Thursday, January 29, 2009

<----- Poll!

If you read our blog (which you clearly are if you're reading this!) please answer the poll to the left of this here post. It'd be fun to see who is reading this and hopefully inspire others to sign up (you know, it's what the cool kids do?!), but we want to make sure that whatever decision we make works for all of you too. So let us know what you think about showing the profiles of our followers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Learn a Language

Many of you know that the Seattle Public Library offers a number of free classes. From computer classes to comic book classes they have a lot to offer. Now they have a program to help you learn a language! You can check out the program here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quick Class-Laundry Soap

Making your own laundry soap is quick and easy but the best part is that it's very very cheap. You can easily make 3 gallons of soap for about $3 and have virtually no waste whatsoever. Here's the info:

Make Your Own Laundry Soap!

1 bar soap
1 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda!)
1 five gallon bucket with a lid
3 gallons of water

Grate the bar of soap into a sauce pan. Heat up some water in a kettle and cover the soap with boiling water. Leave overnight to melt. If there are still chunks of soap in the morning add more boiling water until all chunks of soap are gone. Pour melted soap mixture into the bucket. Add enough hot tap water to make 3 gallons of liquid and then add the washing soda. Stir well and let sit overnight. Use from ½ cup to 1 cup of detergent per load of laundry at a total cost of approximately 3 cents per load!

You can often find a bucket for free at any industrial kitchen or grocery store where they make things from scratch or a place that sells honey in bulk. You can find washing soda at the Ballard Fred Meyer (so far the only place I've found it).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quick Class- Microwave Popcorn

As I was making my own microwave popcorn at work today I realized that a number of people probably don't know you can make your own for next to nothing. Since telling you how to do it takes all of one minute it's hardly class worthy. So how to get the information to you...? The blog! So here's the first in a series of quick classes. Look for how to make your own laundry soap for pennies coming next.


What you need
a brown paper bag about lunch size or so
whatever stuff you want to put on your popcorn

Place about 1/4 of a cup of popcorn into the brown paper bag and fold it over tightly a few times. To be honest you can use one staple to hold it together but I've found that folding over works fine and frankly you don't even need to fold it over that well... usually the top of the microwave keeps the bag folded over.

Place bag with popcorn into the microwave and set for about 5 minutes. You're not actually going to use this much time but it will usually be enough no matter how much popcorn you're making.

Start the microwave and hang out in the same room with it. You'll want to catch it before the popcorn burns so keep your nose and ears on the microwave. You'll also want to make sure the bag doesn't open or you might have a pretty decorated inside to your microwave. Personally I've never had this happen but the microwave at my work is pretty small.

Once you feel like you've let it pop enough stop the microwave and let it sit for a few seconds to make sure everything that's going to pop has popped. This time will vary depending on how much popcorn you're making and your microwave.

Take it out, pour it into a bowl and cover with whatever yumminess you want.

Done! And if you don't use the staple you can just keep using that bag for a very long time.

Not only is this a heck of a lot cheaper then microwave popcorn but it doesn't have any of the nasty stuff being found to cause lung disease that's in the regular microwave popcorn.

Popcorn at work for about 20 cents... what's not to love?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two More Classes!

We've got two more classes just posted today. The first is a class on no kneed bread making for those of you that still want great homemade bread without the Popeye arms and the second is Esperanto, an easier language to pick up then say Russian and our very first language class!

Sign ups for both classes are on the class page here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cascade People's Center

As most of you know Seattle Free School often offers classes at Cascade People's Center. In fact without the center there are a number of classes that we wouldn't be able to do (including one I'll be posting later today... yes, this is a teaser!). Well you probably also know that Cascade had their funding drastically cut by the city council who neglected to put them into this year's budget.

To help with that they're having a number of delicious fundraisers and auctions. Check it out if you'd like to help support Cascade and thus Seattle Free School...

Kermes Community Dinner: Saturday, January 24th from 4--8 p.m. at the Central Area Senior Center (500 30th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144.) This is a benefit/party/dinner/festival for CPC featuring tasty regional Oaxaquena food and has been organized by the fabulous Comite Guelaguetza, a group that has used the Center in the past. It is an event that has potential to make a lot of money for CPC while not costing much to run or to participate in. We all gotta eat--why not buy some dinner with $ that is going to help support CPC, all while listening to awesome music by La Banda Gozona and winning beautiful art!? If you are interested in helping out please let us know!

South Lake Union Art Walk: Stop in to the Center during the FIRST EVER South Lake Union art walk! Take part in children's activities and check out an art exhibit featuring CPC's amazing child prodigies. Friday, February 13th 5--9pm; Saturday, February 14th 12--5pm.

CPC Auction: The CPC Annual Auction will be held on Friday, April 3rd and we need your help to make this approaching event a big success in our fundraising efforts. Do you have any items to donate? Do you know someone who does? Do you have connections with business owners or employees who might have something to contribute to our auction? If you are interested in helping out with the auction, donating items or anything else auction related please contact Ashley:

Thrift and Gift: For the last couple of months we have been having a clothing drive/donation based thrift shop that brought in $750 of donations! One of our wonderful volunteers, Candi Wilvang has been involved in the planning and implementation of this adventure with the support of in-kind donations from community members and REI. We need your help to make it continue...So if you are interested, please contact us and let us know when you can help out.

Yoga: We are currently seeking devoted yoga instructors to teach classes at CPC. If you are interested or know anyone who might be able to help, let us know!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Are you on Facebook? Well so is Seattle Free School so add us as a group and help us spread the word about what you do. Everyone who participates will get warm feelings from everyone at Seattle Free School! You simply can't pass up a deal like that now can you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Metrics

Many of you received this via email but for those of you that aren't signed up for our emails here's our report on this last year...

One Year
It’s been just over one year since Seattle Free School started. While we don’t report to a board (YAY) here’s some metrics of our success…. All made possible by you!

Press- We’ve been featured in most print magazines and newspapers in Seattle. Listing everywhere we’ve been is pretty hard with so many great neighborhood papers around Seattle so let’s suffice it to say that we haven’t been in the Stranger, Seattle Metropolitan or Seattle Woman’s Magazine. We were also part of a panel on KUOW. If you want to see the press we’ve received you can check out our website and past press here.

Classes- Our first class was on March 15th, 2008. With 45 people attending it was a huge success. For this year total we had 71 classes offered throughout the year which is about 7 classes offered per month. Attendance ranged from 1-2 people to up to 65+ depending on the class.

Mailing List- In this first year we outgrew gmail but thanks to Seattle Central Community College we now have this great mailing list and 1088 people signed up as of today.

The big news and what I’d like to really report to you, our “board” as it were, is that all of this was done without any cash donations. Most of you know that but I’d like you to take a second and think about this. We were able to get into these print publications without anyone running press for us (and no, we’re really not pros at media- trust us on that!). We had lots of teachers volunteer their time and lots of students excited to learn. We managed to spread the word to over 1000 people without paying a dime for advertising. We’ve got a beautiful new website for free and it’s hosted for free. Our only cost for that was the $10 to register the domain, an amount that doesn’t require a fund raising effort.

We were told time and time again that all of these things wouldn’t be possible. We’d have to raise money to get advertising since it would be difficult to impossible to spread the word without it. We’d need someone to help us get press, etc etc etc. All of this turned out to be completely unfounded, driven by fear and the “way things are”.

While we don’t tend to get philosophical here I’d like to take this change of the new year to ask you what might be possible in your life if you questioned “the way things are” and went forward with motivation, joy and wonder? The biggest lesson I’ve learned from Seattle Free School is that far more is possible then I’d ever anticipated.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book on the Blog

Several times Seattle Free School has been asked for information about starting a free school. Rather then writing something for print publication I (Jessica) am thinking I'll just post my thoughts and experiences about it here. I'll post "chapters" as I write them and welcome any and all feedback from other people about their experiences and thoughts. Might as well use this blog as a learning tool too right?

Here's the outline (anything else we should cover??):


What is a Free School?

Money- Taking money or going without
Space- How to find it
Promotion- How to spread the word and get interest
Teachers- Getting other people teaching
Politics- Politically affiliated or not
Community- Knowing your community-its wants and needs
Partners- Working with established groups to get space, spread the word and grow
your School

Getting the Word Out

Email- Growing your email list, proper emailing and how to not make people cranky
Website- What information do you want to share and how
Printing/flyering- Getting the word out in the material world

Press- How to get coverage and publicity

Growing Pains
Email list serves- when regular email won’t work anymore
Hosting website and list serve- finding friends
A better website and registering your name- upgrading your site
Sign up lists- how to know if people are coming to your class
Forms- using the internet and free tools to do the work for you

Not Ready for a Free School?
Other options to a full Free School- starting with a class or two

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Improv Class posted!

If you didn't make the last Improvisation class your time has come! We've just posted another Improv class for February 9th, 12th and 16th. If you would like to attend this class you can sign up on the classes page found here. Since this class is limited in size we'd like to ask students to commit to attending all three classes. Note that the sign up is only posted on the first class as you must sign up for the entire series.

Here's the info about the class from our wonderful instructor Julian:

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.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Classes

There are several new classes posted now for the new year! Beekeeping, Facilitating a Free School Class, Getting your Irish Citizenship and Keeping Chickens are all being offered soon. These classes require a sign up so please sign up early!

As a note, there's been a change to the facilitating class in January. The new date for the class is January 29th.