An Interview with Maya*Made

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Maya of Maya*Made is a super crafty, yet wonderfully down-to-earth, mama of two children, ages 5 and 11. She lives in 1850s farmhouse and calls her mom her best friend. Join me for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life and her creative childhood

***Note: Readers will have a chance to win a child's beginning embroidery kit, handmade by Maya, at the end of this interview.***

I love exploring your make, eat, shop buttons in your
sidebar. So much good stuff going on in your life and your blog! What sorts of
projects do you have the most fun with?

MAYA:  My absolute favorite
way to create is with a bunch of interesting materials and only a vague notion
of the direction I'll go in. Process driven art is just as exciting for me now,
as when I was a child. I'm also always enthusiastic about using ordinary items
in unexpected ways. I gather toilet paper tubes for just this reason.


JEAN:  I’m always
curious about the intersection of inspiration and doing. What gets you out of
bed in the morning? Where do you find your inspiration and how do you translate
your ideas into doing and making?

MAYA:  I make something everyday,
whether it's a little gift for a friend or a special meal. I've always done
this and can't imagine life any other way. However, for many years, all of my Big
lived only in my head. I did lead a very rich and colorful
life with my family, but I had so many plans that only existed in notebooks or
scribbled on scraps of paper. I ached to make them real, but lack of confidence
held me back. 


When my youngest turned two, something shifted for me. My
daughter has always been a prolific artist. From a very early age, she rarely
had a moment where she wasn't making or drawing. I started creating along side
her. Her lack of inhibitions, strong belief in her growing abilities, and 
perseverance inspired me to find my own voice.  Once I gave myself permission
to let my ideas dance out of my head into the world, I realized something very
exciting. The synchronicity of my mind and hands working together creates an
energizing dynamic that builds upon itself. The more I make, the more ideas are

JEAN:  I’d love to hear more about your
blogging journey. What made you start blogging and what keeps you going?

MAYA: Two years
ago, I began blogging as a way to chronicle a child-focused interior design
project I was working on. Even though it was a store, I realized that a lot of
my ideas could have applications for parents in their homes. I thought a blog
would be a great forum for sharing. Often, you don't know where things will
lead. I had no idea that blogging would be the ultimate medium for, not only my
self expression, but connecting intimately with others all over the world.

JEAN: You said that your mom is an artist and a senior
teacher at Stanford lab’s nursery school – how has she influenced you? What was
it like growing up with an artist and early childhood educator as a mother?

Baker beach- 3 generations

Maya with her mother and grandmother at Baker Beach in San Francisco

MAYA: First, I
must share how fortunate I was to spend a great deal of my childhood with her
parents. They played a  tremendous role in my life. My grandmother
received a Masters from
Bank Street College of
in the late 30's, when they had just
begun their now famous teacher training program. She and my grandfather, a
physicist and artist, built their home (the first solar heated home on Long
Island) and incorporated a large nursery school onto one side of it. They ran a
very successful cooperative school for 50 years!

I was born there and spent
every summer having this space all to myself. There were multiple easels always
set up with paint, slabs of clay waiting to be sculpted, a woodworking bench
with real tools, every art supply a child could want—accessible and waiting.

Sailing away

Maya with the nursery school to herself in the midst of a huge boat made of blocks

was given lots of time and space for exploration of all of these materials. I
know that this deeply impacted how I parent my own children and shaped the way
I've set up their creative spaces.

My mother wasn't a nursery school
teacher during my early childhood years. She was a free-spirited artist who
sewed our own clothes (or thrifted them), made toys from recycled materials,
grew organic vegetables, and taught me how to be happy with less, rather than

Fast forward to the present. That
description sounds very much like me today!

My mother has been a senior teacher
at Stanford's Lab Nursery school for almost 20 years. She has shared a
wealth of resources with me, from Reggio Emilia inspired projects, to great
children's literature, to activities using open ended materials… and of
course, wonderful parenting advice. You can find us discussing everything and
anything on a daily basis.


She's my best friend, and my children wish
that they could be with her all of the time. Me, too!

are a few of my mother's book picks:

RapunzelsSupermarketItsNotABirdYet BeautifulStuff

Rapunzel's Supermarket: All About Young Children and Their Art

It's Not a Bird Yet: The
Drama of Drawing

Beautiful Stuff!
Learning with Found Materials

JEAN: And, how about your own kids? Can you tell us what you
do at home to encourage their creativity?

MAYA: I follow
their passions and create opportunities for them to explore deeply whatever
they're currently excited about.

Mr. tater

When my 11 year old started drawing comics, we
enrolled him in a cartooning class at the local art center. When that interest
morphed into stop motion films we made sure that he got a camera for his

My youngest has a studio of her own.
We really do call it her studio. It's a large corner (adjacent to mine) filled
with supplies for anything she might want to make. My husband has happily
sacrificed his work space to give her more room to spread out.


We cut the legs off of our first
kitchen table when our son was small.  It has served both of our children
well, as a large workspace at just their height.

I do set up new projects, but mostly
encourage them to come up with their own ideas. My daughter's recent discovery
has been embroidery and finger knitting, but a day doesn't go by without a
dozen drawings being stacked up and waiting for display.


JEAN:   I’d love to hear about your favorite
blogs — We all learn from each other and inspire each other to a degree in
this wonderful online world. What are the blogs that you go to regularly for
inspiration or just a good read?

MAYA: When I
first discovered this amazing online community, I couldn't get enough. I would
stay up late reading hundreds of blogs, not wanting to miss a thing! I couldn't
maintain that for long. Now, I read a few sites daily that give me a quick
overview of multiple projects:

The Crafty Crow


Whip Up

One Pretty Thing

I also have a handful of sites that
I read regularly because they belong to friends. These are mostly women I've
never met, but have grown quite close to through our blogging. To see a list of
some of my favorite reads, you can check

JEAN: Anything else you’d like to add?

MAYA: Thank you
so much for inviting me over, Jean!

JEAN: Thank YOU, Maya! I love having visitors. Wish you could come over to my corner of the physical world, as well!

Readers who leave a comment to this interview by Friday, December 11th at 12 Midnight EST, will be entered into a random drawing for a child's beginning embroidery kit, handmade by Maya.

Embroidery kit First pattern

Embroidery Kit

Small coffee sack bucket (lined with organic fabric) contains:
-embroidery hoop
-various colors of floss
-2 steel needles with blunt tips
-coffee sack pincushion, that blunt needles slip right into!
-blank burlap pieces
-2 burlap pieces printed with simple embroidery patterns (shapes or animal)

Burlap's loose weave makes a perfect introduction to simple embroidery. 

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  1. says

    great interview, I am a Maya Made fan (and her one bowl apple cake is wonderful :o) ) good to know a little bit more about her, her childhood sounds amazing.

  2. Kate says

    My almost 5-year-old would LOVE that. She is very artistic, although I am not, and I am doing my best to encourage that bent in her!!

  3. Tamrah T. says

    What an amazing interview. Excited to hear the family background for all that artistic inspiration. Enjoyed the read; thanks for sharing. Have a great day, everyone!

  4. Julie says

    I love both your blogs and I am sure that my daughter would love the embroidery set. I really enjoyed the interview.

  5. Amy says

    Well I’d really love to win the embroidery kit, but maybe I’ll make one of my own if I don’t. My five-year-old would eat it up! I can see it as a great stocking stuffer.

  6. erica says

    What a lovely blog and I love the kit! Maya, any chance you can add some more kid kits to your etsy store:)

  7. Agnes says

    I love reading about artists’ background and how their family influenced them. Thanks for a great interview!

  8. tif says

    Thanks Jean and Maya. Learning about the ways you incorporate art, imagination, creativity into your lives inspires me! I love the idea of making something everyday – including a wonderful meal. And, love the kit!

  9. says

    Long time Maya-Made fan here, too. I loved hearing about the multi-generational connections: Maya’s grandparents, her mother, and especially how her daughter’s own creative process spurred/inspired Maya. And I am adding those books to my list right now. Thank you both for another artful interview!

  10. Laura F says

    Thank you both for such a great interview! I really enjoy Maya’s blog. I love the pictures of the remodeled barn…so much inspiration.
    I’m crossing my fingers. My 11 year old daughter, Maya :) would love this for Christmas!

  11. says

    I enjoyed each and every word of this interview, thank you so much for sharing it with us :)
    Maya is a dear friend & a daily inspiration to me & to so many. What a wonderful childhood she has, and what a fabulous one she’s giving to her children !
    Thank you both for the giveaway. My two boys (5 & 7) really love to embroider, which fills my heart with joy. :)

  12. Anna Sander says

    What a wonderful interview. I keep going back to Maya Made for tutorials. I am in the middle of making her elf slippers and I just bought her burlap bag bucket pattern. I love all her ideas!

  13. abby says

    I have a daughter that just started sewing…..she would absolutely be in heaven with this cute little embroidery kit!

  14. Paula L. says

    I loved reading the interview and have been following Maya’s blog for a while.
    ap_lemos at yahoo dot com

  15. says

    I found this interview very interesting. My child is about to turn two and it sparked something in me similar as to what happened with Maya. I now can’t get enough of crafting and art. Your child’s embroidery kit is so sweet.

  16. BeckyS says

    I love Maya*Made. I have been following her blog for a little over a year now, and rarely miss a post. She has inspired many creative endeavors for me and my children. Thank you for the great interview.

  17. Kim says

    Fabulous interview, thank you! Also, great idea for a starter kit. If I do not win, I am planning to create my own for my oldest daughter!! Keeping my fingers crossed xxxx

  18. says

    Thank you for interviewing Maya and the opportunity to win! I frequent her blog and am so encouraged by her words… I’m ready to carve out time from my daily to-do’s to create more with my family!

  19. says

    Ahhhh what a great interview…..I love visiting Maya’s blog. Now I found your too!!
    Thanks for the chance to win a wonderful kit!!

  20. crazyestonian says

    Thank you for the nice interview :)
    I have to give some thought to crafting alongside my daughter. I often get wrapped into something else and she ends up crafting by herself while my projects linger.

  21. says

    Every time I read one of these interviews it makes me want more time in the day to do more! Thank you Jean and Maya for the interview.

  22. sadez says

    I thought Maya’s blog was inspiring already, but hearing about her start is even more so! Thanks for sharing your story, Maya – and Jean!

  23. Rebmara says

    I really enjoyed reading this interview, what a great background. I’m jealous ;) And my 2 oldest sons want to learn to do things like knitting, stitching, etc. So this would be so nice to win for them

  24. says

    I am a regular reader of Maya Made blog so it was nice to hear more about her. Enjoyed reading the interview and the photos.
    Would love to win the kit for my 6 yr old.

  25. says

    I read both your blogs regularly–what a pleasure to see you here talking to each other! I’m getting my masters in early childhood education, and I’m so inspired by Maya’s mom as well as Maya and you, Jean. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  26. cedar's mama says

    great interview… how fortunate to have had such awesome inspiration in your mother and grandmother!

  27. says

    oh so inspiring. thank you for the interview. I like insights into other peoples spaces. very lovely. it would be great to win the embroidery set for my 7 yrs old daughter.

  28. Ann Dilcher says

    Very inspiring – I will check out her blog. Just yesterday my boys were bugging me to get sewing things out for them. I will have to make them their own supply kits. My one wanted to make a “zip lock” bag with some felt and muslin. I finally figured out he meant “draw sting” bag!

  29. says

    This was a truly delightful and refreshing interview to read. Such wonderful questions and answers. Thank you so much for sharing! And in case I don’t win, can you tell us a bit about how you put together the child’s embroidery set?

  30. Nancy says

  31. Brittany says

    It is so fun to read about how other mom’s got started. I love to know there are other women out there with whom I can relate. I too am a born creater and cannot imagine life any other way.

  32. [email protected] says

    I love the child’s embroidery kit! I too learned from my mother. Passing on these treasures of artistic creativity is an honour isn’t it?
    Please enter me in your give-away.
    Audrey Taylor-Faye

  33. deb says

    I am a subscriber to both of your blogs so was happy to see this interview!! so lovely to read.
    I started teaching myself embroidery last month and have fallen in love with it and all hand stitching (so funny since i used to avoid even sewing back on a button. My 2 girls have been stitching by my side and would love this kit of their own.

  34. Jenny Hillman says

    I am so inspired by Maya and her crafts, her family, her life….There’s always some new, creative idea that she shares to help the rest of us blossom. This was a great interview! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  35. Leslie says

    My daughter and I just tried our hand at embroidering for a school project . . . and just this morning I asked her if she’d like to try it again some time for fun — and she agreed! Maya Made’s embroidery kit would be absolutely perfect for her! thanks for the chance!

  36. says

    lovely interview! i’ve loved maya*made for a while, and it’s wonderful to get to ‘know’ her and her inspiration a bit more. also a nice reminder that’s it’s ok to have and appreciate a handmade, diy sensibility — sometimes there’s quite a bit of pressure to do otherwise.

  37. Sara A says

    I love her blog, and yours! This kit is really cute and a great idea for me to make on my own even if I don’t win.

  38. [email protected] says

    I love both of your blogs! I am a first grade teacher, aunt and aspire to be a mom one day. I would love to win this prize to share with my niece. My sister isn’t very crafty so I try to have different art projects for her at my house that we can play with.
    Thanks for sharing the great interview!

  39. Martha S. says

    Very inspiring! I’ve been going through a similar experience of having my young daughter encourage me to be more productive with craft work.

  40. Bettina Groh says

    I’d love to stick this under the tree for my oh-so crafty grand daughter… boy, is she a lead foot on my sewing machine ( it’s scary because she’s only 7!) I’d like her to try “needle arts”!

  41. says

    After working 12 hours today and driving through our first big snow storm it was so refreshing and lovely to arrive home and read this interview with all those wonderful pictures Maya found in her photographic archives.

  42. Jill says

    Thank you for a wonderful interview. I enjoyed learning of Maya’s background and the fertile environment that she grew up in – in truth, I am a bit envious. I am doing my best to provide my daughter opportunities to create and, at four years old, she has a tremendous capacity for creativity and exploration when she has materials at hand. Thank you for the inspiration!

  43. says

    Great interview! Sounds like you have had wonderful influences and that your children do too! A whole family of artists…and teachers:) Love it!

  44. says

    Una gran razon para levantarse de la cama cada manana es leer rapidamente el blog de Maya Made. Mientras el agua del cafe se esta calentando, mi esposo esta en la regadera y mi pequeno de dos anos se esta despertando, aprovecho para saborear el comienzo del dia leyendo sus palabras, admirando sus fotografias y abriendo mi mente a sus ideas, como puedo implementarlas en mi casa y compartirlas con otras personas. Gracias Maya por colocar una sonrisa en mi dia!

  45. Stacey S. says

    Maya made is a great inspirational blog. There’s always something crafty going on their. Thanks for the interview. What a great childhood and it looks as if she passing it along.

  46. says

    Thank you for this wonderful interview! I love Maya’s blog, she’s so creative and her “stuffs” are always so lovely!

  47. says

    What a great interview! I’m a regular reader of Maya’s blog and am so excited to read about her artistic history and heritage. I love that both your blog and hers dedicate time to teaching kids to be creative and to never let go!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win such a fabulous prize!

  48. Jenna C. says

    I love reading your interviews. They always inspire and give me great ideas that I can’t wait to try with my own kids. Thank you! I can’t wait to read the book suggestions that Maya has made, and this sweet embroidery kit giveaway looks like so much fun.

  49. Samantha says

    What a perfect union of two of my favorite blogs, such a treat at the end of a long day.
    My daughter would love that kit, so sweet!

  50. says

    I love Maya’s creative verve and delicious yogurt scone recipe (always a favorite with my family). Her ideas are a reminder of how creativity can be harnessed with the simplest of objects! ~H

  51. Jess Satnick says

    Wonderful interview!!! Loved learning more about one of my favorite bloggers!!!
    I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed about the kit!! Love it!
    ~ Jess

  52. says

    i love maya’s work and passion! thank you for featuring her here and letting me get to know her a little more. you know that sienna loves embroidery and she would LOVE this kit!! thanks for the opportunity! ;)

  53. Joey van Oort says

    Excellent interview. I follow Maya’s website every day and find that it inspires me in so many ways! Thanks to you both!

  54. says

    I loved reading this interview. Maya’s childhood sounds so magical. Thank you for the opportunity to win the awesome embroidery kit.

  55. Mags says

    Thanks for the interview. Its great to read about people’s influences on their creative lives. I also enjoyed reading the she “makes something everyday”, this is a constant struggle for me so it helps to read how she does this in your interview, and your blog entries. Thanks!

  56. says

    I would enjoy the opportunity to pass this on to one of my five children to allow for more creativity to be explored. Thank you for a wonderful interview. I am a faithful follower of Maya Made!

  57. Dana M. says

    I love the idea of an art studio for kids (in our case too, it would have to be only a corner). Thanks for a great read!

  58. kenzie says

    I truly love childhood inspriational stories that make me want to be a good mom when that time comes. Thanks for the great article.

  59. says

    Thank you for sharing! My daughters began embroidery this summer and have really enjoyed it. They draw their own designs and simply start stitching. It has been a wonderful outlet for their creativity. Blessings!

  60. says

    Ooh….What a wonderful giveaway. My 5 year old is just started to do some handwork (finger knitting, embroidery, etc.). This would be a very timely gift for him. Thanks!

  61. says

    Great interview!
    My 5 yr old daughter is just beginning to get stitchy and I know she’d love to have her own set. I think her own set would be a great idea… if I don’t happen to win this one, I now have a great idea for a Christmas gift I can whip up for her!

  62. Deidre says

    Maya’s blog is the top of my list of daily reads….it was wonderful reading this interview with so many of the questions I have had — now answered! Thanks! And thanks for the opportunity to win some of her lovely burlap buckets…my kids would love this!

  63. says

    Thanks for sharing a bit about Maya’s life. It is alway fun to see how someone else has been influenced in their life, and see how that influence has manifested itself in the present. A happy life. :)

  64. Barbara says

    Thank you for the interview and the great book references.
    Please enter me in the drawing. The first embroidery kit looks lovely.
    Happy Crafting!

  65. Susan says

    Great interview!Love the relationship she has with her Momma ,what a great inspiration,thanks!Good luck everyone,this looks like a great give away!

  66. coffeechris says

    Maya is so inspiring I love her blog and how creative yet realistic she is. Nice interview to hear more. The kit and presentation is so sweet.

  67. Mary says

    My children have been just asking to begin to sew. After doing lacing on cards, I think my oldest would be just the right age for this! Thanks for the chance.

  68. says

    It’s always special to find out about the artist behind the amazing projects! Especially when she’s a mum. Wonderful and inspiring reading.

  69. Jennifer D says

    I am so excited to see Maya’s work with burlap. I have 6 burlap coffee bags and I’ve been looking for some ideas on how to use them. My 6 year old daughter would love the embroidery kit, but if we don’t win, I can try to make her one myself.

  70. says

    I LOVE this! So perfect for my 6 1/2 year old who wants to sew like her big sister! And from the wonderful Maya, to boot! Love the interview!

  71. Christina says

    What a great interview — thank you for the inspiration! My daughters would love the embroidery kit.

  72. Andrea says

    I’ve been enjoying the Maya Made blog for awhile now. I just love the idea of the mini embroidery kit!

  73. [email protected] says

    I have just started exploring crochet again, my Abuela Tota taught me when I was 6.
    I am 38 now. My 4 year old son just said to me today, Santa is going to bring me a crochet kit for kids for christmas right mama?, all the while he is still playing with his Batman action figure. Priceless… I have alittle kit ready for my little guy.
    Reading these blogs have inspired me to create once again, to share my love of craft and arts with my son and I am thankful for all of your words and ideas.
    Adriana Ochoa

  74. aurore says

    I have been reading Maya Made for a while now but never realized that her mom teaches at Bing. Love the book list and the kit. If I don’t win the kit, i will make one because it’s such a great idea.

  75. Susanne says

    Maya, it’s great to learn more about you through this interview! If we are the lucky winners, I have little aspiring embroiderers at the ready!

  76. says

    What a fabulous interview. What a lucky woman. It’s been difficult to grow as an artistic mother after a less-than-creative childhood.
    Both of my girls (4 and 9) love to embroider and I know they would cherish the kit.

  77. Mamacita says

    Great interview and awesome pix! Love that coffee sack basket almost as much as what’s in it…thanks!

  78. Bridget says

    thanks for the insight into your life growing up with such artistic inspiration. your work is always beautiful!

  79. Nic says

    I was really interested to learn of the Reggio Emilia connection – my daughter is at an RE inspired school in the UK.

  80. katey says

    Very inspiring! I love her blog! I would love to win for my daughter ( 4 yrs old) she always want sewing , craft, help me cooking and more..
    thanks for the chance!

  81. Maiz says

    How nice! I’m a big Maya fan, too. I would love to have this little kit for my son, who loves doing fine work and sewing!

  82. MzTallulah says

    I love Maya’s blog and her approach to life. It was really interesting to learn more about her background and her very creative family. I hope I can recreate at least a portion of what she offers her kids with my little girl.

  83. Natacha says

    Really nice interview, I have read Maya’s blog for a while and she’s a true inspiration…i hope one day i will find enough confidence to finally start working on my big ideas…an embroiderie kit could help !

  84. Maureen Fragnoli says

    What beautiful sites you both have. As a stay-at-home mom of four, I find much peace and kinship through your sites. thank you.

  85. Jo Newman says

    I recently started embroidering again… my mum taught me as a child and both my 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter have shown an interest. Reading this interview is definitely going to encourage me to spend more time crafting with my kids and supporting their creativity.
    Thanks for the motivation :)