Do you have a bad habit you wish you could get rid of? Do you have a practice you wish you could incorporate into your life? Making or breaking habits is a very common desire. Maybe you want to stop drinking soda or start meditating everyday. This takes willpower and I often hear people say “I don’t have the willpower to do _______”, this is a lie. Willpower is like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you exercise it.
I want to share with you a tool that will exercise your willpower.
What I’m about to share is adapted from a reddit.com comment I came across over a year ago. Which has spawned quite a big following of people who have taken control of their lives and step into their power.
Follow these steps:
Grab the following: index cards, a pencil, a red marker (color optional)
With a pencil, draw 6 vertical lines intersecting 6 horizontal lines. This will create a 7×7 grid of 49 squares.
Now, sit down and think about a daily habit you would like to imprint on yourself (meditate each day for 9min, exercise 7min, no sugar, etc.) Do not make it too hard! It’s better to succeed at a small thing than fail at a big thing.
On the back of a card write why you are creating/breaking this habit. I’ll quote OP (original post) here: Obviously, if you succeed, the resulting change in your life is going to be sweet. I mean, the reward if you do this, is seriously a big reward. It’s not a game. This a non-so-small step on the road to improving your life. You know it. This is important. You will need it. There are times you will need to turn that card over and read it, and remember. You really have to find the truth why you are doing this, and boil it down into something short and true.
Now start! These 49 squares represent 7 weeks, each day that you do/don’t do the habit you take that red marker and you put a big fat X through that square.
You can make several cards, label each one for the habit it’s making/breaking. Don’t over do it! Just like working out a muscle your willpower muscle will want to start small and build up.
After a week you’ll have 7 nice big X‘s across your card. Take a picture and show it off, put it in the comments here, post it on a social network, or post it to the reddit community I link to at the bottom.
After 7 weeks you’ll have 49 days done! The last day, day 50, this is when you have won. You’ll have done it! Not only will you have a new habit but you will have physical proof that you did it. Develop a ritual around the completed card. Burn it, frame it, or mail it to your grandma!
Now you will keep going, make a new card, either continue the habit or if you feel like you’ve got that one covered find a new thing you want to do!
Each card is a physical representation of your success, which is the real gift.
What if I miss a day?
Then you’ll have an ugly white hole in the card, BUT the very next day you will have an X. If you miss a day turn the card over and write your excuse, often it wont be very good and you’ll be able to reflect on it and not make the same mistake.
What’s important is that you take this seriously. If you don’t hold the card with reverence then there is no point. You have to want to fill the card out. Remember, you don’t have to do that hardest thing first you can build up to this. You are making small successes into bigger ones.
ALF Weekend Fall 2015 is over, the work has been done, and now it is time to write some blog posts. I am doing a post in two parts focusing on the outcomes and the organization of the weekend. This post will cover how the weekend was organized, what work and what could have been better.
Planning the Weekend
In the weeks leading up to the ALF Weekend @rochellehudson was attempting to organize space to host ALFs for the weekend. Ten days prior to the start of ALF Weekend @abbyo set up a Trello Board to being capturing project ideas that were being discussed on a Monday Call. Six days before the opening of ALF Weekend I began organizing in ernest by setting up a structure and schedule.
Step 1: Organizing Retreats
The first ALF Weekend in Fall 2014 took place at in upstate NY where most of our network met in person (read @nancy’s account on her blog). For me it was a powerful community building time, it was the first time that I hung out with my fellow ALFs outside of the intense ALF Summer. It was much more focused on looking in, strengthening our bonds and developing our network.
Take Away: In person events are the best way to experience an ALF weekend, if possible.
The Fall 2015 ALF Weekend wasn’t able to coordinate around a shared physical space. In our reflections there was agreement that save a large network gathering the next best thing is to have regional gatherings. If possible try to organize local space to co-work and collaborate for—at least—some of the ALF Weekend Days.
Take a look at @rochellehudson’s form for gathering information on interest around a retreat, on this Google Form (note: all ALC Network sites have access to the Gravity Forms plugin for creating forms directly on your sites!). Her form asked for the following:
Name (important and easy to forget this!)
Do you plan to participate in our Fall 2015 ALF Weekend? (with dates)
Are you able and willing to travel to [location], for this weekend?
If you can’t travel to [location], do you still plan to work on network projects virtually that weekend?
How much would you be willing to pay, per night, for an in-person retreat?
Other than the cost of lodging, how much $ could you put toward food & other expenses we could share?
Checklist: Try and gather this information from the network early! Get an idea of the cost, location, and logistics needs.
Step 2: Capture Project Ideas
There is always lots to do around the network and in local communities. Start to visualize this early! Abby took the initiative to create a Trello Board with two main lists, one for network projects and another for local projects. After hearing people say “we should do that at ALF Weekend” she created a space to hold those intentions.
Checklist: Create a container to hold ALF Weekend intentions.
Create a Trello Board with the following lists:
Then begin adding (and asking people to add) intentions as cards. Use labels to denote Network and Local ideas for work. I will go into more detail on how to organize a Trello Board later.
Step 3: Create an Overview & Infastructure
With less than a week before the start of ALF Weekend I didn’t see much more movement (aside from Rochelle and Abby) to schedule the time and projects. So I just took a stab at it, admittedly I could have reached out for support, but really I should have started the process much earlier.
Take Away: Start organizing a framework for the weekend early so there can be more feedback and buy-in from the community.
I wrote up the ALF Weekend Fall 2015 organizing document mostly for myself, to organize my thoughts, and also as something to share. As is typical with me, it was probably a little over kill and I don’t know if many people really took the time to read through the whole thing. If I were to do it over again I would have:
Added a section about how the Trello board worked.
Simplified the schedule and put it at the top.
Started the document earlier to gather more information about projects
Checklist: Create an overview of ALF weekend. Include the following:
Introduction, if people will be taking on roles, make them explicit, share important links at the top.
Create clear expectations, one of the major take aways from this weekend was the need to make explicit that if you say you are going to be somewhere then you will be expected to be there. This can be supported by a clear schedule which I’ll go over later.
Schedule overview, outline the structure of each day. If all the days will share the same structure then simplify it.
Introduce projects, give people an idea of some projects that will be worked on.
Link to project’s Trello card on the ALF weekend board (or what ever system you decide to use)
Description of project
Supporting links (Trello cards, conversation threads, blog posts, documents, etc.)
Checklist: Set up communication infrastructure.
Because this was a mostly online event I figured that we might need extra space to meet virtually. We have a dedicated Google Hangout video conference room for meetings, but if people were working on projects at the same time that would get problematic. I was also worried that if people set up their own hangouts there would be confusion over who was where doing what!
To alleviate this I created two more hangout rooms by going to my personal gmail account, navigating to hangouts.google.com and creating an empty call. I than made the call open to the public, grabbed the link, and used the Redirection plugin (available on all network sites under Tools > Redirection) to create custom links. The result:
Main Room: http://agilelearningcenters.org/hangout
Red Room: http://agilelearningcenters.org/hangout-red
Blue Room: http://agilelearningcenters.org/hangout-blue
These links should still work far into the future, so no need to set up more unless you want to!
Checklist: Set up the Trello
I expanded Abby’s Trello Board to include lists for each session so people could move cards into specific time slots. I also added labels to give cards a visual color marking to indicate information about them.
READ US FIRST: a list of cards with basic information about the board and ALF Weekend
Unscheduled Topics: list of cards that haven’t been scheduled. Cards that didn’t get worked on got moved back to this list.
Don’t know what to do? Do this!: This list was added mid-weekend to hold cards that could be worked on without much prompting.
Happening NOW! This list held cards that were currently being worked on from the sessions.
Session Lists: These lists were for each session (as pictured above) when a session ended cards were moved off and the session list was archived.
Pend until… This list holds cards that need additional work at a later date.
Done! And ready to be blogged about This list is for finished cards/projects!
At the top of each session list I added a card called RSVP with the session time and date. I requested that people add their names to a checklist on each card to indicate when they were coming. This might have been too overly complex… people took to adding cards into sessions saying that they weren’t going to be there or were going to be late, so you might want to pave those cow paths when you do this.
Labels! I used labels to indicate network projects from local projects as well as to indicate facilitation information cards (like the RSVP cards) and also to indicate which hangout room a card’s discussion was held in (main, red, blue):
Again, this was all a little bit over designed. I’m sure it could be remixed to be more lean.
Step 4: Create a Schedule Framework
For this ALF Summer I created a schedule with two 4 hour blocks each day. These “sessions” had a mini SCRUM (or a time in which individuals come together to schedule individual appointments and projects with each other) at the beginning, a “break” in the middle where people were asked to come back together to check-in, and a closing reflection period (all times are Eastern):
9am – Morning work session – Starts with 15 minute SCRUM in Main room 11am – Break – Check-in in the Main room 1pm – End Morning Session – Reflect, document results, check-out in Main room
3pm – Afternoon work Session – Starts with 15 minute SCRUM in Main room 5pm – Break – Check-in in the Main room 7pm – End Afternoon Session – Reflect, document results, check-out in Main room
A note on timing, I chose the start and end times to account for the wide variety of time zones ALFs are coming from. The Afternoon session starts at noon on the west coast and 10am in Hawaii, take this into account when planning your ALF Weekend to be inclusive!
A note on breaks, the idea behind having a mid-session break was 1) to make space for people to take care of themselves, stand up, move around, etc. 2) to make space for people who were late to integrate into the session. The idea was to have people check back into the main hangout before leaving to take care of themselves.
Overall there was a positive response to this configuration and in the first few days there was a lot of participation. However it dropped off as the weekend went on (well, we started Thursday, so by the time the weekend actually came…). The feedback I got was that people burnt out showing up to session SCRUMs to find that the people they wanted to work with weren’t there. Though, I think more shorter sessions might also work, you should mix it up!
Take Away: Have a Set-the-Weekend meeting to establish clear expectations of participation and planning when projects will be worked on.
I did hold a Set-the-Weekend meeting on Thursday night (after the first day’s sessions) but it was announced on very short notice. I did, however, like the format:
Next time: Have everyone commit to sessions they will attend first! Document who will be at what sessions and hold each other accountable.
SCRUM! Start moving projects into session slots, set specific times if need-be.
Long form Check-ins, we saved our check-ins for the end of the meeting to give everyone more time to talk. Each of us went around and discussed what we were doing in the network and/or our local community. We used this time to bond and share our successes with people we maybe haven’t seen in a while. Remember: ALF Weekend is also about community building!
Checklist: Schedule a Set-the-Weekend meeting well in advance! This is probably the most important meeting of the whole weekend, especially if it is virtual!
Step 5: Hold Coherence
I felt a high degree of ownership over the weekend so I held much of the coherence around being at meetings, facilitating, and sharing information. I wish I had had more time to collaborate and share some of the responsibility with others. Here’s a list of tasks that need doing throughout the weekend:
Facilitating session SCRUMs. Making sure trello cards get moved and that people are aware of what is going on.
Facilitating session breaks. Make sure late comers are brought up to speed on what’s going on.
Facilitating session reflections. Make sure work is documented and cards get moved.
Send end-of-day recap. I sent out an email at the end of each day that went over everything that had been worked on, this helps keep people too busy in the loop.
Checklist: Assign people these roles.
Step 6: Document the Result
I see this blog post and the one that will follow it as key to this (or any) event. I want other ALFs to feel empowered to take on this kind of responsibility which is why I try and make explicit what and how I do things.
If you are reading this with the intention to organize an ALF weekend or similar event I hope you find this useful and I also hope that you remix this!
This post will cover how to write a post that covers how to do something (so meta!). One of the Agile Roots is to create sharable value so that you, and others, can visualize your learning. I like to model this root by creating tutorials that cover doing things. The wonderful thing about writing these kinds of posts is that I can stay DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) by pointing people with questions to the answers I’ve already documented.
Let’s talk about some rules and philosophy behind a good tutorial.
Don’t be esoteric!
We want to write something that will answer questions, not create new ones. Use simple language and spell out what you are trying to say. Keep it simple! Even the use of the world esoteric (which means highly technical speak) here might be a bit much. Pretend that the person reading your post is not a native speaker and has no background in the topic you are discussion. Of course sometimes your target audience might be people who understand esoteric language, in that case go for it.
A picture is worth 1000 words, sometimes
Personally I can’t follow tutorials that don’t have pictures, other people need each step spelled out. It’s wise to use both written and visual media to explain yourself.
Link, link, link
I try to always link to documentation of ideas and technology that support my tutorial but are outside of it’s scope. For instance I was writing about Trello (a web application with cards you can write notes on) and how they use Markdown syntax. I don’t want to go off on a tangent about what Markdown is so I would link to the documentation already provided by Trello.com. If you use a word or introduce a concept that people might not be familiar with, add a link to it’s Wikipeadia page.
Limit the scope
Keep your tutorial on topic and focused on a single issue. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and start explaining a bunch of stuff that is related to the thing you are talking about. Use your best judgment to determine if what you are talking about is adding or distracting from your main topic.
Let’s Make a Tutorial
Start off with an introductory paragraph. I like to relate the tutorial with a real life story or some personal anecdotes like I did at the top of this page. Don’t make it too long though, people are here to learn about a specific thing and probably don’t want to wade through more than a few sentences.
Create an Outline
Your outline should go over the broad steps involved, think of this as a quick reference that leads into more detailed steps:
Provide an outline
List needed materials
Collect screenshots/pictures of a “example run”
Edit screenshots with text, arrows, and removal of sensitive data
Create post with a descriptive title
Write the body content, make use of headings
Write a conclusion, ask for feedback
Before you get into the meat of the tutorial make sure you list the supplies someone will need. These will obviously be wildly different depending on the tutorial. Here are some ideas:
A camera to document the process, perhaps keep a sticky note near the project space that says “take pictures!” to remind you to photograph each step
A note pad to record each supply use use
A voice recorder or video camera
A place to record the tutorial, like a blog.
Screenshots & Pictures
I typically go through the steps of the tutorial I’m writing before I write the tutorial so that I can collect screenshots. If you are doing something in the “real world” make sure you have a camera ready and are taking shots. Really think about details that people will need to know when doing the thing themselves. Be aware of knowledge that you take for granted.
For instance I often will say something like “click the menu button” and forget that the menu button is small and out-of-the-way. A newbie might have a hard time finding that. A better way to say that would be “click the menu button in the top right corner of the page” and better yet, add a picture:
If you are writing a tutorial about something that happens on a screen you’ll probably want to capture the action on your screen.
I will be going over some techniques for taking screenshots on a Mac, if you have Windows or Linux or a tablet, please refer to take-a-screenshot.org
I prefer to use Mac’s partial screenshot function so that I can take a picture of only the important section of the screen (Tip: don’t crop too tightly or you might lose context for the screenshot) This is achieved using Cmd⌘ + 4 which then provides you with a little crosshair. Click, hold, and drag the crosshair to form a box, once you release the mouse button the screenshot will appear on your desktop.
Adding symbols and text to picture
Sometimes you’ll want to direct attention to a specific spot on your picture, symbols (like the arrow) are great for this! Again, I’m only going to show you on Mac, you windows folks will have to use MS Paint or something (sorry).
On Mac OSX: Once you take the screenshot open it in preview.
Expand the edit panel:
Then use the line tool:
You can adjust the line tool settings on the right , by setting the arrow head on the left the arrow head will appear where you start your line which I find gives me more control.
Remember: Be aware of what you are taking pictures of, you don’t want to inadvertently share a secret password or email address in your public tutorial!
Now save the picture and you’re ready to post it!
Create the post
Coming up with a good title is very important, you’ll want to the title to reflect what you are going to be talking about. This is how people will search and find your awesome tutorial so take some time to think about it!
Remember, also, that the title and first 150(ish) characters will appear on search results and social media posts, so make it count!
As you can see from this post I’ve made use of headings to break up the content. Typically each heading has a size (or level). For instance “Lets make a tutorial” is heading 1, then then main points are Heading 2 (e.g. “Create the post”) while sub headings like the one directly above are Heading 3.
This is simply good practice for formatting posts. You can imagine this post (up to this point) has a nested outline like so:
How to Make a Good Tutorial (title h1)
Don’t be esoteric! (h2)
A picture is worth 1000 words, sometimes (h2)
Link, link, link (h2)
Limit the scope (h2)
Let’s Make a Tutorial (h1)
Create an Outline (h2)
Material list (h2)
Screenshots & Pictures (h2)
Taking Screenshots (h3)
Adding symbols and text to picture (h3)
Create the post (h2)
Using headings (h3)
See how clear this outline is? Doing things this way isn’t necessary but it does create a data structure that eventually will come in handy when humanity (possibly) moves to the Semantic Web in the future.
Now we are done with the tutorial. I typically like to write up a short conclusion about the great things we’ve learned, like how to take screenshots and edit them and how to use headings and break up your tutorial.
Have any questions? Or comments? Leave them below!
I’ve been visiting an awesome community space in Oakland called The Omni Commons. While here I’ve been participating in some of their meetings and working groups. The other day some changes were requested to be made to the main website, I wanted to help out and decided to jump in!
The website has a repository on github.com which I forked and cloned down to my machine. It appears to be a straight forward HTML5 site but when I opened it in my browser none of the css files were rendering. I looked to see if maybe there was an issue with relative links to the resources but found no missing resources. Upon looking at the head I found no trace of any links to other resources only this cryptic include:
<!--#include virtual="/includes/nav.html" -->
The README.md file didn’t help at all (it was pretty much blank) and after some head scratching and some searching around I found out what this little bit of code is, a…
Server Side Include (SSI)
It is (according to Wikipedia) a simple interpreted server-side scripting language used almost exclusively for the Web.
I’d never heard of it but it seemed very cool and it is a nice little trick for including blocks of HTML code without having to rely on a modern website template engine which often requires having Ruby or Node or some other code base running. No this is old school, run directly through the web server, such as Apache.
It turns out that for SSI to work it has to be run on a server which is configured to render such files. I set up my virtual host and fired up the website once more.
No dice, the pages still weren’t rendering. I then found this tutorial from linuxtopia.org which describes how to configure the localhost to render includes. I then took to writing up some documentation in the README file of the project so that the next person who wanted to set up a local instance of the site knew what was going on. I’ve reproduced some of those instructions below.
Setting up Server Side Includes on Localhost
The Omni Commons website uses Server Side Includes (SSI) to pull in head, nav, and footer html from the /includes folder. So we need to set up your local environment to handle this. Much of the following information is taken from linuxtopia.org’s how to guide on apache ssi.
The SSI strings look like this:
<!--#include virtual="/includes/nav.html" -->
Once SSI is enabled this line will be replaced by the content of /includes/nav.html. This allows us to edit the nav once and have those changes appear on all pages with the above snippet.
The first thing to do is ensure that your server has the mod_include module installed and enabled.
The following instructions were tested on an Mac OS X (10.9) machine but should work on any Linux machine as well.
First we will examine the Apache Config file httpd.conf typically located at:
Make sure that the includes modual is present and active by searching for mod_include within the httpd.conf file, look for this line:
Pay attention to the line where +Includes has been added:
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks +Includes
Now we need to tell Apache to scan the proper files for includes. Typically, due to the extra server overhead, this is done only to files that are specified as having includes by using a special extension .shtml to indicate to the system that they should be scanned.
The OmniCommons website uses .html throughout, so we simply need to tell our local apache server to scan all .html files for includes.
Go back to your httpd.conf and find the line with #AddOutputFilter INCLUDES .shtml now add under that line:
AddOutputFilter INCLUDES .html
The hash (#) indicates that a line is commented out, because we want the config file to read our command we omit that hash. So this command is adding an output filter (AddOutputFilter) that applies Includes (INCLUDES) to all html files (.html).
You should now be able to visit your virtual host, in Drew’s case it is omnicommons.localhost.
Remember: The apache include will not run if you open the .html file directly in your browser, it must be served from the virtual host.
Collaboration is the name of the game inside ALC. We are all actively engaged in collaboratively building schools, community, and (importantly) documentation about such efforts.
WordPress (the system this website is build on) offers great features for collaboration through it’s post editing process. I’d like to quickly share one powerful feature called revision history.
I’m going to frame this post around an example of my recent (still in progress at the time of writing this) project to document the ALC Everett #debrief. I asked for editing help from other ALF’s across the nation and had a number of people step up to help. Here’s what I did to make this happen:
WordPress keeps a revision history of every change made to every post. So when you are collaborating you can feel secure knowing that if something goes horribly wrong there is no need to fear, it can be reverted back to a previously saved draft or auto-save (another feature of WordPress).
Revision history also allows you to review changes that other people have made to posts. Let’s look at a real example from the debrief page I’ve been working on.
First we browse our revisions, you can find this link within the Publish “meta box” typically on the top right of a edit-post page.
Once inside you’ll see a time line of edits along the top.
With this you can move the red dot around in time to see past edits. Each revision view shows you what was added or changed on the right (in green) and what was changed in red on the left. The right (green) column displays the current revision you are focused on while the left (red) column is the previous revision. You can check the Compare any two revisions box at the top right (red arrow in the above picture) to compare any two revisions.
I’m now comparing a revision from @Charlotte added on 3/26 at 10:39pm to my revision a few hours later at 12:30am on 3/27.
Let’s see what changes Charlotte made when she edited my work. I’ll move the left dot over one space to change the “from” revision to a March 25th one I made and the “to” dot over to Charlotte’s March 26th revision.
You can see the changes that Charlotte made. The left shows my revision and it colors each edited block in pink then each character that was removed in red. On the right Charlotte’s changes are shown in green.
At any point I can revert back to past changes.
This is a powerful transparency tool that allows us to be bold with our changes and edits (because they can be reverted), feel secure that no one can tamper with our work, and allow us to see who did what so we can better communicate with our collaborators.
If you want other people to be able to edit pages on your site you first need to add them to your site and set their privileges to give them editing access.
Each user on your site is tied to their main user account, so if they have an account on the ALC site then you simply need to add their user name to your site and set their privileges.
Privileges give user account specific powers on your site. The Editor privilege allows the user to create, edit, and post to your site. You can read more about roles on the WordPress codex.
To add existing users (i.e. users who already have accounts on this site) you navigate to Users > Add New
From there you can add the existing user, just start typing their user name (for instance mine is drew as you can see in the subdomain of this blog’s URL) or their e-mail address.
The system will auto suggest once you put a few letters in.
If you want to add a new user that option is directly below. You would use this if you wanted to invite a non-ALC member to your site.
Be sure to set the role to the proper setting, I’m adding Abby as an editor so she can edit my existing posts:
Edit existing user’s roles
You might want to upgrade or downgrade someone’s role, to do this you simply find them under the Users list (click Users from the dashboard). Once you navigate to their user page you simply change the role and update.
You can also change their display name and some other options for them.
I was recently asked to set up a website that was managed under an existing WordPress Multi-site. The idea here is that a site is created via the single install of wordpress on domain-A.com but is accessed by visiting domain-B.com.
Preparation time: 3+ hours depending on how many hands you have available.
Weaving time: 1hr+ depending on how dexterous you are.
Cedar bark, purchased from the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center art market. This had been stripped months earlier and I understand had already been cleaned up a little (removing the roughest outer layer).
Jerry Stripper – purchased from a leather supply store.
Leather strips – to be used for the necklace.
Raffia – to be used to tie off the weaving. (available grasses would traditionally be used).
Many thanks to Sweetwater Nannauck for sharing this knowledge with our community.
Time lapse videos of the process are available in older posts. Here and Here.
Before you begin: The last and most important step is also the first step. You have to give your first piece of work away as a gift. Remember this as you do your work.
Clean the Cedar so that the rough (darker) parts are removed from the top-side. This takes a lot of time scraping.
Soak the Cedar for ten minutes so that it is pliable again.
Put the razor blades into the Jerry Stripper at the desired width for the strips.
Mount the Jerry Stripper onto a solid table surface. Note: This tool is not meant for cutting such thick material, so it will need a group of people to hold it in place to prevent it from slipping or breaking.
Pull the Cedar through the Stripper. To start you will need to push the cedar over the blades, leaving enough space at one end for you to pull from. (We used pliers to grab the starting section).
With a team of people holding the Stripper in place, pull the cedar through evenly, so that the blades can cut it into strips.
Once all of the material has been taken through the Stripper, remove the Jerry Stripper and put it away. It will not be needed again.
Now separate all of the individual strips into piles to keep the workflow neat.
Then take a single strip and split it in half – the topside and the bottom side need to be separated evenly. Go slowly, or you will end up breaking it. Repeat this step for every strip of cedar.
Soak some pieces of Raffia. This will also be used to finish up the weaving.
PART A: The Base.
Collect 14-16 strips of prepared cedar. Lay them out in a grid. X and Y. The X axis pieces should be shorter than the Y axis. These will be cut later, so they don’t need to be too long. You may like to keep pieces of the same color on the same axis, facing the same way.
Weave the middle X axis piece through all of the Y axis pieces. Over, Under…
Repeat this step for the other X axis pieces. There are alternative ways to weave patterns here, but the basic format is often the best. So the X-axis pieces above and below the middle strip will start: Under, Over…
Repeat this step, tightening things up as you go along. You shouldn’t be able to see any holes between an X and Y piece. When this is done, you have built the base.
PART B: The Front.
Take the bottom strips of your Y-axis and fold them upwards so they lay flat against the base and point up to the top of the Y-axis.
Fold over the X-axis strips from one side. You will cut these so it is important that they are laying flat against the base. Cut them short against the far side of the base. Repeat this for the other side of the X-axis.
Now start from either side and take the first strip and weave it through the Y-axis pieces. Take the other side of this same X-axis piece and weave it back over the Y-axis piece as well. It should be weaving over and under the exact same as the other side. It should be quite tight. Cut off any over hanging cedar now.
Repeat the process above. Remember to pull the Y-axis pieces up tight as well, or you will end up with a sort of growing turtle shell shape.
Once all of the pieces are woven together you have completed the front.
PART C: Finishing
Separate the front Y-axis strips from the Back ones. Fold the 7-8 Front strips in half, so that the ends point down (over The Front).
Repeat this step for the back side.
Take a piece of Raffia, and tie it around a BACK piece. Loop it around the piece next to it and then twist off. Repeat this around each of the folded Y-axis strips. They should be hanging down like odd shaped teeth – this is fine. You are creating an evenly folded loop at the top.
When you get to the last BACK piece, continue around the Front. Then continue again until each piece has been wrapped around by the Raffia twice. You should have created loops at the top which are flush with each other all around. The loose hanging teeth pointing downwards will be tidied later. You will need to tie off the Raffia. You could cut it off or make it into a bow or what-have-you. [This should be on the BACK, so it should not be visible when worn].
Now take the piece of leather that you will use to hang the weaving from. If you are going to wear this around your neck, measure out the leather accordingly.
Take the leather and poke it through all of the BACK Y-axis loops that you have just created with the Raffia. Now pull the BACK teeth down tight over the leather piece. The odd teeth should now be much longer.
Pull the front Teeth down as well, but be careful not to pull them past the twists of Raffia. There is nothing else keeping these pieces from coming undone. As the piece dries this will not be a problem.
Once all of the front and back Y-axis strands are flush at the loop, you can cut the teeth into whatever shapes you like. I cut mine into a chevron/arrow and then split the strands up the middle to make them look more delicate.
You can tie the leather around your neck however you like. I youtube’d how to make a couple of sliding knots. Tommie Sterling threaded his necklace with beads. Sweetwater suggested we could further decorate the pieces by sewing beads in patterns over the weaving.
Remember: the final step is giving your work to someone …as a gift.