2014 Reader Survey: The Results!

So many of you were so awesome and took my survey a few weeks back, and I wanted to share some of the results today… in case you were curious! If you remember, I had a little section in there for suggestions and for questions for me, so I’m addressing and answering some of those right here for ya! It was so fun to hear your questions, and so so helpful to read your suggestions. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! I also made this fun infographic with some of the other results, which will give you a bit of insight into what you might be seeing as 2014 continues on this here blog! This post is long and epic, so grab a donut and put on your reading pants!


Fun, right!? Looks like Party Everyday and Party Makeovers are winning for new column, so keep an eye out! And now a few of the most common suggestions, and questions, from the survey!


Please post more specifics on supplies, where to buy them, substitutes for them + how much they cost!

By far this was the most suggested improvement! So don’t worry, I’m going to be getting much more detailed on these items. I was wondering, would you guys like if I made a special page on the site that outlined in more detail basic supplies + sources that I use most often (crepe paper, balloons, paint, etc.) and linked to it in each applicable post? Or do you really just want to see it front and center, listed in every post? I will also try my best to estimate how much of each supply you need and the cost. These two aren’t as concrete since you may make your project bigger/smaller and if you buy supplies locally, they may cost more than where I purchased them. But! I will make a valiant effort to give you a good starting point. Deal!?!?

Tell us how much time this will take!?

Another popular improvement involved time commitment for projects. Several of you asked if I could tell you how much time each project would take. The answer is yes… sort of! I’m going to be straight honest with you guys, this is a tough one. First of all, I never do a project from start to finish in one sitting. In addition to the fact that I’m testing different methods to find the best one for you, I’m also photographing the project in between and I’m generally running in 10 different directions in the middle of it too, answering emails, eating lunch, running errands. But none of those are excuses! Additionally, everyone works at a different pace. While fringing a piñata may take me an hour, it may take you 4. Alternatively, handwriting place cards or favors may take me 2 hours (I have horrendous handwriting), but may take you 10 minutes if you are gifted in that area. Regardless! I will try my hardest to give an accurate estimate of time or time range.

I don’t want to make a piñata. Can you share more simple crafts?

You mean, you guys don’t make a piñata for every girl’s night or playdate!?!? Weird. Kidding!!!! A lot of you shared that you loved seeing the larger scale ideas (like piñatas or balloons) but you just don’t need those items for smaller occasions and celebrations. Understood! You mentioned you loved free printables, so I’m going to try to bump up that content a lot. Any other specific, simple, DIY categories you’d like to see more often on here?

Your Instructions + paragraphs are just too long sometimes!

Oh boy, you caught me! I’m a long winded gal! Here’s the thing… I really need your help on what you would find to be more helpful, instruction-wise. Would you prefer I scale down my step-by-step images, number them and then share a numbered list below them with the instructions?? Do you have another idea/form that you’d like to see instructions written in.

Can you post some non-party DIYs!?

Can I, yes? Will I…. we’ll see! I am pretty adimant, for now, about keeping Studio DIY celebration focused. Now, what I’m trying to do is re-define the term celebration, so that’s where these non-party posts come in. Like the date ideas or some of the fashion posts I’ve done. The idea of celebrating the everyday will allow me to share some thoughts and projects on other topics, while still keeping my festive and colorful vibe alive! Cool!?


Can you tell us how you got here!?

Ah, the #1 asked question in the survey was about my background, how I got started and how I am now able to call Studio DIY my fulltime job and afford a studio. Since the answer to this question would make this post 45 times longer, I’m going to be writing a separate post ALL about it, along with some of my top tips, in the next two weeks. STAY TUNED!

Can I work for you or volunteer to help at your workshops!?

Guys! The fact that you want to work with me… I am so flattered! This came up several times in the survey, and I’ve also gotten several emails about the same topic. Here’s the answer in short. Yes… soon! I’m getting the studio down, slowlyyyyyy. And then I am hoping to bring on an intern or two. Additionally, I am hoping to kick off workshops in the space in June and having volunteers to help out would be BEYOND amazing! So, stay tuned for those announcements. But please don’t email before then, or it might get lost in the depths of my inbox. I’ll be sure to shout it from the rooftops when I’m ready to hear from you guys!

What the heck happened to the studio!? SHARE!!!!

Oh the studio! Truth is. It is still an empty box. However it is now an empty box with white floors! Being a one-woman show, things aren’t happening as quickly as I’d hoped. I’m working on furnishing it, but that takes time and money and I am short on both, dudes! How’s that for honesty!? I’m hoping to really get everything squared away by early May, but you may find me asking for your help along the way! Decorating is one of the hardest things for me, because I hate commiting to things that seem so final. (Why do you think I do party DIYs instead!?) But I’m workin’ on it, with lots of help from friends.. and hopefully you guys, too!

How do you develop relationships with photographers, designers and other creatives?

I’m going to thank my dad for this trait of mine. My dad, he will write a letter or email anyone. If he reads a book by a famous baseball player or public figure, he writes them his thoughts on it (And often gets answers back, mind you!). If he reads an article he wants to share his opinion on, he sends a note to the editor. He’s one of the few people I know that will talk to anyone, without fear! Moral of the story? Just talk to people! Send ‘em an email! Chat on twitter! Set up a coffee date! Do. Not. Be. Scared. The worst anyone can say to you is “No!” And don’t worry, you’ll survive many a no. I sure have. If I admire someone, or want to work with them, I just email them. Or I send ‘em a tweet, or tell them on Instagram that I’d love to work with them and ask for their email. But after that first email… don’t be afraid to get on the phone or meet in person. That’s where relationships can really go to the next level!

Pick one: Donuts or Pineapples?

Ha! You are practically asking me to pick a favorite child! But I gotta say… donuts. Surprised? They just really win my heart year round in their sprinkle covered awesomeness, and I seriously still have DOZENS of DIY ideas for them.

Where in the world do you store all these finished projects!?

I will let Jeff answer this….. “In our living room. Dining room. Bedroom. Couch. Under the coffee table. In the closet. In the foyer. Also, the backseat of our car and the trunk. Everytime I want to put groceries in the trunk, I have to remove a sparkly plush heart to do so.”

Truth is, they are everywhere. Some I give away or sadly, throw away… but the ones I really love get shoved somewhere in the house (or car) because I am a hoarder. The big piñatas have moved from their longtime home of our living room floor to the studio, where they will be much happier! And Jeff is thankful for that.

What’s your favorite post of all time!?

Eeeeek! Toughy! I definitely have a few that are near and dear to my heart but the donut balloons probably excite me the most (mostly because I thought “I should make donut balloons” and then found that they actually make donut shaped balloons. This was the most exciting discovery EVER.). Fun fact though: shooting those donut balloons was probably the shoot that brought Jeff and I closest to pre-marital divorce. It was incredibly windy and the sun was setting fast. And let me tell you, shooting balloons in the wind is stressful TO THE MAX, never mind when it’s getting darker by the minute. I think I punched something or cried, and I’m pretty sure there was some yelling, but hey. It’s all in a days work and they are seriously my favorite.


Phew! You still with me!? That was epic, but I wanted to address as many things as I could! Thank you again to everyone who took the survey, can’t wait to improve Studio DIY in 2014 and add all sorts of new fun things! Over and out!


DIY Giant Beach Ball Message

This post is sponsored by Bing.

When you’re throwing an event, my rule of thumb is to have one thing that makes the guests go “WOW!” Now, that could be a really small unexpected detail, or it could be a big ol’ GIANT statement. Clearly, for Meet/Make/Do, we went with the latter. Enter giant custom monogrammed beach ball. BAM! And since we are all dreaming of summer at this point (right?!), I’m prepared to get you all excited for your summer bashes by teachin’ ya how to make one yourself!

DIY Giant Beach Ball Message

When Chelsea, Brittni and I were chatting about what we could do, I mentioned that I had remembered seeing gigantic beach balls in one of my supply-searching escapades. Yeah. We needed to find that again. Search time!

Giant Beach Ball Bing Search

Yes! I didn’t dream it. They do exist! Pinned it right from Bing image search as proof (Pin from search is seriously the BEST feature. Time saver to the MAX!). And then I got to work…

Giant Beach Ball (Ours was 7′ but they come as big as 10 ft! WOWZA!)
Vinyl or Contact Paper (I used two and a half rolls of this contact paper to make our Meet Make Do logo.)
X-Acto Knife + Cutting Mat
Tracing Paper + A Computer (Optional, depending on your design.)
Electric Air Pump (Unless you have the lung capacity to blow up a 7 ft. beach ball. I sure don’t.)

*It’s really helpful to have a partner in crime for this project. Since it’s large scale, it just makes life easier!

First things first, figure out what you want to write. Do you want to free hand it? Do you want to use a font or logo? If you’re freehanding, skip to the next steps below. If you’re using a font or logo, you’ll need to consider the size. We wanted our tallest letters to be about 18″ tall, and so we decided instead of printing out or template, we’d trace it right off of my large computer screen. I taped tracing paper to the screen and lightly (Please lightly! Don’t destroy your computer!) traced around the letters on several pieces of tracing paper. Then, unroll your contact paper. Tape your pieces of tracing paper to the back side of the contact paper, spelling your word(s) BACKWARDS (so it reads correctly when you cut it out!).

Giant Beach Ball How to Customize a Giant Beach Ball

(If you’re freehanding, go ahead and draw your letters on the front of your contact paper. Just make sure to cut slightly inside your lines so you don’t have pencil lines on your finished piece.) On top of your cutting mat, use your x-acto knife to cut around your letters, through your tracing paper if applicable. (Since everything is so big, I recommend rolling the letters around a paper tube from a roll of wrapping paper until you’re ready to use them, to keep it more manageable.)

Giant Beach Ball Giant Beach Ball

Now! When you’re ready, blow up your beach ball. We used this pump to blow ours up and it worked perfectly! Grab your partner in crime (Brittni was mine!) and it’s time to apply the vinyl. It’s easiest if you can somehow corral the beach ball. We used the hot tub to corral ours (but it wasn’t heated, otherwise it might pop.) If you can’t, you can still make it happen! Biggest tip: DO NOT remove all the contact paper backing at once. Work in small sections or you will have a big sticky mess. We started with our middle word (Make) and peeled the paper off the back of half the M to start. Brittni held the beach ball and the excess letters while I adhered everything. It’s as simple as peel and stick. Really! Just get out all the air bubbles as much as you can. After we had one letter adhered, we would peel the next and adhere that. So on and so on until….

How to Customize a Giant Beach Ball


How to Write a Message on a Giant Beach Ball

We used the same technique for some smaller beach balls. You know, in case you don’t have room for a giant beach ball. Who doesn’t!?

Neon Beach Balls

Gotta say, everyone was pretty wowed by this baby! And the swan helped too, of course. Ah, what a magical backyard. Can I go back there right now!? Please!?

Giant Beach Ball

Meet Make Do Logo by Jordan Brantley, Step-by-Step Vinyl Photos by Studio DIY, All Other Photos by Mary Costa Photography

A big ol’ thank you to Brittni for helping put this whole thing together with me! Teamwork! Now you know, if you ever need a backyard wow factor, you just need a giant custom beach ball. Birthdays, Father’s Day, Graduation Parties. I can find a million excuses, just let me know if you need one.


This post, and event, is sponsored by Bing. All content and opinions are that of my own! Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep the Studio DIY party going! Read more about my editorial policies here.

A Modern Fiesta with Minted!

This post is sponsored by Minted.

Oooh! Reliving this little non-traditional fiesta we had at Meet/Make/Do has me so excited for Cinco de Mayo! (Is it May yet!?) We partnered up with Minted to throw a make-your-own tacos dinner at the Ace Hotel. But we didn’t want to go typical fiesta-style, we wanted a little something different! We stumbled upon some fantastic blue watercolor designs on Minted’s site, paired ‘em with a few other neutrals and popped it all with pink! BAM! A modern fiesta.

A Modern Fiesta

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Modern Fiesta Confetti

At any fiesta, cascarones are in order! We cracked some open for the table, and made our own giant confetti out of Minted cards and envelopes!

DIY Confetti

Each dinner guest got an art print and a set of mini art prints from Minted. The mini prints look so darn cute strung up on a garland!

Work Hard and Be Nice Minted Mini Prints

Mini Art Print Garland

I’m mildly obsessed with papel picado, so I decided to turn our leftover cards to make my papel picado dreams come true! I used my Cricut to make these, but you could grab your scissors or x-acto and get crafty just as well!

DIY Papel Picado

Every photo backdrop needs a piñata yes? I did a little ombre piñata makeover on this guy, which I’m sharing below if you’d like to do the same!

DIY Ombre Piñata

Start by deconstructing your piñata. Remove the tassels and if your has any mylar on it like mine did, remove that. It will reveal newspaper, but that’s getting covered so it’s A-ok!

DIY Ombre Piñata

Then get your spray paint on! Start with your lightest color and cover the whole thing in it. If you’re using a light color like white, it will take a lot of spray paint to cover the bright colors of most piñatas. Be patient! And if some colors are peaking through, it’s no big deal… it won’t be as noticeable once you ombre it. Do your middle color(s) next working your way up from the bottom. Hold the spray paint at least one or two feet away so the color fades a bit, rather than creating a hard line. Finally add a touch of your darkest color to the bottom of the piñata. Let dry. Done!

DIY Ombre Piñata

DIY Ombre Piñata

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Group shot! Minus a few of us.

Ace Palm Springs

That pineapple vase you see peaking in everywhere? That was a Jenn creation! AMAZING, right!? We added mini-cacti in seed starters and some loose blooms, in addition to our confetti. Each little favor box held Mexican candy and a custom place card. (Pro tip: Always provide sugar. Ha!)

Pineapple Vase and Mini Cacti

We sat down to dinner as the sun set and we had an awesome time chatting and chowing down! If you’re ever in Palm Springs, you gotta check out the Ace, folks!

Modern Fiesta Sunset Fiesta

A Pineapple Vase!

Step-by-Step Photos by Studio DIY, Group Shot via Chelsea’s Instagram, All Other Photos by Mary Costa Photography

A quick recap of the Minted products we used. They were all so awesome and such great quality! That watercolor. It owns my heart!

Watercolor Menus / Watercolor Thank You Cards (For confetti + Papel Picado) / Place Cards / Custom Backdrop /

Kraft Boxes / Velvet Ribbon / Work Hard Art Print

 Can someone just transport me back to that dinner right now!? A huge thank you to Minted for helping us throw such a fun dinner at Meet/Make/Do. You can’t beat great guacamole, pineapple vases, ombre piñatas and pretty art prints, right!?Brought-to-you-by-Minted

This DIY post is sponsored by Minted. All content and opinions are that of my own! Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep the Studio DIY party going! Read more about my editorial policies here.

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