For Jenni Radosevich, it started off kind of small. A natural born crafter, she was creating her own fashion sense while growing up in Wisconsin. Moving to NYC after college, though, is when it all kind of clicked. Now she’s rocking what someone called, “The Girl Next Door meets Lower-East Side Hipster” look while teaching the fashion world a thing or two about DIY at ISpyDIY.com. We tapped into her DIY-ness to see what she’d come up with for the fashion-forward ENVY 14 Spectre.
TheNextBench: Though crafting has obviously been around for ages, isn’t it funny how DIY just became a “thing” in recent years?
Jenni Radosevich: Yeah, it was a perfect storm of blogging, the recession….and people not wanting to have to spend as much money on fashion. It’s just how things are right now. About a year ago, I was working full time at a fashion magazine, working on my book and writing for the blog. After I finished my book, I’ve decided to focus full time on the blog and creating new DIY projects.
TNB: So, what is your favorite DIY project that you’ve worked on so far?
JR: Why, my HP….laptop bag….of course….!
TNB: Oh, I BET! [laughing] Seriously, though…
JR: [laughing] OK, the most popular projects on the site (and that I love doing) are bracelets. They are such an easy thing to do because they don’t require a ton of commitment. I like that you can find pieces to work with then stack them together, making something that you can wear every day.
TNB: Where do you recommend going to get your supplies when getting ready for a DIY project?
JR: Honestly, I go a little bit of everywhere. I love going to dollar stores – finding different ways to repurpose things that you find there. Going to craft and jewelry supply stores are obvious places to check. The whole idea is that once you change your mentality so that you’re into DIY-ing, you can kind of find inspirations wherever you go.
TNB: What’s in your toolkit for when you’re on a project?
JR: It always helps to get a basic toolbox of all the supplies you need so that you’re not stressing out about what you need – or what you’re missing. A fabric glue gun is key. Jewelry pliers, scissors…stuff like that and then it depends on the kind of project that you’re working on at the time. If you’re trying to do jewelry projects, for example, have extra lengths of chain or extra bits you might want to try putting on a bracelet.
Adding embellishments to stuff you already own is another thing. Just keep a bunch of items you might want to use for accessorizing!
TNB: Let’s talk about your work on the laptop case you made….and what materials you used.
JR: I went to Mood Designer Fabrics in the city (It’s where they go on Project Runway right now). Chevrons are really popular right now and that material caught my eye. I got a yard of that. Then, I wanted to stick with bright colors, so I added an accent with a ribbon. I wanted to create something really fun and pop-y – something that’d be kind of exciting to carry around.
TNB: I might need a little more skulls (or Mario Brothers) on mine, but it looks very cool from the pictures. Now, as far as the materials themselves, how did you put it together?
JR: The Chevron pattern on the outside is a canvas material and on the inside lining, I used some felt. That helps give the laptop bag a little more form – and padding.
TNB: Pretty smart idea! Then again, you are the pro. You know, this kind of inspires me. I think I’m going to try and do something with the Neoprene case that comes with the Spectre. Maybe get some Hello Kitty stickers….a Bedazzler…..
JR: [laughing] Yeah, everyone jokes with me, “You’re into DIY? You use a bedazzler…?” “ummm…yes…? That is kind of what I do.” [laughs]
TNB: [I was actually serious about that bedazzler] What would to tell someone – like me – that wants to go out and create their own stuff? What advice would you have for them?
JR: Start with simpler projects so that you learn the techniques. Once you get down the basics, then try harder projects. When people start off with more difficult designs that they really want to try, it’s easy to get frustrated. So “start off easier and get into the groove, first” would be my advice.
TNB: All right, last but not least, from what I’ve read, you were basically born with puffy paint in your hand. Any advice for encouraging creativity in kid DIY-ers?
JR: Absolutely! Me and puffy paint? We were tight back in the day! Everything I wore out was Tie-dye, puffy paint…I think that this is the best kind of way for kids to be creative. I grew up in Wisconsin where fashion is not the top priority in a lot of places. I wound up creating my own fashion, wearing wacky clothes that I thought was cool. I think that it was a great way to express my creativity. My advice: Help kids find their way to express themselves.
I actually was serious when I said that I was thinking of taking on some DIY on my own here. In the very near future I’m going to try my own stab at tricking out the neoprene slipcase that comes with the ENVY 14 Spectre. I just can’t guarantee it’ll be as pretty or swanky as what Jenni put together. Speaking of which, head over to her blog to see exactly how she did it!