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Hi, I'm Jenni

Welcome to I SPY DIY, a website where all my do-it-yourself projects come to life! I love seeking out the latest trends in fashion and home, then showing you how to recreate them for less. I started this site in 2010 as a creative outlet, and have been lucky enough to turn creating DIY content into my full-time gig, and expanding the site into a warehouse studio space that we use for hosting events and teaching craft classes. I can’t wait for you to start poking around and get inspired to create your next DIY project!

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HOW IT ALL STARTED

My love for DIY style started at a young age with an obsession for fashion magazines. Torn-out pages covered my walls and ceiling, and a collection of issues were stacked high in my closet. I kept a box labeled “inspiration” (aka a primitive Pinterest) in my bedroom filled with tear sheets of the designer looks I adored and dreamed of imitating. High fashion wasn’t something I could always afford, much less find, in Midwestern department stores so I began to sew, thrift, and embellish my own versions of the chic pieces I coveted.

My first “custom creations” weren’t always perfect: dresses from sewing classes were often a little lopsided; clothes I “borrowed” from my mom’s wardrobe were too big; and my tie-dye/puffy paint phase was a little too, well, bright. Over the years, through trial and error, I learned a few clever tricks and techniques to make clothes and accessories that I loved—and that got me tons of compliments. I was ecstatic over the reactions I got when I confessed that I had done it myself!

My fascination with fashion and magazines eventually turned into a career. Living in New York and working at InStyle magazine, I was surrounded by the same type of breathtaking designs I idolized as a youngster. The only thing that did not change is that many of these fashions were still out of my price range. To remedy that, I turned to my trusty glue gun, jewelry pliers, and sewing machine to recreate—in an affordable way—some of the gorgeous styles I see in the magazines and on the runway. InStyle Editors took notice and asked me to do a “Personalize Your Clothing” story in one issue, and the reaction was overwhelming.

From there this website and a monthly do-it-yourself fashion column in InStyle magazine were born. Next up was writing my book, I Spy DIY Style, a go-to guide for girls who want to “get the look” on a budget. Ever since my book was released in 2012, I transitioned into working on the site full-time, hosting DIY events, and doing on-air segments spreading the DIY word (check me out on Good Morning America and Rachael Ray). After moving into I SPY DIY Studio, we have expanded into making home decor DIYs, hosting events and teaching craft classes. I am stoked that I get to keep creating content for you all, and be a part of an insanely talented DIY community that keeps me constantly inspired to make!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • How did you get your start DIYing?

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    I have always been a crafty girl, growing up in Wisconsin I always created my own style: thrifing clothes, making friendship bracelets, and covering everything I owned with tie dye and puffy paint (I was not afraid of multiple pops of color). When I moved to New York, on a tight budget, I continued to make the trends I was seeing in magazines and on the runway. I got a great response from my coworkers atInStyle, which lead to a story in the mag, then a column, and then a book, I Spy DIY Style! Now I run www.ispydiy.com full-time and create DIY kits for my readers to recreate my project and teach craft classes at I SPY DIY Studio.

  • Does your ability to craft come naturally?

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    I’ve always been on the creative side (math is my mortal enemy) and, from the beginning, liked putting a personal spin on my outfits. DIY can sometimes take some trial and error — I have a lopsided dress from a sewing class I took in middle school to prove it — but  I want to make projects for every skill level. Even the more advanced projects are ones that, with a little practice, anyone can recreate.

  • How often to do wear your own DIY recreations?

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    I honestly wear DIY everyday! Usually in the form of DIY jewelry. I love stacking DIY bracelets, or wearing dainty hand-stamped pieces. On the occasions I want to shine, I alway have a statement necklace or bedazzled high heals!

     

  • What is one of your most challenging project?

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    My book, I SPY DIY STYLE, was hands down the biggest DIY project I have ever taken on. Second would be decorating I SPY DIY Studio. Sometimes it is hard to see the bigger picture well taking on such large projects.

  • What advice can you give to people who think they’re just not crafty enough to attempt a DIY project?

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    Start with a simple one. Once you experience the excitement of making something, the instant gratification of wearing it, the compliments, and being able to say you did it yourself, you will be hooked.

  • How do most high-end designers respond to pro DIYers, like yourself, who are using runway looks as inspiration?

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    So far, everyone has been a big fan of the DIY movement. I think if someone really wants to buy the designer version, they will. I don’t really think it competes with high-end designers.

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