Erica Domesek is a prolific style and design expert and founder of the DIY lifestyle brand P.S.—I Made This. Erica’s content has helped many to stylishly personalize their lives with step-by-step guides for everything from fab fashions to dining room decor to healthy home cooking. What began as a passion project is now a go-to resource for DIY inspiration in the décor and design world. We recently met up with Erica to learn more about her chosen particulars and where she draws her inspiration from.
Melissa: You’re obviously the Queen of Detail. You pay attention to every detail. When did you become interested in embellishment and making something simple into something incredible?
Erica: I have been making stuff since I was a kid. I was just home at my parent’s place last week going through stuff they still had that I made. I didn’t just make dolls, but I made them outfits. There was one with an asymmetrical army tank top. Like, who does that? I’ve always had a little DIY in my DNA. For example, when I was 20 years old, I started a jewelry line. I have always loved to personalize things, use my hands and express myself. Ultimately, I think it was also a combination of this and not wanting to spend money on things. Like, if I liked this trend I see happening, why not go out and get the beads to make it myself? It’s almost a reverse engineer process.
Melissa: Is anyone else in your family crafty like this?
Erica: Yes, but in a different sense. My mother is an amazing cook. I have an aunt who’s an amazing quilter and sews, another aunt is great with graphic design and photography. My grandmother was a classically trained pianist. So, the arts and expression have always been something that I grew up with. My dad’s a doctor, so I get my dexterity from him. For as long as I can remember, this has always been who I am.
Melissa: When you see a new trend come up, how do you choose which to go after to make it your own? Are there some trends you love so much that you want them to come back and some that make you feel like ‘never again’?
Erica: Yeah, but more in the greater sense that it’s a general trend and we should show people how. I don’t feel so much ownership over it in the sense of ‘I’m so talented; let me show you how to do it.’ People don’t realize how easy it is to create it. Let me just break it down for people. Sometimes I joke that it’s a combination of feeling like a teacher, a therapist and somebody with style. And style applies to the home, accessories…it’s a very simple process. The motto used to be ‘I see it, I like it, I make it.’ It has since evolved to ‘craft the life you want’ because we have more lifestyle content now.
Melissa: You’re so busy in your day-to-day life—where do you find inspiration?
Erica: I think it’d be silly if I didn’t mention that we spend so much time scrolling through Instagram…or I was in a gorgeous store and saw this beautiful vase and thought ‘let’s make this’ and it was probably $800, so I took a picture of it. So real life, Pinterest, Instagram. That’s always been the process.
The biggest thing has been to not stress about it because when we started there weren’t many people doing content, but now there are 6-year-olds doing it!
Melissa: Color is a big part of what you do. How do you use color to express yourself?
Erica: I love color. I think it’s evolved personally and professionally for me for sure. I have definitely muted my palette. I know color makes people happy and why wouldn’t you want to be happy? But it doesn’t need to be head-to-toe. It could be just your nails for example. That’s one thing I always do. I always have color on my nails no matter what. There are ways to evoke emotion through color, topography, composition, recognition, and nostalgia. Those are 5 ways to evoke happiness and color is probably one of the main ones, so I find ways to bring color into my life from bowls of lemons to flowers to headbands.
Melissa: From when you started 10 years ago to now, Instagram and Pinterest have come out. How do you keep your content interesting and exciting for your followers? Do you plan that out or is it organic?
Erica: Sometimes there’s a rhythm and a recipe and sometimes there is not. It’s seasonal. Holidays are huge. The biggest thing has been to not stress about it because when we started there weren’t many people doing content, but now there are 6-year-olds doing it!
Dividing up the content into different verticals from fashion to beauty to home to entertaining… looking at those to diversify and sprinkling nuggets of content throughout those—not only on our site but on social platforms—is basically how you do it. So, although people like consistency, I usually think about what would make me happy and what people will respond to and sometimes you’d be shocked. For example, we were shooting this watercolor cake, and the video alone got like 70,000 views. So, we thought, let’s do some more. Listening to what people like is just a natural part of the game. I used to say the algorithm for this is ‘comfort with a twist’. For example, something people are comfortable with, like icing a cake, but the twist is the color. Sometimes you think something will be amazing, but it’s not. When you stay true to strong, positive, real, colorful storytelling it always seems to find its way to the top.
Melissa: You work on your feet and with your hands a lot. Are there any particular accessories that are must-haves for your feet or hands?
Erica: Speaking about my nails, I need to keep them short and I need a gel manicure because I’m always using them. So, manicures are my happy place. As far as jewelry, I wear this necklace every day. This was my great grandmother’s. In the 50s and 60s, calendar necklaces were really big. They came in different shapes. Mine’s a heart with a starburst motif and the diamond is on her birthday. She played cards every Friday night with her friends and on the back, it says To Riva, love the Friday Nighters. It just makes me happy and it feels like home. I do a lot of storytelling through jewelry.
I have an armoire that holds a lot of bobbles, but I don’t wear as much jewelry as I used to. I used to pile it on, but it still makes me feel good. My saddest jewelry story is the recent loss of my engagement ring. Jewelry to some people is not a big deal, but to me, it’s a very big deal. In fact, the other day my grandmother gave me a new charm bracelet and I really treasure things like that. I grew up looking at my mom’s stuff and her telling me where she got each piece.
For shoes, I wear slides all the time and I’m not talking fancy slides—I’m talking about Adidas slides. My favorite funny slides are…you know those Isabel Marant black slides? I found a knock-off pair! I have a side-by-side picture. You can see them in my shoe basket. Sometimes I’m too comfortable versus cute. In New York, I think I dressed up more, but here I lean into the Cali lifestyle.
Melissa: What gets you more excited, kitchen accessories or crafting accessories?
Erica: I think with where I’m at in my life right now, probably kitchen. Just because I spend so much time in the kitchen, I entertain so much, and I cook so much.
Melissa: What’s your favorite thing you’re cooking right now?
Erica: I’ve just discovered—and maybe I’m late to the game—but Palmini hearts of palm linguini. I made it warm with parmesan, basil, fresh English peas. I was posting about it and they reached out to me and were like “We’d like to send you something.” My best friend Sarah was the only person who had ever heard of it, so now I joke with her that I’m going to try to be a hearts of palm influencer.
I’ve been trying to lose this baby weight and really cutting out carbs, so I’ve been really creative, cooking these really elaborate meals. So, no carbs, a lot of vegetables; everything from fresh herbs to pine nuts and different types of salmon.
Melissa: If you had to choose your cricket, sharpie or trusted glue gun, which would you choose?
Erica: Well, I think the glue gun is good for the world, and a sharpie…as much as I love sharpies and I have them in every drawer, you could technically live without a sharpie. A glue gun—if it didn’t exist, that would be a sad world.