Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a monthly event, an interview with a crafter, blogger or online business person that inspires me.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Maggy Woodley.
I came across Maggy’s craft blog, Red Ted Art, last year and was quite frankly smitten and a little bit in awe of this woman who seemed to be some kind of crafting superhero. She has the skill and creative mind to turn anything into, well, anything else.
She not only has double sided sticky-tape super powers Maggy is also approachable, helpful and a lot of fun.
A little bit about Maggy.
Maggy Woodley is a Mum of Two living in the UK. She launched her craft blog Red Ted Art in order to share her craft ideas for both children and adults. She inspires others to “have a go” and “have fun” with their children and to discover new crafts and ideas for themselves. Her mantra being that crafting is something for all age groups and everyone can have a go. Her weekly How To s are easy to follow and inspirational for both adults and teens, whilst her kids craft aim to please toddlers to 10 year old.
How did your blog come about?
I started my blog in order to provide an online presence for my children’s artwork business. I wanted to drive traffic to the site in order to promote the art and thought that I had to offer something to make it interesting for people to come back to. What actually happened was that I rediscovered my love and passion for crafts, both for my children and for myself. Red Ted Art the craft blog was born.
Where do you find your inspiration?
With the children’s crafts it is usually very easy: we read a book and my son wants to make something from the book. Sometimes I throw something into the recycling box and I go “hey, that looks like a penguin”. Other times I focus on childhood crafts such as salt dough or pinwheels. I also find a lot of inspiration from other craft blogs, there are some wonderfully creative people out there and it is fantastic to share and exchange ideas.
Who on the web inspires you & why?
There are so many wonderful blogs out there but in particular I love:
The Imagination Tree – Anna has wonderful ideas and photographs them really well, always bringing them back to learning and development too. I also adore Sun Hats & Wellieboots – similar to Anna, Catherine is a bottom less pit of imagination! She always comes up with something quirky and new. I also enjoy That Artist Woman – she brings art back into crafts and I look forward to doing things like her work with my children when they are old enough – exploring different techniques, learning about perspective etc. For adult crafts, I can usually find inspiration on kootoyoo and C.R.A.F.T.
Twitter is also a great source of information and lets you throw ideas around and discuss.
What was your biggest craft fail?
I like to forget all my craft fails, but I guess I would have to say a jumper I knitted when I was a teenager. My aunt had bought a pattern and some random wool to go with it. I learnt that you have to use the right tension wool to go with the pattern or else the result is a little odd, basically my jumper ended up OVERSIZED. It was HUGE and looked awful. But I insisted on finishing AND wearing it. Eek. Now I ALWAYS check I have the right wool for a pattern especially for more complicated patterns or bigger items.
What has been your biggest craft success?
Oh a tricky one, I am quite proud of my no sew bunting because it is what set me off on the Red Ted Art tutorial journey. At the time I was a stubborn non sewer and I really wanted to have some pretty bunting that looked sewn, but wasn’t. I came up with the idea all by myself and was very proud of the results. I have since learnt to sew a little and will continue to build that skill.
What is your favourite post on your site?
Based on visitor numbers – the story cubes
But I am also rather partial to my Hobby Horse (from a sock)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Craft wise, always prep. If you lay everything out nicely, cut things, pin things in advance the craft is easier, especially with sewing. Sometimes it is worth practicing something first for example a knitting a square. The time taken upfront will be rewarded in a better craft later.
As to life: be yourself.
What advice would you give to someone starting out with a craft blog?
Start with crafts that you are good at, you will enjoy them and you will come across more naturally and create a readership that connects with you. Experimenting is good, but I would keep the focus on your strengths. I now use the blog to try out new things for myself so I am learning new crafts all the time and love it, but I always make sure, I have thoroughly tried things out and that I tell my readers where potential pitfalls are as if they have a go, I really want them to succeed. Keep things simple too.
I also think it is important to post regularly so people get to know you, I find something new once a month or once a week.
What do you find most challenging about running your blog & what strategies do you use to overcome this?
Making sure I do indeed have my weekly posts, especially the tutorials, so I am always on the look out for guest posters. When reading other blogs, if I see something I like, I usually approach the person and ask if they like to guest post for me. I almost always have a back up post too just in case I don’t have something one week.
What do you find most rewarding about running your blog?
I love all the feedback I get, especially on twitter, when people tell me they have tried my crafts or when they have found their craft mojo again thanks to me, that makes me go all goose pimply, it is wonderful! At the same time, I really enjoy all the crafts myself. So it has become a real creative outlet for me
What next? What plans do you have for your blog?
No idea! I want to keep on growing it and to get more freelance work. I do need generate an income in the long term, especially if I want to stay a stay at home mum.
A big thank you to Maggy, for not only a great response to my questions but for also, yet again, inspiring me with her answers.