Hello! Welcome!

I'm Heather McGarrigle and this is my blog - a colourful celebration of culture, crafting and creativity in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Socially disconnected?

Socially disconnected?

The Patchwork Quill wouldn't exist without social media. Not in its current form, anyway. From the content of the What's On Calendar, to the people, places and projects I write about in the posts - most of what you see here has come to my attention, directly or indirectly, through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Vine. It even helped me source the logo you see above!Event invitations, status updates, tags and shares on Facebook; tweets, retweets, direct messages and hashtags on Twitter and the steady stream of eyecatching images on the other three, I scour these platforms daily for ideas, inspiration, contacts and leads.

They are great resources; windows to the world and ears to the ground. As a blogger in the 21st century (especially one who fits blogging around a full-time day job) the social media platforms I use are essential tools for populating and promoting my site.

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However (and I know I'm not alone here), I've found it's creeping further and further into the rest of my life.

The first thing I do when I come home from work is make a coffee, and while the kettle boils, the phone is in my hand, thumb flick-flick-flicking. As my boyfriend and I chill out on the sofa in front of the TV, there's always a mobile or a tablet within arm's reach, and they are frequently reached for. 

Worst of all, I no longer read a book when I go to bed; I curl up in the dark and scroll through feed after feed on that little blue screen until my eyelids are heavy. It's an insidious habit, presenting addiction-like behaviours - I literally cannot sleep until I exhaust either myself or the on-screen supply of updates. 

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As a writer with an interest in culture, crafting and creativity, I have plenty to fill my (albeit limited) free time - books to be read, dresses to be sewn, films to watch, new people to meet and share ideas with.

It has been a long time since I published a crafting post, and that's because it's been months since I touched my sewing machine. Instead, ironically, I am more likely to be found poring over photos of handmade creations on Instagram, thinking "I wish I could do that!"....

I am starting to feel like my personal social media consumption is allowing my brain to atrophy, and dulling my creativity. I feel sludgy and coagulated.

In another twist of irony, I find I am blogging less and less - scrolling through my feeds finding lots of great ideas for the blog, sure, but actually putting down the phone and opening the laptop? Not so much.

I will always be a heavy user of social media, for the reasons set out above, but in an effort to begin redressing the balance, I'll be opening this when I get into bed tonight, instead of my phone.

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The phone'll still be there though - it is my alarm clock... #babysteps

'Trash' Fashion is for keeps!

'Trash' Fashion is for keeps!

Visiting Hours: 'Colliding Forms' at R-Space Lisburn

Visiting Hours: 'Colliding Forms' at R-Space Lisburn