Hi, welcome to String Revolution. I'm Léan, I live in Dublin with my husband and two little boys, and I am a dangerous stringy subversive.
My job is to radiate my creative truth, and to help you radiate yours. I create, without exception, every day. I write here when I have something to say.

(learn more about me).

Irksome Illness Is Irksome

Yes, I’m still ill. Differently ill. Tediously ill. Irksomely ill.

Confidently expecting to get through it Real Soon Now, but in the meantime, I’ve decided to acknowledge and officalise the hiatus pertaining here at String Revolution.

So I’ll be off doing some reflecting and regrouping until further notice.

When I come back, it’ll be with a fresh focus and new ideas.

See you then.

This Summer, I Have Been Mostly…

Hello! In place of a Proper Blog Post, have a life update.

Way back in March, Niall (the hozzband) suddenly forgot how to sleep, and what little focus I may have had was scattered to the four winds. Every project I was working on – wordy, stringy, businessy, or otherwise – slowed to a crawl. Things I planned – and worse, things I announced – in some cases still haven’t happened.

As well as making it impossible to plan anything, Niall’s sleep problems have had knock-on effects on his health and mine. It’s been a very medical couple of seasons. I won’t bore you with the details (if you know us in person, feel free to ask), but I’m relieved to say that five months on, there are some hints that we may be pulling out of this phase.

Not that I’ve been exactly idle, you understand.

If crawling was all I was fit for, then by god, I crawled…

I started my City & Guilds course, of which I am adoring every second.

I made two tiny quilts and started two wall hangings. I’ll show you those very soon.

I went to Rally (Rally!) in Portland, Oregon.

I wrote up my Rally Diary, and as soon as it’s edited and laid out I’ll be sending it to the fabulously generous - and no doubt also shockingly intelligent and sexually irresistible - donors to the Portland Fund. (If you’re interested, you can still get in on the action at that post I just linked to.)

Through all the chaos, I kept an important promise to myself. (Yes – 211 days and counting. I am amazed.)

And then last week I sent off the latest draft of my novel to my literary agent, thus freeing up whole provinces of my brain. The creative geyser is on again. Feels good.

Mind you, I celebrated that particular milestone by coming down with a nasty dose of bronchitis. Woo! As of today, though, I appear to be able to breathe all the way in without coughing up seventeen barrels of ick, which is lovely.

Things I’d like to talk about here soon

The stringy projects I’ve been working on.

Line, shape, form, texture, and numerous other juicy topics from my City & Guilds course.

The amazing textiles I recently inherited from my grandmother.

Sewing machines and how one might feel about them.

The idea of a “pattern”, and why it often leaves me unsatisfied.

…and, as they have a tendency to say, much, much more.

But (as they also can’t seem to refrain from saying) enough about me!

How’ve you been? What exploits, stringy or non-stringy, have been occupying your time of late? I’d love to hear.

The Signal and the Noise

Do you remember how precious information used to seem?

(If not, I’m assuming you came of age after about 1998. That’s cool too.)

Recently, my parents cleared out their basement (which needed it, by god – some of the clutter strata went back to the Pleistocene … or at least the Plasticine), and I’ve therefore found myself sifting through bags of ancient Léanabilia.

I used to keep a lot of stuff.

(Dear people who know me offline: yes, I still keep a lot of stuff. But I used to keep … a lot … of stuff. Hey, there’s more stuff around now than there was then, anyway. I keep a smaller proportion of it.)

Specifically, I used to hoard information.

Patterns and instructions … (What if I want to make another lavender-stuffed cat?)

The few pages of text at the start of a book of cardboard models … (What if I suddenly need a really concise overview of seventeenth-century American architecture?)

Pamphlets and leaflets of all kinds … (What if I develop an insatiable curiosity about the structure of the European Commission in 1988? Shh. It could totally happen.)

I had as a model, I think, the Enlightenment-inspired notion of a well-stocked library – the ability to find whatever information I need, at my fingertips, within my purview – no need to go searching elsewhere.

Nowadays, of course … well. You hardly need me to tell you how the information landscape has changed in the past couple of decades.

Ahahahaha.

Blog posts mailing lists personal e-mail Twitter Google+ Facebook Livejournal groups forums communities links links links more links links from friends retweeted links links to news books YouTube TED Flickr Instagram oh god Pinterest… And that’s just my particular set of tracks through the electrons. You probably have more.

In sum, there’s a lot of information out there. If you aren’t careful, you can easily drown.

I reached my personal tipping point about two years ago. Quite suddenly, my key question shifted from “how do I get at all the information that interests me?” to “how do I filter out everything except what’s most delicious?” How do I pick out the signal that resonates for me amid all this NOISE!!!?

What to do?

Refine. Pare down. Cultivate ruthless discernment. Ask, always, “Do I need to see this?” Try to avoid mindless clicking.

I’m trying. And I’m still overwhelmed. The sheer force of the information water cannon paralyses me. I go to ground. This isn’t all bad, mind you – I’ve had a couple of days recently of absolutely minimal internet, and they’ve been kind of great.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about String Revolution (yes, this is yet another thing that arose from my trip to Portland for Rally in April). Where I want it to go. What I want it to be. I have some big ideas … and I need space to develop them.

And frankly? I refuse to post for the sake of posting – or, as the blogging czars would have it, “to build audience” (that’s you. I’m supposed to be building you – ew).

I’m going to develop my ideas. And I’m going to post here when I have something to say.

Simple.

If this is noise to you…

If, when you see there’s a new post on String Revolution, you don’t consistently feel excited and delighted (Dubliners, please insert correct pronunciation), then go, with my blessing. Unsubscribe. Don’t click. Whatevs.

Find your own signal.

Find it here, if it’s here. Know that you are welcome here, and loved here, and that I am just as excited and delighted to encounter you as you are to encounter me.

And if it’s not here, find it elsewhere.

Thank you. Over and out.

But Léan, how was Rally?

Painting (stamps and watercolour), April 2012

I travelled to Portland, Oregon, last month for a Rally at Havi Brooks’s Playground. Rally is, I can now definitely confirm, a state of mind – as well as a three-and-a-bit-day internal adventure undertaken in the sovereign company of utterly delightful people. With sea shanties! And Shiva Nata! And silly hats! Someone described it as “personal-development Montessori for grownups”, which is not far off.

And how was it?

Oh my goodness, it was amazing. I’ve given up trying to describe it in its wholeness, so here are some glimpses.

There was an incredibly useful dialogue with the part of me who believes that loudly and obviously Knowing Things is the only reliable way to get love.

There was the shocking blaze of certainty that my job is to radiate my creative truth.

There was my curious conviction all week that the quality of Trust is cadmium yellow. (I did a good deal of painting at Rally.)

There were some game-changing insights about rest and restedness, bed time and morning time.

There was a moment, as I snuggled up under a blanket on a heap of cushions, when I suddenly realised that just then, I had all the love and safety I needed. I cannot exaggerate how profound this was. I’ve touched back to that moment many, many times since it happened, and it still warms me.

There was the news (which was not really news) that my hips are workaholics.

There was plenty of swinging in the hammock (as the sign says, Stop! Hammock time!).

There were pools of gorgeous clarity about where I want to take my work and my play. There were learnings about space, learnings about time, and learnings about who I am and where I’m going.

There was a coronation…

Perhaps you had to be there.

If you weren’t, and if what I’ve told you here seems interesting, you might like to know that I’m writing up my Rally Diary, which will be available soon and will contain details of all the above juiciness and more.

If you’d like me to send you a copy when it’s done, all you have to do is click this here button and donate something – tiny, huge, or anywhere in between – to the Portland Fund:




Meanwhile, my teleclass on getting your projects to the finish line will be happening at the end of June, so watch out for more news about that. Donating to the Portland Fund will also get you an invitation to this class.

How to Keep a Promise to Yourself

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I’ve hesitated to talk about this, in case I jinxed it, but … well, here goes:

I’ve kept a promise to myself for the last 128 days.

For the first time in many, many years I seem to have a daily creative practice.

Let me say that again:

A Daily. Creative. Practice.

Not, to take an example entirely at random, “Make a big plan! Leap in on Day 1 like a creative WARRIOR, slay ALL the dragons! Coast on this incredible success until … well, until you notice you haven’t done any work in a month, and your brain’s gone all floppy and sad…

No – daily, in fact.

For 128 days.

And counting.

This is good, because if there’s one thing the Official Creativity Wonks agree about, it’s the importance of a daily practice. (I assume they teach them this at Wonk School.)

The benefits of a daily practice are fairly obvious – they include steady progress, increased skill, and plenty of that sweet, crunchy brain-fodder that can only be got by making stuff.

The principle that helped me to establish my daily practice is counterintuitive to the point of absurdity, and I want to share it today in case it helps you too.

It all started far, far away from here…

Last year, the one and only Ramit Sethi shared an interview he’d done with a Stanford professor specialising in behavioural change, BJ Fogg.

[Ramit Sethi, for the uninitiated, is the deeply provoking doyen of IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com, which is in general far more substantial than the name suggests. I’ve been a happy reader and customer of his for years. BJ Fogg was one of his mentors at university.]

The interview was fascinating, but what really stuck with me was one tiny story that Fogg told, which managed, as such things sometimes startlingly do, to unlock one of the head-cages I’d been crouching in for most of my life.

It was a story about teeth – Fogg’s teeth, and specifically the flossing thereof.

Yes, flossing. Bear with me.

Fogg wanted to develop the habit of flossing his teeth regularly.

So he makes a commitment – a promise to himself. He will floss, he declares, one tooth per day.

One tooth.

That’s all.

If he flosses one tooth, he succeeds in keeping his promise.

You can imagine what happens, of course: pretty much every day, he ends up going on to floss more than one tooth. Often even the whole lot.

But every tooth beyond the first is a bonus.

You might be thinking this sounds familiar…

On the surface, it seems quite like “baby steps” – a phrase beloved of motivational types everywhere, from FlyLady to Lao-Tzu. Somewhat similar is Barbara Sher’s excellent notion of the Complete Willingness Unit – a chunk of work sufficiently small that it doesn’t trigger resistance.

But the One Tooth Doctrine (as BJ Fogg to my knowledge has never called it) feels different to me. There’s just … something about it. It’s stubborn. It’s defiant.

It’s ridiculous.

Declaring that flossing one tooth is good enough to be called “success” is … absurd. It’s outrageous.

So much so that it feels like a radical redrawing of boundaries. God, even thinking about it stirs my indignation. It’s like something an angry toddler would do to show just how much they are not doing what you want them to.

How can you say one tooth is enough?

How can you?!

And yet, if you do, it seems that the neuroscience works in your favour: you floss that tooth, and because that’s the commitment you made, your brain goes, “Yay! We did it! We succeeded!” Good feelings ensue, which reinforce your motivation to continue, and to floss another tooth tomorrow.

And suddenly, it’s liberating!

So I took this and ran with it…

(You’ll laugh.)

Here is the promise I made to myself: each day, says I to me, I will complete one stretch (yoga), one spiral (Shiva Nata), one word (novel, blog post, journal…), and one stitch (sewing, knitting, crochet…).

And I’ve done it – 128 times in a row so far.

Yes, there have been a few days when I’ve done literally one stretch, one spiral, one word, and one stitch. Migraine days. Fever days. Travel days. The day I finished up in Accident & Emergency with a kidney stone. That sort of thing.

But the point is that even on those days, I’ve still succeeded. I’m still feeding the happy chemicals to my brain.

I’ve kept my promise to myself.

And it’s working.

The monumental, dazzling benefit of this initiative is that it puts my creative work – and the support practices that enable it to happen – firmly at the top of my priority list (a position that has traditionally been rather precarious).

To get my fix of Yay! I must find a way to stretch, to spiral, to write, and to stitch, each and every day.

In the past 128 days:

  • I’ve rewritten my novel one-and-a-half times (I’m working with a literary agent at the moment to prepare it for submission to publishers) – contrast this with almost seven years to grind out the first complete draft;
  • I’ve quilted and embroidered and crocheted and knit probably more than in all of 2011;
  • I’ve broached Levels 5 and 6 of Shiva Nata;
  • I’ve significantly improved my lower back flexibility, and my Downward Dog has never been so right-angular.

In short, with this one technique, I’ve completely changed my behaviour in relation to my creative work, and it’s having dramatic effects.

It’s fantastic. I can’t wait to see what I’ll get done in the next 128 days…

What’s your One Tooth?

So, does this idea appeal to you? What ludicrously tiny actions would you choose, if you were going to give it a try? Comment and tell me.

City and Guilds Certificate – First Weekend

City and Guilds Certificate in Design and Craft: some exercises from the Colour module, March 2012

I’ve started a City and Guilds course – specifically, a Certificate in Design and Craft, with a focus on patchwork and quilting – and recently we had our first weekend class.

Our theme was colour, and this was the first of five basic design modules. (The others: line, texture, shape, and form.)

The course should take around two years in total. One of my personal aims is to codify and make explicit what I’m learning, so you can expect somewhat regular updates as we go along.

Colour!

Spending a weekend immersed in colour was … oh, goodness, it was wonderful.

Does colour electrify you the way it does me? Does a good hit of colour leave you rocking and a-reeling? Does the right combination of this and that feel like the quenching of a deep thirst?

I found my physical response stronger than I would have guessed, actually. We were half way through the first morning when I happened to pause and take stock of my body.

I was … how shall I put this delicately? … exhibiting classic symptoms of arousal. Ahem. Apparently, playing intensively with colour is a good way to activate the pleasure centres of the Léan. Note to self.

(I didn’t tell the teachers…)

It wasn’t all thrills…

A monster called “This Really Is Too Easy” (aka TRITE) showed up too.

The tasks we had to complete in class were all relatively simple – painting gradients, making colour-wheel and colour-scheme collages, that sort of thing.

This I found vaguely irritating, because I always want to be making Splendid!Things! and stretching my capacities and working at multiple conceptual and aesthetic levels and … well, let’s be honest, a colour-wheel collage doesn’t really do that.

Nothing I produced in this class particularly scratched my I made a Splendid!Thing! itch. Nor did my finished pages in any way do justice to the blaze of enthusiasm I was feeling throughout the class.

TRITE wasn’t too happy with this. Where, he wanted to know, were the whizz and the bang? When was I going to start making something impressive?

TRITE thinks that any time not spent actively seeking to impress is a waste. And probably dangerous. Because if once we let our standards slip, where will it end? Perdition! Annihilation! Doom! That’s where.

And yet, as I was eventually able to reassure him, the simplicity was also soothing. Because these are – yes, it’s obvious to everyone except poor old TRITE – exercises.

I’ll say that again: exercises.

They’re not meant to be works of art.

They’re not meant to push the boundaries of creative expression.

They’re meant to enable us to move methodically through the space we’re exploring, laying down breadcrumb trails, hammering in surveying stakes, clearing undergrowth and marking out foundations.

They are – we hope – the underpinnings of a new understanding that will inform and enrich our work. Which is why I’m doing the course in the first place. Whee!

(I wish to note, notwithstanding, that I do now have a burgeoning mass of colour-related design ideas, with more being born every time I think about it. It remains to be seen how many of these make it out of my head…)

Next!

The theme of the second weekend class is line, and, unfortunately I’ll be missing it on account of my trip to Portland for Rally. I’ll have some catching up to do after I get back!

And you?

Where do you stand on colour? I’m not asking for intimate revelations here (though, you know, feel free…) – but I’d be fascinated to hear how you experience the colours you love most.

Floating Like a ROCK

Buds in my garden, March 2012

Did I really just disappear like that?

Yes. Yes, I did.

I posted all fizzy and peppy about what I was doing to raise money for Portland, and then I just … vanished.

Much of the responsibility for this vanishment must be laid at the feet of my tonsils.

The Revolutionary Horde: The feet … ?
Me: I know, I know.

Tonsils, as you’re no doubt aware, don’t have feet are those pinkish little things at the back of your throat, which mostly mind their own business. But every once in a while, they get the decorators in. Mine, in this case, really splashed out. They went for the complete makeover, selecting the balloon design in a vibrant cherry-red with primrose-yellow accents (if you’ve ever had tonsillitis, I trust that you are now wincing). It was pretty impressive, I can tell you.

So I lay in bed for a few days, shivering through the fever-dreams and chugging penicillin like it was going out of style. Then, as I began to recover, I got to work on the Portland Fund, planning and tweaking behind the scenes, and drafting the big post that was going to float everything off.

It was going to be so great.

I finished my drugs.

Posted my post.

And relapsed.

Yup. Two days after that post, complete throatstravaganza, yet again, in glorious technicolour. Ten more days of penicillin. Exhaustion like I haven’t felt since the Feaster learned how to sleep.

I might be coming out of it now. It’s a little hard to tell, because Niall got it too this week, so everything is a bit chaotic around here.

Somewhere in the middle of all that…

…as if to make sure nothing untoward happened, like, oh, people being able to send me money, my site went down. And some time after that, my big post vanished into the aether. No idea why. I’ve asked. Don’t worry, I’ve restored it (and edited it a bit to make a few things clearer), but I’ve no idea how long it was gone for.

You have to laugh.

And all those lovely little budding business-things that I’d planned to cherish into flower over the past ten days?

Still buds.

(By the way, the photo features some of the things that were budding in my garden the week before last. From the top: Chatham Island forget-me-not, tulip, biennial stock, rhododendron, allium, lilac, iris.)

So, am I going to Portland?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I am. I bought my tickets on Monday.

(I’m too tired to deliver actual squeeing here; you’ll just have to imagine it.)

I am throwing myself upon the mercy of the universe, or similar. I have a little grace until the credit card comes home to roost, and I plan to spend the time promoting my beautiful offerings like billy-o.

So stand by for that.

I’m too tired to do Proper Marketing today.

But if you like, you can vist the String Revolution Shop and buy your very own piece of my work.

Or if you are feeling particularly lovely today, you can make a donation to the Portland Fund. In return (as detailed in that big post I keep going on about), you will receive my Rally Diary after I get back from Portland, an invitation to the teleclass I’m running in May on taming your UFOs, and my undying gratitude. Also, you will be followed around for the rest of the week by a fanfare of silver trumpets and a chorus of cartoon ostriches (this is a lie). Go on – it’ll be fun.




Onwards! Upwards!

The Portland Fund

Redwoods!

The Portland Fund is GO!

As I’ve mentioned, my Big Plan for April involves raising money to go to Portland, Oregon, to attend a Rally (Rally!) at Havi Brooks’s Playground.

I need in the region of US$2000 to cover flights, accommodation, and daily expenses (the Rally itself is paid for).

What is a Rally?

Rally is … ultimately a state of mind, I suspect. It’s an event held at Havi’s Playground, where people like me (and you?) gather to work on their projects for four days, in an atmosphere of play, permission, possibility, and pirate-yoga.

Not to mention Shiva Nata, which makes everything more fabulous.

Since I don’t happen to have US$2000 burning a hole in my back pocket, I’m asking for your help…

How am I going to raise the money?

1. Straight-up donations!

If you’d simply like to help me because you happen to be a person of surpassing loveliness who is made of solid WIN, you can click yonder button >>> and donate.

  • Your donation will be welcomed with fanfares of silver trumpets and a chorus-line of cartoon ostriches.1
  • You might be curious to know what attending a Rally is actually like. In heartfelt appreciation of your generosity, I’ll send you my Rally Diary after I come home. This will be a spiffed-up, drivel-free version of my explorations and impressions, both verbal and visual, giving you a chance to enjoy the essence of the experience without having to commit big money or time.2

1 While stocks last. Contents may settle in transit. The value of your ostriches may fall as well as rise. Void where prohibited.
2 This one’s real.




2. Teleclass!

I’ve wanted to run a class like this for a while, and here is the perfect opportunity.

The theme: Care and feeding of your UFOs, and how to bring them to the finish-line.

[Note for bemused non-crafters: UFO = UnFinished Object.]

Do you have a million projects at various stages of completion? Do you tend to leap to the next shiny thing, abandoning whatever you have on the go? Do you often find yourself finishing a project long after the season – or the occasion – for which you’d originally planned it? What makes you fall out of love? And what will help you get back on track?

This class will explore these questions from every angle. You’ll come away with insights and fresh perspectives that’ll help you start to unpick your own personal UFO tangle.

The class will be held over the phone, at a date and time that I’ll announce as soon as they’re set.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it live: there will be a recording.

  • If you donate by clicking yonder button >>> (or the one above, it makes no difference), you’ll be invited to the class.
  • This is in addition to the silver trumpets, the cartoon ostriches, and the Rally Diary (see above).
  • And if you donate US$42 or more, I’m offering you a one-to-one follow-up session, at a mutually convenient time, to see how you got on with the class material.



3. The String Revolution Shop!

(I’ve been moving the furniture around – it’s a lot more user-friendly than it was.)

The Get It Done introductory price has ended, but it’s still a bargain for what you get.

Secret Crowns and Capes will be retiring in their current form soon, so if you’ve been hankering after one of your own, now would be an excellent time to order it.

Then there’s always Stitch My Kid’s Art, which might still be my favourite thing ever.

…or, you know, several hundred people could buy Colonial Eggacy. That’d sort it.

Why do I want to go to this Rally?

You know when you hear about something and every particle of all your scattered selves just goes woomph! Yes! Total alignment! That’s us, right there – this has to happen!

That’s me and Rally. That’s me and the Playground, indeed. I’ve been there once, for a Shiva Nata workshop, and it was nothing short of mind-blowing. I was in Portland for less than 24 hours on that occasion, and I’ve been planning my return ever since.

I want to go because I think it’ll cause creative explosions, and I’m ready to explode. For the last six months or so I’ve had this core of seething, searing, red-hot creative energy powering me … but it’s unfocused. It keeps me up at night, but it doesn’t necessarily show me where it wants to go.

Rally, for me, will be an opportunity to fling myself into the flow of that energy, to explore it, to ride it, to figure out what feeds it and how it can feed my vision.

Rally will help me to get my work to where it belongs – out there in the world with the people who will be touched and changed by it.

The April 2012 Rally is particularly special, because it’ll be populated by alumni of Havi Brooks’s Kitchen Table, a community I’ve been part of for more than two years. I can’t begin to describe how valuable the Kitchen Table has been for me – personally, interpersonally, creatively, socially, professionally… Words actually fail me.

So yes. The prospect of this trip is just the teensiest bit monumental!

Can you help? I will totally love you forever.

Visit the String Revolution Shop and see if it might be time to buy some of my work…

Or simply donate and receive the Rally Diary, an invitation to the UFO teleclass, and my undying gratitude:




PS: Those are, of course, redwoods in the photograph, which are botanically All Wrong for Portland. When I went looking through my photos from our US stay in 2010 it turned out that I’d taken none at all in Portland. However, the redwoods, which stand in Muir Woods just north of San Francisco, seem appropriate metaphorically. They are such stonkingly ambitious trees.

Born This Way

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February was hilariously busy at String Revolution HQ. Among my many and varied exploits, I taught a class on editing your novel to a group of crime writing students.

How did I end up doing that, you ask? Well, my father the crime novelist was giving an eight-week evening course in the Irish Writers’ Centre, and he knew in advance that he’d be away for one of the weeks, so he drafted (geddit?) me in as a substitute.

And it went really well. Everyone was engaged and energised, we had thoughtful discussions, we covered what I’d planned to cover, my pacing was good. I had an absolute ball, and the students seemed to enjoy themselves too. Yes, I talked a shade too much, but in the grander scheme of things, it was a bloody good class.

Now look away…

…because I’m about to be arrogant, and I’d hate to shatter your illusions about my essentially humble and self-effacing character.

The thing is, I wasn’t in the least surprised that the class had gone so well. I had absolute confidence, walking into that room, in my ability to steer the discussion, cover the material, engage with questions, encourage participation, all that good stuff.

It’s something I was more or less born to, you see. Teaching is in my blood. (Academic forebears: both parents, an aunt, an uncle, a grandmother, two grandfathers, a step-grandfather, a great-grandfather, a great-great-aunt, a great-great-grandfather … and those are just the ones I can list off the top of my head.) I gave my first public lecture at age fifteen, the same year I co-taught a creative writing class in my school. I don’t actually have a squillion teaching hours under my belt, but it’s something I simply know I can do.

OK, you can look back now

The question quivering on your lips, I’m certain sure, is along these lines:

What has any of that got to do with the price of eggs?

Well. I gave that class, and I buzzed around for the rest of the evening on a total high, thinking, “Yes! That was great! More of that sort of thing!” – and then the next day after I’d calmed down a bit I thought, “What would it feel like, if instead of my background, which gives me this wealth of tacit knowledge about teaching, I had a background that gave me a similar wealth regarding, say, running a business?”

Because in that arena, I still feel thoroughly out of my depth.

I wondered what it would be like to know in my bones – because I’ve been unconsciously absorbing it since infancy – what an effective marketing campaign looks like. What language will set prospective customers at ease. What systems need to be in place before you start accepting clients. What you never, ever do when designing a product. Which risks are good to take and which ones are better to avoid.

Because it wouldn’t surprise me if at least some of the people who enjoy “easy” (it’s never easy) business success had that “born-to-it” advantage that I have around teaching (as well as writing, stringy crafts, and a few other things).

And I found myself … forgiving myself – somewhat – for not yet being a Tycoon, dammit! having turned String Revolution into a viable business. I’m struggling, yes, but it’s at least partly because I’m starting from absolute zero.

Ahhhh. That feels a bit better.

What are your born-to-it skills?

Meanwhile!

I’m planning a teleclass (see? Teaching skills!) related to my Get It Done service. It’ll be for people who don’t necessarily have a specific deadline but could still do with some tips on getting their creative projects finished.

It’ll be donation-based (and geared towards getting me to Portland in April).

Look out for details of that very soon.

Gothic Arches and a Meanwhile…

Gothic Arches wall hanging in progress

Heaven … I’m in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly spique [eh?],
And I seem to find the happiness I sique [eh?]
When we’re out together making fused appliqué!

The Revolutionary Horde: Yowch!
Me (lying): Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

That’s a wall-hanging in progress, which I made last month at the Irish Patchwork Society quilting weekend. The class was led by Joke Buursma, who designed the project. It’s called “Gothic Arches”, and the aim was to work with fabrics other than the standard quilting cotton we know and love.

I made mine with pieces from my Great-Auntie Maureen’s scrap bag.

It still needs embellishment, borders, and binding. I’ll tell you more about it when I post photos of it in all its finished glory.

Meanwhile!

I have a big plan for April: I’m booked into a Rally (Rally!) in Portland, Oregon, under the aegis of Havi Brooks (she of the Fluent Self).

A Rally, as you’ll know if you’re versed in the Haviverse, is an opportunity to come together with other people in a space devoted to focused play. There’s Shiva Nata and crayons, silence and laughter, and something called Old Turkish Lady Yoga. People have breakthroughs, get clarity, make unbelievable progress on their things.

We’re talking about an exuberant, rich, multi-level experience. For me, for my creative work, for my business, I truly believe that it could change … well, everything.

If I get there…

Currently, I can’t afford the airfare and accommodation. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on raising the money to cover them. So look out for a flurry of activity around these parts, and lots of stringy, revolutionary goodies coming your way.

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