by Kasia Z on 01/12/2014

in Whip-Up



The great big enormous beast of a month (even if it’s a sparkly unicorn sugar pony jingly reindeer type of beast) is here!

As I blinked in the morning light trying to recall the date, this awful truth dawned upon me and the behemoth rose up – we are less than 25 days away from Christmas and I AM NOT READY.

Why is it always the last day of November when I finally face up to Christmas?  Why don’t I think to have an advent calendar – a Mummy Scale Advent Calendar – that starts in, oh, I don’t know… July??   I really need one of those pop-out door, chocolate-filled things to warn me December is coming, at least two months before it arrives. But despite every effort made by shopping malls and supermarkets everywhere, jangling their alarm jingle bells and waving their warning fairy lights since October, I do not even have an Advent calendar ready for the first day of December.

Now, we don’t always have an Advent calendar – kid or parent size – in our house for the countdown to Christmas.  More often as we get closer to the BIG DAY we just cross the days off our enormous wall calendar and add to, rather than cross-off, the to-do-before-Christmas list.

We’ve had advent calendars for events other than Christmas at times.

The year before my son started school, one of our neighbours decided to sell up and move away. This was a bit unsettling for us until we found out that our new neighbours would be a family with three boys – and one was my son’s age. This was just tooooo exciting as we are a small family of two parents and one child. The only problem was waiting until they moved in. The house had to be reconfigured to accommodate them all, so there was going to be a lot of

W A I T I N G . . .

Tom's caboose calendar

We decided to make an advent calendar leading up to their move-in date.  With a bit of help from me wielding the craft knife, my son created an advent calendar made of train cars and carriages (he was and still is a BIG train fan).  It was a great success – fun to make, and even more fun to wake up to each morning, opening up the next little door or window on the train – it really helped us manage the wait.  I don’t think any of our Christmas creations have really lived up to the glory of that little train slowly rolling new friends and neighbours into the house next door.

When we’ve made a Christmas Advent calendar at home it’s usually been of the straight count down variety – no chocs, no activities, no little gifties. The lifting of each numbered flap was like crossing off a day on a calendar – the treat was watching the days go by. So last crafting day, I thought I’d ask some of my crafty mum friends whether they had Christmas Advent calendars.

Amid the various sighs, chuckles, groans and laughs the upshot was – beware the Adventosaurus!

Vals Calendar - Cropped Numbers

Like most critters it starts off little and cute. What fun! An advent calendar for my little Chrissie! The making is wonderful – beautiful sweet fabrics, clever funny patterns, the joy of creating for your brand new child, the delight and awe in Chrissie’s cherubic face. Then you have another cherub. And then another. Sometimes there are more. And the Adventosaurus starts to grow. One advent calendar to share? One each? How many gifts? How much chocolate? What time of day? Before school? How to deal with all that emotion, suspense, chocolate?

One mum put all the advent calendars away for good after serious behaviour management stress – even the kids were driving her nuts. Another mum solved the sibling sharing issue by alternating Advent treat days – two kids, two choices – one has the odd days, the other the even days. But despite the cautionary tales recited through gritted teeth (OK, this was a craft group so there were probably pins between those pearly whites…) my informants had some tips for new players:

  1. One Advent Calendar to share – if for whatever reason more Advent calendars make it into the house let them time-share from year to year
  2. Activities you can do together rather than individual treats/gifts etc – unless you are super rich and/or super-disciplined
  3. If you have treats make them work for you rather than against you – one mum says she never has to nag at the kids to get ready for school during December – NO ONE gets ANYTHING until they are dressed, breakfasted, brushed, cleaned, packed and ready to go
  4. Alternatively the Advent calendar only comes out AFTER DINNER – especially if there is chocolate involved
  5. Do something else – a different pre-Christmas tradition inherited, borrowed or made-up
  6. Think carefully before you decide to have an Adventosaurus in the family.

I carefully considered these stories and all the sage advice as it might relate to my situation. In the end I thought we’d stick to our usual plan, Christmas man. Make a simple Advent calendar together, after school on the first day of December and then just open/tear/pull/cross/push/ whatever as each day rolls around or rolls away – whenever we fancy.

What I think I’ll take home from all this Adventurous musing is:

  1. Calendars can be Adventageous for adults as well as children
  2. Like puppies, Advent calendars are not just for Christmas
  3. Advent calendars are better if you diy
  4. Advent calendars work best for us when we make them together.

If you are keen to join in the Adventure here’s a Whipup Roundup from the archives to help you on your way!

Oh and this Advent calendar tutorial and what about one of these?

So this Christmas, if you celebrate it at your place, what will be your approach?






What’s happening?

by Kasia Z on 19/11/2014

in Whip-Up


I’m exploring backstage at Whipup…

I’m wandering about and wondering what all these buttons and switches and levers do.  How the heck do I get this to go up or that to come down, why is this light flashing, what’s that persistent buzz in the background?  I’m checking out all the props and costumes too, the gorgeous fabrics, the shiny objects. I’m going back through the old scripts and reading the reviews, the lists of players, directors and producers who have performed in this space.  I feel like I’m wandering around a beautiful big theatre – it’s a bit dark, a bit dusty but full of recent glory and future promise.

Well it feels like that’s what I’m doing…  The theatrical metaphor feels quite appropriate as I stumble around here – there’s no doubt I have some stage-fright butterflies fluttering about me, but I’m also a bit dazzled by the magic, stage struck.

In reality I’m working out how to drive a website. Thankfully I have some very able instructors, techs and talent to assist me with all this. It’s pretty great when after stumbling about and bumping into things a light comes on and illuminates the space around us. Phew. Not alone.

SO HANG IN THERE EVERYONE – regular service will begin soon!

In the meantime I’m also doing a lot of reading – past posts by Kathreen and the extraordinary cast of contributors, guest bloggers and editors Kathreen invited along for the show. It’s a very relaxing and pleasant thing to do after wrestling with the nuts and bolts of backstage paraphernalia.

Most of the time when I’m working and reading, along with the sound of my internal voice there’s an accompanying imagined space.  When I’m working on the website it can really feel like backstage in the wings and fly-tower of a theatre.  Or sometimes it’s a vast but cluttered textile factory surrounded by paper patterns and sewing machines, cutting tables and bolts of fabric in 60s paisley or 80s taffeta.

When I’m reading Kathreen’s posts, for example, I imagine her chatting to me or typing about her day. I hear her voice and I see her home – her home and her voice as I imagine them since I never had the opportunity to meet or visit her in Canberra.

It’s an impression, not a complete image. There’s a lot of colour and movement – broad Fauvist brushstrokes. There’s deep red and rich chocolate, warm wooden surfaces, sunshine through doors and windows and deep shade in the corners. There are pops of bright colour here and there – blue and green crocheted grannie squares, piles of patterned fat quarters and quilts in progress, a red pot on the stove top. There are aromas too – from that stove-top stew, flowers and grass clippings on the air from the garden. Sounds of the kids laughing and screeching and their running feet pounding as they come in one door and out another. It’s a homemade dreamscape, but it’s how her writing feels to me. Even when she’s tired or frustrated or cranky about housekeeping or parenting (and how I empathize with those posts) she writes from a warm and comfortable place, in the present.

Do you do this?  Do you imagine a space around the words you read, like a stage set for a play?  And when you read something from someone who is no longer here, do they come back to you – in bright colour, present in the moment you read their thoughts?

I think I’ll be rereading Kathreen’s posts over and over again to be back in her company in the present, in that special place.

shirt montage 1

By the way, the images in this post are a montage of phone snaps (by my friend Klarissa Pfisterer) of the Phillips Shirt factory in Melbourne when it was open for Open House Melbourne sometime ago.

If any of you are in Melbourne from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 November 2014, and fancy some vintage rummaging to add to your stash – you know, for Christmas… or something – Phillips will be open for a giant sale of vintage as new fabric from the last few decades and ‘dead stock’ shirts and dresses. Check out Phillips Facebook page for more details.

I’ll be going for the experience, to feel the space… OK maybe I’ll just have a quick look at the vintage goodies too.


Flower girl peek

Well I’m glad you asked.

My name is Kasia.

Kasia rhymes with Russia, but it’s Polish – the diminutive for Katarzyna, which is the Polish version of Katherine. Also, I’m not Polish, I’m Australian with Polish heritage. And I’m sure I’ll say more on that in some blogging future.

I have loved, loitered and lurked around Whipup since 2006 – soon after Kathreen Ricketson created it.  At the time I was home on maternity leave and desperate for something to amuse me while breastfeeding – apart from gazing besotted at that new cute weird little person in my arms.  It was then that I found CRAFT BLOGS.

Oh my. Oh my, oh my. No idea how or where I started but I was hooked and happy. Somewhere along the way I found Whipup and yes, I was in love.

Zip ahead some years…

I’m picking up my son from a school friend’s house, a friend he’d known since he was a toddler in childcare. The boys are playing dinosaurs in the backyard, screaming and roaring, tearing each other to shreds. I’m chatting with the dad, drinking a glass of wine in the kitchen, as you do.  Yadda yadda, school; screen time; I love craft blogs; my sister has a craft blog…

WAIT…  Are you that Jon Ricketson? You mean Kathreen Ricketson’s brother?

O. M. G.

Some more zipping forward…

A horrible heart-wrenching moment in May 2013 when the unthinkable happened… Kathreen and her husband Rob lost their lives in a drowning accident. It happened on a beautiful coral reef, on a dream family holiday, 4wheel-driving and camping around Australia. This is not supposed to happen. For Kathreen and Rob’s family and friends, their world was upside down. The craft blog world too was shocked, incredulous and mourning the loss of a beloved international craft icon.

Months later, I’m chatting in the kitchen with Jon, drinking a glass of wine – hard to believe there’s a time when you’ll be doing this again but you do. The boys are being dinosaurs, egged on by Jon’s nephew. Jon’s niece comes in and out of the kitchen. I’m admiring the recent reconfiguring of their home to accommodate the new family members.  Yadda yadda, house; renovation; school; screen time; I occasionally write a crazy little craft blog; would you be interested in taking on Whipup…


O. M. G.

Well time’s zipped on again and here we are.  Jon and his family – bigger and even livelier with the addition of Kathreen and Rob’s two gorgeous children – are away on an adventure to the US while he works in Silicon Valley for a couple of years.

And I, after much thinking, musing, stalling, consulting, wondering and chocolate-eating have jumped in the deep end of the blogospherical pool.

I’ve taken the Whipup baton from Jon, and the wonderful Jules and Kate, and now it’s my turn to run with it. I’ll do my best, even though I’m not a good runner. My style needs work, I’m not an elite athlete – hey, I’ll probably trip a few times. But I’ll keep working at it.

Stick around. Give a cheer, laugh out loud, shout some supportive words – and take the baton now and then.  Send an email to whipup[at]gmail.com with a link to a recent craft site you’ve seen that you would have like to share. Let’s run this blog together and have a great time. Kathreen would love us to.

She’s probably checking in already and wondering where we are! Hop to it!



And we’re back!

by Kasia Z on 13/10/2014

in Whip-Up


It’s a sunny spring day in Melbourne and we’re whipping up some new things to chat about.




You might have noticed that we disappeared for a week or two. Whipup.net was hacked, and it took us a while to access our data. I’m so relieved that most of our content is back online, and we will be restoring the most recent posts as soon as we can.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the people who helped to get Whipup back online. We have lost so much this past year, and the idea that Whipup might have finished suddenly was too much to comprehend.

Thanks for your patience and support. xx Kate