The Original Life Design Cards Kickstarter 2022

The Original Life Design Cards Kickstarter 2022

My website and blog posting may have been quiet this past year, but I have been busy creating in the background. After a difficult few years of navigating a persistent health concern, I am starting to return to a more regular rhythm of life. Holistically managing a health concern with little effective management within the NHS has felt like a full-time job.

Back to the point of my blog post here today. In 2019 I had to withdraw my Life Design cards from the sale (see the previous blog post). I could have made some amendments back then and put the deck back in my Etsy shop. But, I was mortified that my referencing of the permaculture part of the deck was not adequate enough for a particular permaculture designer. Out of the feeling of humiliation, I parked the deck.

I decided to create an entirely new version that encompassed more general sustainability and environmental pointers and still a coaching deck of sorts. Life Design cards 2.0 was born from that, and you can see examples of it here. However, the deck did not seem to register with my audience quite as well as the original deck. So, I have not re-ordered any more print runs of LDC 2.0 for the time being.

So what changed?

What was happening was a steady trickle of people enquiring if I would re-print the original deck. This was still occurring up until recently. So, I decided to review the deck again. To my surprise, I realised what I needed to change did not affect the overall emphasis of the deck. I took out specific references to the Permaculture Design Tool being like a web (first 1-12 cards) and substituted coaching prompts instead (which are very similar). Just to be on the safe side, I also decided to use my own words to describe the twelve permaculture principles (cards 13-24) while referencing their origins within the accompanying booklet.

I always saw myself as a facilitator of the message of how great permaculture is and how it can be modified to self-improvement. I fly the flag and always reference the system. I just felt a bit sick to my stomach that I had created irk for one of the designers, and it was never my intention.

Anyway, I am past that now and composted all the icky feelings around it, and I still love permaculture and want to include it in my deck. So, The Original Life Design Cards are back with editing to the booklet copy and the twelve permaculture headings. I have slightly altered some of the visuals. Still, fundamentally the deck is highly similar to the original and hopefully fills the void for people that would like a copy of the original deck in their lives.

What now?

The Kickstarter campaign is planned for March 20th, 2022. I have a landing page on my website here providing further information. There is an invitation to register your email to gain a sense of the number of people interested in supporting the deck. This helps me work out the funding pledge and not overestimate it.

I will continue to update you on my progress but do register your interest here and follow me on Instagram or Facebook on @lisamcloughlinart #lifedesigncards.

Thank you for your continued support of my work. I am so pleased many of you are still with me despite my fading from view.

Bye-bye for now,

Lisa xxx

Why a new Life Design card deck?

Why a new Life Design card deck?

So what’s going on?

I’m on the brink of launching a re-work of the Life Design cards. I didn’t think this would happen as I was feeling uncomfortable about the circumstances around the decision to re-make it.

After all, the First Edition deck was beautiful, accessible, and connected with my customer base. I love the fact that it is a problem-solving deck that can function independently or blended with other card decks for a different perspective.

”So why did I withdraw it?

On the face of it, it was not the most cost-effective deck. Having a booklet and differing colours/patterns at the back of the cards made the printing cost much higher than the other cards I have created. It also divided into four different visual styles, which did not help to create a cohesive looking format. On reflection, its instructions for use and numbering were needlessly complex to follow.

But, alas, these were not the reasons I took the product from the market. It was for a much more personally upsetting reason.
About ten years ago, I had undergone a two-week training in Permaculture Design. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and had fun applying the principles to my daily life and garden design. With a background in coaching, I could see how the questions raised within Permaculture could be used in many aspects of life. So, I was inspired to incorporate the principles and tools into a card deck that would find a new audience.

So, I added the twelve design-web anchor points and Permaculture Principles into a newly formed deck along with 24 additional prompts. I tried to honour the original design web-tool by numbering it in a specific order and created spread ideas around the tool (cards 1-12) and Permaculture Principles (cards 13-24). I referenced the origin of my Permaculture web-tool at the back of the enclosed booklet: linking it to a number referencing system in the title of the relevant booklet section.

One day last year, I received a ‘heavy-handed’  email from the publishers of the Permaculture web-tool creator, instructing me to stop selling immediately and to enter into negotiation about a way forward. The email implied I was someone who had deliberately stolen the author’s work for my benefit (it was also cc’d to a host of other people). My referencing was not of a standard they expected.

What happened after?

I have a history of social anxiety disorder, which creates a sense of fear of judgment from authority figures. There is no way on earth I would have intentionally created this harm to another or actively brought this humiliating experience upon myself. I naively thought I was referencing her work and applying it in a new format. Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, I see what a stupid fool I was to think that. I also completely understand their point of view.

However, I could not escape my perceived harshness of the tone. I was unable to view Permaculture in the same positive light as I had before. Earthcare, Peoplecare, Fairshare had a hollow sound to me for some time afterward. So, I shrunk away from view for a while, licking my wounds, reflecting and pondering what to do next.

Although a workable solution of a way forward was suggested, I did not want to be tied by another party or feel I would have to continue to compensate in the future financially. I want to retain my independence as an artist. I also do not want to create anything from a place of disapproval. It is mortifying to a sensitive person like me! So, I decided to take the deck out of print permanently and move on.

But, email requests for the deck kept trickling in. I remember some warm and beautiful email exchanges when I attempted to explain what had happened. People could understand that it was human error on my part but that all was not lost. There was much more to this deck than twelve cards. They planted the seed for me to gather the confidence to find a way through.
With time, I could see a way forward. I still wanted a thread of the Permaculture Principles to run through it and have done my best to interpret them (for a personal development card deck) with references on every card. I also wanted to remove the twelve-step Design-web tool. After all, the tool was unnecessarily complicating the deck format. When I deconstructed it, it was the headings that many of us use every day (like rest, reflect, obstacles, etc.) I also had many more personal prompts within the rest of the deck, plus a few extras I had collected on the way. So, mixing all the cards into a random fashion made it behave more like a regular deck and took away the strict numerical order that the tool placed on the deck. After all, who keeps a card deck in their exact order? Card decks are to be mixed up and random.

The New Life Design Deck 2.0

I include new visual themes that we are all collectively dealing with in difficult times. So, the Life Design Cards 2.0 is a new deck to reflect these times and evolves into something much more expansive. It is a collection of all that I am, based on experience, skills, and knowledge accumulated over time. I think the new deck is now much better than the old one. It is a grown-up version with a cohesive vision that incorporates Nature, Permaculture, Environmental topics, and the vulnerabilities of being human within a problem-solving deck no matter what subject you wish to investigate. My visual representations are a small aspect of what each card can mean to a person. They provide a visual narrative to help the cards sit well together. They look fresh, and I see myself reflected in them.

So, I hope you can forgive me for messing up. I hope this new deck reflects my intention to create cards that are kind and realistic and that fit nicely within the other three decks I have designed.

Onwards and upwards!

About time to have some soul medicine!

About time to have some soul medicine!

I am writing this blogpost straight out the gate! After all, it’s been a while and I thought it was about time I wrote something!

It has taken a mini crisis to wake me up to this knowledge (that I’m letting many things slip in my business). For the past 8-10 months, I have kept my head down making and selling lovely items in my Etsy shop ‘Whimsy of Nature’. You see, I love to create for creations sake. I am like a machine. When I get an idea into my head, it makes me feel alive and that I am contributing in one way or another. I also like earning money for what I am doing. To actually be able to buy treats and to pay bills!

But, I made the mistake of allowing my work to overload my body.

What happened?

Simply, I have overdone things whilst going through a period of increased stress in my personal life. Trying to buy a home (with a zillion protracted obstacles in the way) and overdoing what I love, has left me in a kind of burn-out state. My body is complaining and now I cannot make anything which is soooooo frustrating! I have so many ideas that I cannot keep up with my train of thoughts….All I can do now is ponder my future and take time to pause and plan next steps!

I think I was also (slightly) running away from the hurt and pain of feeling and then being rejected by a small business group I used to regularly meet up with (they had different plans and expectations for the group and my grieving 2016 year did not measure-up to what they expected from me and I didn’t feel able to keep up with their expectations…I just needed their unconditional support….(clear throat) another blogpost once processed I think!…I digress!).

I should have known

I like to view my creations as a kind of soul medicine that has been needed at some points in my life journey. The Plant Ally cards and Tree Wisdom cards are all about self-love, compassion and kindness in a world ( inner and outer) that can seem nasty and cruel at times. The Life Design cards (LDC) are medicine to restore practical balance in life. You see, I am a kind of organic-ebb-and-flow person who is a little allergic to structures, rules and practical foundations.

However, these last 6 months, I have not consulted the LDC’s–when I probably needed them most. To obtain balance, I require basic structures in place, or I can become lost and overworked in what I do…as I am never satisfied that I have done my best work etc. I checked in with the LDC before flat hunting and they were really helpful.

My partner and I sat on the floor working through the nuances and considerations to buy the best home we can, in a nature-filled location, on our restricted budget.  We balanced the pro’s and con’s of each location and finally decided upon the ideal place for our next journey in life. Fabulous. We hope to exchange very soon.

But, then I stopped using them….

Losing my balance

Without the life-balance, I lost my way again and burned out. If I had consulted the cards, I may have seen the unhelpful work patterns I was adopting whilst going through a stressful time. I would have looked at ways to maintain my momentum. I may have paid less attention to negative news in the media and focused more on catching and storing my energy. The LDC are my touchstone to balance and broader perspectives. I get that now.

What does this mean?

I find the soul medicine I need in life is often what other people are looking for too. So, whilst I create for the love of creating and to reflect on my life journey. I also love making something useful, meaningful and beautiful–that you can keep with you and utilise over time. I need to continue working with the soul medicine cards I make…..because they have a point and a gentle nudge in the right direction to well-being (especially since the world seems to be pivoting in the wrong direction at the moment).

So, if you like the idea of my Life Design cards then do take a look at them on my website or Etsy shop. If you are unsure, you can sign-up for my Nature-threads updates (see sign-up box below) and have access to a FREE e-booklet that showcases the first twelve cards–so you can get a feel for them and discover if they would be useful. I have had some rewarding feedback so far.

I sigh with relief to have written to you today. There will be no surprises if I don’t receive any comments, as how can you expect peeps to stay around if you ain’t creating anything new, right?…. I will keep posting anyways as its good for me 😉

Love and hugs xx


Stepping into Spring…

Stepping into Spring…

It’s been 5 months since I last wrote a blogpost. I was ‘not okay’

Allowing oneself to step aside from the distraction of routine life can reveal the truth of who you are with more clarity. This can be liberating, disappointing, humbling and strengthening at the same time: the complex messy nature of the human experience with all its paradoxes. This was sharpened by my missed miscarriage the week of the Brexit vote and then the rise and rise of Donald Trump.

In June 2016, I halted the completion of my third card deck (Life Design Cards). I had designed 33 cards but my creative appetite had withered away. No wonder, I see now that the cards are a personal development tool. I was in personal maintenance (survival) mode.

So, I took time out of my business life to literally knit myself back together, one stitch at a time. With a ball of unravelled wool from an old knitted jumper, I needed to repurpose my life plan. I didn’t rush anything. Each day was about allowing and surrendering to what was in the moment. With time, the maker spark within me reignited….Firstly, I made simple nature-themed illustrations to post on my Instagram feed (#beleaves). Then I started to sew…

It didn’t happen quite like that. Initially, I wanted to completely break free from my art and move in a different direction. I am not sure why. I spent weeks looking at possible career changes, but nothing felt right. Then I gradually realised that I was already in the right place with my choice of vocational direction: the fog began to clear. I reflected on my courage and bravery to transition in 2012 from a secure NHS career to an artist. Not an easy path, but an authentic one. I remembered who I am.

I began to design and make beautiful pouches and wraps that could house oracle and tarot decks. I found a British shirt design company that would provide me high quality fabric remnants to line the inside of my creations. I was enjoying the process of designing, implementing and selling again. In the future I plan to design the fabrics too.

I started to notice the comments of encouragement about my art and crafts from people in my online world. Their kind words actually began to sink in and penetrate through the armour of my heart. I cried regularly as I read the little messages. Every single one mattered. Their words, patience, tolerance and gestures literally cracked my heart open: to feel again. There is so much unconditional love and kindness out there and I will be forever grateful.

On reflection

My previously designed oracle cards created the environment for the love to blossom; people could feel their magic, power and kindness. Their love reflected back to me through a communtiy who understand my art and my intentions. How can I do anything else but honour my process and my deep desire to be an artist and maker? No matter how small, I make a difference in some peoples lives.

What next?

So, I decided to return to the Life Design cards with a fresh perspective. They appeared different to me this time; more resonant, more nuanced, more delicious, particularly against the backdrop of our political climate.They are my small gesture of hope in how to move forward and make improvements in our life without becoming too overwhelmed or exhausted.

In June 2016, it was not their time to be born. Their true expression had not been revealed to me until January of this year. Against a backdrop of visionary planning, I found them helpful to work through ideas and coping methods for the road ahead. I could even see their value in groups. A tangible act for incremental changes when our world is rapidly changing before our eyes.

I now have 49 cards and a guidebook. An order has been made at the printers. They are due to be launched in early March 2017. I love them now. They are an eclectic mix to reflect a personal journey of many aspects of the human experience. The guidebook, as well as descriptors for each card, show 5 novel uses for the cards in a more seasonal or numerically ordered way. They also work well as an oracle to use on their own or incorporated with other decks.

So what are they?

The Life Design Cards are a personal development companion: whether as an oracle or a numerically structured tool. They tap into your intuitive wisdom and aim to provide support and guidance to make incremental improvements in your life.

The Life Design Cards have a web-like focus: similar to a spiders web that spreads the load, catches things, makes connections, is strong, light and repairable. The more steps that are made, the more connections and resilience a web has.

They also weave in the different energies of the seasons.

Overview of the deck:

  • The twelve design steps (1-12) are inspired by permaculture design and are about observing where you are, awareness of where you want to end up and identifying the steps to get you there.
  • The twelve permaculture principles (13-24) act as a lens to view your subject, with the possibility of sparking fresh ideas or insights.
  • The third set of twelve cards (25-36) are an eclectic mix of ideas and activities that align with the seasons. They add another layer of meaning to weave within the design steps and permaculture principles.
  • The final set of cards (37-48) are inspired by the twelve astrological signs of psychological processes that are common to us all. They take into account our common humanity and the seasonal changes of our personality. They serve as a broader perspective to the other cards within the deck.
  • The last card (49) is a Nature note.

What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a Nature-inspired, holistic, solutions-based design system anchored around co-operation and connections to help create abundance and harmony within human habitats. The initial 24 cards apply this methodology to personal sustainability.

So, they are a deck of cards that look at the bigger plan whilst also homing in on the details, with realistic actionable steps and attention to wellbeing. I am sure I will write more about them in future blogposts.

They will be launched in my Etsy store Whimsy of Nature within the next two weeks. There will also be a few web-like pouches available that complement the deck. If you would like to be notified of their launch then follow me on IG or FB or sign up here on my website.

Thank you again for being on this journey with me and I look forward to the adventure with you in 2017.