Guest Editors 2013

During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

vivat veritas workspace1

I am so pleased to introduce you to Chie from Vivat Veritas. I stumbled upon her beautiful shop by a chance google search one day. After reading her about page and where her creative business started I knew I had to include her in the series. She is a great example of how a simple interest can blossom into a thriving business.

vivat veritas spring 2013 clothes2
About Chie and Vivat Veritas

Currently I live in Tokyo, I started my clothing line, “Vivat Veritas” on my dining table with a borrowed sewing machine in 2008. After graduating from college and being newly married in Philadelphia, I was looking for a new hobby. Around that time, I serendipitously had a need for new pillow cases and it led to sewing clothes. I became self-taught using youtube clips, books from the library and a bunch of magazines. I hand make pieces for women who have a hard time finding unique pieces in the world of fast fashion. I like to describe my style as a mixture of feminine, classy with a bit of a retro feel.

“Vivat Veritas” means “Let the Truth Prevail” in Latin. The VV motto was taken from a tattoo my husband has on his arm.

Best Advice I’ve Received 

vivat veritas clothes tags3

The best advice I have received to date came from a Korean pharmacist. He is a family friend and have had lots of time to get to know one another. One night recently we were talking about our respective businesses. He proceeded to talk about the value of experience. I know it’s talked about a lot but it seems recently the “just do it” mentality has taken front place. As we were talking, my friend laid out what he thought were the essentials to success in entrepreneurial ventures.

He told me, first you have to know the business. By that he meant, you need to know all the different and diverse facets of the business. Making a successful business is dependent on you being able to do all facets not just the things you like.

vivat veritas spring 2013 4

Secondly, he said that success requires the owner to know what daily operations look like. For the fashion world it is easy to get caught up in runway shows, but in reality that is an event that happens sporadically throughout the year. The other 360 days a year is work. You’ll never get to a show if you can’t make the daily grind work well.

Thirdly you need time in your industry, to know what you don’t know. It’s great to have a plan but until you’ve been in the thick of it first hand you have no reference point for what things should be happening, what things should have happened and what things should happen. Experience is king!

A big thank you to Chie for stopping by today and sharing her wisdom with us. You can find her beautiful clothing at Vivat Veritas and more inspiration on her blog.

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During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

Throughout this series, you will hear me use the term “creative business” quite a bit. I wanted to talk about what that term encompasses to me. The last thing I want you to think is a pair of knitting needles or taking up sewing is required for a creative business. But I do think there is a difference between starting something with the simple goal of making money, and creating something that is fulfilling and supplies an income at the same time.

So for fun, I will share what defines a creative business to me, and then ask you to share your thoughts and how you define yours (or the one you hope to have) in the comments.

Defining A Creative Business

How I Define a Creative Business

A work that is born from a single idea that formed in your mind and stirs the imagination and plays to your strengths and talents. It is then fueled by a burning desire to achieve a certain feeling, and is motivated by love.

Pretty broad right? Notice I said nothing about hobbies or passions. I don’t believe ones work depends on these two things to be fulfilling.

  • So if we break that down by how the creative business is formed and plays out it would look like this:
  • We take an idea that strikes from an imaginative vision that instantly has us excited.
  • Then as if like magic, ideas start coming from every direction in our mind.
  • These ideas naturally pulls from our strengths and talents, because ideas from our Higher Self (imagination) always do.
  • Then if we’re persistent and conquer the resistance (our ego) that inevitably comes when one starts a work one should do – we put plans into action. 
  • This work then fulfills our feeling desires (helpful, innovative, artistic) giving us a sense of purpose. 
  • It is our Love for this purpose that carries us through all the ups and downs, and offers hope when things get tough.
  • Then ultimately, this business makes an income. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby. I can tell you from experience, it’s the most gratifying income you will ever make.

So there you have it, my definition of a creative business. Does yours look similar?

Have you ever had one of those ideas strike, and then by the next day, talk yourself out of it?

Are you currently working on one?

Please share I would love to hear!



During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do. Destri :: The Mother Huddle

Hello friends! Destri from The Mother Huddle here, I am so excited to spend May as your guest editor here on WhipUp. I love the creative energy WhipUp has, and the community that supports it — so any chance I have to be a part of it, I jump on.

A little about me: I am a bit of a gypsy. It started when I was 20 and packed what I could in the back of a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse and moved to Denver Colorado chasing a dream. I found my husband there, and together with our two kids we have moved 10 times in 12 years. We’ve landed in Dallas Texas for the next two years, and from here we’ll be headed to Montana next. I’m a little nervous about that move — I’ve heard it’s cold. Really cold.

My days are filled with packing lunches, braiding hair, sweeping floors, and folding laundry. I love a good book, coffee with my creamer, and dark chocolate. I’m sure we share a few things in common.

Destri Whip Up

{image credit: Hank, my six year old :)}

I also work from home, doing something I love. A lot of things actually, which brings me to the series we will be hosting. I say “we” because it will require your participation to ensure its success.

I wrote an essay here on WhipUp last year talking about how my business came about. After it’s publication I received dozens of emails from women wanting advice for creating a business from home using a blog as the primary platform. I was a little overwhelmed, and didn’t have a chance to answer them all that well. So when this opportunity came, I knew instantly what the series subject could be. Then the doubt set it. Do I really know enough about running a business? Nope. Do I have all the answers? Nope. Can I spell out the exact formula for success? Definitely not — I’m still making my own! But, I can share what I know.

When I was sixteen I went to cosmetology school and by the time I walked on to my high school graduation stage I had a license. One thing that industry taught me is everyone has a little something they can teach someone else. I used to love to ask instructors and fellow hair dressers what their favorite technique or trick was and have them show me. I asked everyone, wherever I worked for over 10 years — even the girls fresh out of school. I can attest, it was all those little tips accumulated that gave me an edge and enabled me to grow a large clientele time and time again. I could apply everyone’s best knowledge and education (not just my own) to each person that sat in my chair.

In that spirit, I thought the best way to go about this series, would be to share what I know on a specific topic in creative business, and then invite you to share what you know, and you can also meet fellow entrepreneurs just like you and me to learn what they know.  I can’t wait to learn from this community!

Sharing What We Know In Creative Business

Destri's Workspace

Weekly Discussions

Here is how it’s going to work: I came up with four hot topics when it comes to starting and running a creative business that seem to always be the theme of emails I receive. I will present one each week with my advice on the matter to get the conversation going, and then in the comments I would love for you to share yours. Here are the four topics we will cover over the month of May on Mondays:

  1. Finding Your Passion for a Creative Business – it is said that 80% of people don’t know what their passion is, so it’s no surprise that a common question is “how do I start a business about something I love, when I don’t even know what that is?”. I have a tip that can help with that!
  2. How to Start and Stand Out in a Crowded Marketit can seem like anything that can be done, has been done and that the web is saturated with creative businesses. This can make many feel like there is nothing left for them, that it’s too late and they missed the boat. I have a theory on why that’s not true, and why now is as good a time as any to stand out and make money doing something you love.
  3. How to Take Your Creative Business to the Next Level – most of the emails I receive are from women who already have a blog or shop, and are struggling to take it to the next level — making an income from it. I have a few ideas, and have learned a few things along the way that I can’t wait to share.
  4. How to Make Your Life and Creative Business Work Together – again, another frequent question I get that is always associated with the word “balance”.  Of all the topics, this is where I feel like I am strongest. I could write a book on the topic, actually I started one — then took my own advice and set it aside for the time being.

Get to thinking about the advice you could offer and please come every Monday to share and talk shop.

Sharing Resources

Each Wednesday over the month of May we will have a “Sharing Time” (I know, so elementary school, but it’s all I could come up with!), to highlight our favorite books, resources, tools, and inspiration used for running our creative businesses. I love these types of posts and always find them very helpful.

Start making your list, I have a feeling the comments on these posts will be where all the value is!

Advice From Those who are Doing What it is You Want To Do

Some of the best advice I ever received when it comes to making your creative business dreams a reality was to stop listening to those who say it can’t be done, and start seeking the advice of those who are successfully doing it.

I rounded up five women who are successfully running their creative businesses and asked them to share the best advice they have been given, or have to share. We will hear from a Chocolate Maker, Clothing Line Designer, Blog and Content Creator, Clothing Pattern Designer, and Photographer and Familyness Expert.

They will pop in every Friday during May, you won’t want to miss them!

I can’t wait to get things going, and starting tomorrow I will define what a creative business means to me. The term is very broad, but really comes down to one thing. That we love our work. We all deserve that luxury, and together we can help each other get there.

Thanks for having me, and I do hope you join in!



During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Mary Jo for the month of April :: The theme for this month is functional creativity.

Mary Jo :: Five Green Acres


I like to think of shelter in terms of the things that we put in our houses that transform them into our homes. What are the pieces that convey in a glance a little bit about a home’s inhabitants? Artwork, naturally. Clutter, or lack of. Colors. Linens. Blankets.

That’s where I’d like to zoom in today: blankets. Inside my own home, I find the most profound shelter in my bed. It’s where we pile up if the day gets so beyond the bounds of sanity that we have to ditch the plans and pop in a movie or huddle with books. It’s where I can’t wait to get to by the end of the day; so delicious is that moment where bare toes burrow into the depth of the blankets. And I like my blankets to be weighty, of substance. Forget the rocking chair by the fire; when the kids hit their own pillows I can’t resist the calling of my own, even if sleep is more than an hour away.

On this refuge of a bed, we have a lofty feather comforter and a run-of-the-mill duvet to enclose it, but it is an awkwardly-similar shade of blue as the walls.  And it’s stained — by paws and sticky fingers. So I set about the very practical task of remaking the duvet, expecting to find some new fabric yardage to quickly sew up a new one. There was plenty that would have worked, but, to quote a dear friend’s handy phrase, there was nothing that “sang Bon Jovi to me.” Hee. (I don’t particularly want my bed singing Bon Jovi, but…) So I looked further.


Linen. I will swoon for linen, actual linen from the flax plant. Antique linen? Better. Homespun French Linen from the late 1800s? Best. I found an Ebay store selling that very thing, and I looked through about 37 pages to be sure I found the right one. For my bed. Somewhere on page 12 or so I saw an antique bed sheet that bore an embroidered initial on the bottom corner in red thread. I love the idea of honoring the makers of old, and such a detail would make the linen even better, I thought.

Then I came upon another bed sheet with different initials, which of course obliged me to look through the whole list, trying to find the best match for our own letters. I found one that came close, got excited, and then found this one, which bore both of our initials, prominently displayed on the top, laid out in the order that corresponds to our own sides of the bed. You might have heard me shriek that day, so excited I was. But it wasn’t quite big enough to fit the whole duvet top, so I looked for a complementing piece to add to it. By this time, I was likely through page 20 of the whole store’s listings, so it wasn’t long before I came upon the antique child-size bed sheet that bore not only my own initials, but my favorite magic number. Hot damn. You probably heard me shriek again. Sold.


In keeping with the sparse design of the embroidered initials, I found some fantastic linen embroidery floss in a similar shade of red. (Yes, a sucker for linen I am.) In keeping with the design of my bedroom, I chose to embroider a double wedding ring motif with a simple running stitch. In keeping with the fact that I raise sheep, I chose to add a lofty layer of wool batting between the linen and the duvet top. Though now I worry that it will make the whole blanket sandwich too hot, so I’m considering the option to make it just a quilt, to add or subtract from the feather comforter, or to be used on its own.


I’ve only completed a small portion of it so far but I am floored by how the whole thing has come together as if by divine intervention. The two antique sheets fit the duvet top perfectly when I took them apart at the (lovely handstitched) seams and rearranged the layout. Once finished and put into service on our bed, I imagine it will increase the bed’s magnetic force over me, if that’s even possible. Whatever the case, it will be the most-used of all handmade things in our home, given my requirement for 9 hours of sleep each night. It doesn’t get more functional than that, does it?


During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Mary Jo for the month of April :: The theme for this month is functional creativity.

Mary Jo :: Five Green Acres

Regardless of your hemisphere, the change of seasons is here, bringing with it the inevitable Wardrobe Changeout. Surely I’m not alone in dreading the task of switching out all the cold-season clothes with warm-weather ones, or vice versa. If you have growing kids in the mix, this task also becomes a reckoning: what still fits? What wardrobe holes need to be filled? And if you have a penchant for filling those voids with even the slightest handmade touch, this quickly becomes a very busy transitional season indeed. But there is strength in numbers, and the brilliant voice behind the Elsie Marley blog has found a way to unite us in our common goal. Formerly called Kid’s Clothes Week Challenge, Meg has streamlined the name of the semi-annual event that gets us cranking out clothes for our kids to KCW (Kid’s Clothes Week) and has also given it a shiny new website. The next edition of the challenge is nearly upon us — April 22-29.
kids clothing week
Meg and I recently had a quick chat about it all — check it out for yourself and see if you’re as fired up to start as I am.

Mary Jo:  The participation in KCW seems to grow with each season, highlighting the universal need to clothe our kids in a way we can reconcile with our own creativity. Can you tell us a bit about how KCW has evolved?

Meg: Kid’s Clothes Week started because I found myself in front of the tv too many evenings in a row. Most nights, I’m wiped out after I put all the kids to bed and the couch calls me. Then the next day I feel awful because I haven’t made anything, or engaged my creative brain in any way. I thought if I can get my tired self into my studio, my creativity will wake up a bit. So, for one week I made myself work on sewing kid’s clothes for one hour each day after everyone was in bed. And it worked! I felt better, I made things, I had amazing creative momentum!

I think all we need is a little push: off the couch, off the computer, out of our own brain and into our studio (even if it is a tiny corner of your dining room table, it’s your studio). That so many people have jumped on the KCW train only strengthens that idea. With so many people sewing at the same time, it makes the experience so much more enjoyable. You might not think that because someone is sewing kid’s clothes in Australia the same week you are would make any difference, but it does! They are excited about what you are making, which makes it more exciting to make things, which just makes everything better. More than 300 people had already signed up for this spring’s KCW by the end of March, with many more expected!

kids clothing week

Mary Jo: Your design aesthetic is so clean and inspiring to your readers — where do you find your inspiration?  How has your aesthetic changed over the years?

Meg: Inspiration doesn’t come easy to me. Yes, there are a million things on pinterest that are amazing and that I want to make… sort of. But that real, I need to make it now — I can’t go another minute without making it! kind of inspiration is hard to come by. I have to work to get it. That work is simply paying attention. Paying attention to the things in my real life and on the internet that move me. You know that feeling where you immediately are drawn to something–a color, a combination of objects, the light, some random photo on pinterest. All of those things can be explored and turned into something new.

I don’t know if my aesthetic has changed so much. I have always been drawn to simple shapes and clean lines, but I don’t think simple has to be boring. My children like big, bold prints and colors. I try to find a simple silhouette that will show off a huge print or crazy color. I have realized over the years, that the simpler the clothes, the better the fabric needs to be. You can’t hide behind a thousand ruffles on a simple a-line dress. Move beyond quilting cottons, and discover double gauze, voile, jersey, twill. They will transform your simple dress into something amazing.

kids clothing week

Mary Jo: What have you found yourself making again and again for your kids? Do you have a favorite pattern or silhouette?

Meg: I find myself drawn to Japanese sewing books again and again. The clothes are simple and modern. Yes, the patterns are in Japanese, but there are many pictures of the process. For a visual learner like me, I find the photos much more helpful than the poorly written directions in English patterns. Happy Homemade Vol. 2 is probably my favorite one (if you read my blog, this is no surprise). But there are many out there. Cherie from you&mie recently did a week long series on Japanese sewing books. It is an invaluable resource for working with them–and I’m not just saying that because I wrote one of the posts!

Many of my favorite patterns come from that book, but I have also fallen hard for Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. It is an amazing basic pattern that can be made into sweaters and dresses and all kinds of tops. It is a great way to really get comfortable sewing with knits.

Mary Jo:  What new features are on the docket for this KCW?  What do you plan on making for your own kiddos? 

Kids clothing week

Meg: I am working with Dorie from tumblingblocks on a new site for KCW. Instead of toiling away in secret and then surprising everyone with the big reveal, we are working with the KCW community to build the site. It’s great to involve everyone in the process, so we can make it work for everyone! The new site is going to be a place where you can come and hang out: share projects, look up patterns, talk about what went right and what when so very wrong. For now the new blog is where all the action is!

>For this Kid’s Clothes Week, I’m think of making one shirt. Usually I over do it and make waaaay too much stuff. This time, I’m going to take 7 days to work slowly on one shirt and share each step along the way. We get so hung up on the end result (pretty pictures! pretty pictures!) that sometimes we forget to share the process. And really, for sewing nerds like me, the process is the best part!

Thanks Meg! I’ve already signed up to participate in the challenge. Who’s with me?

{images from Elsie Marley blog}

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