Los Angeles-based crafter and maker Megan O. Andersen—aka RadMegan—is one of my favorite voices in the DIY community. As far as crafty credentials go, I think the first sentence on the “About Megan” page on her blog sums it up perfectly: “Megan O. Andersen has been crafting, baking, cooking, drawing, sculpting and gardening since she could hold a crayon.” Whether she’s doing video work, writing tutorials for her blog, manning booths at craft shows and conferences, or teaching photography workshops, she brings joy, humor, and a whole lot of know-how to everything she does.
1. My garden. There’s always something new blooming, coming out of dormancy, or being eaten (by my carnivorous plants). It’s a jungle out there, and I love it.
2. Travel. While I have a real itch to see as much of this great earth as I can, even weekend road trips, afternoon hikes, and spontaneous camp-outs are an awesome change of scenery from the gray freeways of Los Angeles. It’s really important for me to keep my head clear and change up my scenery to stay on top of my creative game.
3. Food. Insert any number of jokes about how pregnant chicks scarf food, but I’m more inspired by the variety, quality and authenticity of options available. Especially in LA (which I’m almost always hating on). You can visit THOUSANDS of far off lands via the insane options for restaurants here, or hit up the local farmer’s market (or, for that matter, grow your own back-yarn grub with our always-sunny weather). There’s no end to the inspiration as long as you keep an open mind about what you’re willing to try. Having a couple of adventurous friends with you never hurts either—that way you can sample more flavors/colors/smells/etc!
4. Family + Heritage. I think the older I get, the more I want to know exactly where I came from, where my parents and their parents came from, and why we celebrate the traditions we hold so dear. Feeling connected to the past, and knowing how hard my grandparents worked with the tools they had, makes me proud of what they built, and appreciate craftsmanship in the things I make and buy today THAT much more. I sort of long for simpler, harder-living (physically) times. Elementary school kids on mobile devices and everything being disposable really bums me out.
5. Music. I could have easily said books/poetry/movies here too, but I happen to know that there’s no quicker way for me to shut off the buzzing noise in my brain and let inspiration in than by putting on some Neko Case. It works 100% of the time. It’s Pavlovian for me.
Four Tools You Love To Use:
1. Hammer. For feel. There’s something that makes me feel like a good Nordic woman when I bang the crap out of something with a hammer. Whether it’s adding texture to metal or putting something together in the wood shop, the swing of a hammer followed by the deep, rattle-your-bones contact makes it really satisfying.
2. Garden hoe. For sight. I’m a busy gal and sometimes I get mired down with long, endless projects. When I need to scratch SOMETHING off my list just to see a completed project, I will take the hoe to the garden and annihilate any weeds that are creeping into my vegetable patch. A tidy row of lettuces, onions, or beets can be quick wins on an otherwise unruly to-do list.
3. Sewing machine or needle felting needle. For sound (and sight). I used to fall asleep to the sound of my mom’s sewing machine. The rhythmic “ffft-ffft-ffft” from both a sewing machine and needle felting is like a purring from the project I’m working on. Happy purring projects? Yes ma’am. That is what I make.
4. My own handmade knitting forks. For smell. I make these out of poplar (wood) and not only do they feel so good in my hand, they smell like a memory of damp forests and my grandparent’s sawdusty wood shop.
Three Things That Make Your Work Unique:
1. It’s honest—good bad and ugly. I’ll show you what’s up and where I failed.
2. I can lean heavily towards Scandinavian crafts and recipes. It’s what I am and what I love.
3. I’m not great at editing. I know bloggers are supposed to choose one focus, but I blog on recipes, camping trips, craft tutorials, events I’m going to…I’m scattered. But life is scattered, so I keep my favorite gems that life throws me on the blog. It’s not for everyone, but it’s mine and I wouldn’t trade it.
Two Mistakes You’ve Made In the Past:
1. Nearly poisoning my husband on his birthday was a pretty big mistake.
2. Spreading myself too thin is always a problem for me. Whether it’s balancing the fun DIY blog posts against the freelance social media and photography work that keeps us paying bills on time, or just over-committing to things I WANT to do but realistically don’t have TIME to do, it’s a struggle more than a mistake; I try to be everywhere, all things to all people, and I’m always taking on more work than I can handle. Knowing when to say no is important. Also, knowing when you have written a seriously run-on sentence is important.
One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of:
1. Building a chicken coop mansion with my husband, as a thank you present to my mom. Not only was this the biggest, badest thing I’d ever built, it was a seriously fun collaboration with my husband, a bonding experience for my hubby and my parents, and has ended up bringing my mom LOADS of happiness and joy (and fresh eggs) since its completion. I think I’m most proud of this project because my mom has done so much for me, and been such a tremendous influence on my life—both as a crafter, and as a human being. Check out the finished coop: Chicken coop mansion, part 1 + Chicken coop mansion, part 2