Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Leisl, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, can be found blogging at jorth. Check out her stories on sewing, cooking, green living and knitting — go for the craft, and stay for the laughs!

I have always been a crafter. Ever since I was a little girl I was always happiest with busy hands, creating away. You name it I tried it – sewing, knitting, embroidery, paper making, jewellery making – life was good when I was creating! I used to spend many happy hours dreaming of an adult life filled with the joy of making things, and there were always the bright smiling faces of my children in these day dreams.

You can imagine my delight, therefore, when I found out that I was pregnant in the spring of 2003. And with a little girl, to boot! I couldn’t wait to meet my new buddy, and spent many happy hours making things to welcome our daughter into the world, from her cot sheets to soft knitted toys.

So the plan was to go into labour, head to the hospital, push for a bit and then bring home our lovely daughter, and then after a suitable amount of time start planning for the next one. Oh, and live happily ever after. That’s everybody’s plan, right? Unfortunately for us, though, the script was altered at the last minute. Unbeknownst to myself, my husband or the hospital staff, I was suffering from a condition called placenta accreta. Wikipedia defines it as a severe obstetric complication, and they sure didn’t get that wrong. Basically, it means that the placenta becomes embedded in the uterine wall. Nobody realised that this was the case for me, and when the placenta was removed after birthing my daughter, a huge piece of the uterine wall came with it. Uh oh.

I’ll spare you all the gory details (and trust me, there are plenty) but the short story is that I nearly bled to death, and the only thing that saved me was emergency surgery for 5 hours, culminating in a post-partum hysterectomy. Oh, and 19 blood transfusions. So much for my visions of a nice relaxed birth, with the pop of a champagne bottle afterwards. Physically and emotionally I was a mess, and had a very long road of recovery ahead, plus a new born baby to contend with.

My body slowly mended, but my mind took a bit longer. There was so much to process – the trauma of what I had been through, the constant thought that only by the grace of God I was there to watch my daughter grow up, the grieving for the family of 5 children that we had hoped for but would now never have, and the vulnerability that comes with the knowledge that your safe little world can crumble in an instant.

That, for me, was the hardest thing to deal with – knowing that I had so little control over what might happen. Life could change in an instant, and that first-hand experience left me feeling like I had no control over anything. I put on a brave face, and slapped on a smile and said I was fine whenever anybody asked, but it was a pretty rough time – one that I wouldn’t wish upon anybody.

So there I was – wombless, mentally scarred and scared to death by the fragility of life. This was probably the point where most people would have called in an army of psychologists, but I instead turned to craft. Life, I knew, I had very little control over, but a crafting project I did. Every day when my daughter went down for a sleep, I turned to whatever project I had on the go, and worked at it until she woke. And even if I only got to sew a couple of seams, or knit a few rows, the very act of creating on my own terms began to heal me.

The sense of accomplishment I felt whenever I actually finished a project was dizzying. It was almost like a belligerent cry out to the universe: “I am still here! Look at what I made! You can’t take this away from me!”

So stitch by stitch, I got better. Less scared, more confident. I was still alive, and was still capable. The feeling of living in a body that could let me down at any moment began to fade away, and my mind turned instead to looking after my girl the best I could. Soon my favourite things to make were clothes for her. Somehow, just knowing that I could keep her warm in things made by my own two hands made me feel better.

They say that time heals all wounds. It does, in a fashion. Part of me will always be quietly grieving for the children we can no longer have, but it is a small part now – one that fits into the jigsaw of the person I am, rather than overwhelming me as it did in the beginning. And crafting helped me come to that place. It gave me a sense of confidence in myself, and sometimes just the feel of the fabric or yarn was enough to convince me that all was ok in my world, as long as I could sit quietly to make something.

Before I knew it, my daughter – who is the light of my life – was part of my crafting process, whether it was making something for her or just sitting down and making a good old crafty mess together. Soon I started a blog to document these precious memories, and before I knew it I had internet friends, some of which have become wonderful friends in real life. My blog has lead to jobs, to writing, to the finessing of my skills and I have crafting to thank for all of it.

By the way – I did get my happily ever after. It was a different sort from the one I was expecting, but the hard won version is always so much better.



We would like to welcome advertisers Nikki and Courtney of Mindy’s Minute Market to today, to feature their business and to offer a fantastic giveaway to our readers.

We are two gals with a penchant for finding, making and buying amazing things…that is if we get past the buying part. We are addicted to the latest crafting trends but not to the price tags.  Our quest to bring beauty to all brought us to the realization that bulk is cheaper. We can’t buy bulk on our own. (Our husbands will KILL us!) So, we are trying to make new friends that want to endeavor after the same crafts we do (and others- we are open to YOUR ideas, too!) while we spend less, accrue less and create more!

Where to find Mindy’s Minute  Market online: store :: blog :: Facebook

Tell us about your background and how you started your business?

We started as a means of bringing foot traffic through a local builder’s model homes. Our area is full of local artisans and vendors that had very limited opportunity to showcase their work. We united the two concepts and Mindy Mae’s Market came to fruition. We’ve enjoyed getting to know vendors and being a part of the “creative crowd” as a business.

We noticed some trends in this crowd. Trend One: We think we can re-create everything. As folks walked around our boutiques and showcases we would hear, “I can do that,” or “I bet I could do that for less money”. Trend Two: It’s rare that we EVER DO those things. Insert here whatever reason that that is, money, time, talent, ability, patterns, etc.  Trend Three: When we DO DO these things we generally accumulate way more product(s) to justify the expense. We then have to 1)store these items 2)give them to every neighbor we know 3) attempt to sell them in some other way. This is all because we wanted to save a couple of dollars on an item we wanted in the first place. So now, instead of saving a couple bucks you’ve spent more, time, effort and frustration than you ever anticipated –if you even complete the item.  This is how Mindy’s Minute Market was born.

What are you most excited about in your business right now?

We’ve decided to end the madness. We want people to be able to DO things themselves and ONLY as much or as little as they want to.  That’s why it’s Mindy’s MINUTE Market. It can go two ways: minute as in small amounts or minute because that’s how long it takes to make a purchase! We will follow trends on websites and blogs. Then we’ll take those trends and break them down in to affordable, manageable pieces. MMM will sell those pieces at a sane price and post ideas along with them.  We want to quit being craft supply hoarders. We want to actually complete the projects we have committed to and we bet you can relate. Think of us providing a public service to all craft supply junkies. Your husbands will thank us.

What is your dream for the future of your business?

More friends, less clutter and more finished crafts…in a word, success.

How do you balance work and family?

We don’t. It’s mass chaos. It’s fun mass chaos, however.

I think the main components that make this work for us are supportive and helpful husbands and a balanced give-and-take in our business partnership friendship. It always seems to work out…even if it is by the skin-of-our-teeth.

Today Mindy’s Minute Market is offering a prize  to one lucky reader.

For our Giveaway we’d love to offer you a TWO MONTH SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE.  What does this mean to you?  Well, anytime we put up an item and meet our ‘quantity quota’ – you get that item SHIPPED to you free of charge! This means craft supplies in just the right quantity to try something new, find a new fad or design a new décor! This means you get everything our sponsored crafters get – without any commitment, contract or timeline!  PLUS we’ll be sending you any other goodies and jewelry pieces we feature that have overages from orders during that two month period! This means free stuff with the approximated value at $245 at Mindy’s Minute Market – $512 retail! Things like custom stamps, tulle, chicken wire, diy custom chalkboard paint kits, finials, magnets, buttons, ribbon, corks etc, with ideas for how to use them!

So please leave a comment here to be in the running to win. You have 48 hours to enter. Winner will be chosen at random, announced here and contacted via email. Good luck!    Congratulations to Jessica!

If you would like your business to be featured in a future Giveaway Post, visit our advertising page or email us at advertising[at]whipup[dot]net.

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A few cool things to end the week with …

Grosgrain is ending their month of free patterns with something from me - head on over to check it out – and they wrote some really nice things about me too ;) Thank you Kathleen! Be sure to check out the rest of their month of free patterns and meet some very cool bloggers at the same time.

Parent map featured one our guest contributor tutorials (Marcie from mossymossy) on their 15 homemade gifts that kids can make for teachers roundup.

Make sure you check out this Etsy video - a portrait of a village in Cyprus where the women have been practicing a regional tradition of lace-making since the 15th century. It was recently nominated to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Element collection, but the skill is dying out…. and the famous Lefkaritika lace is being replaced by imported machine-made replicas to meet the demand of tourists. Read a bit more about ithere.

Craft supplies giveaway

And finally Design Memory Craft is offering two readers a chance to win some art supplies: Mix & Match Mixed Media Sampler (the set includes a Stamper’s Brush, Gelato Metallic Stick, Pastel Pencil and Watercolor pencil) + Color Gelatos & Clear Stamp kit (creamy sticks infused with color – use for stamping). These kits are super fun I know because they were kind enough to send me some samples to try out! They also have a blog where they show you what you can do with some of their products. Leave a comment here for your chance to win. I will leave this open over the weekend – and choose a winner on Monday.

Update: Thanks everyone for entering – the 2 random winners are: Amy from Crooked little house and Crystal from not so crystalline. I will be contacting you via email.

And look what you have won!


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September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

I am really happy to welcome Jessica Jones from the much loved design blog how about orange, which features DIY tutorials, free printables, and design inspiration from around the web. Jessica is a graphic designer in the Chicago area. In addition to corporate identities and marketing collateral, her work includes a line of fabrics that have appeared on products at Nordstrom and The Land of Nod, as well as in magazines such as Glamour and Family Circle.

Orange craft supply round up

I’m not sure why sunny citrus hues are so pleasing to my eyeballs, but if it comes in orange, I want it! I love to get off the computer and make things by hand, and my stash of crafty goodies contains a healthy dose of tangerine, too. Papers, fabrics, paints, scissors… not to mention my beloved Swingline stapler. For your orangespiration, here are some of my favorite tools and supplies.

Clockwise from top: Craft knife $5.25, cutting mat $22, handmade buttons $7.99, baker’s twine $15, felt tip brush pen $2.25, washi paper $6.00, pencil case $15, masking tape set $24, stapler $21.95, treat bags $7.


Reader letters

by kath_red on 29/07/2010

in News+Letters

Hoping Whipup readers can help out with these two emails requesting crafty advice…

Do whipup readers have any ideas to help Ronan find that perfect crafty travel kit for his girlfriend?

I’m an expat living in Seoul, Korea right now teaching english. My girlfriend is travelling here soon to stay with me until i finish teaching here, then we’re going travelling around Asia for a while. She mentioned a while ago that, while we’re travelling, she would like to buy fabric and make crafts and possibly display/sell them online. I know NOTHING about fabric, making crafts, handmade things, knitting etc. NOTHING. However, i’d like to help especially since her birthday is next month. Could you possibly tell me what kind of tools/utensils people need when they’re hand-making crafts? Particularly people who are on-the-move? I think she has a particular interest in embroidery but also handmade goods in general. I was thinking of preparing or buying some sort of small “craft-making kit” for her.

Can you help Shahanaz find a specific craft?

I am looking for something that was featured on Whipup a while ago, but I cannot remember the name of the craft! It was a craft where you can take a shape, like a triangle for example, then create smaller triangle inside it, but off-setting the starting point equally on each side of the inner triangle to “rotate” the triangle inside, until your desired amount, and then using different coloured paper, sticking them down in regular order, to get a sort of “telescopic aperture” overall look at the end. Can anyone understand or figure out what I’m looking for?

Send in your reader letters to whipup [at]