Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: December 2012

The Holiday Adventures

Every week is an Adventure..and this is round-up of the view, the links and the inspiration that made it special. You can see all the adventures here.

The View

Beau's new fave spot- the back of the couch, over my shoulder.

Four strips down, 7 to go! #quiltsbychristmas

And now... I have days of this ahead of me. #handquilting #quiltsbychristmas

Still life from a handquilting afternoon.

The finds


  • The Internet blew up over Instagram's new Terms of Service. Here's the scary way of looking at it…and here's the less-scary way of interpreting it (short version: YouTube + Twitter have nearly identical language). I'll be on Instagram for the near future, but I'm also on Flickr if you've moved there (with their new app, I'll be more involved in commenting, fo sho.)



  • This video is my favorite thing of the week, for thinking about how I want to work in the New Year.



And with that, I'm offline (except for welcoming new Starship Captains aboard) until the new year.

Speaking of, the Starship closes January 3rd. If you're curious, sign up here to learn more about who the Starship is for, and to get to know a few of the members. And if you're hoping to get my book or any support for your biz for a holiday gift? Here's a template for asking.

How to survive the holidays as a Biz Lady

“For the busy Biz Lady, the holiday season is a time of joy (Peppermint mochas! Decorations! Candle light!) and stress (Holiday orders! The post office!). Sanity can be hard to hold on to between filling orders, fulfilling family obligations and standing in the dreaded post office line.

But sanity and profit are possible. It starts with knowing yourself, your business and what you want from the season and then setting expectations (and plans) for yourself and your community.”

Read the rest of my post on DesignSponge.


And if you've read that post, you might like

If this is your first time here

Hi! So nice to have you! Get to know me and say hello here. Don't miss the free mini-lesson How To Be An Explorer of your Biz. And, well, start at the Start Here page if you'd like more!

Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.


The Adventures

Every week is an Adventure..and this is round-up of the view, the links and the inspiration that made it special. You can see all the adventures here.

The View

Reason to love this town #324: this is the view. Everywhere. #nofilter
The lovely Johnson City
The finished tree
Spinning this month's Yarn Mail by Christmas tree-light.
Yarn Mail by Christmas-tree-light
This is happening. (Both get on back of couch behind me) #snorgling
Back-of-the-couch snorgling
Everything is better by Christmas tree light. #quiltsbychristmas
Sewing by Christmas tree light
Love the reactions to this hat. #amusementorpity
This hat gets the best reactions…because it's a Happy Hat!

The Finds

  • “Yarnover Truck is your local yarn store on wheels, implementing the food truck business model and applying it to a mobile yarn store.” How cool is that? Support these clever entrepreneurs right here.


  • It's official. We're a total trend. This morning NPR did a story about what we're doing here: young (ish) entrepreneurs with no outside funding, who are succeeding thanks to….the internet! Read or listen here.




  • Planning your New Year in your creative business? Tammie has a list of 10 things people + spaces that can help you with that!


 What were your adventures this week?

2 years ago: Sabbatical 
3 years ago: My real-life yarn shop
4 years ago: Seattle recap


My biggest lesson of 2012

Connection is Everything.

For the past few days I've been sharing the lessons we all learned in 2012 with the Early Boarding Party. These lessons came from your emails, Starship chats and what creatives have told me they've learned in the last year. (You can find them here: #1, #2, #3)

They all were true for me too, but my biggest lesson is something not a lot of people mentioned. It's kinda simple (maybe I'm the only person on the planet who didn't realize how important it was?), but without it, everything is harder.

My biggest lesson: Connection is everything.

Connection – really feeling like someone else gets you and really listening to them – drives everything in my business. Sales. Readership. Conversations. Conversion.

But most important of all – it drives me.

Whether I recognize it or not, it pushes me towards some situations (we do what we think will bring more connection) and away from things I fear will bring disconnection (shame, embarrassment, failure). Sometimes this is awesome (I sent that scary email and got a response!) and sometimes it's not (I don't want to be rejected so I'm not going to try the big thing.)

Understanding this (and how important it is to my business) is a direct result of reading all three of Brene Brown‘s books this year. They really confirmed what  the Starship has been teaching me: We (humans) need to feel connected. We seek it out everywhere in our lives. The happiest people have connected to their community both when they have something to celebrate, and when they're disappointed.

But it's that second bit that's so hard. When you're disappointed, it's easy for shame to creep in, for you to believe that it's something wrong with YOU. That you are the only one who can't figure this out, or that it's your lack – of personality/skills/cleverness – that is keeping you from moving forward. My favorite (as in, least-favorite) belief: If only I was a little different (a little better) things would be better in my life. I'd be more comfortable. More people would be drawn to what I do. I would change lives with my words.

When we feel that shame (or the fear of it), we withdraw. Brene's research has shown that we withdraw because we're afraid of other people withdrawing with us. We believe that if they knew, they would pull away. If they knew that we shipped that order late, or that we still haven't gotten into a craft show, or that X (a shop, show, publisher) rejected us, they'd know we weren't worth investing in. So we turn away first. We put on a happy face and hide the things to protect ourselves…all the while drifting further away from the real us, the us that makes our thing special and sparkly.

That's the human component of it, the thing that ALL humans are afraid of that…but then, for us, you have to add in that extra-scary layer: we're in business. We need our buyers to believe in us, at least enough to buy what we sell. We have to look like we have it together enough to deliver what they ordered.

So we hide the vulnerability, the scariness, the I'm-not-doing-this-right fears, because it's inappropriate to share with our community of customers. And the people in our day to day life maybe don't understand. They're not pouring their heart and soul into a product, and then fearing that it'll be rejected.*

*Even if they can't really understand, it's still so important to fill our loved ones in. They can support you more than you think, if you open up and take the time to explain why you're so upset you didn't meet your sales goals. 

Caturday means napping in the middle of the action.You have to show your furry belly to connect. 

What we need is a place where it is appropriate and safe to talk about all this, and where the people we connect with understand. Where it's ok to share that self-doubt. Where it is ok to be honest about your sales numbers, where you know it won't affect your “reputation”. We need a place to talk about the hard stuff because talking about it how is we move through it.
Hiding the doubt, the scary bits and the difficulty keeps you swimming in it. It keeps you in the swirl of your own head, and it confirms your first fears: if people knew this about you, they would feel differently towards you, because you keep creating this persona that has it figured out.

But telling someone and having them respond with compassion confirms that you're not alone. That changes things. You can stop (at least for a moment) the swirl of your own fears, and start to see the hope of what could be. You realize that other (super successful) business ladies have the same fears and made the same mistakes, and they came through it.

When you're not busy hiding, you can get busy building. When you have examples of risk-taking, you get a little confidence to try new things. When someone says “Here's how I talk to shops“, you feel comfortable doing it yourself.


That's what we're all after, right? Building our dreams into something awesome, while feeling awesome about it. Doing what we love, while not feeling like a total outcast freak. Sharing our thing with the world, without the paralyzing fear of being rejected.

I've found  that kind of connection (and have created it for others) inside the Starship.

Where do you find connection?

Do you need more of it in your new year?

The Adventures

Every week is an Adventure..and this is round-up of the view, the links and the inspiration that made it special. You can see all the adventures here.

The view

Running downtown. #c25k
Running downtown.

Brunch with my honey. The perfect post-Thanksgiving recovery.

Grateful for yarn subscribers who love color as much as I do. #thirtydaysofthanksgiving #instagratitude
Yarn Mail spinning.

Fabric for Quilt #2: washed & ironed. (That's a towel on my kitchen table for an extra-big ironing board.) #quiltsbyChristmas
Secret project.

Grateful for…

This week has just been so full of love and support. From blog posts to tweets, there are so many sweet people I'm thankful for. Here are just a few:

The lovely Xiane, one of the first crafty businesses I met in person, said some lovely things about my work and my new site. Thank you!

Hanna, my favorite art journaler (and she does so much more!), wrote a lovely review of my book. She's giving away a copy right here.

I loved IdeaStorming with Garnet, of Karina Dresses, so I was utterly delighted when he wanted to share the experience with their community.


This week I opened the Starship, and I'm so grateful for the feedback:



How was your week? What are you grateful for?




New site! New stuff! And the chance to get your questions answered!


After months of working with the talented Kyla, my new site is here! (If you're reading somewhere else, click through to see it.)
I thought long and hard about how to make everything easier for you, so you can find what you're looking for and the kind of help (or inspiration) you need.

I'd like to tell you a little about what's new (and share the little details that thrill me), but if you don't care to gush over tiny embroidered stitches skip on down to What's Next section, where I offer to answer your questions for free.


What's new

My Instagram and Pinterest accounts are now linked in the sidebar, with sweet little icons. I take a photo nearly everyday and I love the conversations that happen on Instagram. If you're a book nerd, that's where you'll find my near-weekly photos of the stack of books I'm reading. Even though I've been on Pinterest foreeever, I recently started using it with YOU in mind. I've created boards of inspiring (business) adventurers, tips + tools for Holiday Sanity, real-life travel adventures. Kyla and I used this board to visualize my redesign.

Everything I write about falls into three main categories and now you can find just what you want to read quickly and easily! There's business smartness for you to apply to what you do, stories from other creatives (including a lot of videos…and more coming soon!), and posts that are more about life than business.

Fun fact: The section of other people's stories is called We Are Adventurers in honor of this ridiculously enthusiastic song.

Under that are the Tools that I've made for explorers, incuding the Map-Making Guide and the Starship, and the collection of books that make you even more stunning.

Fun fact: the little embroidery stitches you see around the sidebar…those are my actual stitches!

Kyla waved her magic wand over what I sent her!

The Start Here page is brand new! I've been writing online for 10 years and in this space for 2 1/2 years, and the Start Here page helps you figure out where to…start.

Press + Praise. This makes me blush! Lovely people have interviewed me, invited me to write for them, and said delightful things about our time together. If you wanna know what to experience from our time together, the sweethearts on this page sum it up.

What's next

As the year wraps up, I'm compiling the lessons I've learned from YOU and the hundreds of conversations we've had this year. What's worked in your businesses, what hasn't and what has you frustrated. I'll be sharing those lessons in a (free) email series with the Early Boarding Party this week. You can sign up here to get it.

I'm taking those lessons, and using them to shape the Starship in the new year. In other words, you don't just learn what works for other people, you get to experience it in the very structure of the Starship. So you won't have to try to remember it all yourself, all year long. You can beam aboard the Starship now and start putting those lessons to work for you right away.

Your questions – I want them!

In the New Year (and maybe before then, because I'm just so excited about it!), I'll be answering your questions via video, every month (every week?). You can ask anonymously, or join me on video to talk it through. To get your question answered, just ask me!