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.”

Advertisements

All The Special Places That We Left Behind


doorknob

Sometimes I wander through my mind like rooms inside my past.

Going back to different places that left my life too fast.

little girl looking out window

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go and find,

all the special places that we’ve left behind?

girl at a new door out in field

If at any given moment we could go down memory lane,

and everything we left once, could somehow be the same?

DADDY & ME

I know exactly where I’d go and who I’d want to see.

I know if I could pick an age, just how old I’d want to be

my portfolio from the seventies

 But I know there’s no such thing as going back again,

to find our yesterdays in places where we’ve been.

peaceful forest

I guess in all that I have learned to finally understand,

that being happy is done best,  exactly where I am!

me at my wedding shower

Diane Reed

2014

You


 washing cars

You fall into my heart like a catchy tune

on a slow lazy car washing  afternoon.

We fit together more than I realized

you’ve touched my heart like a sweet surprise.

46637-love-happy-couple-lying-on-a-sofa

You never really had any doubts about us

and believed all we had would be just enough.

Even when  I messed everything  up

you hung in there and wouldn’t give up.

fireplace sofa

 Oh yeah, Lord knows we’ve had our go rounds,

when we were anything but on solid ground.

But we’ve learned to give and let go some more

and have come out even better than before!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

For falling in love and falling for you

was something I didn’t know that I’d do.

It took me a while to understand God’s plan

That you are the place He had me  land.

Diane Reed

2014

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

My Strength


baby smile

I have been working a lot lately, so when I come home, I just kind of zonk out and recently have not been writing too much. But I had to share this one that came to me the other day while I was at work (of course ~ since I’m always there!)

Have you ever been in a funk and totally zoned out? Perhaps standing in a line at a register waiting to be checked out, and a baby catches your eye and smiles at you? In a split second, you are transported to a place of innocent joy between you and that smiling baby. You smile back only to receive an even bigger smile. At that moment, nothing else matters, not bills, being late for an important date, or even what has you really worried. It is as if God Himself, reached down to hug you. The innocent exchange reminds you of bigger things. Maybe even a glimpse of a speck of what heaven will be like. Nothing but innocent joy.

0413011039 hot tubrohss

The other day I was ouside at work. Even though I work in a beautiful piece of God’s country where squirrels scamper just inches away and birds sing to me as I do my job, I feel a bit like Cinderella having to clean out the chimney, (in my case tubs) waiting for my Prince to rescue me.

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

(after all of my work… they look like this…)

hot tub

hot tub2

I have to climb up and down hills all day long, and under hot tubs that might have snakes and spiders where I have to go. And I have to admit that I don’t always stop to smell the flowers as I head under each tub.

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

I asked God to give me something profound as I walked around the other day in a particular funk. And I amost heard His voice as He gave me:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

Wow!! It was such an intense and fast answer that it brought quick tears to my eyes. I asked for more and was given the vision of how I love to make people laugh. Particularly  people who I respect, like my dad or a person that I place a little above myself. And I realized that laughter translates into joy and giving joy is empowering. Hence; maybe the same goes for the meaning of  strength in the verse God gave to me? I pondered a bit more. (Funny how if you stay focused, God will talk to you as long as you talk back and sometimes even when you don’t!)  I realized that desiring to give God JOY is my strength. When I know that I know that I know that my heart is only wanting to make God “laugh” or make Him proud or happy, I am as strong as Samson!

I have been feeling blue lately and disappointed by people. From the time I was young I’ve had a habit of looking up to people; Teachers, Politicians,  men and women of God. And ultimately have discovered that they are all human. And unfortunately, all eventually succumb to pride and prejudice in their own ways. And maybe that is a good thing. Because when I start to admire someone too much, I usually am disappointed. I have just begun to learn that it is not fair to them. No one is ever going to not disappoint me. No one but God that is. And so my focus should be finding my strength in His joy!

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

Happy… It’s NOT that complicated!


In the shower  letting the water wash all my cares away

shower5

Dancing around in my robe as I pour the coffee

coffee

Drying my hair and putting my make up on

make up in mirror

As I walk out the door… I hear a little song in my head…

door walking out

I Smile at the neighbor as I hop in the car

car window getting in car

And crank up the music, rolling my window down

Wave the guy in front of me in, it’s not that complicated

traffic

It’s gonna be what I make it… and it’s going to be a very good day!

happy woman at the beach

Happy Weekend!

(Even though I gotta work!)

Love,

Diane

If Only…


girl flying

If only

I could will myself

to you,

floating high above,

that you might

feel my presence

in a surge of love.

Like a curtain moved

by  a summer breeze,

curtains in the breeze

a light wind,

holding tight

as it carries me

Wendy

through my

memories…

love in Heaven sillouette

I would set upon

your rooftop

rooftops

and quietly

 look

right through~

If only to spend

A minute’s

worth of time

with you!

peterpan and wendy not a cartoon

Diane Reed