Do-Overs…. Always take them if you can!


 

Sorry guys I just realized that I started to share the link for my next show and it published it here, as my last post without an explanation or a title. Whoops! Though, some of you still supported me and checked it out! Thank you!

 

At my last Sugarplum Show I kept having to remove shelves as things kept selling and finally just gave up! If I had to choose a problem to have… “THIS” would be it!

I am in the midst of a huge bend in the road. Not a great place to be, in this season of my life. But I am excited to find out what God has in store for me because I know that He is in charge. I sold OUT at my last show. It was incredible to feel that feeling that I used to feel all those years ago! It has taken almost two years to finally get to this point and gain back some momentum and start rebuilding my customer base. I prayed for God to show me if I was making my own plans or following HIS. And along with my other amazing prayer warriors who have been praying for me, I feel that I am headed on the right path.

Though, finances have been tight due to some major bends in the road and just starting up a business, so the great shows profits are usually already spent. But the thing is… God ALWAYS provides. And is good ALL of the time. My mom used to always quote the verse…  Weeping may come in the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 And I am hanging on to it! For some reason, I have  more faith now that God has GOT this one, more than any other time in my life. Maybe because I am old enough to finally look back and see all of the times He’s answered my prayers. Not necesarrily, with the same plan I had, but even a better one!

So please pray for my upcoming shows and my new little venture, I feel as if I have been locked away in Santa’s workshop preparing for the last couple of months. I wanted to share my progress for this year and some of the things you might find. I’ve  introduced a small selection of my line of this year’s Santa’s to Reminisce, a local shop of shops where I have a space, and have already started selling them!

 http://reminiscepasorobles.blogspot.com/

So I am working away to have enough! All of my racks in my art studio have been filled and emptied dozens of time over the last few weeks!

Racks I use to build my santas onHostess Wine toppers

A selection of over two dozen from my 2018 Santa line

 

I am doing my first Christmas Boutique this next Saturday at The 805Boutique  

& then the very next day at the Tin City Cider Company at 3005A Limestone Way in Paso

and then a few weeks later I will be off to another Sugarplumfestivals.com

which is where it all began!

 

 

You guys have been so supportive and so I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to! I feel that there are so many things that I could share during this journey. First, about faith, and my history of how I started and ended up back here, tips for making your business a success, dos and don’ts, always remembering to thank the supporters, husbands, family, friends who over the years have been such an encouragement to me… In trying to re-establish myself. Over the years, I have been given a few opportunities for Do-Overs that not a lot of people get a chance to have, and I know that I have been blessed. I also know that I have missed some opportunities by not taking them. One of the things I have learned is… always take them if you can!

Also find me and a selection of my cards on Etsy at dianesdesignsbydiane.etsy.com and may God bless us, everyone!

Advertisements

Just CRAZY or just really, really Blessed?


How do you explain passion? There are days when  I need to create, and nights when I just have to get up to write something. Like a pilot that has to fly, a surfer that has to surf, a teacher that has to teach or whatever your passion happens to be. It calls to you. At a young age, I knew that I wanted to write. I had it all planned out. I’d write children’s books and they would know my name and look me up in the library and check out my books. I may have missed my mark since now librarys are being replaced by the likes of Amazon. But I did recently check out our local library and it felt so comfortable there. I loved it. Now I write the messages in my cards and if I am lucky to have a few free minutes, I try to write my blog. And from time to time re-visit my book that I keep promising myself that I will finish. And so I sit pondering this passion of mine. I feel blessed. I’ve just returned from another Sugarplum. The craft festival that I did back in my 30s for ten years. And once again travel about four hours to do, about 7 times a year.

I love every single bit of it. Their summer show (the one I just returned from) has turned into one that is quite different from all the rest. It is not “just” the regular Artsy stuff, but also where antiques and vintage, shabby chic and lots and lots of  sales are showcased. It is called Remnants and that is what it is…. a little of this, and that, crafting tools and supplies, material and just exactly what they have named it; “remnants” accumulated by the original vendors to share with the customers that flock to the tune of thousands of shoppers looking for a deal. The first day was so crazy! But because it is a one of a kind sale, dealers as well show up first. I am sure I gave a lot away for a steal of a deal because I am still learning and researching this kind of thing. But this show gave me a new found respect for the collectors of yesterday. It is definitely an education. Between my mother in law’s collections and the odds and ends of my daughter’s mismatched china business I was able to participate in this show and it blew me away how well I did. I’d sold a rack that I was going to use before the show even started so I had to scramble to make my booth look halfway decent (to explain the baskets on the floor!) But people managed to clean me out and make room for me to keep stocking the shelves.

This show was fun, but I am ready to begin creating again and showcasing new art for the upcoming holiday shows again. The thing that I have noticed over the last year of re-entering this world and doing these shows again is, how far they have come, how fast the lines moved and how this once little show has grown into something so magical it is hard to explain. Customers never really GET what is involved in every booth, I remember doing a Sugarplum in the 80s with maybe 50 artists. The check-out station was just a long table with about 5 people checking out everyone. Today they have about 14 cash registers, and 4+ times the amount of artists and vendors. They really have fine-tuned this little show into something so GRAND and  I have to wonder if the customers have any inkling of all the hard work that goes into hosting these events?

I really am talking about what goes on behind the scenes of the magic makers of Sugarplum. But also wanted to share some pictures of  the process of being a participant in that magic. Just in my own set up. As my sweet husband packs me up and follows me down there and returns to pack me back up, to spending a week down there, working my shifts and fluffing my booth. It is a lot of work and as I pass the other vendors setting up and tearing down, we smile at each other and nod, wondering if we are all just crazy or no…. just really, really blessed, doing exactly what we want to do! In my case I feel that I am on my way back to doing what I love.

Those Unconditional Followers


 

I haven’t been terribly supportive in my blog world lately, or any other part of my life right now, because  I have been trying to prove that I can make a living in the art world  again. I plan for this next one, to be one of my most successful shows yet!  I have given myself a time limit to prove to myself and my husband that I can once again, make this “running my own business thing” a success,  and the deadline is quickly approaching.  I have really been working hard in trying to re-build my customer base.

artist studio

You see, I was pretty spoiled a couple of decades ago. I had a rather nice following of customers. I did my shows and made good sales,  finally, landing at one show called Sugarplum (Festivals)  ( sugarplumfestivals.com ) that made all of the others seem to pale to the magic that they created in every way. And so I have signed on again to do almost every one of their shows. I have also moved into a little local shop called Reminisce and have had a booth there for a year.  And just recently reopened my Etsy shop called Dianes’s Designs by Diane. Though as life happened and I slowly stopped doing shows, I slowly lost that “Once Upon A Time” long ago following. Since my customers  couldn’t find me anymore, except for a handful of loyal ones that I still am in touch with and are excited for me to re-enter this part of my past and still boost me up by reminding me of their loyalty.

That also has happened here, on my blog. I noticed the less I write, the more I am losing a lot of my readers. I once tried to write daily, and to keep up and support other writer friends. And notice that there are those sweet readers that pop right back up and support you unconditionally as you write. And then there are a handful of writers that do the same. Regardless, if you have ever supported their writings, they always support you, and then the others that  just stop supporting you if you don’t support them. Though I have shared before that I really started writing here, to basically write my book and my poems….  and to find a place to store my words… but I began kind of getting a charge out of realizing people found me somehow and began reading what I wrote. Just like when someone would purchase one of my paintings or cards, seeing that someone else liked something that I wrote and commented and followed me was a little (for a loss of a better word) addicting.

 

To be honest, what you put into anything is what you get out. Period.  work, writing, hobbies, friendships, relationships, when you really think of it that is how life is. Right? Sure there are those priceless friendships that can start right back up,  where you left off without guilt trips or expectations and those are to be treasured. And other relationships such as maybe familial ones, that are unconditional, but even those will fall away if you don’t nurture them a little. So in my business I must come up with new designs and verses for my cards. And here on my blog, I need to check in rather regularly. I do intend to continue my book series that I promised  (in my last post) that I would continue to work on and I will! But I wanted to let my facebook readers know that I will not be posting my book posts on facebook so if you are interested, please follow me and you will be notified by email when I post a new post and those will be included there. Though I will post other blog posts on facebook, just not my book.

I would like to take this time to stop and thank all of you who are reading this now, because unless you are a first time reader, I know that you are one of those faithful readers who inspire me and comment and continue to unconditionally follow me whether I deserve it or not.

It’s Friday AGAIN????


Today is Friday and it seems as if just yesterday was Friday. I remember when I was around 18 and flew to my best friend’s house to go to her dad’s 50th surprise party. I remember feeling that 50 was pretty old. Now, I’m a decade older than 50 & am in a little panic. When I was a kid all of the Fridays seemed as if they took “forever” to get there. And now in the blink of an eye it is Friday AGAIN! I think that the older I get, the more I feel as if though the days and weeks and years are wooshing by me, the things that I wanted to accomplish are not. Almost two years ago, I began my journey back into my art business and though I am in the thick of it now and I have gotten a lot of my ducks in a row, I think I expected more happening by now. My daughter kind of accidentally started her mismatched china business a little over two years ago and she could definitely support herself by now. What is the difference? The thing is, I think now days the youth have mastered the art of marketing through social media, which I feel I may be a bit challenged in. She has gotten into photo shoots and Event Magazines that list her company fernandbone.com regularly. She is constantly booking events and works hard doing it. When she had her hand-made shop on Etsy, she was far surpassing me in sales and charging much more and getting it!  Though my shop had been opened longer. It is funny, when your kids are a success, you are so proud and not the very least bit jealous but at the same time, it makes me wonder what I could be doing differently by learning from her?

fernandbone.com an early glimpse of Brooke’s mismatched china business at her own wedding!

My cousin was in Marketing for most of her career and so successful that she created her own little niche in the business world, specializing in demographic research and ended up with Alaska as one of her biggest accounts! So I know that it is possible to just learn a new thing and figure it out. But I wonder if my time has come and gone? Once upon a time, I had a huge customer base, was taking orders and  was the one supporting myself. Though my husband at the time, had a very good job, I was definitely supplementing our income and for a while, I had reps and a following that I’m not sure I appreciated as much back then as I should have. Now that I am back trying to revive my art business, a few of my best customers from back in the day,  have encouraged me and been very inspiring. But the trick is zeroing in on today’s market. What are people looking for? I mean the last shows I did regularly were before this century, right before we opened our store in 2000.

Lets face it. I was spoiled by my success. It all just fell into my lap once upon a time when my friend took a painting that I painted as a gift for her to her work just to show a friend, I’d painted one of her kids in a tub,  and she came back with 40 orders for me! I have to wonder, did I rock the boat by not sticking with it? I mean the message was pretty clear with that first order. I was talking to a friend yesterday who reminded me that when things happen so easily we need to be more aware!  Though opening that little store made me have to put things on hold, it was very successful  for just the first year, which is usually unheard of.  Though an earthquake shut down our little store. Was that just a fluke or…  Am I not descearning the messages correctly? Should I have revived my art business back then instead of going to work for someone else? Is it too late? My dream has always been to write my poetry and reach people and make them smile with my art. I don’t necesarrily love working for someone else.  I love what I do. I want to succeed. Though, I know that doing shows, having a little corner in a consignment shop and selling on Etsy is not paying the bills like I thought it would…. and that the Fridays are all landing in my lap way too fast. I know I just need to figure it out. Though I realize that it is not officially a Bible verse in the Bible, I do believe that God helps those that help themselves. And yet I am not sure how much harder I can work. Some nights I don’t close up my studio doors until well after 10 PM at night after a day of creating. And yet I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. Pray for me please.

Some of my designs both old and new… DianesDesignsbyDiane on Etsy

 

Did You Know????


we lose ourselves

I recently was on an interview where this kid interviewing me, (that could have been my own kid’s age) told me that I was no “Spring Chicken.” He meant it as a compliment. I know,  because I was there and in the context of the conversation he was referring to the fact that I was experienced and would not be a flake like some of the younger applicants.  Therefore actually offending both age groups (young and old) at least he is an equal opportunity kind of guy, smile..

I am sure he would have been mortified if he thought about it and realized how politically incorrect that comment was. But I found it hilarious and let it slide.

strength quote

I think that I have grown a thicker skin and it feels kind of good. I just don’t care as much anymore. I mean, not everyone is going to think the way that I do. Not everyone is going to agree with all my views or believe what I believe. I have stopped making things matter so much. And in a way, it is kind of like taking a pill that numbs the pain. To finally be able to let go and realize that at this age I am still evolving and hopefully always will be. And yet, to embrace the fact that I am who I am and no one else’s opinion of me is going to bring me down ever again. Do you know how freeing that is?

I have lived much of my life buried under someone else’s opinion. Trying to be politically correct. Caring so much about what a co-worker, a friend, a family member, or the joe-blow on the street thought about me that I was consumed with so much self doubt that it has made me pretty negative.

artist studio

As I begin to create and really find my talents again, to work for me, and in turn for God, I am slowly feeling that wall come tumbling down. The one that I built brick by brick over the years. I am feeling fun and young again and slowly living in the moment and finding joy in everything that I create. I am the boss of me once again and though I learned a lot in the corporate world, I am back! I am so blessed to have a husband that is so supportive and friends and family that encourage me. And did you know, for the first time in a long time,  I know that I will be okay and have no doubt that I AM going to be a success!

paint brushes in a row

dachshundnew better fairynew 2 ballerinas (2).jpgnew gymnist upside down balance beam (2)girl dumptynew hanging ballerina (1)new jewelry fairy

Some of my recent creations….  Humpty Dumpty and dancing have been a kind of subconciousl theme for me….  maybe because…         I love the saying… if you stumble get back up and make it part of the dance… and as for the dachshunds, well I guess-  just because a special friend loves them!

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

It’s been a while since I’ve written and even longer since I’ve worked on “my book.”  It’s funny. Once, I couldn’t “not” write. Now, I am not in a major writing block but I don’t want to just write to write. I have fleeting moments when I want to share something but if I don’t move on it right away, it kind of goes away like blowing bubbles… they are there floating around and then POP! Maybe it is because my study is out there with my art studio now. I have to walk outside, unlock a door and turn on a light and warm the place up before I can begin, where once I just walked to my office inside the house. Or… Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and my ideas in my head don’t last as long. Smile.

But in the time I’ve been away from my blog, I have a few things that have happened in life that I would like to share if you would care to pull up a chair for a while and chat with me…

In dreams… I’ve learned that you have to believe in yourself. and you have to become fearless in doing it. Even when you feel you are wasting time, or doubts crowd in so you can’t see the whole picture, you have to realize that dreaming is a form of planning and that nothing worth while ever just happens. Hard work and persistence is the only way you reach your goals. You must run toward your dreams as if you were on fire! And believe that you are never too old to set another goal and another, to reach that ultimate place that you want to be. The trick is… to realize that there is no expiration date on your dream. It is terrifying at times, when reality gets in the way and you have to make the choice to stay stuck in your comfort zone or go for it.

In relationships I’ve learned that love is a funny thing.  It isn’t just about that “all wrapped up in a butterflies in your stomach, over the top Ferris Wheel, falling in love kind of feeling. It is leaning on each other in the good and the bad times. Growing older but still seeing the beauty in staying. It’s still having a few fights but not wanting to pack your bags every time you do. It’s caring about each other with unselfish fortitude and doing things the other wants to do and giving freedom without guilt trips when they want to go do something without you. It is supporting their dreams and getting behind ourselves. And realizing that a supportive spouse is about as HOT as it can gets! And it is wanting to be together while sometimes doing nothing at all. And it is appreciating things in each other that you may have missed along the way. Things that have always been right at the core of why you’ve stayed.

I’ve learned that our kids are small for such a short time. That in the blink of an eye, they will be adults with thoughts and opinions of their own. That we have a tiny window to insert the values that we want them to carry with them. That they learn by not our words, but by our actions. Not by what we tell them, but what we show them. And in the end, it is their choice what to take with them and how well we packed those metaphoric suitcases for them.

I’ve learned that life is short. Time is fleeting. Love is more than a feeling. And only we can choose who we want to be. God has given us all free choice. In believing in HIM and believing in ourselves. I know people in my life who have given up on both. And I have learned through all my choices… never to give up on God or myself or the people I love and that everything is worth it in the end.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve gotta get back to work!

my-studio

(My new art studio/study my hubby made for me!)

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

(A start…. My Welcome Folk… Porch Dolls)

IF ONLY…. I Could Go Back And Tell Keri What I Know Now


christmas-tree

When I was a young girl, I counted the days until Christmas. Both my parents made it magical for me. My dad was as big of a kid as I was about it all! Maybe because they didn’t have a lot when he was young. And my mom baked and decorated and was always making something and well, I was just blessed.

My memories are of festivities and Nativities and later…. of my mom’s holiday boutiques that she held at our home with all of her artsy friends, when for a few days our house was transformed into a kind of magical holiday shop that was constantly packed with people. Now looking back, I remember it as happy days, but I know I was annoyed by it as a teenager. Not being able to find a parking place when I got home from school, having to maneuver my way through the crowds as I walked in the door, having to smile and be as polite as a sixteen year old can be, as I trespassed over the barricades on the staircase to my room, flopping on my bed to call and complain to my best friend or boyfriend or whoever I was calling, only to find someone else on the line downstairs. Grrrr….

But as an adult, looking back those were The Good Old Days!! And I have tried to replicate it ever since. I tried to make each holiday magical for my own kids and hope that they have special memories. I even have done my own holiday boutiques. A few at my house, but mostly I have found ones like Sugar Plum Festivals in Orange County California  http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com/  that I did for years, before opening up our own store Rose In The Woods.

Each period in my life, I look back on fondly and yet I remember constantly being annoyed with something or other. And I realize now that each time I complained, whether it was getting ready for a show, or being overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of owning a store, I missed the blessings a lot of the time by feeling burdened instead of blessed.

Even now I almost missed it. I have learned that due to financial reasons there will be lay offs at my job and my position as an Event Coordinator will be one of the ones eliminated. Just when I felt that I’d really gotten organized and each event was smoother than the last. My boss and I were fine tuning things as we would see the need and after the last event which happened to be a holiday boutique that I helped make a success, we were getting a lot of calls for quotes for more events. Not even sure what will be happening with that building, Corporate has decided that my position can be integrated. Funny, I never even felt resentful. But I am sad. I love my boss. She is one of my best friends now and will always be whatever happens. But it kind of sucks that most corporate companies have to make these changes by the end of the year so it falls on the holidays.

fireplacefire-in-fireplacetreejim-and-i

I guess with all the changes looming over my head, I really didn’t feel like doing Christmas this year. But lo and behold, I came home a few days ago and my husband (with his bad knee and all)  took down every single box marked Christmas and went about pulling everything all out and making it Christmas in our little home whether I wanted it or not! Yesterday was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary and through all of our ups and downs, job or no job, I can’t imagine not recognizing right now that THESE are the Good Old Days!!!!!!!

writing poetry

Some of you know that I have been writing a book for the last half of a decade. It is about a fictional girl named Keri. But to tell you the truth, she is me. In every aspect. Though I thought it would be easier to tell my story in the second person. http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com  It starts out with Keri as a young girl. Before cell phones or the Internet. And moves to today. I started a very rough draft in a corner of my blog to see if I could get some feedback. It is VERY rough and I definitely will edit a few times and change the format before I seriously consider showing it professionally. In my blog I feel safer and know I will get honesty but a little softer (Smile) though now I think I can take the professional feedback. So who knows THIS may be the kick in the rear I needed to get serious with it.

I had not visited that section of my blog for a while and someone said something profound in a comment on my last post… about how we come with more experience than Keri. And I thought…”Oh how I wish I could go back and tell Keri everything I know now.”

Looking Forward


plane in clouds

I have come to the conclusion that I will always need something to look forward to. I was born in Seattle and four years later, my dad was transferred to California, and then Colorado, Missouri and Illinois and then back to California where I grew up in a place called  Palos Verdes. When we moved, my dad promised my mom to always send us “home”. He kept his promise, no matter where we were, every summer, without fail,  we would pack our bags and fly to Seattle. So no matter what, I knew that every summer I had something pretty big to look forward to.

I think that I zeroed in on this particular discovery after my daughter’s wedding. I was so focused on the planning and whatever part I played in the tasks I was given, I didn’t have a lot of time to go to that corner of my mind that is clouded with those things that bring me down. When I was a young mom, I did art shows. I created all year-long and knew that almost half a dozen times a year, I had a place to go. I was a part of a creative group of people who added to my life in ways that I am only just now recognizing.

I have been back in the corporate workforce for over a decade now. (Working for someone else.) My husband has turned my art studio into his office and our indoor office into a guest room slash office that was supposed to be where I was going to write.

Not really the place I had in mind inside my head. But I am there now, writing this. The plan was that I would work part-time and start writing my book. I did write my book. But as I have read and learned, I see the flaws and mistakes in it, and well, at least I have the bones. I know the story. I just need to rewrite it. Easier said then done.

blue house

When I was first married, before kids, I had  the sweetest landlord, Mr. Allen, that was working on the house in front of our apartment. It was an amazing craftsman’s style home and I think that he saw that I loved it as much as he did. Everyday, he would take me on a tour to show me all of the things he’d fixed or installed the day before. Good ole’ Mr. Allen, we were buddies.

We had a little agreement that someday, I would move in there. We even shook on it. But I remember talking to my friend who lived next-door and us agreeing that if he ever finished it, he would probably die. His daughter had a friend that wanted to move in there and so she stepped in and thought she was helping her dad by hiring a carpenter to finish it and sure enough shortly later, he died. I have no doubt that we all have the need to contribute and create and when that seizes, we all seem to falter.

I am not sure if I have a great or profound message here. I guess I just needed to write this out for me. To give myself a kick in the butt so to speak and understand that I am the only one who is in charge here. Regarding my health, both mentally and physically. I can’t wait for anyone to do it for me.  I also know that I am a creative person and I need to create again and look forward to something.

I have not shared my; What I Know For Sure-isms…. for a while so here are a few for those sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for more! (JUST kidding!!!)

  • I must always try to keep myself busy enough so that I don’t pause long enough to allow my mind to wander too far away.
  • Only I can create the version of myself that I want others to see.
  • Success starts when you  believe in yourself.
  • Your own opinion of yourself is what matters first.
  • Telling people your plans does not work as well as showing them.
  • I am my only limit…. people have achieved much more with less.
  • The past is a place of reference, not a place that I need to reside ever again.
  • Sometimes what consumes your mind, can control your life.
  • I can live my life with people but no one can live my life for me.
  • I want to live my life in such a way that someday someone says to me:                        “Because of you I didn’t give up.”

 

 

Why do we write?


I just watched a video of a Chiropractor healing a young man who was bent over for a very long time. In less than a month of treatments, he stood tall as he walked out the door with plans of becoming a Chiropractor, himself. It was so inspirational, it almost made me want to become one!

http://www.newslinq.com/back-pain-kyphosis/

In a way, I think that we write to heal.

Most of us who are writers, remember when we knew we “had to” write. Like those who sing or dance, paint or act. It is so hard to explain. Right? Even when we don’t do what we are supposed to do, we still really are who we are. Does that make any sense at all?!  If a dancer stops dancing, she is still a dancer. I know that as an artist, I am still an artist. I could still draw a new illustration for one of my greeting cards or make a doll and at times I miss the art shows and the long nights getting ready for the next one, or packing up my car to head for a holiday show, But from the begining, I really feel that if I had to choose, I was always meant to be a writer.

During my art show years, I wrote poems for my cards, I could probably publish a few volumes of what I’ve written. I’m talking hundreds. Some not great, some not so bad. But writing here at WordPress, the last few years has really made me want to write more. Though I go through spells. Really dry spells. Recently writing my story, really did me in. Going back in time, affected me more than I knew. Literally, mood changing, and it was hard for me to snap out of it. But it was also very healing. I know I have a message for women. If just one sees herself in my story and takes back her power, it will be worth it.

writer frustrated

I have realized that I need to go back and adjust parts, tear out others and be more brutally honest. I am glad that somewhere inside myself, I knew that it wasn’t good enough. Fictionally introduced to spare those that might not want “their” story told, I intend to pull out some of those muscles that have become mushy and push on, like an old dancer, who knows that they have not danced their last dance, and still have a few more great performances left.

ballerina sitting on floor

The age old question.  Does everyone have something? Why do some live their whole lives without ever sharing it or letting us know their gift? Why do those of us “have to” do what we do? And why do we sometimes stop? I think it is exhausting at times. To share daily, is like going to the gym, you have to be dedicated.

It is more about exercising our words. It heals us as we write. More often, I have been going back into my archives and having my own AHA moment when I need it the most. Pricking my own soul with a message I wrote years ago. And realize that I really am writing for myself. Trying to reach my center, not really being the expert for anyone else but me.

library shelves

Blogging is a funny thing.  There will be the handful that LIKE this before I can even re-read it myself. The ones who support you just to be nice… And then I have my two or three dozen very loyal readers, who really read because that is what they do. (I love you guys!) And then there are the writers who I have bonded with who read pretty regularly, even if I have been missing for a while, every so often, if I don’t write, I get comments from people reading random old posts of mine, which is amazingly inspiring. And then there are the writers, that support you as you support them. If you don’t work it, you lose them. Like anything, ya gotta work it to stay in shape! Lets just say, like my wedding diet (mother of the bride in June) I am back! Well, I am trying!

ballet

 

My Creative Journey from Artist to Writer…


paint brushes in a row

In my last post I wrote a little about my life as an artist and it seemed to generate a bit of interest and so I thought I’d share some pictures and memories with you here. After I had my daughter, it was hard to imagine ever leaving her with anybody else to go to work, and my son was at an age that I didn’t want him in school all day,  and so I decided that I wanted to take a crack at raising my kids as a “stay at home mom.” 

And so I prayed about it

sad woman3

and the answer came so simply as if God came to me Himself and said “Okay.”

It really did happen just like this…

One day soon after my daughter was born…. my neighbor invited us to their little boys’ birthday barbecue. I was out on maternity leave and not making a lot of money so instead of going out and buying a present, I painted a picture of her little boys in a bath tub for the gift. Personalizing it with their hair color and their names on towels hanging on the tub. Unbeknownst to me, she took that painting to work with her that Monday to show it to some friends and came back with 40 custom orders! Wahlah. THAT is actually how I began. Isn’t God great? How could anyone not believe? He even used one of HIS numbers: forty! Must I even repeat this? How could I not believe that He had answered my prayers?

Jesus anwers our prayers quote

When I was a kid my mom did arts shows as a hobby for extra spending money. Though it ended up being quite a little business for her. She began having an annual  boutique at our house that lasted several years and I remember that she let me try to sell some of my doodlings at a few of them.  Back then, I drew pictures of kids at a bus stop. I honestly can’t remember if I sold any. I actually think I  may have sold  a few.   I liked to draw and my dad told me that I was pretty good. Besides the poems that I wrote as a teenager, and the little doodles that I sketched, I never really felt very artistic .

drawomg

When I first started doing shows, I just focused on the paintings and then I (am dating myself now but…) I started making “Mop Dolls” and even got a rep and sold them wholesale to Longs Drug Stores for a while!

The first show I did was pitiful, I had gotten in by default. There was a waiting list a mile long and because I knew the president of the Art Association I slipped in at the last minute when one of the artists broke her ankle. I was not very prepared and had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have a very good display and only sold children’s paintings and then sold just a few at that… I was so disappointed but I wanted to learn  from it and so I walked around that show, and noted what the busy booths did differntly and the ones that were selling out had more than just ceramics or paintings, they had a variety of things.

So…the same show the next year, I didn’t just sell children’s paintings, but I also sold dolls, ornaments, baskets, etc. I’d  learned by then that just selling one media didn’t work for me and I was right, I made $1000 the first hour at the same show the following year, selling a bunch of different things! Though looking back, I think that I went overboard creating, without a real good focus. Though I did stay whimsically related which was good. I think I needed to reel it in just a bit. Today my advice would be to choose a few things you do well and stick with what you do best.

img236img235

One of my first shows ~(You can kind of see my paintings on the right in the 1st picture and the mop dolls sitting on the bottom shelf on the 2nd picture)

Some of my first shows and creations are what I like to call “Early Diane” and I have to say they were  a little embarrassing. I had a booth at a place called Crafter’s Guild and slowly started doing different art/craft shows and building up my own following of customers.

img231img237

Brookie standing outside of Crafter’s Guild with my scarecrows as their display and a picture of my booth.

Some shows were pretty sad with poor advertising and not a lot of customers. But ALL of them generated something great! Whether it was new friends or networking about new shows, I never looked at a “bad” show as a waste of time. I met my “wood guy” at a show where I sold one thing and I look back at that show as one of my best because I snagged such a good find! He was this wonderful old man named Wayne who would make me whatever I asked him to and deliver them to my door. His wife used to joke that she wanted to come with him to deliver and he wouldn’t let her. She told me that he would put on his after shave just for me! He was so cute!  Wow, I haven’t thought of him for so long. He was the BEST!

My suggestion before signing up for a show, is to go attend it as a customer first! Walk around and don’t only notice how many people are there but how many of them are buying?? The shows I used to do always had a line at the doors to get in and more at the cash registers to check out. Another good piece of advice is to google the reviews. In this day and age with technology at our finger tips… it is easy to find the reviews on shows and read them all,  from both a customer’s and artist’s persepective. But actually getting in your car and going is your very best measuring stick! Talk to the artists and see how their mood seems, ask if they have done the show before and if they would do it again. Try to talk to more than just a few! There is always one bad attitude in every bunch and you don’t want to judge everything based off of one sour faced answer. Also look around and notice how much competition you may have.. If you make hand crafted things, don’t just ask someone who is selling manufactured items their opinion of the show. You get the idea. (See Sugar Plum’s facebook video below~ I promise it will be worth your time.)

When I first started doing shows, I’d do about a dozen a year until I settled into a juried Festival in Southern California where I lived, called Sugar Plum. http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com/#

sugar plum booths

sugar

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=619354118093879&set=vb.126344157394880&type=2&theater

It was such a wonderful find that I ended up giving up all of my other shows and only doing Sugar Plum about five times a year.The rest of the year I would spend getting ready for the next upcoming one. It was such fun. I ended up getting the job of “setting up” the General Store which was their blended area. The other artists who were also assigned this job, worked late into the wee hours of the morning with me, displaying all the wonderful items that several different artists earmarked for the General Store. And together, we made a magical shopping place that actually looked like a General Store filled with treasures and all of our creations! When we would finish we had a tradition of walking over to the Denny’s across the parking lot for coffee and a late night visit before slipping into our hotels and getting about 4 hours sleep before we had to be back to help open the next morning! Though it was a lot of work. I never would have missed a single minute of any of it!

img164

img165

My garage Getting ready for a Sugar Plum Show!

I began using overalls and kid’s clothes to make scarecrows and themed dolls and my husband made a choir stand like display for my dolls so that I could keep them away from the saw dust. I became known as “The doll lady” because when I had my garage door opened people would stop and want to buy them right off of their shelf! Somedays I could make “grocery money” for the week!

img233

My dolls became a hit in the local neighborhoods that loved to decorate for Christmas! There was one called Sleepy Hollow in a Southern Neighborhood in Torrance, near Redondo Beach. One day a w0man came to a show at The Torrance Rec Center and wiped me out. She bought about a dozen of my dolls on the spot! Here is a picture of her front yard. Needless to say she won the competition that year and many years after! She would build a glass house with a life size santa sitting in a sleigh and she put all of my critters around as part of the scene. I was so honored that she chose my designs to be a part of her Award Winning display each year!

Christmas sleepy hollow house

You can “kind of” see all my elves sitting around the sleigh…

Soon my paintings became cards and in the beginning I cringe at some of my Early Dianes that I produced without help. But slowly my husband got involved and learned about a technique called sublimation and for a while started having my artwork printed on mugs and tiles and shirts.

img161

I still did a few dolls… but here was a new display after my husband got involved….

My trademark look was a “Holly Hobby” kind of whimsical angel with falling down socks and patches on their wings. I started writing poetry again to go with them and soon my cards began out selling my dolls! Each customer would grab a few and a few added up to great big checks and I had a great little business.

c49c0074fcbb7f1b_Diane_s_Angel_Friends001b_preview02ec609cf326aa9e_diane_angel001a_preview41b20fd17107c7c9_Diane_s_Angel_Kidsa_previewc082a3aa8a2b3110_Diane_s_Kitchen_Helper001a_previewa0121Starlounge17528

Around that time… my daughter asked me If I had imagined her when I was her age and I began to write my answer to her in way of a book called:  “Did You Imagine Me” Which my Dad produced for me! I still have  a few left for sale in my Etsy shop.

Diane Reed Reed on Etsy

http://www.etsy.com/people/crafterdi

DID YOU IMAGINE ME PAGE

When we moved to Central California, I still tried to do my shows but when we opened our store “Rose In The Woods” I tried to keep up with Sugar Plum and did for a while, but it was hard working all day and producing enough to make it worth doing the shows and so I slowly retired. Though a few of my friends would occasionally  host a little home botique for me. Until I finally sold the rest of my inventory in my store and called it a day.

img162

After the earthquake and the loss of our store. A lot of things changed pretty fast. But it is nice to be able to look back and see the blessings that have come along the way since a time in my life that I only saw devastation. Though I finally had to get a real job and today I work at a beautiful spa in a resort setting and it is a pretty nice place to work, if I have to. I have to admit that I complain from time to time and seem to constantly worry about the bills during this transition in our life, I have learned some much needed  lessons about appreciating the important things in life through the different set backs. Lessons I know that I might have missed without the ups and downs we have survived. And….For a long time, my art studio sat empty until my husband took it over for his office after losing his job. And I am praying that he will be using it very soon! due to some blessings God is working out for him!

Recently, my daughter got the creative bug after we visited a Sugar Plum Show during one of my LA trips when I came to see her. We’d received one of their post cards and decided to make a date of it. She had great memories of going and helping me set up from the time she was a baby and so we each took a best friend and I must say it was like magic! The owners of Sugar Plum embraced us with so much love and it was so fun seeing all my old friends. I was secretly hoping that I wouldn’t miss doing the shows and it all would be just a happy memory but I have to admit that I missed everything about the entire package from the very minute when I walked in that door. I hadn’t done a show for ten years and it was kind of like withdrawal…. The smells, the energy, all drew me back in like an addict!  My daughter excitedly talked me into doing one last show with her. So I set up my art studio again, this time in our guest room since my daughter had moved out and we now had two guest rooms to speak of. It was fun fixing up a new little place to create and for a while it felt as if the magic had come back. (Maybe someday I will write a book about how to have a successful art business including the dos and the don’ts about art shows and investments. I sure have learned enough to fill all the pages of at least one!)

0409001108

A little fuzzy but you get the picture…

 I made one last effort…but did it in a smaller version than before… Later, I heard that people still were looking for my larger holiday dolls so I probably should have stuck to what I knew best but didn’t have that kind of time so I tried something new. (Big mistake!) Once again my cards did well… but nothing as great as in the old days! I’d lost my following a decade earlier for the most part and I just wasn’t in a place to invest the time to build it back up again. I needed insurance and benefits and need to stick with my job for the time being. But it was a happy memory doing a show with my daughter, the once little toddler that had proudly showed off her bright red ears  to anyone who would look.. the day she got her ears pierced and we had to go to Sugar Plum right afterwards, when she was three. It was so fun to go back with her again, and have them all remember her little pink ears and see her all grown up.

Remember that little girl at Crafter’s Guild?img231Brookie's art show                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Brookie with her honey that helped her at one of her many shows last year!)

                                    

We did end up doing a Sugar Plum together a few years ago. It was so fun doing it with my baby! But it was a lot of work. And It really was my last show (I think) But it got her started doing shows while it made me realize that everything has a season… I was happy to pass the baton to my baby. And she has soared. She has done many shows since and has far surpassed me in her own Etsy shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/thenakedbird

IMG_2302

A Naked Bird of course!

She also has a blog here  http://thenakedbird.wordpress.com   She made me the cutest little Writing Mouse typing on her typewriter!

IMAG0424

Sure… dub me the proud mama! I’ll take it! There is nothing better when your kids follow your footsteps. It seems as if I followed my mom and so it is kind of cool. And the funny thing is I knew my daughter was a great actress and writer but who knew she had such an imagination and was such an amazing artist?! But she went to LA to pursue acting and is well on her way so has also had to put away her brushes for now… But every now and then will get an order from her Etsy shop!

So Anyway… I traded in my art studio

PAINT BRUSHES

for a writing studio

20130429_073645

type the end

and never looked back… till today…

Today I really am fine just writing. I don’t miss the mess and the shows and the set up one little bit…. well maybe… a teensie weensie, tiny bit!

img227img225

img229

Just remember….  a paintbrush can paint magic….  as our words can become art to the ones who take the time to see their beauty!

Diane 2013

writing magical