FRIDAY LINK // You're doing what you want to do

succulents, Diana Willard

What a week! Between the adrenaline letdown after my craft fair and an annoying head cold (I guess it's fall now?) I've had the feeling of swimming upstream.

So I really wanted to share with you all a beautiful bit of writing that has kind of turned my head upside down, in the best possible way, about the decisions we make daily.

Abbigail is a writer, and she says it better than I could, so I'll let her speak for herself -- just an excerpt of her lovely post -- beginning with a quotation from the movie The Answer Man:

Kris: Why can't I do the things I want to do? There's so much I know I'm capable of that I never actually do. Why is that?

Arlen: The trick is to realize that you're always doing what you want to do. . . always. Nobody's making you do anything. Once you get that, you see that you're free and that life is really just a series of choices. Nothing happens to you. You choose.

Now, I know that I want to eat cookies and not broccoli. I want to sit and read and not go to the gym. I want to feel sorry for myself that this is all happening.

We all have our moments when we are allowed to to do the "wrong" thing: to take a break, to eat pizza instead of chicken.

But when I add all those actions up -- all those little wants -- they don't equal my actual goals, the BIG wants: to write a book, to eat healthy, to exercise more.

So I need to change the little wants. I need to make my everyday actions reflect what I actually want to do in life, not what I think I want to do in the moment.

I found this idea incredibly empowering, and the rest of the post definitely worth reading.

Have you read anything lately that changed the way you looked at your habits or daily choice?

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo Diana

Topics: friday links
WEEKLY WISHES 01 // getting in gear

paintings, Diana Willard

Whew! That was a bit of an unexpected hiatus there, huh? Having a craft fair booth turned out to be much more exhausting than I thought (but also more fun!), and after spending yesterday lying down recovering, I realized I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get started with my week.

I ran across Melyssa's lovely blog, The Nectar Collective, maybe a month or so ago, and have been loving how goal-oriented it is. This week, I decided to participate in her Weekly Wishes feature, which allows bloggers to share their goals for the week (and their progress on previous goals).

Without further ado, my wishes for this week!

  1. Create a plan for my San Francisco Open Studios event, and start working on it!

  2. Get back to spending lots of time making art -- at least 20 hours this week.

  3. Keep on exercising, 30 minutes a day minimum.

  4. Practice Hindi daily. We're headed to India in October to visit S's family, and I'm determined to be able to chat it up with taxi drivers by the time I get there.

What are your big goals for the week? And what ways have you found to stay on track with them?

xo Diana

Topics: weekly wishes
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Re:Make SF // craft fair September 13th!

Re:Make SF with Brit + Co

This is just a quick public service announcement to let those of you in the Bay Area (or farther afield!) know that I'll be showing and selling my art (and other various art-decorated items) at the Re:Make SF craft fair next weekend!

It should be a super fun and free event next Saturday at Fort Mason in San Francisco. For those of you wanting to get a leg up on holiday shopping (if so, please teach me your ways!), this might be a good place to start. For those of you not quite that organized, there should be tons of cool crafts, hands-on projects, and some good food.

Check out more event details here!

Have a great weekend everyone!

xo Diana

Topics: in the studio
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book love // 01

book recommendations, dw draws

At the beginning of the year, I signed up for a Goodreads reading challenge. I consider myself a prolific reader, so I committed to reading thirty books this year. And I was pretty stunned when I learned halfway through the year that I was already five books behind schedule.

I think, to some extent, my mental image of myself is stuck in my teenage years, when I could easily read one or two novels a week. Somehow over the past few years, reading has drifted away from my daily routine. I really want to read more, so I'm gearing back up to try to complete the challenge.

These are my favorite books so far this year, and I would love any recommendations you have for the rest of my reading challenge!

01. AMERICANAH, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I had never heard of this author before my brother and sister in law gave us this book, to which I owe them for introducing me to an amazing book and new author. Despite being pretty heavy (literally and figuratively), I devoured this book. I recommend this one both for the wonderful storytelling and its fascinating handling of issues of race in America.

02. WONDER, R. J. Palacio.

This book is a bit different than the others on my list because it's not an adult novel. . . or even a young adult novel. It's designed for the middle grades, and beautifully and thoughtfully handles the story of Auggie, a 10-year-old boy with significant facial deformities learning to navigate middle school with grace and humor.

Of these four books, this is the one that had me laughing out loud (and I was listening to this as an audiobook while riding public transportation -- my apologies fellow travelers!) and tearing up.

03. THE CUCKOO'S CALLING, Robert Galbraith.

Let's call this what is is: a fantastic murder mystery detective novel by J. K. Rowling. Some people have said they noticed a similar writing style to the Harry Potter books, but the similarity I saw was how sucked in I became. It's a quick read and very fun.

04. THE ROUND HOUSE, Louise Erdrich.

This book absolutely enthralled me me. It has a very fast moving plot -- to some extent it's a mystery novel -- but the way it handled the topic of Native American reservation politics and legal issues, all told from the point of view of a young boy, was just fascinating and heartbreaking. I definitely hope to read more of Erdrich's books!

Oh, and do any of you have a Kindle? What are your thoughts on it? I've been firmly a paper-and-ink girl until now, but I'm toying with the idea of getting one to more easily read while traveling and on the go. Would love to hear your thoughts on them!

I hope everyone's enjoying the long weekend!

xo Diana

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Art Process 11 // Mount Davidson

mount davidson series, diana willard (detail)

Lately S and I have been really enjoying exploring San Francisco's parks.

A lot of them are unexpectedly woodsy and wild-feeling for inner-city parks, which is a lot of fun for a pair of city-dwellers like us.

mount davidson series, diana willard (sketch)

I was inspired to create a painting based on one of my photos of our foggy hike on Mount Davidson.

When I sat down to create some sketches of the painting, I came up with so many fun color I asked on Instagram for some advice. Thank you to those up you who weighed in on which one you liked best. . . but I have to admit that in the end I couldn't choose just one!

mount davidson series, diana willard (detail)

mount davidson series, diana willard (detail)

These were a lot of fun to paint, and I love how the different colors can bring such a different mood to the same scene.

mount davidson series, diana willard (detail)

Three of the original paintings are available in my Etsy shop and I'm offering $10 off each painting if you wish to purchase more than one!

xo Diana

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