Ottawa’s MOVE 100.3 morning show host Janel Steeper’s creations are to DIY for.
After leaving behind her childhood home just outside the small beach town of Grand Bend, Ontario, along with the family and farm that gave it such life, Janel Steeper would carry with her the magic of how a simple DIY can transform someone else’s trash into her very own priceless treasure.
After bouncing around various locations in the Territories, Northern Ontario and the East Coast, Janel has settled nicely into her current role in the trio hosting The Morning Show on MOVE 100.3, alongside veterans Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier. With the job comes many free afternoons and so Janel is dipping into her pool of memories to retrieve DIY skills cultivated long ago, and the creativity that fuels them. She credits this rags-to-what-looks-like-riches mentality to her parents. Explains Janel, “I think it was probably a product of [my mom’s] own upbringing. Her parents were immigrants from Holland and she had 12 brothers and sisters. [DIY] is probably how her family got by and she probably picked it up along the way. And I would say the same kind of thing about my dad. Farming isn’t necessarily the easiest kind of job, so you’ve got to be resourceful.”
When Janel was in her final year of high school, she had that mystical aha! moment as a realization crystalized—her interests in music and performing could translate nicely into a viable career in radio. She could actually go to school for, and make money doing, something that she loved. She settled in the Niagara region, completing her diploma in radio, television and film. But diving headfirst into this new chapter of her life came with a high price tag, literally. She was living completely on her own and as she says, “In radio you don’t make a ton of money, so it’s been about me being able to flip through magazines or scroll through Instagram and dream about all of these beautiful rooms in beautiful houses and trying to figure out a way that I can have that look and feel in my own home by doing it with DIY or thrifted items.”
This undying love for making something old new again is apparent in Janel’s apartment where she says that at least half of the items have been thrifted or somehow repurposed. “It became a necessity for me to be able to have what I wanted.” And since she was already doing it, why not jump on board the YouTube phenomenon and share the love? Enter Janel’s wittily-titled channel “To DIY For”, which she debuted in 2015. On her channel, you’ll find Christmas-themed content leading up to the holidays, patio furnishings in the spring and summer, and even costumes at Halloween. Janel humbly concedes that this has been a continuous learning curve. “When I started, I didn’t own any power tools. I can use my drill now, I know how to change a pendant light, I have a jigsaw—I have a few handy tools. I’m looking to get a table saw next, which I feel confident about, so I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way.”
Janel uploads a new video weekly, and together they have taken over 30,000 viewers on a journey through her thrift store finds, as well as a few snags at garage sales and even on the roadside. She also doesn’t deny a couple of rewarding dumpster dives. Normally, though, you can find her browsing at Value Village and ReStore or online through Facebook Marketplace, where she currently sells her creations. With a budget that falls just shy of $20, plenty of her projects have been made solely using dollar store products, so there are many that have been created for a quarter of that price tag. This has, of course, saved her thousands of dollars over the years as she continued to move and redecorate, with scavenged items that could fit each new, and vastly different, space.
MOVE 100.3 has nicknamed Janel the DIY Queen, and listeners are becoming aware of who their go-to in this category should be—she’d be thrilled if it became less of a hobby, and more of a side hustle. In the meantime, you can follow along with Janel’s latest projects, and maybe even try one for yourself, on YouTube, MOVE 100.3’s website and CTV Morning Live where it airs weekly.
A little nervous to jump in? Janel’s biggest DIY tip is to just try it. “I think a lot of people are really timid and they’re afraid to get started. Sometimes you have to scrap it and sometimes you have to regroup. If you don’t try it, you’re never going to see that you can actually build it, make it, or do it.”