Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beacon Hill!

Lots of folks are talking about our upcoming facilitator's class on Beacon Hill. Fortunately the Beacon Hill library has lots of great time availability so we're able to have a class there in the evening and hopefully bring Seattle Free School to the neighborhood.

Check out this great blog post about the upcoming class and thanks to both for helping us spread the word to the neighborhood.

Beacon Hill Blog post here

Monday, November 29, 2010


Check out this great write up on our Mascarpone cheese making class!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Urban Forestry and Paper!

Well, that sort of goes together but we're actually talking about two very different classes. The first class is from our excellent teacher Dorothy who is teaching us yet again how to do great things with paper. Think that folding paper might be dull? Check out this great picture Dorothy sent with her class description!

Here's the full class description:
Paper Power—Folding, Cutting, and Rolling
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: Crown Hill United Methodist Church
Here is your chance to get an early start on the holidays. This workshop consists of nine paper projects. Each project will be set up at a different station and you will move from station to station working on your favorites. Step-by-step instructions will be located at each station, and the facilitator will provide demonstrations as needed. All supplies and tools will be provided. You just need to come and have fun creating any one or all of the following projects (left to right on the photo): German stars, kirigami snowflakes, teabag folding, tree ornaments, iris folding, 3D snowflakes, pillow boxes, paper beads, and origami boxes. The workshop will start at 1:00 p.m. and you can stay until you are done (up to 4 hours). All ages are welcome—entire families are encouraged.

Date and Time:
Sunday, November 14, 1:00 to 5:00

Crown Hill United Methodist Church
8500 – 14th Avenue NW
Bus Routes #48 or #15

Dorothy Skans is a life-long crafter and a Seattle native. She decided to join Seattle Free School in order to pass along her love of paper art as well as to pass along her over abundance of paper.

The next class is on Beginning Urban Forest Restoration and is actually a series of classes complete with Field Trips!

Beginning Urban Forest Restoration
Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: various
Enjoy being in a forest? Want to know more about what you can do to keep Seattle forests thriving? Learn some basic concepts & simple skills, and get connected with Seattle\'s network of volunteers taking care of our forests. 2 class days and 3 field days covering:

-Forest features
-Special issues for urban forests
-Plant structure
-Native plant identification
-Invasive plant identification
-Tool usage
-Invasive removal techniques
-Planting techniques
-Forest Management Plans
-Community connections
For the classes please bring: Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar & Mackinnon
Optional: Wild Plants of Greater Seattle by Jacobson

For the field days please dress for the weather, with sturdy clothes & work boots Be prepared to get dirty. Gloves and tools will be provided.

Meeting Times and Locations:

To plan your trip by bus (expect some walking to get to Golden Gardens and Carkeek work parties).

Class - Sunday December 5, 9:00 - 12:00. 9543 Greenwood Avenue North. Enter through the alley to the building\'s fenced patio door.

Field Day - Saturday December 11, 9:00 - 12:00 Monthly work party at Golden Gardens Park. 8498 Seaview Place. Gather south of the Dog Off Leash Area in the upper forest region.

Field Day - Sunday December 12, 9:00 - 12:00 Monthly work party at Landover Park 145th St. & 3rd Ave. NW. Meet at the park\'s entranceway.

Field Day - Saturday December 18, 9:00 - 12:00 Monthly work party at Carkeek Park 950 NW Carkeek Park Road. Follow the STARS signs to the meeting place. If you\'re not driving, you may want to consider taking the long, safer walk through the entrance on NW 100th Place & McAbee. Nice walk. When you get to the meadow past the water treatment facility, take the upper sidewalk to the meeting location.

Class - Sunday December 19, 9:00 - 12:00 9543 Greenwood Avenue North. Enter through the alley to the building\'s fenced patio door.

Feel free to call the facilitator with any questions 206/898-1006.

Rhonda Goebel
Golden Gardens Forest Steward

As always you can register for our classes by going to the Seattle Free School website:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Great Sew-Up Seattle Event!

Here's something from Sew Up Seattle!

Sew Fun Bags 2010 – The Challenge

Hi All you Community Sewing Enthusiasts!

We are having another sewing recycling adventure this time with a twist. We are creating cloth bags at the Ballard Library Community Room (it is becoming a fall time habit – 3 years now) in conjunction with Sustainable Ballard and’s World Day of Service in order to call attention to climate change on Sunday 10-10-10. The twist is the challenge aspect. We will have only 10 machines and 3 hours to create as many bags as possible in that time. (I don’t think it is mathematically possible to do much more than 90 bags with experienced sewers who have had prep time.) Sew Up Seattle has procured plenty of fabrics, and Ballard Quality Sewing and Machine is loaning the machines. By providing an opportunity for people to come sew their own bags we will reduce the number of disposable bags generated. By teaching folks to sew, we increase the likelihood that even more reusable bags will be made, and used and reused.

We need people to volunteer for all shifts to guide work party participants through the process as well as brainstorming and gathering minimal material donations pre-event. If you have helped out before you know how much fun this is. We also need help getting the word out.

The volunteer roles that need to be filled are: Pre-event; -challenge brainstorming and notions gathering, Day of event; guides, coaches and machine monitors and clean-up reallocating of resources (We believe that no scrap is too small, we just don’t have room to store it all.) The work party day shifts are 12:30-2:30, 2:00-4:00 and 4:00-5:00. The Challenge will run from 1-4 but we will need time to set up and clear out.

Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering, what time you are available your preferred role (challenge brainstorm, gatherer, guide, coach or machine monitor. If you have questions or need more information let us know.

Let the Challenge Begin!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brand New Class- Discover Decoupage!

Discover Decoupage

Always wanted to be an artist but thought you did not have the talent? Well, you do!

Decoupage is one of the most forgiving of the arts. In fact, you have probably been doing it since kindergarten or
before. After all, the basic materials are just paper, scissors, and glue.

We will start out discussing color, texture, pattern, design—and how to bring them all together. We will go over
where to find the “paper”—from junk mail to high-end coffee table books and everything in between. We will talk
about the five steps of the design process—picking the surface, theme, colors, background, and pictures. And then
we will start putting it all together.

The instructor has taken care of step 1 by providing basic, well-used, less-than-attractive, cardboard magazine
holders. She is also bringing along her collection of literally thousands of pictures, wallpaper samples, patterned
papers, and 3-D embellishments. She will have lots of decoupage medium (just white glue and water), brushes,
scissors—everything you will need to complete your art piece. You just need to promise to wear clothes that can get
dirty—it will get messy—and to help clean up at the end.

The session will start at 1:00 p.m. and you can stay until you are done (up to 4 hours). All ages are welcome—entire
families are encouraged.

Crown Hill United Methodist Church
8500 – 14th Avenue NW
Bus Routes #48 or #15
Enter through the north parking lot door or the east handicap door and follow the signs to the Fellowship Hall.

Dorothy Skans is a grandmother, life-long crafter, sometimes frustrated artist, writer, editor, and document designer
as well as a Seattle native. Nearing retirement, she and her husband are planning to move to the Washington coast
and take up their hobbies full time. In the meantime, she has decided to join Seattle Free School in order to pass
along her love of paper art as well as to pass along her over abundance of paper.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Travel Info, FREE!

Did you know that Hostelling International hosts free classes here in Seattle about different parts of the world and travelling? While I'm not going to this one (my travel bug is too strong to resist going and I don't need this temptation!) this would definitely be a great class to attend if you wish to go off the beaten tourist track. See a different world or stoke your travel fires with this great free event!

Travelling the Trans Siberian Railroad

Monday, August 30, 2010

Web Design Class

Check out this great report from Jon, our Web Design class teacher!

For a short while, I wondered what I'd gotten myself into. I'm a web designer and developer. I'd done this for many years, and I was eager to teach it to other eager minds. But web design is not a small, nor easily defined, topic. The sheer volume of acronyms and buzzwords can induce uncomfortable head spinning.

On the other hand, coordinating with Seattle Free School was a breeze. Jessica was a perfect balance of professional and approachable. She gave me great insights on planning, and what to cover. What's more, she knew folks at Seattle Public Library were interested in very generously lending us some space in their computer labs. It was a perfect match.

So, I decided to put it out there. One class, an hour and a half long. We'll see who signs up, and what we can get done in that time. Both the Free School and the Public Library listed the event on their calendar, and the class seats filled up in a hurry!

I put together a loose outline of what I wanted to cover, authored a few Powerpoint slides, and decided on a good approach for teaching such a large topic. I designed a basic layout, that we could tackle in class and code ourselves.

Teaching day came. I showed up early to get the room setup. The facilities were perfect, replete with dry erase boards, nice computers, a projector screen, the whole nine yards. Library staff were super helpful, and went out of their way to help get the computers setup for the class. Folks started filing in early, taking seats and eager to learn.

The class was nearly a full house, and a lot of fun. We talked about HTML and how to structure good semantic markup. We had a good side talk about how Google works, and how to make your site easy to find. Then, we moved on to start building the design I'd laid out for them, and styling it with CSS. I'd walk through brief explanations of what different pieces of code do, then we'd all write them in our code editor (Notepad!). Along the way, I could see eyes light up across the room when small bits of code they'd written turned into something they were proud of, piece by piece. Not unlike giving someone a robot making kit, and watching their machines come alive.

We couldn't get through every piece of the design I was hoping we'd finish -- my time constraints proved to be a bit too optimistic. But, I promised that we would have more classes like these in the future, and allot more time to the subject at hand. Once time expired, they all filed out with warm smiles and a sincere thanks. It felt really awesome to teach folks a new skill, and I hope to do many more of these in the future.

I want to extend a huge thanks to Seattle Free School, all of the nice folks at Seattle Public Library, and everyone who came out to learn a little web design! I look forward to doing it again in the future. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Official Partnership!

Check this out! We now have our first class where we are officially partnering with the Seattle Public Library. Very exciting and hopefully more great computer classes to come. Thanks a ton to our instructor Jon for helping us get this scheduled!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free Homesteading Classes

Our friend Leslie at Fresh Picked Seattle has written this great post about free classes all over the city to get your homestead going. Lots of great resources so check it out here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two brand new classes!

Oddly both of these classes are for the same day so you'll just have to choose which one you want to go to. The great news is that at least one of these instructors has shown interest in teaching again so hopefully it won't be the last time for either class.

Here's the info:

Tue, Aug 24:

HTML CSS An Intro to Design for the Web
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Central Library
HTML / CSS - An Introduction to Designing for the Web

You know, the web! That thing we use everyday to find answers, buy stuff, check email, and Facebook our buddies. There is a lot of interaction and publishing happening there, but how does it all really work? How does all that code translate to a pretty interface on your screen?

This hands-on class aims to teach you the basics of HTML and CSS -- the two languages of the web that make pretty things happen on your screen. Learn how to author well-structured HTML pages, and layer on a gorgeous coat of CSS paint. Come tackle these skills in a fun, approachable learning environment.

This class is at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library. Located at 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104 the class itself will take place at the small computer lab on Level 4, Room 3 (on the “red floor”).

The class size is limited due to the size of the lab so please register early and let us know if you won\'t be able to make the class so that someone else may take your space.

Overweight and Overwhelmed?
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Greenlake Library
Overweight and Overwhelmed?

So was I. Let me share with you my journey from the unknowing, confusion, fad diets, food deprivation, exercise obsession, self doubt, loss of control and surrender to acceptance, understanding, action and self actualization.

Are you interested in starting your own unique journey to wellness?

In our time together we will learn how to identify your unique journey, gather the tools needed for this journey, create an action plan and learn how to design a fitness program that works for you.

Facilitator: Joles Tahara, founder of Walkabout Journeys, has over 35 years of experience struggling to manage weight. Over the course of her valiant weight battles, she has gained and lost over 800 pounds. Joles combines her years of management leadership skills with her personal fitness training background to integrate a whole system approach to optimum wellness.

Register on the website here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

More free classes!

Check out this great blog post from our friend Leslie Seaton on free and low cost cooking school classes! Yup, she talks about Seattle Free School too.
Seattle Budget Events Examiner

What free classes on cooking would you like to see offered at Seattle Free School? Reply to this post to let us know and maybe we can get a class on the books!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Classes!

We've got two new classes posted!

The first is a series on Happiness by author Cecile Andrews. Explore research findings about the nature of authentic happiness, how to make individual changes, and the importance of a Gross National Happiness standard.

Second we have Making Informed Decisions about what you Eat and Drink with Summer. You'll explore food and the choices you make.

Learn more about both classes by going to the Seattle Free School website here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Green Festival

This weekend we spoke at the Seattle Green Festival. 25 people passed up hearing Amy Goodman of Democracy Now to learn more about Seattle Free School and what we do. Not one of these people had ever been to a Seattle Free School class so hopefully we've recruited a few new students and at least one person expressed interest in teaching. Did you go? What did you think?

We also got a great write up on Culture Mob by Alyson Lewis. Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Updating our Website... we need your help!

Howdy all! As some of you know we got a new website a year or so ago that works great for posting classes. Sadly we've been slackers on updating the other bits and pieces of the site and so now it's time. Here's the help we need from you:

We've got some great class pictures but because we tend to be the people standing up front teaching we also don't have nearly as many as we'd like. Do you have some great Seattle Free School pictures? If so please post them on flickr and tag them seafreeschool or just email them to us at

Sadly a number of the free class spaces we have posted on the site have gone away but at the same time we know there are lots of other places offering free classes. If you know of a place that regularly has free classes please email us at so we can get these posted on the web!

Thanks all and see you at a Seattle Free School class soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Art and Science of Listening

Blah Blah Blah Blah, wait, what did you say?

Want to become a more effective listener? Want to build a better team?

Well we have two new classes posted in a series of six set to help you learn the Seven Critical Competencies of Teams.

The first class is the Art and Science of Listening and will focus on our different listening styles, and how those styles impact our success in working with others.

The second class is an introduction to the concept of polarities – the key to the most intractable problems.

And eventually we'll have four more classes posted in the series.

You can sign up for one or both of the currently posted classes here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Get Soapy!

Maybe you've always wondered how soap is made. Maybe you've seen Fight Club and wonder if it's true about Lye. Maybe you just like fancy soap but don't want to spend the fancy dollars for it.

Well we have a class for you. On June 9th we'll be hosting a Hot Process Soap Making class at the Cascade People's Center. The class starts promptly at 7pm and will go for just a bit less than 2 hours.

Come ready to take notes and learn how to make your own soap at home!

Sign up here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Notes from our Leadership Class

Today we had a great Leadership class. If you missed it here are the notes including information on how you can grow your leadership potential:

“Leadership is the artful capacity to induce desirable results with and through others. Great leaders think, listen, speak and act in a way that inspires people to give more than is needed to produce more than what is expected (without the use of fear).”

This was the starting quote for this evenings leadership class put on by Lain Kahlstrom and Seattle Free School. Here are the talking points incase you missed it.

Leadership changes over time and our ability to lead changes over time. It’s not that you’re born with it but that you can grow into it.

Stages of Leadership (wherever you are right now, try on a stage further along to help you grow) You’ll understand people in an earlier stage but you’ll be confused by someone at a later stage of development. When things are going well we are at the leading edge of our development or growth. When things are challenging or really hard we will revert back to earlier stages. Tend to dislike people in stages before you or be hostile to how things are done in the stage directly before you.

Opportunist- Kids stage. 1st person, time frame is now, world is hostile, actions are only bad if caught, compete for power and goods, everything is win/lose, focus on immediate needs, self protection and opportunities, react to feedback as a threat or attack, relationships are volatile, influence by coercion/taking over, ego-centric. No concept of trusting others. Conflict is solved with whatever helps me get what I want which is commitment as well. They say: “They’re all mad at me” “My way or the highway”

Diplomat- Kids stage (teens through college). Past and today time frame, conforming, Sense of importance from status of group, focus is socially acceptable behavior and approval, feedback is disapproval or reminder of norms, people are either friends or enemies. Ethnocentric “us vs. them” “we”. This is the way things have always been done so that’s how we behave now. Trust those in inner circle, conflict is to be avoided at all costs, commitment is to following rules, attention is keeping up with others and approval from others. They say: “Family comes first”, “I just want things to be stable”, “I’ve got one of those (we do that) too”

Expert- 35% of leaders adult (college age), time frame is in months, want to be accepted because different or special, sense of superiority, have it all figured out, focus is expertise, procedure and efficiency “should” “ought”, many solutions to problems but prioritize poorly. Sense of humor is to ridicule or become hostile, early world-centric “all of us” Tend to say we should do something but prioritizing is lacking and thus follow through/deliverables suffer. Trust those in their inner circle and experts in their fields but no one else. No interest in fields outside of what they know. Conflict is OK because it’s a chance to tell people what they know. Like perfection, want everything to be 100%, tactical, problem-solving orientation. No larger view of creating a team or group. Feedback is taken very personally, defends position and dismisses feedback by those not seen as an expert. Dismiss anyone that isn’t ahead of them. Style is to either strongly assert themselves or hold back to accommodate others. Supervisor not manager. Focus on small improvements inside of unit rather than bigger pictures. They say: “Yes, but”, “I’m sooo busy”, “They can’t do it without me”, “I know a better way to do that”, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. Inspire an antagonistic feedback from others show a rigidity towards other ideas. Focused on impressing those above them. Refusal to accept others ideas, especially those under them in rank. Don’t motivate to develop themselves.

Achiever- 45% of leaders Time frame 1-3 years, self esteem depends on achievement, can lead to exhaustion, focus is on delivery of results, effectiveness, goals, and success within system, leads with logic, experience, information. Guilt is central emotion, self-criticism can be severe, world-centric (all of us). Getting things done, hard rational truth. Trust is on all previous experience and objective science. Conflict as assertiveness, opportunity though a little less attacking, attention is to results, did we get done what we said we would do- outcome! Was the outcome efficient and effective. Leadership is strategic. Will accept or even initiate feedback if helpful to outcomes, leads teams in meetings to gain buy-in to own views, initiatives include strategies to gain buy -in still includes how I get everybody to agree with me. “it’s all about the results” “how can we do this more efficiently” “what is this statement based on (what are the facts)” “I need to take a class to do my work better”

Individualist- Timeframe is 1-10 years, able to see through other’s eyes, their view is valid as one’s own. Distrust conventional wisdom and focus is on self in relation to system/integration with system. Leads by ignoring or adapting rules, inventing new rules, airs difference and discusses issues. Can speak and listen from multiple perspectives without being attached to them. Planet-Centric “sentient us” Trust is in inner voices and subjective processes. Conflict is non-violent communication and “I” messages. Attention to results is focused on did we lose sight of the quality and authenticity of the process along the way? Leadership is visionary, facilitative orientation. Welcomes feedback (feedback junky), wants a highly participative team, more facilitative and wants open exchange of views. Initiatives often include organizational development and team development. They say: “That depends on the context” “Rules are made to be broken” “Let’s meet to talk about it and make sure we hear from everyone” “All people are good, society makes them bad, there is no evil”

Book “Leadership Agility” by Josephs and Joiner

Transformative Practices to help the Expert grow
Prioritize ideas
Visualize results 1 year out, 5 years out
Learn and practice Non Violent Communication
Daily or weekly self-reflection, meditation schedule comparing results with intentions-
goal is to reflect in the moment so you can respond in the moment.
Operate from the idea of Achiever and start to think the way an Achiever sounds and behaves
“Achieve desired outcomes consistent with your values”
Sell the idea of being an expert at achievement

Transformative Practices to help the Achiever grow
Invite and identify at least 3 perspectives per issues
Visualizing results 10-20 years out
Shift goal from results to more functional team, organization
Twice daily self-reflection schedule, meditation
Understand and operate from Individualist capacities
Know what the next stage looks like and “try it on”
Reflect in the moment and create context and processes that are meaningful to everyone
Sell the idea of Achieving success as an Individualist

Transformative Practices to help the Individualist grow
Prioritize perspectives to find the “best” one
Uncover assumptions- what assumptions am I making
Everyone’s perspective is true and partial (including your own)
Hourly or in-the-moment self-reflection schedule, meditation
Understand and operate from Strategist capacities

Strategist- Time frame is 3-21 years (own history and lifetime), Crucial new capacity-realize one’s own power to generate meaning and to tell a new story, consciously commit to creating a meaningful life, can perceive systemic patterns and long-term trends, better able to take a stand from a relative position, feedback doesn’t hurt, focus is on linking theory and principles with practice, dynamic systems interaction and personal development. Leads by reframing, reinterpreting such that decisions support overarching principles. Planet-centric- society and others with similar principles. OK with letting go and detaching from what we said we were going to do and going a completely different direction. Trust is based on their own principles, conflict is an opportunity and a projection of others is not necessarily a reflection on self but on other. Commitment is to process and outcome of a vision, making an impact on the world. Accountability is to realize a larger vision “have we achieved our vision while staying true to our principles?” Leadership is based on shared purpose and collaboration and is very flexible on vision. Invites feedback for self-actualization but hold someone else’s opinion as their own and don’t personalize it. Teams develop a collaborative leadership team, prefers consensus but will use authority when needed. Organizations characterized by relationships. They say: “In service to the greater good” “Help me understand your thinking” “How can we take this to the next level” “Let’s look at this as a growth opportunity”

Magician- Time more than 1 generation beyond own lifetime, Life is not what I want but rather what does life want from me, focus is on inner conflict around existential paradoxes and intrinsic problems of language and meaning making. First stage that looks at all experiences in terms of change and evolution, capable of perceiving the structure of their own thinking processes. Lead by reframing, clowning, reflecting back- often behind the scenes. Tend to be out of normal synch for others. Early cosmic-centered. Trust in the illusory nature of reality (reality doesn’t exist outside myself). Conflict can be playful, “cool, I’m a jerk but how?”. Commitment is to understanding complexity, questioning commitments and the assumptions behind them and everything else, clear definitions. Leadership is holistic. Feedback loops as natural and essential for learning and change but doesn’t own it. Team leadership is fluid and uniquely suited to situation at hand. Empathetic awareness of conflicting stakeholder interests. Synergistic intuitions. Can make odd synergies happen and can put together crazy discordant data points to come together to create new idea. They say: “It’s all made up anyway!” “It’s two sides of the same coin” “The map is not the territory” They will notice that which arises as an object of their own awareness.

Ironist and beyond…

General Transformative Practices Anyone Can Use:

Awareness practices (meditation, self-observation practices, journaling)- set a timer to go off every hour and take 30 seconds to notice how you feel mentally, emotionally etc.

Grapple with big questions: what are you up to in the world? What do you stand for? What’s the future that wants to emerge through you? What does the world want from you?

Join a learning organization

Appreciate that everyone’s perspective is both true and partial, including your own

Notice that which arises, as an object of your own awareness

Know and share your intentions

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mozzarella Recipe

Mozzarella can be a very difficult cheese to make. It will turn out like cheese but quite often it will not stretch correctly. Lots of recipes are harder than they need be so here's a great simple recipe that (usually) works.

2 gallons cold milk
3 teaspoons citric acid (this may vary with the milk taking more or less)
Liquid Rennet
Mesophilic starter packet (optional)

dissolve citric acid in warm water and stir into cold milk
Bring milk temp up to 90 degrees
You may add lactic culture to develop flavor (1 packet of Mesophilic starter culture)
stir in 1 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1 cup of water
Let set for 1/2 hour cut into small cubes
stir gently slowly raising temperature to 95
When curds settle to bottom of vat
drain off whey and cover curds with 145 degree water
Stretch curds , form balls and drop in cold water

Let us know how this recipe works for you!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hey, look what we made! 3D Design Workshop

Check out this great post from Larry our excellent instructor at the recent Seattle Free School class "Thought to Thing in 2hrs or Less 3D Print and Design Workshop"

And just in case you want to make your own, modify the design or just look at the process Larry has posted information on the make itself right here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More about Chickens

Check out this article about Urban Chickens. We're wondering, have you started keeping chickens thanks to a Seattle Free School class? Let us know in the comments here!

PS, sadly two of the chickens in the above picture were lost to raccoons in a particularly bad raccoon year. The black chicken Ginger has been in multiple magazine publications (she's a super star!) and is still laying almost an egg a day even though she's over 5 years old! She starts laying in late February even before the younger chickens do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why Teach?

We asked Cara, our friend and instructor of the very popular Pasta Making classes why she chose to teach with Seattle Free School. Here's what she said:

I have attended three Seattle Free School classes (cheese making, soap making and canning) and have really enjoyed them. I love the idea of the Seattle Free School, and the ability to go to a class for a night to learn something new and fun has been great. I taught making pasta because it is something I never realized you could make at home until a coworker explained that it is just eggs and flour.

The classes I have attended all seemed to be of the same idea, that you hear from someone how to make something on your own that you would never think to try, and hear the tricks to be successful. I hope to continue to take new classes and teach classes to give back to this great organization because it was nice to see how excited everyone was to learn this simple skill.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Pasta Please!

Wish you could have made it to our last pasta class? Don't fret, there's a new one posted just today and it includes Gnocchi as well! So come to this class and get your pasta on!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Get out your (3D) Glasses!

We know that many of you are super excited about the upcoming 3D Print and Design Workshop that's coming up but here's a great post from our instructor about what this class is all about.
If you go to this class let us know what you think and if you'd like to share more exciting geeky knowledge (hope you don't mind me calling you a geek Larry!) then let us know because we'd love to hear from you too!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Check out this great post on our "From Cheese to Tiramisu" class, complete with recipes! You will make some of the best tiramisu you've ever had all because of the homemade cheese. One of the easiest and most impressive deserts out there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Other Great DIY Resources

Hey, check out this article by Audrey Barbakoff about DIY resources to give back in the Seattle area. And yes, we're there too!

Do you know other resources for giving back and DIY? We know about Sew Up Seattle but we're sure there's more. Share them by making a comment here!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why teach with Seattle Free School?

Our wonderful teacher, Irina tells you why she teaches with Seattle Free School right here:

I enjoy facilitating Seattle Free School classes because they bring together a really diverse mix of people from our community to learn something new in an informal and friendly setting. I teach Russian cooking classes, and it's so much fun for me to share my skills and knowledge with people who come to class unfamiliar with Russian cuisine and leave inspired to try and make a new dish in their home kitchen. People are always so appreciative of the instructor's willingness to take the time to teach the class and of the overall concept of the Seattle Free School and the broad array of classes that is available.

Thanks for sharing Irina!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sew and Sew

Yet another great class coming up from Sew Up Seattle!

We're back to our regular class schedule in March, and we'll be Mending and Remaking. Bring your clothes that aren't quite up to par and see how you can extend their life or give them a whole new look or use. We also have garment parts left over from SewExpo's Upcycle-Rama to experiment with and plenty of fabric, notions, etc etc etc. This should be a fun one!

March 27, 2010
at Goods for the Planet, 525 Dexter Avenue North, Seattle tells you more - like the time for the swap and how to register for the class.

Monday, March 15, 2010

DIY Eco-Friendly Hair Gel

Whether you regularly wear hair gel and are looking for a low-waste, body-friendly alternative, or are an historic reenactor looking for a period-correct way to style your hair, this easy do-it-yourself recipe for making hair gel is sure to fit your needs.

You’ll Need:
1 cup flax seeds
Enough water to cover the seeds
A pot for boiling
Non-reactive container for the resulting gel
Cloth scrap for filtering

Step 1. Boil the flax seeds for 15 minutes.

Step 2. Strain the flax seeds from the water mix, keeping the water mix in the non-creative container. Toss the flax seeds.

Step 3. Let the mixture set, until it has the consistency of mucus.

Step 4. Refrigerate and use as needed. This will keep for about 3 weeks, and can be used just as normal hair gel would be.

Bonus! This mixture isn’t tacky/sticky like regular gels can be. It washes out with water, and has a medium strength hold. In making your own gel, you’ll be reducing the waste generated by the production and packaging of gel. Also, this natural gel is more gentle on your hair and scalp, as it is 100% natural. Enjoy!

Thanks to Beth for this great quick class!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Free Permaculture Class!

There's a great new class/lecture from Sustainable Seattle "Can You Eat Your Lawn? Using Permaculture Tools to Create Edible Landscapes" on April 6th. This is a free public talk about productive, healthy, environmentally sound gardening by Laura Sweany, a puget sound native. There's more information about the class and Laura here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We're All About Games!

Have you heard of that new game Urgent Evoke? It's basically a game with a cause. It's tag line is "a crash course in saving the world" and it's all about, well, all sorts of things around saving the world. Stuff that applies to real life. While we haven't played it a ton of our friends have, and more importantly it, and real life of course, is inspiring people to want to teach for Seattle Free School. How cool is that? Check out the post from "glim" here... looks like we'll be getting some great Organic Gardening classes soon!

So tell us, have you played Urgent Evoke? Do you like it? What did you learn? You know, because we're all about learning and we love games where you learn something. And, shhh, we were partially inspired by a game. Really! Second Life. Games you learn from are extra awesome. What have you learned from a game?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More GPS Classes!

Some of you may remember the fabulous Laura Seaver who taught our last GPS class. Well while she's not teaching with us this time she's offering FOUR more free GPS classes in partnership with Ride West. You can get to the official link here but for a run down of all the classes, here's what she sent to us...

There’s some more GPS Training coming up!

I’m teaching a 4 part workshop series at Ride West. This is designed to be a hands-on series where you learn and practice with your own GPS.

The classes are free, but because space is limited, you need to register ahead. To do so, call Ride West BMW at (206)527-5511 or (888)527-RIDE and speak to PARTS. Be sure to say for which sessions you are registering. You’re encouraged to attend all, but I know that won’t work for some folks.

All classes run Saturdays, 2 – 4 pm.

Part 1: Saturday, March 20, 2010: Introduction to GPS
What’s this gadget good for? A GPS can be a handy addition to your navigational tools. Learn how to make use of this powerful device. This session will cover what a GPS is; what it can do and what it can't do; and how to use your GPS before, during, and after an excursion. The session will also include a demonstration of some advanced GPS skills designed to show the potential of these devices.

Part 2: Saturday, March 27, 2010: Workshop A: Basic GPS skills
Bring your (fully charged) GPS! This is a hands-on workshop designed to teach you how to use the basic features of your GPS. Participants in this workshop are STRONGLY encouraged to attend March 20: Introduction to GPS. Feel free to come even if you don’t yet own a GPS – you’ll be able to see a variety of models in action.

Part 3: Saturday, April 3, 2010: Workshop B: Using a computer with the GPS
How can you get more out of your GPS by using it with your computer? What can you do before you travel and after you return? This is a primarily Garmin specific workshop covering MapSource for the PC and BaseCamp, RoadTrip, MapManager, and MapInstall for the Mac. Other topics include GoogleEarth and an overview of other GPS related software currently available. This will be largely a demonstration workshop, but feel free to bring your own laptop to follow along.

Part 4: Saturday, April 10, 2010: Workshop C: Intermediate GPS skills
Bring your (fully charged) GPS! This is a continuation of Workshop A – a hands-on workshop designed to teach you how to use your own GPS. We will continue exploring more advanced skills including customizing your GPS, designing and following intricate routes, and understanding advanced features.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been using a GPS on my motorcycles for 10 years and have navigated through 34 countries so far (and still found my way home!). I also have teaching experience ranging from teaching middle school girls sea-kayaking to teaching college calculus and a whole lot of things in between.

As a side note (from Jessica), Laura was my own personal coach on my new GPS before my solo motorcycle trip to Baja. We spend an evening looking like complete dorks walking around the Greenlake area with our GPS units. ("Where are we? Oh look, there we are!"). Thanks to her I had a very successful trip in Baja, knew how to use my routable maps in the US to get me to the parts store bike barely running just before it closed for the weekend and generally had a much better idea of how to use my new toy then I ever would have without her help. She's a very personable teacher and is great sharing her love of this "toy" with others so make sure to check it out. It's well worth your time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look at us, getting national recognition

Some time ago I was introduced to Dafna of the 50 in 52 Journey, an organization "helping you take your ideas off of the couch and put them into action in your communities". I thought that Seattle Free School would be a great project for her Journey as that's exactly what we're trying to do and we're doing it without money! So just last week we talked about Seattle Free School and here's a link to her great blog post

This year we work to bring this idea to other communities, not just about Free Schools but about how each community can make change without money. It's possible and you folks here have made that happen. People really do care!

You can learn more about the 50 in 52 Journey here.

And for those of you that would like to see people in communities empowered to make the change they seek, please

vote for Seattle Free School here!

It's easy, just a click, no registration required.

Finally, thanks to all of you for making this possible.

Friday, February 12, 2010


OK, this class has us hungry! If you've always loved fresh pasta but don't want to pay the high prices this is the class for you. Not only is pasta easy to make but it's extra delicious when you make it at home. This class will start by making pasta from simply flour and eggs, then we will move on to make our pasta into butternut squash ravioli.

This class is filling up fast so register here!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Improv Class

Well, Julian our excellent Improv teacher has stepped up again. We just posted a two day workshop which starts on March 3rd. Sign up soon because each of our last classes have filled up very quickly.

Here's the info:
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 and body and build on your ability to work and play as a team. Students are asked to commit to attending both classes which will be held on March 3rd and 4th from 7-9pm. The sign up for the series is posted on the first class date March 3rd.

The Cascade Peoples Center is at 309 Pontius Avenue North,Seattle, WA 98109

Sign up here!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Urban Farm Hub

Check out this cross post at Urban Farm Hub. Let's see if we can get even more chicken classes (and some goat classes too). Soon Seattle will be overrun with farm!

Free class on how to be Veggie

If you're wanting to stop eating meat (or probably even just eat less of it) there's a free class in the Greenwood area just for you. Vegetarians of Washington is putting on a free nutrition and cooking class at the Upper Crust on Greenwood Avenue. Most importantly the cooking class offers lots of samples to taste! For more information and to register check out their site here. And thanks Ann for the tip!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Free Science Educational Events!

OK, so yes, Seattle Free School is working on getting robots (classes that is, not bots to do our dirty work, whatever that would be) but in the meantime you can learn more about all sorts of sciencey stuff by checking out Science on Tap. Not only do you get smart but you get smart for free! Just like at Seattle Free School! Check out their upcoming events here:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another Russian Cooking Class!

Irina, our wonderful Russian cooking instructor has decided to teach yet again! Her new class is called Borscht, Two Ways and will teach you how to make both a cold and a hot version of this classic Russian soup.

You can register for this new class here.