Meghan Cryan, also known as domestic_engineer, has got the crafting part of being a parent down! She's been on the site since 2008 and has shared tons of instructables ranging from clothing for her kids, delicious foods, holiday decorations and even a couple of drinks. Her most popular instructable, how to make a toddler dress from a t-shirt, has gotten tons of views and inspired many parents to make their own! You guys should seriously check out the comments on that one - it'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy. :D
I love your username! Domestic engineer is a much better title than stay at home mom. How did you come up with it?
I went to engineering college, (WPI). People would ask me what kind of engineer I was, and I'd have to explain that I majored in theatre technology, and then I'd have to explain what that was. (and I had a dual minor in physics and electrical engineering). And then I'd have to explain that I wasn't doing any of that, cause I stay at home and take care of my awesome kids. (Ages 6, 4, 2 & 2 (twins)) Telling them I was a "domestic engineer" was much easier.
How did you first find instructables and what inspired you to post your first project?
My husband found instructables and showed it to me. (He's member marc.cryan) He was like, "hey, there is this web page that shows you how to do anything." We were both hooked right away. I had seen a lot of websites for craft how-tos, and some for technology how-tos, but instructables was the first site I saw that covered everything!
My first instructable was for Rutabaga Pi. I saw the pie contest, and I had just discovered this strange but delicious pie, and I wanted to share it with the world.
If you could give one piece of advice to new authors on instructables, what would it be?
Just do it. You never know what is going to be popular until you publish it. I can't believe my reused wrapping paper wreath has over 32k views. I almost didn't publish it, because i thought no one would be interested. Just make your instructable, and if one person finds it helpful, then job well done.
You post tons of fantastic kid-centric instructables - are you able to do any crafting for yourself? Anything you've been wanting to do for a while?
All my kid projects I think are secretly for myself. I love having my kids show off what I made. I have a few ideas for some books I would like to write, and I have a lot of instructables in the wings. Finding the time is the hardest part. But I just remind myself I'll have lots of time in 4 years when all my kids are in school all day. For now I've gotta enjoy my babies, and make them lots of crazy things.
Of all the projects that you have posted, which is your favorite?
That's tough. I love the t-shirt dress and the electric mayhem. But I think my latest one might be my favorite, the Hoop Houses. It took a long time in the making. We had such luck with our hoop houses, and I was excited to share how they work, so others can try it. I really love being in the garden, and being able to garden all year round has been amazing.
Is there anything or anyone that is especially influential on the things you make?
My husband. We are always bouncing ideas off one another. It will start as a conversation about vegetables, and before you know it we have a huge garden mapped out, with a watering system, muscovy ducks, an orchard, and trout farm.
Also my kids are always wanting me to make things that you can't buy in the store, like Funzo (from the Simpsons), an Emmet Otter doll, dresses with robots and rainbows, obscure Halloween costumes...the list goes on. They are not influenced by commercials, they just want what they want, and they keep me on my toes. And they know how to butter me up, "But mommy, you can make it. You can make anything!"
You say in your author bio that you're a scenic carpenter. You should tell us more about that!
Yup! So much fun. You get to build crazy things, usually very quickly, and for very little money. I got to work for a few of the big theatres in Boston and Worcester, but the most fun was summer theatre. You had to build a new set every week, and you'd only have one night to strike the old set and put up the new one.
I've had the chance to build some crazy things: a giant paper mache mushroom, walls made out of wax paper, an art deco styled luxury train, a drawbridge, countless elaborate stair cases, and about a million different living rooms. Sometimes it seems like every other play takes place in a living room.
But working in theatre; building sets, making costumes and props, taught me some great skills that I use all the time. I can work quickly, creativly, and cheaply.