A whole new generation of Martha Stewarts seems to be popping up all over the blogging world. A personal favorite of the Glitter Guide team? Studio DIY, the color-filled, celebration-centric site run by Kelly Lanza! With a constant stream of accessible how-to’s, Studio DIY always leaves us feeling inspired. Although Kelly’s projects vary by season and event, her style is always uniquely recognizable: bright, modern and chic in the most playful way possible. When Kelly moved into a new studio this year, we just knew she’d design a jaw-dropping workspace. Today Kelly is sharing her brand-new studio — full of all the color and cheer we’ve come to expect — and answering our questions about DIY blogging, her business and her oh-so-enviable style.
You’ve created some of the cutest craft projects we’ve ever seen for Studio DIY. Where does your inspiration for all your projects come from?
My eyes are constantly peeled at the dollar store, the grocery store and the party store for items that are just waiting for an unexpected face-lift! I love thinking about what I could turn a random object into. I’ve turned wrapping paper tubes into giant birthday candles, Easter eggs into ice cream cones…even car tires into donuts!
What is your process for thinking about and executing a new DIY project? Does an idea pop into your head and you immediately know what to do, or do projects tend to evolve as you think more about each one?
Once I have an idea, I think about what the easiest and most accessible method for making it would be. After all, I want my readers to think, “HEY! I can make that!” After gathering the supplies (Amazon Prime is my best friend), I’ll make an example project from start to finish. That’s where I find out if my idea actually works, and I can adapt it as necessary. Then I’ll go back and make another one, photographing the steps this time. Finally, I’ll shoot the “money shots” of the project, styled either in a tabletop setting or in action somewhere. Even though I have the studio now, I love getting outside in L.A. and shooting against colorful walls. It makes it more challenging (wind, bystanders, cars!), but it keeps the blog interesting and new, too!
When did you start crafting? What made you want to make a career out of DIY blogging?
I’m one of five kids, and the only girl at that. I grew up going to my brothers’ games, and my mom always had some sort of craft to keep me occupied. That’s where I like to think my crafting passion started! That passion never quit, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized I could craft for a career! I can’t say that it was ever my intention to make DIY blogging my career, but once I started making more projects, seeing readers make the projects themselves and realizing just how happy it made everyone…I knew it was the right path for me. It makes my day to know that my latest crazy idea put a smile on someone’s face.
Striped Tray: Pencil Shavings Studio
“I wanted the studio to be a big white box so that it could adapt to any and every personality necessary for shoots. I painted all the floors and walls white. I brought in color through décor pieces and accents that represent Studio DIY’s colorful vibe — they’re easily removable if they don’t fit in a project I’m working on.”
“Studio DIY HQ wouldn’t be complete without a giant donut over the work tables. Nothin’ screams productivity like a pool float!”
Craft Tables: Martha Stewart Living Craft Space
There are plenty of DIY blogs out there, but Studio DIY is so memorable. How do you approach blogging/crafting in a way that sets you apart from other DIY blogs?
It took a few years for me to really define what Studio DIY was all about. I realized that the projects that excited me and my readers most where the ones that were playful, colorful and, well, sometimes just completely ridiculous. The things that I dreamed up and thought, “This is totally nuts!” ended up doing well.
Now, I run a tight ship (for myself) when it comes to what I put out on the blog or on social media, and I think that’s what has made my brand so recognizable. I like to think of it as putting myself through “filters.” Before I post something, I ask myself, “Does this fit in one of the following categories: colorful, bright white or something worth celebrating?” If it doesn’t, I don’t post it.
Your new studio is so bright and playful! What was your favorite part of decorating?
It was really fun to see how my brand translated into a real life space! I loved being able to go crazy with color and ideas that would never work in a home (or at least not a home that I share with a boy!). Giant donuts, a pink fridge…it was like living out all of my wildest dreams! But my favorite part actually came after decorating: seeing everyone’s reactions when they see the place. My favorite was a delivery guy who asked, “Is this a kindergarten?” Mission accomplished.
Craft Storage Unit + Hutch: Martha Stewart Living Craft Space
Tell us about your decorating process. How did you create a gorgeous space for shoots and events that is still functional enough to craft in and use as a workspace?
It was a challenge trying to make one space have so many functions. I tried to divide it into a few areas to help, but I made sure virtually everything was moveable. Most pieces are on casters, and the gallery wall was hung with command strips, so everything can be whisked away if I need the whole space for a shoot. On one side, there’s the work area with a desk and craft tables, which is great for doing prep work for projects and smaller tabletop shoots. On the other side, there’s the event space for workshops. This is set up with tables that are easy to move and stackable (donut!) stools. I can seat a ton of people when necessary but clear it out quickly, too. The back wall of that space was left completely blank — my intention was to use it as my main wall for photographing larger objects. Let’s just say: it’s a rare day when the space looks the same as the day before!
“I wanted my party supplies out on display instead of stuffed in boxes! This made for the perfect balloon bar.”
“I stock a ton of paper for both backdrop making and piñata crafting; it finally has a proper home!”
You always look so cute and polished when you make an appearance on your blog or Instagram. How would you describe your personal style?
Ha, I asked Jeff (my fiancé) how he’d describe my style, and he said, “Classic preppy meets Lollipop Guild.” He has a way with words, I tell ya.
Pink Chair: Modernica
We’ve loved reading your #MeetTheMindells series about your upcoming wedding! Since you love planning and designing parties, what has been your favorite part of this process?
Honestly, my favorite part of wedding planning has been being able to share it with my audience and get everyone’s thoughts and ideas on everything! In each wedding post, I’ve asked a question to other married or engaged folks, and I’ve really learned a lot from them! We’ve talked about honeymoons and first dances and registries! Getting to work with our calligrapher, Lauren of A Fabulous Fete, for a main element of our wedding has been a dream come true. I have the handwriting of a three-year-old boy, and I’ve always been amazed by Lauren’s talent. I’m also pretty excited to have a dear friend and super talented floral designer behind us, Holly of Holly Chapple Flowers! I know she’ll make all my wildest flower wishes come true!
Couch: Viesso / Coffee Table: West Elm / Woven Bowl: Lulu & Georgia / Pineapple Basket: Zara (No longer available) / Square Pink Pouf: West Elm / Hot Pink Pouf: The Land of Nod / Flamingo Pillows: Wayfair / Yellow Triangle Pillow: Lulu & Georgia / Ice Cream Pillow: The Land of Nod / Donut Pillow: Paper Source / Fruit Print Pillow: Bouffants & Broken Hearts / Abstract Pillow: Emily Rickard / Pineapple Throw: Elephant Landing
What is the hardest part of running your blog? What do you do when a project just doesn’t turn out as you envisioned it?
The hardest part is having to be a jack of all trades. When you run a blog (at least initially), you’re the creative director, the marketing manager, the accountant, the lawyer, the customer service representative, the social media expert and all that jazz! Organizational skills are not something I possess, so keeping all of those jobs straight is a challenge. People think I just throw confetti around all day, but a good chunk of my weeks are spent behind a computer sending emails and managing invoices.
I like to think the purpose of my job is to try out all the ways that don’t work so that my readers can get it right the first time on a project. A lot of DIYs I do go through a few renditions before I find the right way. I’m pretty persistent, so even if I give something a few tries and it still doesn’t work, there’s a good chance I’ll keep it in the back of my mind and try again a few months later. Once I get a vision on the brain, there’s no stopping me!
Obviously you have a healthy appreciation for handmade goods. Who are some of your favorite makers and crafters?
Oh yes! I am a total paper junkie and an avid card collector, as evidenced by my gallery wall! Isabel of 9th Letter Press is one of my favorites, and the sweetest person on the planet! Rosanna of Iron Curtain Press — I’ve never met someone more passionate about what she does. I’m totally obsessed with Kendra of Bouffants & Broken Hearts. Her patterns are out of this world! I also happen to love a Glitter Guide girl herself: Kate of Striped Cat Studio. She knows her way around a watercolor palette!
I’ve been really lucky to not only meet so many DIY bloggers I admire, but to also call them friends. Brittni of Paper & Stitch has the most impeccable eye for style I’ve ever encountered, and Ashley of Sugar & Cloth shares my deep love for sugar, sprinkles and everything in between. Lexy of The Proper Pinwheel and Melanie of You Are My Fave, too…I wish I could throw a party with those girls every day.
Gallery wall sources can be found at Studio DIY
We’ve seen too many great projects on Studio DIY to count! What is your favorite project you’ve shown on Studio DIY?
This is like choosing a favorite child! I really loved my donut balloons. I remember finding out they made donut-shaped balloons and losing my mind. So it was a total blast to frost and cover them in (paper) sprinkles!
What are your favorite crafting supplies? Also, what is one item that you hate working with but also find essential for certain projects?
Paper! (Surprised?) Tissue paper, crepe paper, and plain old regular paper! It can be fringed for a piñata, cut up to make confetti, sliced into “sprinkles” or folded into, well…anything! Paper is where it’s AT!
I don’t hate it, but I do find spray paint to be oh-so-temperamental! Plus, the fumes! You know, I want to keep all of my brain cells, so it requires outdoor space (read: my deck). I inevitably spray paint my entire deck while I’m at it! And then, the drying. I don’t think I’ve ever let anything dry for the proper amount of time. Whoopsies! But there’s still something pretty great about revamping an ugly old thing into a shiny gold one! Ah, spray paint. It’s a love-hate relationship over here.
Ice Cream Print Bag: Baba Souk
“My desk is one of my favorite pieces in the room. It was hand-painted by Dear Hancock for a trade show booth, and they generously allowed it to come live in my studio!”
Illustrated Desk: Dear Hancock
What is your favorite kind of DIY project? Which projects are the hardest to execute or design?
My favorite projects are balloon projects, which also happen to be the hardest to execute! Ha! I guess I like a challenge. I love doing balloon projects because they are accessible and adaptable. Everyone loves balloons, right!? They span all ages. They’re hard to execute for so many reasons, though. First, helium. If I’m adding something to a balloon and I still want it to float, it takes several tries to get the look I want (while ensuring whatever I added doesn’t weigh it down). Then, the challenge of shooting them comes! When you have balloons at a party, they float around and do their thing…but in front of a camera, you need them all to face forward and stay put. I liken balloons’ listening skills to that of a two-year-old. Those babies have a mind of their own and they do what they want. It requires a lot of shots and a lot of patience to photograph them…but it is SO worth it!
Gem Speaker: Ban.do
Studio DIY focuses a lot on projects related to parties and celebrations. Any crafting/decorating tips for us less creative folk who still love a great event?
I think an element of surprise is so important for an event. If you want people to be talking about it for years, it’s the unexpected element that’ll make that happen. Perhaps you bought a piñata. Don’t just fill it with candy; add confetti, too! Have someone sneak out and tie balloons to all of the guests’ cars before they leave! Hide a yummy filling (or sprinkles!) inside simple cupcakes! Those are things people remember.
How do you sparkle?
I get to make people smile all day, every day. And I use a lot of confetti. Oh, and Colgate toothpaste.