials with the following message so our voices can be heard!

We will not let the City close OUR Cascade People’s Center!

Cascade People's Center closing after 10 years serving the people of South Lake Union.

Over 6,000 low-income residents losing “heart and home” when Cascade People's Center closes December 31, 2008 as a result of City funding cut.

Cascade People's Center will close December 31st as a result of the City of Seattle's decision to cut funding for the community-run, nonprofit family support center. These funds supported the Center's core funding, without which it will be unable to continue operating. This will bring devastation to literally thousands of individuals who participate in support services offered through the Center each year.

Located at 309 Pontius Avenue, Cascade People’s Center is an essential community resource in the Cascade community, providing free programs and space for over 6,000 local residents each year. All the services are provided at a SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS to the City of Seattle and free of barriers to the community.

More than ten years ago, community members rallied to save the Center’s building from being torn down in order to create a community center focused on family support and environmental sustainability. Today, volunteers do over 60% of the Center’s work and the bulk of the Center’s activities are made possible by in-kind support from local businesses, organizations and residents. Numerous local businesses and grassroots community groups also partner with Cascade People’s Center to offer a wide variety of programs.

The Center is one of six family support centers operated in King and Snohomish Counties by Lutheran Community Services Northwest. As the only public facility for the community in this neighborhood, families and community members will be significantly impacted by the Center’s closure.

All Center programs are community-driven, free and open to the public, including: school readiness and after-school enrichment, parenting classes, support groups, skill building classes and resource and referral.

The closure of the Cascade People’s Center will be a huge loss not only for thousands of low-income families, children and community members but also for the entire Cascade neighborhood and the city of Seattle.

For more information:
Say or write something about why the center is important to you (what programs benefit you and your family, what you love about the Center, etc) to make this message personal and unique.
Use the information provided in the press release above to create a message to send to City officials and local media.

For phone calls: Be sure to say your full name at the beginning of the message.
For Emails: Be sure to include your full name in your sign-off, for example: Sincerely, Jane Doe.
City officials who need to hear from you!
Mayor Greg Nickels: 206-684-4000 or email by clicking
Seattle City Council Members:
Sally Clark by
email or phone: 206-684-8802
Richard Conlin by
email or phone: 206-684-8805
Tim Burgess by
email or phone: 206-684-8806
Jan Drago by
email or phone: 206-684-8801
Jean Godden by
email or phone: 206-684-8807
Nick Licata by
email or phone: 206-684-8803
Richard McIver by
email or phone: 206-684-8800
Tom Rasmussen by
email or phone: 206-684-8808
Bruce Harrell by
email or phone: 206-684-8804

Media Contacts:
Make public comments on media message boards, comment on blogs, write letters to the editor and please encourage your friends and fellow supporters to do so as well.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Email Letters to the Editor: Or Mail: P.O. Box 1909, Seattle, WA 98111-1909

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Comments from our Mead Class

Here's some thoughts from our lovely Mead Making Facilitator Beth:

Mead Making 101 went very well. The class was well attended, with some very knowledgeable and curious folk. We had a few home brewers of wine and beer, as well as some first-time home brewers. I was impressed at how inquisitive everybody was, and I can tell that there are going to be a lot of batches of delicious, and diverse, mead out there soon! I'm really looking forward to teaching this class again, and maybe expanding it a bit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another Class

Worried about the Stock Market? Wishing you knew more about how to invest? Well then here's the class for you!

Stocks 101: Shopping for Publicly Traded Companies- What is a stock? What is the stock market? Anyone can learn how to invest in stocks, a powerful way to invest over the long-term future. Learn to use everyday knowledge and detective work to find, identify, and research potential companies to become owners in. Learn how to interpret and analyze a company’s financial statements in determining profitability and investment worthiness.
Facilitator- James Fernandez has been investing for over 15 years. He has worked in banking and real estate for over 18 years. Recommend bring a calculator & notebook.
Schedule- November 22nd, 1-2:30pm at the High Point Library

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Upcoming, just in time for the holidays!

Waste Free Holidays – at the Giving Tree

Did you know that people throw away 25 % more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year than any other time of the year?

Do it differently this year. Join in with Free School, The Giving Tree and Celebrate Local to make this year a waste free holiday. Experience the pleasure of creating gifts, wearables and decorations from commonly recycled or trash materials. Create leg warmers, organizer sets, rugs, crazy quilt stockings, gift bags, candle shields, draft busters, ornaments and much, much more!

So start collecting:
Wine corks, old maps and calendars, aluminum pie tins and roaster pans, salt boxes, French fried onion cans, old sweaters, fabric remnants, plastic bags(grocery, shopping or bread bags.) old 8-10 wood picture frames.

We will post the class list and times in early November.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Improv info

Thinking about signing up for the improv class? Here's a bit more info from our instructor...

I began developing this class studying Improv at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York City. In my dual careers as a professional actor and a Technical Recruiter, I find myself constantly using the skills I have learned through the study and practice of improvisation. In teaching this class, I hope to pass along these benefits to you, and more importantly, I hope to show you how fun it can be!

Have you ever been to Theatresports at the Pike Place Market Theatre or watched ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway?’ and wondered how they do it? Maybe you’ve never even seen live improv, but you’re looking for a chance to step out of your comfort zone and do something new. Whatever your background, you don’t have to be Robin Williams or Chris Farley to improvise. In fact, anybody (yes, even you) can do it! This class is for the curious, the daring, or those who just want to have fun playing games that will sharpen your ear, mind & body and build on your ability to work & play as a team.

Whether you are a seasoned performer or have never been in front of a group of people in your life, improv is not only fun, but the skills you gain will improve your ability to listen to and communicate with others and express your ideas on a personal & professional level. This class will be a series of three, 2-hour classes in which we will be playing games, creating scenes, and having more fun than should be legal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More info about our Ego Development class...

Our little website doesn't leave a ton of room for descriptions of our classes so here's a bit more about the Ego Development class from our wonderful teachers...

Many of us have been exposed to different ways of looking at our personality types and preferences (such as Myers-Briggs). Another way people differ from each other, their developmental stage, is as important in understanding ourselves and others, perhaps even more so.

In speaking about human development, we distinguish between lateral and vertical development. Lateral development includes improving skills and learning new material. We go to school, take classes, and get training.

Vertical development is much rarer. It refers to how we come to see the world with new eyes, how we change our interpretations of experience and how we transform our views of reality. The metaphor of climbing a mountain can serve as an illustration of what it means to gain an increasingly higher vantage point.

In this class, we’ll share a model of stages of vertical development which was developed by William Torbert and Susanne Cook-Greuter. This framework focuses on how people tend to reason and behave in response to their experience, and how that changes as we develop. Each stage we’ll cover is a coherent and internally consistent belief system that describes how its proponents are likely to think, feel and behave in various life situations. Each stage has its own strengths and vulnerabilities.

Understanding developmental stages helps us:
understand ourselves better and increase our capacity to embrace ourselves
have compassion and empathy for others – those we enjoy as well as those who are difficult for us
appreciate the larger context in which we’ll evolve over time
know when we’re shifting stages, and become more effective at creating the change we want

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another New Class- IMPROV!

Another new class!

Improvisation- Whether you are a seasoned performer or have never been in front of a group of people in your life, this improvisation class is for the curious, the daring, or those who just want to have a heck of a lot of fun playing games that will sharpen your ear, mind & body and build on your ability to work & play as a team. Students are asked to commit to attending all three classes.
Facilitator- Julian Schrenzel
Schedule- December 1st, 4th and 8th from 7-9pm
at the Cascade People's Center- 309 Pontius Ave N
Register Here!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Class- MEAD!

Well, we have a cancelled class and a new class. Our costuming class was originally set for before Halloween but due to a large library wide event our scheduled time was bumped to after Halloween. Obviously this wasn't ideal, so rather then continue on with a costuming class in November, our lovely facilitator Beth is going to be teaching us how to make Mead instead!

Here's the info:

Mead Making 101-Come learn how to make mead and other fruit wines! This class covers what you need, as well as basic recipes (including non-alcoholic mead for the little ones), and a brief history of mead. Please note: there will be no actual brewing or tasting of alcohol during this class. All ages welcome.
Facilitator – Beth Wade
Schedule- Saturday, November 8th, 1-3pm at the Ballard Library

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NoNoWriMo teacher feedback

NoNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month... and it's next month, so our lovely Beth taught a group of folks about it. Here's her reflections...

"The National Novel Writing Class went over very well. We had a handful of burgeoning novelists who seemed ready for the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days- and I salute them! The class has been asked to be conducted again this month, and we are currently looking into hosting it on Thursday 23rd or Saturday 25th- stay tuned for more details! If you are interested in NaNoWriMo, but will be unable to make the class about it next week, please check out: for more information. One thing I did want to mention, which I forgot to do at the class, is that you can write any kind of novel that you like. Most of my example were fiction, but that's just my own preference- you can write fiction, history, self-help, autobiography...pretty much anything you want! Thanks again to all who attended the class, and best of luck to you in your noveling days to come."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More New Classes!

Couple more classes posted just this week...

Basic Bicycle Maintenance- Learn the basic skills required to keep your bike running!
Facilitator- Josh Larios
Schedule- October 18th at 1pm
at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center- 6535 Ravenna Ave. NE

Transform Yourself: An Introduction to Stages of Ego Development- Greater clarity, wisdom, empowerment, fulfillment, sense of belonging and purpose - we all want that. In this class, we're bringing the works of pioneers in the field of human potential and development into mainstream awareness by introducing a theory of the stages of adult ego development. You'll learn about the 10 stages, how to recognize which stage you tend to operate from, and how you might continue to develop yourself.
Facilitators- Lain Kahlstrom- Integral coach and student of human development and Wendy Visconty- CPA, coach and student of human development
Schedule- Nov 10 at 5:30pm at the U District Library

You can register for these classes from the class page. See you at a Seattle Free School class soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sustainable Ballard TOMORROW!

Just a reminder that Sustainable Ballard starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday. It's down at the park in Ballard across from the Ballard Library. We'll be having a ton of classes so come down and learn something!

See you there!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Classes tomorrow!

Just a reminder folks that there are two great classes happening tomorrow. The first is our Facilitators class. This is the class to attend if you'd like to teach with Seattle Free School. You'll learn about how to use the spaces we have available, what it takes to be a Seattle Free School class etc. The class is being offered at the Giving Tree which is at 2008 Westlake Ave in downtown Seattle.

The second class is Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping on a Budget. As times get tight come learn to shop and cook cheaply, keeping your family at home eating healthy, nutritious food rather then spending all your money eating out. This class is being held at the Broadview Library which is at 12755 Greenwood Ave N.

It's not too late to sign up for the Meal Planning class so check out the website if you'd like to go.

And finally, hope to see you all at Sustainable Ballard this weekend! It's in downtown Ballard, right across from the Library!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cheese Classes Full!

Well thanks to overwhelming response both of our newly posted cheese classes are full. You can still put your name on the waiting list to see if anyone cancels. As a note, we will have more cheese classes next year!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cheese, Soap, Bikes, Meals, Sprouts, Energy, Embroidery, Bread

What do all these things have in common? They're all new Seattle Free School classes. As promised you blog readers are the first to hear about it, which is very important for the new cheese classes as class size will be very limited due to space. So here's the news:

Many of these classes will be at Sustainable Ballard so here's the schedule for that:

On Saturday the 27th of September we have:

noon- No kneed bread making-delicious bread with less work!

1pm Embroidery- if you missed our last wonderful class with Grace here's your chance to take it now!

2pm sprouting-learn to grow your own delicious sprouts

3pm Laundry soap- ever get sick of those containers for laundry soap, or the cost? Come learn to make 3 gallons of laundry soap for less then $3! What's better yet is that you'll never have another laundry soap container to throw away ever!

4pm energy work- learn to maximize your flow of chi with very simple methods

On Sunday the 28th of September we have:

noon Sprouting- a repeat of our Saturday class for those that couldn't make it

1pm Laundry Soap- another repeat of a Saturday class

2pm Bicycle Maintenance- come learn the basic things you can do to keep your sustainable transportation in good running order

3pm Meal Planning- ever find yourself spending too much eating out? Come learn how to plan and shop to maximise your effort and time.

4pm Energy Work- another repeat of a Saturday class

Wow! That's a lot of classes!!!


Finally we have our new cheese making classes. These classes will have very limited attendance due to the kitchen size we have available to us so sign up soon!

The first class will be on October 20th. This class will cover Mascarpone and Feta cheeses. The class will be at Cascade People's Center in their kitchen and will start promptly at 7pm. Please only sign up for this class if you can make it to Cascade People's Center and be ready to learn by 7pm. You can sign up for this class here

The second cheese class will be on November 6th at the Cascade People's Center. This class will start promptly at 6pm so again, please only sign up if you're able to be at the Cascade People's Center and ready to learn by 6pm. This class will cover more advanced cheese making including either Cheddar or Gouda (I haven't decided which yet!) as well as mascarpone and possibly feta or chevre. This class will be a long class, getting out no earlier then 9pm so again, if you can't stay for the full time please leave the space open for someone who can. I promise we'll have more cheese making classes coming up in 2009! You can sign up for this class here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Class!

We've posted a new class today... and here's the information:

Costuming on a Budget- recreate your favorite movie or tv costume for cheap! Learn tips and resources that won't break the bank, and get some great ideas for Halloween, parties, etc!
Facilitator – Beth Wade
Schedule- Saturday, November 8th, 1-3pm at the Ballard Library

Monday, September 1, 2008


Just a little feedback we received on our recent Sew Your Own Grocery Bag class...

"I dropped in on this class without any materials or formal experience, and I left with a little bit of both! I got so much more from this class than one would expect from a FREE class. Both instructors were patient, generous, and creative. I learned so much from that short amount of time. Everyone was very friendly and supportive, including the people who attended. I am excited to be able to experiment on my own with a bit of experience to help feel free to be more creative."

Friday, August 29, 2008


Wouldn't it be great to be Debt Free? Well that's what many Seattle Free School students learned about this last week... here's the report:

During a rainy Seattle evening, a total of six people showed up at the new Ballard Library to attend "The $1.29 solution to reducing Credit Card debt" and learn what they could apply to their own personal situation. The speaker pointed out that banks, the issuers of credit cards, are not the cardholder's friend, despite any advertising to the contrary. He mentioned a recent experiment in Houston, shown on, where the family of four agreed to use cash only during one month. They saved $1,800 over a comparable month when credit cards were used. The wife said that the only inconvenience was in getting gas, which required dealing with the cashier twice per fill-up, so she would continue to use her credit card for gas as there was no risk of buying more than the tank could hold. The facilitator passed out memo pads to keep track of spending, designed to differentiate between wants and needs. Privacy was maintained, even when one student brought out her credit card statements to ask about some of the fine print.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Volleyball Class a Great Success!

Last Friday night at popular Alki Beach in West Seattle, Beach Volleyball for Beginners class was held for the first time through SFS. The instructor was James Fernandez, who has played volleyball for over 15 years and has taught for 3 summers. 6 courageous students came out to learn how to play this challenging, Olympic sport on a hot sunny night. All the students were enthusiastic and bonded quick with each other in teams! Everyone showed good progress during the class. The games were competitive, and students were diving all over in the sand! See you next summer!

From a student:

"James was a great instructor and helped us develop our volleyball skills very quickly. I met some great people and had a blast playing beach volleyball games in the sunshine at Alki. Would love to see more classes like this offered. "

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Date Change!!!

We've got another date change for one of our classes. Apparently the libraries are having a big event on the same day as our Costuming on a Budget class so we've been bumped to November 8th. It will be the same time and place, just a new date, so mark your calenders and see you there!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Date Change for Assertive Communication

Just wanted to give folks a heads up that there's been a date change for the Assertive Communication class. It is now being held on Monday, September 22nd. Same time, same place, just a different day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Seattle Magazine

Well, we're in Seattle Magazine this month... whoo hooo... hopefully that will bring in more folks and someone who will teach silk screening!
Check it out here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Classes!

We have a couple more classes added to our growing class list....

Costuming on a Budget- recreate your favorite movie or TV costume for cheap! Learn tips and resources that won't break the bank, and get some great ideas for Halloween, parties, etc!
Facilitator – Beth Wade
Schedule- Saturday, Sept 13th, 1-3pm at the Ballard Library

National Novel Writing Month - Learn what NaNaWriMo is, how to prepare for it, how to get involved and stay motivated, and the joy of writing a novel in 30 days!
Facilitator – Beth Wade
Schedule- Saturday, October 11th, 1-3pm, Greenwood Library

You can sign up for these classes on the Seattle Free School class page. And super big thanks to Beth for facilitating!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Seattle Free School inspires others

Well this weekend we got word that Seattle Free School has inspired one, maybe two more free schools! How exciting is that? (I know, I say that phrase on here too much but it's just TRUE!).

For neighbors to the north there is now Bothell Free School... you can find out more here:

And eventually it looks like there might be a free school starting in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Just in the thinking part of things it's exciting to see how blog mention here can grow the idea outside of our area.

I wonder in what ways other people have been inspired by Seattle Free School? And then too we should really thank the Olympia Free School for inspiring us!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Press

Yet again we've received press, and this time in someplace I didn't even know existed.... the botulism blog! Yes, there is one! Read more about our canning classes here:

Seattle PI Blog
Botulism Blog
Rob's Blog

Thanks to Rob's blog there might be a free school opening in Houston! That would be great.... Free Schools take over the world! YAY!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why you should teach...

This is feedback from Grace, our wonderful Embroidery teacher. She had mentioned that she felt she really got quite a bit out of teaching so we asked her to write something up. This is what she had to say:

I would have never thought I could stand in a room full of people, let alone instruct them on how to do something! Teaching has a lot of hidden benefits, including a genuine sense of accomplishment. I discovered a lot about my self, including that I could do more than I thought I ever could. After every class, I always feel that I learn just as much as my students. Teaching is a great way to look at any subject through a different set of eyes, even something that you may accept as "something you've always done". I've come to cherish my students accomplishments - its a very positive feeling knowing that I helped facilitate that success.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

THREE brand new classes!

Seattle Free School has three new classes posted this week. These are all classes we haven't had before and all have a sign up so register early!

Beach Volleyball for Beginners- Come learn to play beach volleyball. Have fun in the sun while getting a great workout! Bring water, towel, sunscreen, hat, extra clothes and sports attire.
Facilitator – James Fernandez
Schedule- Friday, August 22nd, 6pm to sunset at Alki beach.

Assertive Communication- Have you ever said "yes" when you wanted to say "no?" Or gotten so angry you said something you regretted later? In this class you will learn how assertive communication allows you to respectfully engage with others while also respecting your own needs. Come and assess your skill level, learn new techniques and practice in a supportive environment.
Facilitator – Heidi Lang, Leadership development trainer for 10
Schedule- September 23, 5:45pm, Greenwood Public Library

The $1.29 solution to reducing Credit Card debt-
If you're tired of owing your life to credit card companies, learn how to motivate yourself to control, reduce, and eventually eliminate that debt. Bring a calculator, your credit card statements, and a notepad. Your privacy will be respected.
Facilitator – George Kulstad (debt-free)
Schedule- August 25th, 6:30pm, Ballard Library

Sign up for any of these classes HERE!

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Facilitator's Classes

Thought about teaching at the Seattle Free School? Well here's your chance to learn how it's done. This class mainly covers the logistics of teaching a Seattle Free School class including how to use the spaces we have available, how to determine your needs for the class, etc. So if it sounds like something you'd like to do then come to one of the classes we're offering to help you get started...

August 9th, noon, Allegro Coffee House in the U District
Sept 9th, 7:30pm at Cascade People's Center 309 Pontius Avenue N
Sept 25th, 6pm at the Giving Tree- 2008 Westlake Ave
Oct 18th, 10:30am at the Ballard Library
Nov 1st, 10:30am at the Greenwood Library
Dec 4th, 6pm at the Giving Tree- 2008 Westlake Ave

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I promised you blog reader folks that you'd be the first to know about new classes and indeed you are. We have a new basic auto class posted on the class page. The sign up is very limited due to space restrictions so sign up soon and see you there!

August 7th class changed

Folks, the Plastics Knitting and Crochet class has changed from August 7th to August 9th from 1pm to 3pm. The class is still being held at the Giving Tree so sign up now on the classes page!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Students Speak

Here's a few comments from our recent Time Management class...

"Recently giving up a structured job where I had my whole day planned out and starting my own catering business, it can be difficult to manage the day. So I attended the Time Management class with Seattle Free School. The class size was perfect, the instructor knowledgeable and wonderful and the material useful. I didn't know what to expect when I walked into the room, but by the time I walked out I felt like I had a few plans to really help me manage my time. "

"The recent time-management class was a very enjoyable experience. I thought that Heidi did an excellent job of both sharing some of her insights on the topic as well as facilitating the sharing of ideas among the rest of the group - and there were some very interesting and useful suggestions."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time Management success

Well we had our first time management class on Monday and it was a great success. Heidi, our wonderful facilitator wrote up a few points about the class and here they are:

- the class was a mix of lecture, individual reflection, partner sharing and group discussion

- the group had a lot of energy and shared valuable ideas with each other

- my favorite suggestion was "get rid of anything in your life that is asking more of you than it gives you" ((This is my personal favorite of all of these thoughts too!))

- lots of people were shocked to see how far off their daily activities were from what they identified as their core values - hopefully they were spurred on to make some changes!

- the class ended with action planning and coaching with a partner- there was lots of laughter :)

Hopefully Heidi will offer another one of these great classes again! YAY Heidi!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Class

Ever wonder what to do with all those plastic bags you still have? Well we've got the answer... turn them into a really cute purse, bag, rug, etc. Clare from the Giving Tree will be teaching us all how to make this stuff into a fiber we can knit and crochet with! I've seen a purse made from this stuff and it's really nice looking and sturdy. She'll be teaching two classes, one in November for a great cheap to free Christmas gift for the folks you love.

Sign up on the classes page!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Laundry Soap

So I've been wondering what I was going to do for the hour the soap "cooks" at the next hot process soap class... the very first hot process class for SFS. But it came to me recently, I'm also going to teach you folks how to make your own laundry soap! For about $3 or less you can have 3-4 GALLONS of laundry soap! How cool is that. Not only do you then not have any wasteful plastic containers to recycle but you've got a few more dollars in your pocket to use in some other non-laundry way!

If you're interested in that but don't necessarily want to go to the hot process class no worries! I'll be teaching this little trick at Sustainable Ballard at the end of September too. So if this interests you get ready (and find yourself a 5 gallon bucket... most groceries have lots they throw away).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

TWO parties!!!

Just in case you like to plan your entire year in advance we've got a couple of great celebrations coming up.

The first celebrates the 6 month anniversary of our first Seattle Free School class... so we're having a 6 month birthday/painting party. It will be a potluck and we'll be painting up some signs for the Sustainable Ballard event which happens the next week. So save the date for Monday, September 15th and get ready to paint, eat and party!

The second party is in December... I know, so very long away! We'll be having yet another potluck and this time cutting and wrapping all the soap we've made at Seattle Free School classes so we can give them to folks at shelters for the holidays. A nice way to give a gift of something they can use... and who doesn't like fancy soap!?! So again, save the date for Thursday, December 18th and again, get ready to eat, cut and wrap soap and PARTY! WHOOOO!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reminder... classes this week!

What a busy week! In what might well be a first in Seattle Free School history we've got three classes in a row! The Home Sellers class is tonight, then Beekeeping tomorrow and to make sure this sort of thing keeps happening there's a facilitators class on Thursday. How awesome is that?

Not to be outdone, and just in case you don't think you have time to participate, next Monday we've got a time management class. More info is on the classes page of course so check it out and hope to see you at a Seattle Free School class soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Late breaking class!

Yup folks, we've got a last minute class addition! For those of you looking to sell your home in this tight market this one is for you! Here's the info:

Home Sellers Class- this class will take you through the entire home selling process,from preparation and staging to negotiating the offer, qualifying buyers and getting the deal to closing.
Facilitators- Kirsten Mohan and Dave Nuber
Schedule- Tuesday July 22nd from 7:00pm - 8:45pm
Seattle Central Community College

Look for more classes from Kristen soon!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

our weekly newsletter printed here for your convenience!

Seattle Free School
More Press!
Can you believe it? We've received even more press. This issue of Edible Seattle has a great little spot towards the front that talks about Seattle Free School. Pretty amazing to keep getting such great press coverage and so give yourselves a big hand. If it weren't for you folks there wouldn't be anything worth writing about!
Time Management Class
Folks, we're moving to a sign up for this class (though no one will be turned away at the door unless we max out the library meeting room). Please, if you're wanting to attend the Time Management class, sign up.

Another New Class
Yup, that's right, another class. Clare, our great facilitator from the Giving Tree will be hosting a facilitators class. So if you're looking to facilitate at the Seattle Free School this is the class for you. Mainly we go over logistics of how to have a Seattle Free School class and a tiny bit about teaching. It's not hard, there's just a bit to know.

Our Blog
Folks, there's quite a bit of information that goes into our blog that may or may not ever make it into these emails so please do check it out. Currently we're looking for a place to teach a kayaking class...

Do You Want To Help?
Reminder that our organizers meeting is this Saturday at Allegro Coffee in the U District (it's in the alley, a block down from the U Book Store) at 3pm. We'll be upstairs most likely so come join us.

You can also help by printing the flyer that is attached to this email and posting it at a place you go to already, coffee shop, church, grocery store, you name it. ((for you blog readers just shoot us an email if you'd like to hang a flyer!))

And finally folks, thanks to all of you for being a part of Seattle Free School. Without you we wouldn't even exist! And please, remember to pass this along to your friends, family, coworkers, etc...

Monday, July 14, 2008


This warm weather has me thinking about teaching an Eskimo roll class. Trouble is that the best place I've found to practice rolling that's free is up at Rattlesnake Lake outside of North Bend, quite a drive for Seattle folks. If you know of a place that might work let me know. (

What we'd be looking for in a spot is the following...

a good slope from the shore which allows for a person to roll and another to stand beside them to help.... in other words there needs to not be a big drop off from the shoreline.

Safe water... you know, relatively clean or safe for swimming since we're all gonna spend some time getting this stuff in our noses

No big waves!... waay too scary to try this with big tanker waves washing over you... not to mention that it makes the person helping you a little useless.

A place big enough for several groups of people... thinking about 8-10 students, all with kayaks.

Of course a swimming pool works but getting access to one for free might be tricky. Who knows, maybe I'll do one at rattlesnake if we can't find anything else... it's a pretty lake. Of course, while I know I can roll a whitewater kayak we'll all have to see if I can roll my sea kayak!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A week from today....

We'll be having a soap making class and also our organizers meeting. You don't need to be deeply involved with the Seattle Free School to come to the organizers meeting, just have a desire to help out. We're going to be talking about all sorts of things including making signs and tabling for the Rat City Roller Girls table and our booth at the Sustainable Ballard festival in September. If you're good with making signs, creative or even just willing to help out please do show up!

See you there!

PS. We're still really looking for someone to teach a silk screening class... if you have this skill please consider contacting us and becoming a part of the free school!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Classes and a New Sign Up

Folks, we've got another facilitators class posted. This one will be taught by Clare downtown at the Giving Tree on July 24th from 6-8pm. You can sign up for the class here.

Also we've posted a sign up for the Time Management class... so please sign up for that one here.

Make sure to sign up now before the spaces are filled!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Even More Press!

Can you believe it? We're in print again!!! Yup, page 6 of the summer issue of Edible Seattle Magazine talks about Seattle Free School. The folks at the magazine were nice enough to send me a copy. Right now I don't think there's an online link so go check out a copy of the magazine in person... it's a great read especially for folks that like to eat locally.

Crazy to think that the only major publications we haven't been in so far is Seattle Metropolitan Magazine and the Stranger. And news about Seattle Free School has made it's way to Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Pretty amazing for something that's not even a year old!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Today's Newsletter

For folks that haven't received it yet but want to, and for folks that aren't signed up to our email list....

volume 23

Seattle Free School

Good Problem- Bad Problem
Well, I'm sure many of you heard the radio broadcast of KUOW on Seattle Free School and DIY. That, along with our Conscious Choice article and the article in the Seattle Times has really pushed up our email list numbers. I think we're nearing 650 of you folks now. Isn't that great! Yup, it is. Sadly our email provider isn't as happy about it. See, we're not allowed to send that many emails in a day. If you read the blog you'll have heard about this already but basically all ability to send email was shut down last week after I sent out the group email (without warning! Nice!). So while we're looking into other options, and ruling things out (no, we'll probably not be a google group) for now and starting next time we'll be using several email addresses similar to this one. Keep your eyes open for emails from seattlefreeschool1 at and the like. For this week we're just splitting things into two emails so some of you will get this a day later then others. Ah the joys of growing pains! Also a good reminder to subscribe to our blog. If we're shut down here we'll let you know about it there.

Organizers Meeting
Saturday the 19th of July we'll be having an organizers meeting. Anyone and everyone is welcome. We'll be discussing Seattle Free School, issues and opportunities and whatever else happens to come up. We'll be meeting at Allegro Coffee at 3pm (most likely upstairs) so come and join us if you'd like to play a bigger role in the Free School!

Volunteers Needed!
Folks, so the nice people at Rat City Roller Girls are letting us set up a table outside of their next bout! We need a few good folks (and bad ones too) to help us talk about Seattle Free School and hand out small flyers. If you're up for it please let us know by responding to this email. The date is August 16th. You don't need to have taught at Seattle Free School or even taken a class to participate. Just be excited about what's going on here and willing to talk about it! And hey, if you are a printer or can print us out a banner or large sign for this for free do let us know that too!

Another opportunity is the Sustainable Ballard Festival in September, the 27th and 28th to be precise. We'll be having a table there too, and hopefully some folks will come out and teach! I'll be learning and talking about it more at a meeting this Wednesday and will fill you all in a bit more next week but in the meantime if you'd like to be a part of this just let us know!

Other places that offer free classes
So since some of you are new to Seattle Free School I'd like to point out that not only do we offer free classes but we also try to provide a clearinghouse of all the other places in the city that might offer free classes too. Nonprofit or not, anyplace that offers truly free classes we'd like to know about and will post on our other free classes page. This gives everyone that visits our site a repository of where they can learn about something without having to pay. So if you know of free classes that aren't listed on our website please do let us know! Click here to see what we know of thus far...

Finally this week I'm not sending out flyers. If you'd like to print out a flyer and hang it somewhere you frequent already please let us know and we'll send you one.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Our Website

If you got here from KUOW's link we have a website you can check out too... That's where you can get information about classes, sign up and put your email address into our list so you get our weekly emails. See you there!

our latest newsletter

For those of you that didn't get it...
Volume 23
Seattle Free School
Seattle Free School goes to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco
Huh? Yup folks it seems that our most recent bit of press may well have made it out of Seattle. Conscious Choice published an article mentioning Seattle Free School. Since they're in these other cities and since this was the cover story it seems we may well have received press in these other towns. How cool is that?

THIS THURSDAY, July 3rd Jessica will be on KUOW with folks from Seattle DIY and the Bikery collective. The show is Weekday with Steve Scher on KUOW 94.9 Public Radio and it will be live from 10am to 11am. The call in number while the show is on air Thursday is 206-543-5869 or 1-800-289-5869. People can also email So call in or email your questions and comments folks!

As we all know, Seattle Free School was on the cover of the Seattle Times local section this Sunday. Thanks to this bit of press we've got at least 100 new people on this email list and so we'd like to welcome you all and thank you for signing up. We'd also like to ask you for your help... first, please forward this email (or a link to our website) along to folks you know. Seattle Free School started in exactly this way, by passing along emails to people we thought might be interested and we've continued to grow with this sort of support. So please, forward this to people you know. Second... well, see below...

Going Strong
Currently Seattle Free School has over 575 members on this email list! Amazing considering we started with nothing just this January! What I'd like to ask is the same thing I ask every week but with a twist. Attached to this email is a flyer for Seattle Free School.** to blog readers, just email us and we'll send you a flyer** Just imagine what would happen if each person on this email printed out ONE FLYER and hung it up at their favorite coffee shop, grocery, work place, church, community center, business, nonprofit, neighborhood center, etc! Since the flyer is really two flyers printed on one little page this would be over 1000 flyers up in Seattle and that many more people we'd be reaching, that many more people with skills they might want to teach, that many more people with contact lists of other folks in Seattle. It won't take more then a few pennies if that of your resources, and not more then a few minutes of your time since you go to these places anyway, but the power of it would be absolutely amazing. So really, if you believe in what we're doing here I just ask that you take a few minutes to make this something you do today. As a note, while the flyer is printable in full color it prints just fine in black and white, no need to waste your valuable color ink if you don't want to. And of course we have other flyers in larger formats should you want something else, just ask! (please make sure you have permission to post, just ask, most folks are pretty nice about it!)

New Class
I'm not sure how many weeks in a row it's been that I've been announcing a new class but here's two more.

Folks that have gone to my soap making class have heard me talk about hot process soap making but up until now we haven't had the ability to actually make it happen. Now, thanks to the wonderful folks at Cascade People's Center, we do! Our first class in this new space will be Hot Process Soap Making. Not only is this process a ton easier then cold process but you can use the soap right away. August 11th at 7:30pm at the Cascade People's Center. Sign up on the website.

Also another class on how to get your Irish Citizenship, Monday, August 4th at 7:30pm at Allegro Coffee in the U District (class will be upstairs at Allegro, door in the alley). This class is open to everyone but we'll only be covering how to get citizenship for folks with a parent or grandparent born on the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland is fine). Sign up on the website. And yes, we will be holding this class again for those of you that are on vacation that week.

Computer Class
So again, we're looking into teaching some computer classes... and here's the link to the survey you can take to help us know what you'd like to learn... no really, this time the link really is to the computer class!

As always I want to thank every single person on this email list. Without you there would be nothing for the press to write about. Without you there wouldn't be folks signing up to teach, folks signing up to learn and an email list of almost 600 people. Seattle Free School is only successful because of you. So KUDOS to every single one of you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On the RADIO this Thursday

Yup, so call or write in with your questions and comments...

On the air live from 10-11, the show is Weekday with Steve Scher on KUOW 94.9 Public Radio.

The call in number while the show is on air Thursday is 206-543-5869 or 1-800-289-5869.

People can also email

Please do pass it along to people who may be interested!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Super Special Announcement

Just for all you folks who have signed up for the blog. We're going to be having our first class at the Cascade People's Center! August 11th I (Jessica) will be teaching hot process soap making. This is the class I've wanted to teach for some time now but sadly the libraries don't have ovens (really, I'm not complaining... I've been tickled at the ones that have a sink!). This type of soap process allows you to add all sorts of ingredients, not just dried ones. Wonder what to do with those used coffee grounds? Turn them into soap! Got a cucumber that's gonna go bad? Turn it into soap! Not only is this process great for using additives you have on hand, but you can use the soap right away. Once it's cool enough to handle at least!

A sign up sheet will be up later though honestly I think the space can hold a large number of people. YAY! No more making soap in the library (or at least not for a good long time).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Computer Classes

Hey folks, just a reminder to please fill out our survey on computer classes you'd like to see at the Seattle Free School....

COVER Seattle Times

Well, OK, not the front page, but the front page of the local section. Amazing. I'm almost speachless which is a bit rare for me. The really great news is that this article alone caused 75 people to sign up for our email list. OK, now that I said that I am speachless.

Friday, June 27, 2008

delay... Seattle Times

Just wanted to let everyone know that there has been a delay in getting our article posted in the Seattle Times. So it didn't come out yesterday but it's still on a mission to be published. We should hopefully see it soon. As long as it finally gets published I'll be happy! Hey, maybe we'll make the Sunday cover! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Yup, today we'll be interviewed for the Seattle Times and we should be showing up in the next issues of Conscious Choice and Edible Seattle! I'll post more when I know for sure which issues we are in.

Still, how exciting is all this? And how incredible that it can all be done without raising any money at all... no publicist, no marketing campaign, just the effort of a few folks to get out the word and the belief that things can be done in a different way.

And again, as always extra thanks to everyone that pays attention to the Seattle Free School, either through your subscription to the email list, reading of this blog, coming to the classes, whatever. It's you folks that make this something worth writing about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 18th Newsletter

I'm going to start posting our newsletters here too as a way to keep all the info we send out about SFS in one place... and so folks who joined a little later will be able to read about our past...

Volume 23
Seattle Free School

More Press
Well folks, hopefully you picked up a copy of last weeks Seattle Weekly but if you didn't there's a new opportunity to read about us in print. Edible Seattle will have a bit on us in their July issue which should be out soon I'm thinking if it isn't out already. If we wind up with a web link I'll make sure to post it on our press page. One way or the other it's very exciting as we make our way into all the major and minor press outlets in Seattle... just a few more to go at this point!

New Class!
Brand new class posted now...
Time Management from the Inside Out- come to this session if you want to reduce your stress level and feel more in control of your life.
We'll identify values, re-evaluate priorities and learn tools for managing your time more effectively.
Facilitator – Heidi Lang, Leadership development trainer for 10 years
Schedule- July 28th, Greenwood Library, 5:45pm to 7:45pm

While you can subscribe to our blog on the page itself some folks have had problems with the blogspot feed. So for you there's a new link you can use... Often times classes and information about the school is posted in the blog first since we don't want to spam you with excessive emails so if you want the news first do subscribe. And feel free to comment too folks! We LOVE feedback.

More Classes
We've got a number of classes about to be posted including a home buying class and a class or several on computers. As a note we may be asking you to fill out a survey or give us some feedback on what sorts of computer related things you'd like to learn about. Sometimes the hardest part of the school is knowing folks want to learn so if you see that in next weeks email please do take the time to respond. Of course if you want to respond to this email with things you'd like to learn about computer related items do feel free... as I said before we love the feedback!

Yup, class tomorrow on making cheese... one on Sunday on making soap and of course the facilitators meeting next Thursday (for all you inspiring teachers out there). And please don't forget the Beginning Embroidery/ Embellishment class a week from this Friday. For more information check out the classes page here.

Help Wanted!
As always one of the biggest things you can do to help Seattle Free School is to put up flyers around your neighborhood. It's silly for us to waste gas to drive to everyone's neighborhood, try to find places to hang flyers and then put them up when you folks are already there, already going to these coffee shops, book stores, grocery stores, etc. So with that in mind there are several flyers attached. One is for our time management class coming up, one is for our grocery bag sewing class coming up (extra kudos to folks that will print these and put them up at their local grocery stores... PCC etc), one specially for our West Seattle folks (we want to grow SFS in West Seattle and we really do need your help to get the word out there), and one generic one. All of these print just fine in black and white though some look extra fancy in color. Please ask before posting but keep your eyes open for places too... often times businesses have space to post info about their community, even places that aren't coffee shops. The neighborhood centers in each area often have flyers about important things going on in the neighborhood. So really folks, keep us from burning gas by taking a few minutes of your time to flyer your hood. Even just printing out a few and keeping them with you while you go about your business is excellent. And of course don't forget to put them up at your work, your church, your gym and anyplace else you find space! (again, please do make sure you ask permission first... most people are quite nice about it but we don't want to burn any bridges!).

Organizers Meeting- If you want to be a bigger part of the Seattle Free School feel free to come to our organizers meeting... Saturday July 19th, 3pm at Allegro Coffee House in Seattle Washington (the coffee shop in the alley).

That's it for now... once again thank you all for being a part of Seattle Free School... we'd be nothing without you. And of course please pass this along to anyone that might like to read it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Class is coming

Reminder that the cheese class is this Thursday. Come learn how to make tiramisu, the main ingredient in tiramisu! With this cheese your tiramisu will be the best you've ever had! Check out the classes page at for more information.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Class Posted

Yup, that's right... we've got a new class with a teacher who is new to Seattle Free School!

Seems like everyone is busy these days, or at least we feel like it. So if you'd like to find ways to have more time and manage the time you have more effectively come to Heidi's class Time Management from the Inside Out and learn from a leadership development trainer how to reduce your stress level and feel more in control of your life. In this class you'll identify values, re-evaluate priorities and learn tools for managing your time more effectively.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Space!!!!

While I'm not going to spill all the beans, Seattle Free School now has access to a space to use that will fit our needs very, very well. We should be able to use it at almost anytime we need it (working around the other groups and events there of course), it has a linoleum floor so we can easily have dance classes or whatever, and we'll even be able to use it off hours from when it's not officially open. If you're interested in finding out more or if this space seems like a great place for you to hold a Seattle Free School class then come to our facilitators meeting in June.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's official

We're in the Seattle Weekly... page 56 of this weeks issue so pick up a copy!

Seattle Weekly- Woooo Hoooo

Yup that's right folks, Seattle Free School is in the Seattle Weekly... this weeks publication or you can read it here but really, there just something so great about seeing it in print! So pick up a copy and check it out!

Testing, Testing....

OK, so it's been reported that the RSS feed to this site is broken. So I'm checkin it out. Let's see if we all get it!

New Website Coming soon!

Folks, we should be seeing a new website soon... so for all of you that can't remember our current website (like me!) you can now go to

Currently you'll be redirected to our googlepages website but soon you'll see a whole new website at this location. We'd like to thank our good friend Guillaume of for hosting this new site for FREE!!!

Also new classes posted today and a bunch more info. I won't repost here as an email will be coming out soon with all the details. If you aren't signed up to get emails yet please do so by going to the website... there's a link there to sign up for our email list.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great Success!!!

Well the first in a series of canning classes was offered last night at the Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park. We had about 55 people show up and it went really well. A bit unnerving being on a stage under spotlights with a mic, certainly not usual for a free school class!

For those of you that missed the class there are several more coming up... all listed on the class page of the website.

With that in mind there's a new class that was just posted last night... a beginners organic gardening class! Whoo Hooo! Coming up fairly quick so check it out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Howdy folks. Just wanted to let you all know that there is a feedback form link on the homepage of the Seattle Free School website. If you've been to a Seattle Free School class and would like us to know what you thought about it please fill out the form. Good, bad, ugly... we want to hear it all, and you'll be doing us and all future students a service by helping us improve the quality of our classes. You can access the form from the website or just click HERE.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Update... a long time coming

Well a lot more going on with the Seattle Free School.

Just this last Saturday I hung out with the folks of Ravenna EcoVillage. They are very excited about the free school and hopefully some of the folks reading this are a part of this. It was a great turn out and I was interviewed again by a local paper. Hopefully we'll see Seattle Free School in the press yet again.

Also for you insiders there are a number of new classes being offered at the school... several smaller classes that require sign up so get your name on the list soon! As a note, classes at the library don't have a sign up as they have to be open to everyone per library policy so as long as we don't max out the room everyone is welcome.

We also would like to announce that we're partnering with two local nonprofits! Clare from the Giving Tree in Downtown Seattle contacted us after seeing an article in the North Seattle Herald and asked us, yes ASKED US, to partner with her space. How excellent is that? In fact she's going to start off our use of the space by teaching one of the classes we just posted. Really cool and durable paper baskets which look amazing!

We're also partnering with the Neighborhood House in High Point and have already offered a small cheese making class as part of their open house. We should be having more classes with them soon including a possible basic AUTO CLASS!!! I know you folks have been asking for more of these so here it comes.

With that in mind, if you have a car that needs basic brake work we might be able to partner with you to do a Seattle Free School class... just drop us an email and we'll see if we can work something out. That's right, get a pro to work on your brakes, teach some folks how to do it and get your car fixed! What could be better!?!

We've got some great classes coming up too.. the canning class this Wednesday promises to be a VERY large class with about 80 people signed up so far (the space only holds 90 so we might max out!). Exciting for sure but also a bit scary for me as I've never taught to that many people to say the least!

Finally, I know I've promised some big news but I'm not quite ready to announce it yet as I don't want to jinx it... but lets just say that there may be some mention of the Seattle Free School in a big ol glossy magazine soon... well, September, but that's starting to seem like soon...

Alright folks, that's it for now. See you at a Seattle Free School class soon!

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Class and some SPACE news!

No, not news from space... that truly would be very, very exciting, but what we're talking about is pretty close! Thanks to our friends and the press we've got some great news about places for Seattle Free School classes.

Thanks to our good friend Anna we're in contact with an agency in the High Point area in West Seattle about using their space and partnering with them for classes. Look for more about this with upcoming classes... this gives us the possibility to do kitchen classes so look for more in depth classes on cheese making, soap making and cooking soon! We'll also have space now for yoga, tai chi, aerobics, you name it!

Secondly after our article in the North Seattle Journal we were contacted by a nonprofit in the downtown area and asked to use their space on Saturdays! How great that people are coming to us to ask us to use their space! Incredible! Anyway, the place is perfect for art classes, woodworking classes or any smaller discussion groups and should help us a ton with having classes that need a good work space.

Third, the kind folks at Allegro Coffee in the U District are letting us have our first knitting class there, upstairs in their wonderful space. We've been using this place for our meetings already and they have been nothing but great! So a big fat kudos to them too for being an excellent example of a true Seattle coffee shop!

And yes, as I just hinted... we have our first Knitting class! YAY! (too many yays? there's reason for a lot really...). There are a limited number of spots in the class so sign up soon... here's the info:

Beginning Knitting- This class will focus on making a hat or a scarf, the choice is yours.
Materials List- Please bring the following with you to class:
Materials for the hat will include size 15 16" long circular knitting needles, 4-5 size 15 double ended knitting
needle (sold as a set), one skein of bulky yarn- at least 60 yards. For the scarf you'll need one skein of yarn-
at least 90-100 yards, and corresponding straight knitting needles (most yarn labels have a suggested needle
size.) Pick plain yarn- no baubbles or fur- this will make it difficult to see your stitches.
Facilitator - Andrea Strong
Schedule- Saturday, May 10th at 1:30pm at Allegro Coffee House in the University District- UPSTAIRS!
Sign Up- This class has a limited number of spaces. Sign up here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Safety Forum tonight!

Late notice but there is a free safety forum tonight...

In light of the recent assaults on Asian women on Beacon Hill and South Seattle, the Chinese Information and Services Center is sponsoring a safety forum tomorrow (Thursday, April 10) at 6:30 pm at their office in the International District (611 S. Lane Street). Chinese and Vietnamese interpreters will be there. Free admission.

And if you're not going to that then come join us at Allegro Coffee in the University District for our organizers meeting. Anyone and everyone welcome.

More Classes Posted!

Well being that it's April now it was time to schedule classes at the library for July and so we have. We'll be having classes in Keeping Bees in the City, Keeping Chickens in the City and Soap Making (of course) in July plus a number of other classes that should be posted next week. There are also canning classes in both August and September posted. How strange to plan your life that far in advance eh?!

The note about more classes coming reminds me to remind you all that there's an organizers meeting tomorrow night at Allegro Coffee in the U district. It will be at 7pm and we'll meet upstairs. Anyone and everyone is welcome so feel free to show up! I want to give extra kudos to Allegro for not only being great about having our meetings there but also being open to us having smaller classes there... again, these should be posted next week! YAY!

There's also some potentially great news about space use though I'm not saying any more lest I jinx it (please knock on wood now!). One way or the other the press we've been getting is super helpful with getting the word out to people about what we're doing and helping us find places for classes. So thanks to all you journalists that have helped us! We really do appreciate it more then we could ever tell you!

Finally, I just want to give big fat kudos to the Seattle Public Library for letting us have classes in their spaces including ones that I might be scared about having in places with carpet (soap making... cheese making... and yes, of course we'll have every surface covered so as not to cause problems). These folks have been absolutely wonderful about us using their space and it's been a great pleasure working with them.

As a final note, currently the classes held at the Seattle Public Library are not sponsored by the library... but who knows what we'll work out in the future!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yet more press!

YAY, so Seattle Free School is in the press yet again! Check out the Journal Newspaper article at a newsstand near you or read it here: Journal Newspaper Article

As a reminder there is an organizers meeting coming up soon. Thursday April 10th, 7pm, upstairs at Allegro Coffee House in Seattle Washington. Info about the location can be found here: Allegro Coffee As always, anyone and everyone is welcome at this meeting. If you're interested in helping out, teaching a class or just want to know more about Seattle Free School in general then please show up!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Big Ol Update!

Well folks, as most of you know Seattle Free School's first class was a week ago Saturday and thanks to your efforts to spread the word it was a huge success! 45 people showed up for the class which is absolutely awesome (and a bit intimidating)! Fortunately there were several folks at the class with Chicken knowledge who helped answer questions and give more information... just the way the free school is intended... a facilitator only helps lead the class but everyone participates!

Radio Spot! Yup, that's right, Seattle Free School was mentioned on the radio! The 5-6 minute public affairs feature aired last Thursday between 6 and 7PM (usually about 6:20 or 6:30) on KBCS's One World Report (91.3 on the FM Dial) - that's their Thursday night compilation of local, national and world news -- more local if they've got more local material. It can also be listened to online by going to and finding the Green Acre Radio site on the Friday after it originally airs.... or by clicking here. It's a spot on Urban Hens and Sustainably Raised Chickens so our mention is small but hey, mention of our classes on the radio is great no matter how large!

Next Class! Just a reminder that the next class of Seattle Free School is quickly approaching. Getting your Irish Citizenship will be offered at Wayward Coffee House on March 27th at 7pm. While everyone is welcome to attend the class will cover getting your Irish Citizenship for those with a parent or a grandparent born in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

NOTE! This is at WAYWARD coffee house... not greenwood coffee house which I don't think even exists. Sorry for the mistype in the email!

New classes! Lots of new classes posted on the class site and more to come soon so please keep checking back. Included now is our first class not offered by me (Jessica). It's a class by Cecile Andrews founder of the Phinny Ecovillage (and a lot more). Check it out!

Also, currently the auto repair class is FULL! If you'd like to be put on the waiting list let us know via email.

We should be having an organizers and/or teachers meeting coming up soon so keep your eyes peeled for it if you want to be involved!

Also keep your eyes out for a new page on our site... it will be a list of all the skills we're seeking a facilitator for... things like html and css so I can fix our sad free website for example!

OK, that's all for now! See you all soon at a Seattle Free School class!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Press!!! And our Soap Project!!!

For those of you not on the email list here's a bit of what's going on at the Seattle Free School...


There's quite a bit of excitement at the school this week. Not only is our very first class this Friday (Keeping Chickens in the City, U Dist Library, Saturday 10:30 am) but we've managed to get a ton of press. Check out our press page here:
Not only that but we're getting into another paper soon... Jessica is interviewing this week!

If you are from the press or have press contacts and would like to do a story about Seattle Free School please contact us, we'd love to talk to you.

More Classes!!!

Also look for an announcement coming soon about a bunch more Seattle Free School classes. While we haven't found a kitchen to use, Jessica is going to work on doing the cheese class and soap class without kitchen space. Will prove to be a bit tricky but it can be done.

The Big Soap Project!!!

Finally Seattle Free School would like to announce its soap project. All soap made in Seattle Free School classes will be donated to various shelters as Holiday gifts.

While we normally don't really take donations we will accept soap making supplies to help with this project. Making soap requires the following... so if you'd like to donate these please feel free... just reply to this email and we'll figure out a drop space:
Olive Oil
Palm Oil
Coconut Oil
Essential Oils (please no perfume oils as some folks are allergic to these)
Parchment paper (used stuff from a local bakery works fine as long as it's not too dirty... thinking of the stuff used to wrap baguettes for example)
unused coffee grounds... once we find a kitchen we'll be able to use used coffee grounds but for now...

You'll notice we didn't include Lye. Yes, soap making does require that but we don't want to get any of you in trouble by asking you to buy large quantities of lye! We'll provide that.

As a note, the project will move forward donations or not so get ready to make some soap as we hope to have A LOT of classes and make a lot of soap to give away!

And for all you crafters out there (and anyone with usable fabric scraps... old clothes with good spots?) save your scrap fabric and yarn for our wrapping party to come during the Holiday season. We'll be cutting up the soap, packaging it up with fabric, yarn and labels and taking it to the shelters! This should be a very fun time. Maybe we'll have a potluck.. if so I'll bring my homemade Tiramisu!

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See you all at a Seattle Free School class soon!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Soap Making Class

So tonight I saw the wonderful movie What Would Jesus Buy? A great inspiration and something everyone should see. And yes, it inspired me too. In fact, I've decided that all soap made this year at Seattle Free School (well, and probably forever as long as I'm the teacher) will be donated to local shelters at Christmas. Often folks at these shelters are short on personal care items and hopefully a bar of really nice soap will be something they can both use and enjoy.

Eventually we will be taking donations to help with this project. What? Donations? I thought Seattle Free School didn't take donations?? Well, we don't take cash donations, but should someone want to bring soap making supplies to class or help later in the year when it comes time to cut and wrap the soap we'll sure take that. Start saving your scraps of fabric and bits of yarn to use as wrapping (works better on soap then paper and can be reused to wrap other stuff or craft with). A full list of things you can donate will be posted when we finally find a kitchen to use for this project. As a note, most everything needed for soap costs less then $10 each, often even less, so again, we're not looking for any huge handouts here, just a bit if you can afford it. Of course, we will never charge even a donation for any Seattle Free School class... it's up to you if you want to (or can) bring stuff.

To become inspired yourself check out Reverend Billy's site here...

Monday, March 3, 2008


Yay! Not only is the first class of Seattle Free School scheduled but the second is as well. Following fairly closely on the heels of the first, we'll be offering Getting your Irish Citizenship on Thursday, March 27th, 7pm at Wayward Coffee House in Greenwood.

If you have a parent or grandparent who was born in Ireland you can get your Irish Citizenship for a bit of cash and a bit of effort. As an interesting political note, your relative can be born anywhere on the Island of Ireland... yup, even in the North!

So get yourselves ready and show up for this class or one of the many to come!

On a completely different note, we had a wonderfully successful meeting of folks interested in helping with the free school and being a part of planning and running it. Sadly I was still feeling a bit under the weather and didn't bother to take down people's names (and I'm horrible with names!) but thanks sooo much to all who attended for your efforts and your energy!

Alright, that's it for now. See you all soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meeting, Meeting Meeting!!!

Hey folks,
Sorry for the late notice but wanted to let anyone that reads this blog know that tomorrow evening there will be a meeting for Seattle Free School. Anyone interested in teaching/facilitating or just helping out is welcome. It's at 6pm at Cafe Allegro in the U District. If you're not sure where just give Jessica a call at 206.437.3006.

Hope to see some of you folks there!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Announcing the very first class of Seattle Free School! YAY!
The first class will be about Keeping Chickens in the City and will be held on March 15th at 10:30 am at the University Public Library on Roosevelt.

We may not have hand outs so participants are encouraged to bring paper and pens to write down important information.

There are also some canning classes coming up that we're doing with the King County Cooperative Extension in both May and August... check out the class page for more info.

Finally Getting Your Irish Citizenship will be happening soon as well. Anyone interested in this class should contact me asap.

Hopefully we'll be able to get some press for the first Seattle Free School class... at least get the class date published in various places. If anyone has any good press contacts please let me know.

In the meantime get yer chicken wranglin boots on and we'll see you in March!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Folks, one last point... if you'd like you can subscribe to our RSS feed... it's at the bottom of the blog page and just says subscribe. I try to update this thing about once a week or more so you'll have at least something to read!