FK Guest Contributor Jade Suine chats to Pip from craft & lifestyle blog Meet me at Mike’s
Tell us a little about your blog and why you started it?
My blog is a Craft and Lifestyle blog, based around my family, my shop ‘Meet Me at Mike’s’, and the things I make and do. I started writing my blog four years ago because I REALLY wanted to write for a magazine. I figured that a blog could be like an online magazine; I could be my own editor and perhaps I might gather a few readers… that sounded like fun.
Really, I did not expect my blog to become popular; I figured I would just be chatting away to myself. Imagine my surprise when people started commenting and things started to grow! I was inspired by blogs like Loobylu, Posie Gets Cosy and Angry Chicken. I could see that they were doing something lovely, just writing about their lives and families and the things they were making. It seemed like something that I could do too, in my own Pip way.
What do you love most about blogging?
I love so many things about blogging.
Diarising and Documenting: It’s really like one huge diary and I love to flick back to posts from 12 months ago or more and see the kinds of things I was excited about then, the things I was doing with my friends and family, or what I was making.
Sharing: I love to use my blog to share the skills I have. I am not an expert, but I think that it’s really great to teach people the things I have learned. I want other people to make things and be successful and realise their own creative potential.
Connecting: I have met some of the very best people through my blog. I truly have. When you have a blog it is like you have this awesome cheer squad on your side… if you are having a rough day they are there to give you a quick squeeze and help you to buck up. How good is that?
You do share a lot with your readers, such as tutorials and recipes. How important is this element for you?
The most important things about blogging are connecting, documenting and sharing. They work crazily together. First someone finds my blog, they see what I made, I show them how I made it…then THEY make it… and THEN they often go and show someone else how to make that thing too! What could be better than that? It’s a really great chain of teaching and learning. I think it’s important to make craft and design accessible to everyone and thousands of blogs all over the world are doing that every day, (including mine). Aren’t blogs great?
Can you tell us about some of the opportunities and projects your blog has opened the door to?
I am very lucky that my blog has helped me achieve lots of good things. It helped me gain a publishing deal, (I am now writing my third and fourth books with Hardie Grant), helped me start a worldwide craft group, (Brown Owls), and has become a great showcase for our Softies for Mirabel campaign. Also, I was asked to write for Frankie magazine, I have been able to do lots of radio interviews about how important it is to make things and I’ve been on TV. Heaps of things! My blog is like a sort of online folio. You can look at it and see what I make, what my style is, what kind of person I am, my work ethic and my writing style. I have had so many great things happen because of my blog. I have also met some really fabulous people who are super creative and inspiring. My blog has acted like a bit of a conversation starter: ‘Oh! You’re Pip from Meet Me at Mikes! I’m Hubert and I make these light-fittings from cheese graters! Do you want to talk about craft?’
You and your blog have become quite well known and influential in the Australian handmade world, what is your reaction to that?
That’s weird, isn’t it? I think because I have a shop and a book and a busy blog I am often the first person people think of when they talk about the Australian Craft Scene… but that doesn’t mean I am the BEST person. There are heaps of very accomplished and talented people who run rings around me I reckon! I am really glad that people do ask me lots of questions about craft because then I can direct them to lots of great people who are making wonderful things. I think I am a good resource for people who are looking for craft materials or a particular handmade item, maker, or shop. Maybe I am the Yellow Pages of craft, as opposed to oft-touted ‘Queen of Craft’.
Do you have any tips or hints about successfully running your own blog that you would like to share?
Oh my gosh, I have so many tips I could write a whole book about it! Here are my top tips for newbie or confused bloggers:
1. Blog for yourself. Write about the things you love and don’t try to mimic other blogs.
2. Blog as yourself. Write in your own voice, just the way you would talk to a dear friend. Your readers will learn who you are and what a great person you are if you write naturally and in your own tone.
3. Keep it neat, keep it sweet! Make sure your blog looks good and is not full of grammatical or spelling errors.
4. Make sure your images are in focus. If you are using other people’s images, be sure to credit them and ask their permission before you use them.
5. Use a simple blog template and don’t add too many fancy elements, this way your blog will be clear and pretty and a pleasure to read.
6. Be consistent. It doesn’t have to be every day… but keep to some sort of regular pattern if gathering readers is important to you.
7. Be casual. Don’t agonise and strategise over every little detail. Keep things natural or your blog will seem contrived or generic.
8. Keep a notebook. You will never be stuck for things to write about if you jot down ideas as you go about your real (offline) life and then blog about them later. But don’t do things JUST to blog about them. Live first, blog next…or not at all. (Don’t feel you need to document everything; you make the rules).
9. Share. Teach people things, tell them things, show them things; be open and give something meaningful to your readers.
10. Be confident. You are ace. Don’t ever imagine the things you write are not good enough, or that you are not interesting enough. If you write about the things you are passionate about and be yourself then your blog will be awesome.
Is there a pattern in your posting habits?
I try to post daily, but I am not a slave to it. I don’t schedule posts because I like to be fresh and write about what’s on my mind fairly spontaneously. This way I feel like I am talking directly and instantly to the people who are reading my blog.
Can you share with us your 5 favourite blogs?
Ungtblod : I love everything about this blog. What a lovely life Miette has. What lovely photos she takes. What a gorgeous baby she has. What a lovely apartment she lives in!
Tue Tue: Colourful, whimsical, yarny and vintagey too. What a delight it is to spend time looking at the real-life gorgeous photos on this blog.
Dos Family: The shared blog of two lovely women, Isabelle and Jenny. Dos Family is chock full of things to make, house tours, family portraits and other fun stuff. It’s a stylish take on living, without being too perfect, and I love that.
Handmade Romance: Melbourne girl Evie is a total gem. I love the things she makes and she has such great taste. I am always keen to see what she is blogging about.
The Selby: Oh I cannot get enough of The Selby. It is just the sort of sneak peek blog I love. Fly on the wall photos of amazing, diverse homes that always include a peek at the home’s owner too. I like to see who lives where and how, and The Selby shows me!