Meet Maggy Woodley, creator of the incredible craft hub, Red Ted Art. I have been in awe of Maggy for years – I love her projects and I love how supportive she is to the rest of the blogger community. In short she is AMAZING! I am absolutely honoured to be able to interview Maggy for the first of the Inspirational Educators Series.
Maggy, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us today and congratulations on the launch of your new book, â€˜Easy Paper Projects!â€™ Could you tell us a little more about the book?
Aaaah thank you for having me! So excited to be a part of this wonderful new series!!! Love it.
Equally excited about the new book. It is my second book and after a 5yrs (or so) gap, it was a long time coming. Writing a book DOES take so much time and energy it took me that long to recover from the first one. Having said that, it did give me a long time to build on my experience and insights to kids and the opportunities they get to craft. Especially, since I have been working on my YouTube channel in that time. And it is mainly kids that watch the channel. Whilst my blog is very much read by parents and teachers. From the videos the kids like and watch and leave comments on, I started to realise that:
- A lot of kids donâ€™t have many craft materials
- A lot of kids donâ€™t have much space to craft in or time
- A lot of kids THINK they are rubbish and canâ€™t do something
- And yet.. MOST kids DO love to craft.
The idea for the Easy Paper Projects book was born â€“ EASY crafts using MAINLY paper (and a handful of recycled materials). But really, in essences it is paper, glue , pens and scissors.
The projects are a range of projects â€“ designed to build confidence and throughout the kids are encourage to take the craft from the book and transform it into something of their own. So yesâ€¦ do follow my instructions step by step.. but then make it again, but differently, with new designs or for new seasons.
I really hope it gives kids confidence and the opportunity to be creative. In a relatively low cost, low mess way.
Youâ€™ve recently changed your logo to a rather adorable little bear (designed by Barley & Birch). Could you tell us the story behind the bear? I assume heâ€™s informed your name choice too!
So, yes, as you know we have been â€œRed Ted Artâ€ ever since the website was born. The name comes from a â€œred pop art teddy bearâ€ that I painted for my son when he was born. It is a set of 3 pop art teddies.. but one is red. And when I was searching for a name and bouncing ideas around with a friend, she suggested Red Ted. And we added â€œArtâ€ as Redted.com was already taken…
So I stuck with a simple Red Ted Art for years. When I wrote the first book, I took the â€œbrandingâ€ from that book and it became a kind of â€œinterim logoâ€. I never really spent much time on it. I just knew that at some point, I really should do it properly. And I have always wanted a mascot of sorts.
I briefed Amanda with the request for a mascot, but did tell it did not HAVE to be a bear, but I was open to a bear if we can make it work. And she did. And I love our little Ted (in fact, I have a whole Ted Crafts series dedicated to him). With lots more planned!!! He is SO fun to craft with.
Iâ€™m always in absolute awe of your drive. You have a tremendous number of followers across all social media platforms â€“ what does a typical day look like?
Oh, now that is tricky.. as I am currently trying to turn my working week upside down and actually shorten it if I canâ€¦ so there is no really typical day.. but currently I work in the following structureâ€¦
At the beginning of the week, I like to get all my social media work and newsletter writing â€œdoneâ€. So I call that my â€œday to day jobâ€ that feels like it NEEDS to get sorted and out of the way. So I pin, Facebook schedule, now schedule to Instagram as well and write my newsletters.
Once that is done, I can focus on emails coming in (there is a lot to delete) and blog posts/ youtube videos that need creating. I try and get those done in a couple of daysâ€¦
And that then leaves me with a never ending to do list for the end of the week â€“ looking at things like SEO, sponsorâ€™s projects (not that I do that many of those) any type of planning etc.
If you were to ask me which my current platform of focus is, it would be Instagram â€“ I spend a lot of adhoc time in the IG stories and comments etc. Previously it was YouTube and before that Facebook â€“ i.e. you canâ€™t give each platform and equal amount of time ALL the time. But you have to work on one after the other.
If you could only choose one form of social media to communicate with, what would it be and why?
Ah! Now that is a tricky oneâ€¦.. they all bring so much value in very different ways. But I think â€œin this moment right nowâ€ if I had to choose â€“ then Pinterest. It is a steady supplier of traffic.. and at the end of the day, traffic is what matters the most for me! Traffic pays the bills and allows me to continue to do what I do!
You are known for your craft tutorials on YouTube. How long does each video take from start to finish?
That can depend a little bit on the type of craft â€“ some take longer.. but GENERALLY speaking it probably takes a couple of 2-3 hours from start to finish. The filming doesnâ€™t actually take that long, but the preparation, editing and the edits POST uploading can take a little while. Some projects take long (e.g. a sewing project, the craft itself can take an hour to do, rather than 10-15min) or you may have â€œdrying periodsâ€ in between each stage. Probably why I like Paper Crafts on YouTube so much! They are relatively straight-forward to create and film.
One of the things I love the most about you and Red Ted Art is the spirit of community. On Instagram, you regularly host group shares – the 31 Days of Love has been a longstanding annual event and you are also the creator of Kids Crafts 101. How important is it to collaborate?
Oh I think collaboration is key! There are so so sooooo many benefits from working together. The simplest is, that we have potentially â€œvery lonely jobsâ€. Though I LOVE what I do, if I didnâ€™t have the blogging/ Instagram community, it could drive you bonkers working on your own every day. But there are lots of other benefits too â€“ craft challenges set by others have helped me create some of my favourite crafts, because I was â€œpushedâ€ to do something different. Knowing lots of people means you can also exchange information about the latest platform changes and regulations around blogging. For me, having an extended community is invaluable! And I always encourage newer bloggers to find their tribe!
Iâ€™m always aware that social media only shows a snippet of people and their personalities – what three words would you friends use to describe you?
Oh gosh.. good questionâ€¦.
Reliable, Community Orientated, Busy/ Helpful??
Is there a particular quote or motto that you live by?
I try very much to â€œwork smarter and not harderâ€, so that kids and family can come first!
What do you do to relax?
I love to read! So much so that I sometimes have to STOP myself from reading and do something else. Reading is my way to switch of and totally escape from the day to day busy-ness. I often forget what I have read though.. and can easily re-read the same book a couple of years later! I spend a lot of money for on books for the kids in the hope that they too will love reading as much as I do. And we run a Little Free Library, which makes me enormously happy!
Before Red Ted Art, I used to also craftâ€¦.. but ahem, I seem to do that all the time now anyway!! So it is a bit of a blurry lineâ€¦
Finally, how can we find out more about Red Ted Art?