Listen of the Week 3: Brené Brown at 99U

Listen of the week

I’m not that great with self-help books – as soon as I see the words ‘this book will change your life’ on the cover, I am absolutely not picking up that book. So I was mightily suspicious of all the fuss about Brené Brown, whose TED Talks on Vulnerability and Shame were viral sensations, and who has written several self-help-type books which result in reviews like “A mind-blowing, life-changing read … gets to the heart of life” (Red magazine on Rising Strong).

But friends were enthusiastic – and you have to trust *them*, right? And, as a result, I’ve become a bit of a Brené-Brown-on-YouTube addict. Her talks/presentations are like a 25 minute boost of pep talk when you are wondering why you have bothered to leave the house or even get out of bed at all. She’s pretty wise and very sharply humorous, and I get the impression that she is a fairly normal woman talking about her lived experience, which is not the feeling I sometimes get from other Internet sensations….

One of my favourites on YouTube is a lesser known talk she made at a 99U (“The mission of 99U is to empower the creative community”) conference. She addresses the vulnerability of the creative life and how hard that can be, but stresses the importance of ‘showing up and being seen’, encouraging us to welcome our critics and allowing them sit in the audience. But I won’t spoilerise too much – hope you enjoy it yourself, it’s just a 25 minute listen and well worth your time.


And if you enjoyed the listen, you might enjoy a post I wrote earlier this year about working with your inner committee – which has some ideas that work really well with Brené Brown’s suggestions about how to deal with criticism.

Listen of the week – words to stitch along to

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love to listen to live radio and to Podcasts whilst I sew/quilt/muck about in my studio pretending to work. And I know that there are lots of you who like to do the same (or binge on Netflix of course..!), so I’ve decided to do a regular series on my unmissable listens.

Listen of the week podcasts for crafting along to

I’ll be sharing some of my favourite Podcast episodes and TED talks every Tuesday – hopefully inspiring you to check them out too.

I warn you (but maybe that should be a promise!) that it’s going to be an eclectic mix – but I am sure that’s a good thing, because my readers are a varied bunch, and everyone will find something to like. The topics I tend to search out for are creativity, craft, mental health, spirituality, philosophy, but I also love wonderful stories of all kinds – so if you have your own recommendations for me, please leave a comment.

First up is my all-time favourite episode (so far, although there is close competition) of probably one of the best-known Podcasts out there, This American Life: One Last Thing Before I Go

The Wind Phone in Otsuchi, Japan, subject of the first act of One Last Thing Before I Go (photo from The National Post).

It’s probably crazy to start with such an excellent piece of radio, because it might all be downhill from here, but I really want to give you the Podcast bug, so best to start big, I thought!

I’m a bit stuck though, because I don’t want to say too much about it (Spoilers) – but I can say this: both stories within the episode are deeply moving, thought-provoking and incredibly well-told. They speak (in VERY different ways, and that the contrast is part of the success of the episode) of the human struggle to communicate, to express our feelings, our inadequacy, our bravery, our weakness and our resilience in the face of loss and death.

If you’ve never listened to a Podcast before, you can just listen to it on your browser, or download it for later, or use a Podcast app.

Hope you enjoy it – I’d love to hear what you think.

100 Days of Curated Colour – Week 10

Another week passes! There’s nothing like doing a daily project to make you mindful of the passing time…! If you’re here for the first time – a recap – I’m doing the 100 Day Project on Instagram (#the100dayproject), creating flat lay photos of fabrics and haberdashery based on palettes I glean from Design Seeds. You can see all my collections on my Instagram feed with the tag #100daysofcuratedcolour, and you can also find them, very nicely presented on my Pinterest board – Curated Colours for Stitching Inspiration.

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 64/100 green gold pink lilac

64/100: Design Seeds – Flora: Charmed Flora

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 65/100 maroon burgundy pink cream blue

65/100: Market Hues: Fresh Hues

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 66/100 purple lilac green cream

66/100: Design Seeds – Market Hues: Fresh Hues

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 67/100 purple lilac orange peach

67/100: Design Seeds – Wanderlust: Color Horizon

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 68/100 peach pink green blue

68/100: Design Seeds – Summer: Hut Hues

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 69/100 purple green grey

69/100: Design Seeds – Flora: Flora Tones

Color curated moodboard by Very Berry for #the100dayproject - 70/100 grey beige flax blue cream

70/100: Design Seeds – Creature Color

I’m always surprised by how much people love the more neutral or single tone palettes. Or maybe I do a better job of them because they are a bit easier. Anyway, 70 was the winner over on Instagram this week, closely followed by 66 and 64. I think I agree with everyone else – what do you think?