What I care about … it’s a blogging thing

by kath_red on 06/02/2012

in my life

I turned 40 last year – I wrote a little bit about it then, but recently I have realised that turning 40 changed me in more ways than I at first realised. I have discovered that I care less about some things that I used to think were important, and I care more about other things that never even made it to the surface before.

For example, money: these days money is not at the top of my list, it is not even near the top of my list. It is not that I don’t need it, or think about it, or even worry about the day to day of household budgets or anything like that, it is more that my decisions about how I live my life don’t factor it in — it is no longer a reason to do or not to do things. I find if I don’t have enough money I just live a little simpler that week, we eat leftovers or use up what is in the pantry, if I am running low I don’t buy new clothes or go to the hairdresser – I save the money for the big important things and live simpler day to day. I know for some people money is closer to their mind because of need and for others it is because of greed, but for me money is just a side issue to what is really important in life.

Another example, what people think about me: of course I do still fret about this and I do care what people think — it is probably why I get so nervous public speaking, why I am shy at parties, why I hate small talk, why I am such a homebody … but as I get older, what people think of me or what I think they might think of me is no longer a deciding factor in my decision making process. These days saying ‘f*ck that’ is way more likely! I don’t hang out with people who suck my energy, I prefer to be with people who I can exchange energy with, who make me feel alive, and that is just as important with internet relationships as it is with real life ones.

I have been musing over these two points these last few days, in the aftermath of the f*ck quilt project and the ‘N’ quilt and reflecting on what it all means for me and blogging. How people’s reactions affect what I might choose to post or say here on my blog. I want to discuss advertising on blogs — yes I have a few advertisers on this blog, and it pays for the running and hosting costs and the various things that go into the IT support of the blog, that little bit of cash is nice, it is nowhere near to being close to an income, I don’t think I put enough effort into marketing and managing ads for that to ever happen. So when a few people in the comments of last weeks post asked me whether I had considered my advertisers before posting a guest post, it stopped me in my tracks — no of course I didn’t — why would I? What my advertisers think of each post was not and has never been a consideration of mine. When a business chooses to advertise with whipup they do so because of the large and varied craft audience, because of the longevity and reputation and because they get value for their money. But when some mean folks got a bee in their bonnet and decided to email my advertisers and tell them that their loyal customers might not return if they didn’t stop advertising with whipup this issue became real. Should a blog tell their advertisers what they will be posting in advance? Of course not — But when advertisers come into the mix the situation gets sticky. Maybe bloggers do pander to their advertisers, maybe they do think twice in case of offending advertisers, maybe some blogs are consciously or unconsciously being not so confrontational or real because of a perceived notion of what folks want — it is like the pastelisation of the home/craft blogging world – maybe I sometimes do that too?

If you add up the standard reasons people blog and continue to blog year after year (building a platform, selling a product, discussing a project, sharing a life) and then you remove the items that either no longer or never did apply to you, what do you have left? Once you and your blog evolve past a certain point, it is time to reflect on what/who/why you are doing it all for. For me, after blogging for going on 8 years, I think that my blogging style has evolved considerably, as have the reasons I blog and continue to do so — despite the hard work that goes into it, the soul searching, the writing, the answering of the emails, the behind the scenes maintenance — all of that — despite all of that — I still continue to enjoy blogging — sharing and being a part of this craft blogging community that has evolved with, and alongside, whipup.

This is all to say that whipup is not going to go through any drastic changes, it is a mainstay on the craft blogging scene – an essential component of a thriving and exciting blogging community. Whipup will however continue to evolve and this is just one little step on that evolutionary path to enlightenment. So while I am not sure exactly what form these changes will take, I know there will be a few, but I will continue to post what is real and raw in the craft world – I have no idea where that may lead — but craft activisim and the intersection of art and craft is more prevalent than ever before and I will continue to seek out the interesting, bold and new. But I will still be posting what is important to me and to you in the everyday craft making realm too — crafts for your kids, home and self, crafts for health, for practicalities, for creativity, for charity as well as those crafts that are purely for the joy of it too!

So thank you to readers who have supported whipup over the years and will continue to visit every now and again. This blogging thing is a bit of a roller-coaster emotionally (sometimes) but it is rewarding and it does come with its benefits, so I will be sticking at it for a while yet!

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cauchy09 February 6, 2012 at 8:34 am

I must admit to being wary of blogs with sponsorships. While I do appreciate them for the useful crafting info and for some eye-candy, I get the feeling that there isn’t a real person connected with the posts because they seem to be more guarded and focused on the fabrics they are helping to sell. Because I “know” some of these bloggers in other fora I often wish we’d see more than a glimpse of their vibrant and compelling personalities in their writing and in their work. But that’s not their goal.

I hope this world has shop owners/advertisers who support the entire crafting and artistic enterprise and would want to associate with a less-robotic and more original approach to making stuff. After all, we all need supplies!

Anyway, I am totally behind you in your evolution and your endeavor to explore more of the breadth and depth of our communities in this vibrant space. Folks will still balk at being confronted with the uncomfortable, unknown and unfamiliar, but they will stick around for more. Thanks for being here and taking a stand for diversity in art and craft.

2 dozenoaks February 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

Thanks for being real! It situations like these there’s usually more people who support your decision than are out to cause you trouble. Count me in the ‘support’ tribe.

3 LauraJ February 6, 2012 at 9:19 am
4 Nicole February 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hey kath. Having worked on whipup for a number of years I know the effort that goes in to it. I appreciate the continued growth and change I see here though I’m not involved anymore. I love that you don’t just show superficial craft and do go where others won’t necessarily. Love to you x

5 Beverly February 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

I applaud and support your curiosity and commitment to writing about what makes the craft world exciting! Your readers are here because of those qualities, because of the authenticity (catch word though it may be) of your site. Well, at least, that’s why I’m here!

6 Sam E. February 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

I just turned 40 also and I know what you mean. I started to realize how different I am now as opposed to the “me” in my twenties and thirties. The one thing that has never ceased to amaze me is how people of all ages behave at times. If you don’t like a blog, stop reading it. I see no reason to contact the advertisers in a blog and threaten to stop using their services because of what a blogger wrote or posted on their site. Come on! Really??? Just go away. Read another blog. People and their delicate sensibilities really bug me these days. That’s me two cents worth. I must admit that I have been a bit of a lurker here but after reading your post I wanted to voice my support of you and your blog. Keep up the great blog! Keep being being your authentic self!! I like it!!!

7 Jodi Anderson February 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

Well, first off, I really like WhipUp and I’m so comfortable with how it’s run from the viewpoint of a daily reader. You have a nice balance of advertising with lots of good content.

I turned 42 in December. Like you, I care a lot less about certain things. How else would I have developed such a striking, hobo-like layered wardrobe?! Certainly not because I give two cents what anyone thinks about me, but more because I like to be warm, hate to spend money, and I kind of like looking like a hobo. :D

When the quilt post in question came through the other day, I was really excited by it. I love cutting edge work. There is art that I consider too extreme for me (not that), but I’d rather see it than something quite boring and overdone. You know, I wonder, if you were to feature the blankets and other work of Native Americans, it would be rife with swastikas (pre-WWII). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Native_American_basketball_team_crop.jpg) I’ve seen such beautiful displays of the work here in Wisconsin, yet certainly that would likely offend a group of people although the use in Native American culture is unrelated to the Nazi use. Creative and beautiful things don’t need to please everyone… and wouldn’t it be weird if they did?!

Anyhow, I just mean to say, and I’m sure you know, you can’t please everyone all of the time and I think that you’re doing a mighty fine job of pleasing the majority of us. I’m so glad that you enjoy blogging and I look forward to a long life of WhipUp.

8 Flash February 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

Sometimes we need a good tornado in our lives to shake things up. It gives us an opportunity to evaluate our priorities and methods. Just remember…it’s all a matter of proportion. Comparatively speaking, it’s just a blip on the radar and there were no casualties. They were just quilts. You did what was necessary; you followed up and established the context. No harm, no foul.

9 Cheryl February 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

Good for you! And thanks for the honesty. That is what I feel is missing is a lot of blogging.

10 Lindsay February 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Wow–sounds like you’ve had quite the week! I appreciate your thoughts on this, and just wanted to say, craft on.

11 Katie February 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I appreciate your honesty here and I’m so sorry it’s become such an issue! One of the things I appreciate about WhipUp is that it’s a broad sampling of what is happening in the world of craft and creativity, I think it’s one of your strengths! Surely advertisers realize that as well, I hope. I love your posts on craft activism, including the post in question that some folks took issue with. Please keep doing what you’re doing, your voice is unique and important!

12 Michelle February 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Keep doing your thing. I will continue to enjoy and benefit. Thank you.

13 Becky February 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I love this blog – it is one of the first things I check on-line in the morning, every day. I have read you daily for years, and intend to keep on doing so. I have gotten so many great ideas and found so many other blogs through this blog. Keep on doing what it is you are doing.

I turned 42 last year, and I so hear you on the changes in attitude after 40. I never really gave that much of a sh*t before what people thought, but now, I truly just cannot be bothered.

14 Deanna February 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I read your blog for what you have to say and share, sponsors don’t play into it. Keep up the good work!

15 faith February 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I’ve been a long time reader but have never commented before but want to now. I just want to tell you that I enjoy your blog and your viewpoint.

I had no idea that people went directly to your advertisers to try and get you in trouble. Your blog is YOUR blog; if someone has an issue with it they should just stop reading it rather than trying to bully you into meeting their expectations.

Keep up the wonderful work!

16 Astoria February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I loved the post. I love her blog. I love your blog. Its frustrating that no one contacts the advertisers to say, this blog is doing a great job, I’m pleased you are associated with it!

Thanks for all the commitment and hard work. (I’m 38 and I’m just starting to feel some of what you are talking about. I’ve never tried to please anyone cause I really can’t, but I’m finally starting to become truly unconcerned about that. I’m finding I’m welcoming people to my home much more frequently, and not worrying about what they will think of it!)

17 Pat L. February 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Usually content to read your blog from my reader and don’t usually post but wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog and support your editorial decisions! Congratulations on turning 40.

18 Dace February 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Would be so interesting to see how many of the offended, politically correct readers are still avidly following your blog. I know you are out there, so EMERGE!
And confess that you over-reacted and are capable of admitting to that. Only mature readers need apply!

19 Heather February 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Some days I wish my almost 40 year old self wasn’t so long coming. I think she would have rocked her 20s and 30s, because she is so confident and self-assured. Kudos to you. I don’t want a glossed over craft world. I am glad you will continue to keep it relevant and honest.

20 Melissa Crowe February 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Just a quick note of support and encouragement–the web is a big place, and there are plenty of readers who will enjoy a mix of home/family craft and edgy/activist craft, me included!

21 maya February 7, 2012 at 12:19 am

I’m loving your evolving approach to Whip Up! I applauded the post in question and will continue to support your varied and eclectic finds. A voice that is authentic and unique is getting harder and harder to find as the blogosphere grows. I’m grateful for yours, Kath.

22 Walden121 February 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

Thank you for being honest. I love the fact that you bring a wide variety of crafts and reasons for crafting to your posts, I may not agree with all of them or even care for some of the crafts, but variety is the spice of life and everyone should take the time to learn about things even if it’s not something they agree with. We are a diverse world and should embrace it! I, of course, will continue to follow your blog!

23 Stephinie February 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

Loved this…. I’ve never felt that you cater to your sponsors. I would *love* to support your space if funding allowed, F* word and all! (I have a small business sewing). I think there is a huge difference between “ad space” and “sponsorship”. Ad space focused primarily on the money making aspect and sponsorship being more of a carefully considered partnership that compliments the blog space. I’m at the point in my own space that I am considering sponsorship and it IS a worrisome little thing. Thank you for all that you do…. for your honesty & passion. You are a little ray of sunshine in the crafty world for me :) xo ~stephinie

24 Dorie February 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

I started reading whipup because it showed me something new and it cheered on individuals with slightly different takes on traditional craft. (I started reading somewhere around the yeti crab plush post.) I love that that continues, and I’m so glad you blog!

25 Deepa February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I am just shocked to hear about readers of Whip Up seeing it fit to email your advertisers about the quilts! I always say, if you don’t like this, go elsewhere.

I love what you post on this blog. It is time consuming and requires effort. I am so glad you enjoy it. I love reading what you write, the links, the tutorials and occasionally, the shock (in a good way) as with the quilts. You are my almost daily ritual. Thanks for all you do and stay true to yourself.

P.S. I am 41.

26 Lorigami February 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I’m so sorry people got their panties in such a twist and couldn’t actually comprehend what the post was actually about. I thought it was a good post, it made people think instead of just blithely look at pretty pictures. Kudos to you for posting it, and thank you for this follow up.

27 Priscilla February 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Astoria wrote:

> Its frustrating that no one contacts the advertisers to say, this blog is doing a great job, I’m pleased you are associated with it!

*****
You know, Astoria, you could do exactly that. You could e-mail the advertisers to say how much you support WhipUp. It’s a great idea. In fact, we could all do it.

28 Amanda Gaskin February 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Your blog is simply wonderful and it is YOURS. No one, be it advertiser or reader, should be dictating what you post. Thank you for blogging. I have learned so much from your blog.

29 Laura February 8, 2012 at 1:23 am

You, Kathreen, and whipup are an inspiration and a vital part of our community. Keep on!

30 Joy February 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

Kath,
I love that you are digging deeper into the meaning behind all of this. I just finished the book The Gifts of Imperfection. I am sure you have read it but I highly recommend it for people too worried about someone being themselves out here in a plastic blog world. The book teaches that compassion and empathy are a gift from truly showing the world our authentic version of ourselves. Strange how the people who commented negatively didn’t seem to even think compassionately at all towards you the host. Anytime you are doing something really cutting edge, authentic and real, you will piss people off but I believe they were the fluff followers anyways and not the loyal, real deal. You just made some deeper friendships online and bonds through all this that wouldn’t have otherwise been strengthened.

31 jafabrit February 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

Wonderful post and I understand the turning 40 thing. I remember friends being scared of turning 40 but for me it was a time of revelation and rebirth (I took my first art class). I never really let anyone’s opinions stop me, but somehow at 40 I stopped caring at all, and I haven’t looked back. Being true to self and not letting anyone crush that or take it away, is something I value and cherish. I admire your honesty, and your commitment to your blog and craft. You have a new reader/subscriber.

32 kath_red February 9, 2012 at 1:54 am

Thank you dear people for your wonderful support and for sharing your thoughts and stories here. Knowing there are supporters out there sure gives me more energy to keep on keeping on. Happy crafting to you all. xx

33 Sara February 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I’m a long time reader but I rarely (perhaps even never?) comment. I just want to say that I love the new posts, love being challenged to re-think (and re-think again) what “crafts” mean, and considering activism and craft. When I just want visual simulation, there are plenty of crafty blogs offering that, but there aren’t as many (in my humble opinion) that are just as interested in intellectual stimulation, honesty, and self-exploration. So, thanks!

34 Alexandra February 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’m a long time whip up reader, and I will continue to be a reader. It so frustrating to hear about things like this. I applaud you for not backing down and for having the conviction to hold your head up and not apologizing. Art isn’t always supposed to be easy and comforting. Its just frustrating when people with no imagination or concept of the world outside themselves mess things up for the rest of us. Hold your head up high lady! You are awesome!

35 kath_red February 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Thank you!

36 Erin February 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Yes! Never let what advertisers might think get in the way of what you choose to post. Although you have established relationships with them, respect their product, and need them, just remember there are thousands more advertisers out there! We certainly do not need to cater to a company who we are already doing something for. You are Allowing them to place ads on your respected blog. They should be pleased to be here, controversy or not! keep up the good work!
PS I found the “swear quilts” extremely un provocative and childish but still will be visiting the blog!

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