Today we're going in-depth with Creator's Studio member @Ontheflydiy - and learning a bit more about her career (and her trusty DIY sidekick, Bailey 🐕).
Why did you join Creator's Studio?
I'm DIY obsessive! I'm on Pinterest, Hometalk, and other DIY related sites but I am always on the look-out for more. I saw a Facebook post for Creator's Studio and it immediately caught my eye. I signed up right away and I've loved it ever since!
What's your favorite part of the Creator's Studio community?
Everyone is SO incredibly nice and supportive. If you've ever posted anything on Reddit, you know how unnecessarily mean people can be. Even when there's no reason whatsoever. I've learned to be thick-skinned online - if you put something 'out there', be prepared for it. But I was pleasantly surprised with Creator's Studio - the community is warm, welcoming, truly excited to find new ideas and to share their own. I really connected with the positivity and it's my favorite place to go online.
How would you describe yourself/occupation to a complete stranger?
I'm a working voice over actor, audio engineer, and video producer. I’ve been featured in The New York Times, the Today Show, MSN, Family Handyman Magazine, Apartment Therapy, Best Life, and more. My company, Smart Mouth Voice Overs, is a self-certified Woman Owned Small Business and offers remote recording capabilities from my state-of-the-art, broadcast level studio. AT&T, Pizza Hut, Chevron, Delta Dental, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr, and the LPGA Golf Association are a few of the national level companies that have used my voice and I’m very honored to also be represented by five highly-respected talent agencies in different parts of the country. I write and produce video content for multiple platforms, to include a Google in-house enterprise. I also host on Hometalk TV as well as the series, ‘On The Fly…DIY’, which airs on Amazon Prime, has over a million views on YouTube, and raises money for no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations.
What creative areas do you like to focus on?
I feel like I'm all over the map! DIYs - from crafts and decor to home improvement, voice acting, on-camera acting, modeling, writing, filming and video production, and singing opera. There aren't enough hours in the day but I cram in a LOT.
What is your favorite Rust-Oleum product? How has it helped with your DIY projects?
Definitely the spray paint line. Paint is the easiest way to finish off a new project or give something old a face-lift or modern freshness. There are so many options within the different finishes that it's hard to choose but I'm particularly drawn to the metallics and the Metallic Gold is my favorite right now. Make a piece of plastic look like metal? Yes, please! And it dries SO fast - I'm childishly impatient so this helps me get to the next step in the project with little downtime.
What interests you most about DIY projects?
I love creating with my hands - to come up with a process or to put a new spin on an existing process which results in something tangible and fun to incorporate into my surroundings. For almost all of my projects, I don't know what I'm doing when I start and I figure it out as I go, which is why my YouTube channel is called 'On The Fly...DIY'. It usually starts with seeing something online and thinking, 'Ooh, I want to figure out how to make that!' or taking aspects of multiple things and reworking into a novel idea. I learn as I go and I don't always know where the process will take me to get to the finished project. Once I get through the trial-and-error stage and streamline the process, I write, film, and produce a video with that process for other DIYers to replicate.
What's the best DIY project you have completed and how did you accomplish it?
I think my 'Porch Pirate Proof Mailbox' is my best project because it addresses a current problem that a LOT of people face and offers a doable, cost-effective solution.
Yes, other package mailboxes exist on the market already but they are most often the ugly metal ones that you anchor down and are very, very expensive (like $800!). I wanted to create something that anyone could make, heavy enough to not simply be carried away by an opportunistic thief, big enough to take on typical Amazon-sized boxes, and attractive enough to add to your curb appeal. I hit a few snags along the way, specifically with the mechanism for allowing packages in but not arms, but I kept experimenting with the design until I was happy with the result. And I hit all of my concerns - the most difficult skill to have was making straight cuts with a miter saw (easy!), the mailbox's final weigh-in came in at about 90 pounds (not easily carried away by someone walking by and seeing it), it handles almost all of my Amazon purchases, and it complemented the front of my house. And anytime someone comes by and asks where they can buy one, I tell them how easy it was to make. Here's the tutorial to make your own -
What's the most difficult project you have tackled?
While still dating my husband, I decided I wanted to make a 'secret bookcase door' as an 'On The Fly...DIY' video. I was over at his house one day, staring at a wall in his daughters' room and mentally figuring out how I could create my own version that didn't require hanging a heavy bookcase on wall studs. I blurted out, 'Can I knock a hole in your wall for a project?' He didn't even miss a beat and simply replied, 'Ok'. Lol - that's trust! But the pressure was on and I couldn't mess this one up - it wasn't my house! I was so nervous and very careful every step of the way, in an effort to get it right the first time. Thankfully, the project went perfectly, his daughters LOVED their secret nook in their room, and the secret bookcase door ended up being an attractive selling point when he sold his house the following year. I also earned cool points with his daughters as they appear at the end of the video and at that point, said they could consider themselves 'YouTubers', lol! Here's the project -
If you could create any type of project (with no limitations), what would you design and why?
As an audio engineer, not so much in the digital realm but definitely when I used to work with analog equipment, feedback was a nuisance. Once started, this self-perpetuating cycle could cause an audio signal to max out and damage speakers if you didn't get it stopped or the equipment didn't have fail safes in place. But I always thought that this effect and its energy could be used advantageously as an alternative source of power. I don't have an electrical engineering background so I never got past the conceptual stage of this type of project. If I had no limitations, I'd work with an electrical engineer to come up with a way to harness and tranduce feedback loop energy into electrical energy for subsequent use. Wind power requires wind, solar power requires the sun, electrical power needs recharging via an exterior electrical source, but feedback only needs an initiating noise to start and continue the never ending cycle.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know about you.
I wear stilettos or high heels every day - I'm a short 5'3" and I loooove feeling taller! Whether I'm running out to the grocery store, sifting through potential project material at thrift stores, eating out, or traveling (back when we could travel anyway!), with my shoes on I'm at least 5'8". So when you see the crazy tall heels in my videos, those are my everyday shoes. Plus, I figure, if I can do this project in stilettos, ANYONE can do the project!
What's the best advice that anyone has ever given you?
"Jump and the net will appear" - I had a casting director tell me this several years ago during a workshop and I believe she was quoting Steve Harvey. We don't need our ducks in a row before we start towards a goal. Just start. Those ducks may actually be rabid squirrels and they may never line up perfectly but just get going and figure things out along the way. Another one I love goes something like 'real life begins just outside of your comfort zone' (I can't remember where I heard it, sorry!). It falls in line with the 'jump' quote but I think provides a better visual of taking that step outside of what you are comfortable with, while staying true to yourself, to find your most authentic life.
What book(s) are on your nightstand right now?
Julia Cameron's 'The Artist's Way' - my favorite and one I read and 'do' at the beginning of every other year. I think every creative should have this book - it's life changing every time I go through it. I'm also reading the 'Now Write!' series, edited by Laurie Lamson. Laurie recently asked me if I'd be a contributing writer on a book she has in-progress - which is really exciting! I'm reading what she's already released so I get a feel for her style as I work on my small part.
What's your all time favorite food?
Hahaha, does 'carbs' work as an answer? I looooove fresh breads and pasta. My husband's mom is full-blood Sicilian (with lots of amazing family recipes) so cooking is in his blood! He enjoys creating meals and baking bread from scratch...and I reap the benefits from those hobbies. Last year, I built a faux wood hydroponic tower and began growing basil, thyme, green onions, dill, and cilantro. He incorporates those herbs into the breads and pasta dishes he makes - which is often because we eat them so fast. He recently started making bagels from scratch and they are amazing!
Thanks for being part of our community, @Ontheflydiy!