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.