Little bits 06 // leaves

leaves, diana willard

Whatever you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.
Haruki Murakami

It's been raining, hard, for the past two days here in the Bay Area. I can feel the change coming, and between now and taking this photo, the sun has begun to peek out.

I'm headed outside.

Have a great weekend!

xo Diana

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WEEKLY WISHES 11 // the road ahead

avenue of the giants, diana willard

I hope you had a great weekend! The rain finally cleared up enough for us to go jogging at my favorite local lake -- San Francisco is such a hilly city that I find it hard to run in, but the lakes are a guaranteed flat-ish area! We went jogging there both Saturday and Sunday, followed by brunch at our absolute favorite cheap diner. Take note, those of you in SF. Also, yes, brunch both days. No regrets.

I have some big plans for this week, so it's going to be a bit of a sprint to the weekend. Without further ado: some weekly wishes, as hosted by Melyssa of the Nectar Collective!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Continue exploring my new paintings series. I did one more "paper experiment," which I really enjoyed doing, but honestly I didn't get very much painting done last week.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Ah, my constant weekly wish. I think I'm getting closer to this one -- I went jogging four times last week and did a tiny bit of yoga. So close!

  3. Work on my Python course. Yes! I spent a lot of time on this one and I've finally gotten to the point where I'm spending more time thinking about how to solve coding problems than on memorizing little nuggets of information.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Spend my mornings making art. I got a bit out of this habit over the last month, but I always have a better day when I begin this way. I'd like to do some more of my experimental paintings on paper, but I also have two commissioned paintings I need to crank out.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. I'm getting closer, but still haven't gotten there yet. Let's do this!

  3. Work on my Python course and attend two coding events. I'm closing on the last few chapters in Learn Python the Hard Way, but these are also the hardest chapters. I don't want to rush through it, but I'm hoping to finish up either this week or next week. Also, I'm planning to attend two Hackbright Academy events this week -- I'm hoping to learn a bit more about coding, but also get a feel for the community. Excited!

  4. Work on a save-the-date design for a friend. I'm looking forward to trying out a design-centered project (as inspired by my friend's excellent sense of taste!), and experimenting with watercolors, a medium I don't typically use in my personal work.

  5. Take some time for introspection and planning. There are a lot of "big picture" things I want to think about, including my plans for the rest of the calendar year and leading up to my big career decision next spring, evaluating my art business and website, and a whole host of more nebulous what-do-I-want-to-do type questions. I actually broke down and bought a copy of Whitney English's "Well-Designed Year" -- a sort of expanded worksheet designed to help clarify your goals and plans. I've never tried anything like it before, so I'm excited and curious to begin using it this week.

What are your plans for the week? Best of luck getting your wish list done and your to-do's checked off!

xo Diana

Topics: weekly wishes
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Little bits 05 // seeds

seeds, diana willard

They tried to bury us.
They didn't know we were seeds.
~ Mexican proverb

This week has been one for reading the news and thinking a lot and feeling a lot of feels. Nothing too coherent or productive yet, but I did wake up with these words on my mind, and a title for this piece.

seeds, diana willard

I hope you all have a good weekend.

xo Diana

P.S. The lovely Amber of Ember + March interviewed me for her blog this week. Take a peek here to read more about my work-life imbalance. :)

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WEEKLY WISHES 10 // new experiments

experiment on paper, diana willard

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

S and I had a bit of an unorthodox holiday: since we live far from our family, we took the long weekend to do a road trip up to Redwood National Park. It was an amazing drive (there is so much of NorCal north of San Francisco! And it is so beautiful!), so I'm really glad we took the time to do it.

But now it's time to get back to work, beginning with some weekly wishes, as hosted by Melyssa of the Nectar Collective!

LAST WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Keep sharing my postcard paintings + get back into the studio. Done! I kept sharing and writing about my Postcard Project, but I also got really into something I'm calling my "paper experiments (above). It's always fun and interesting to try something new, and I'm excited to see this series evolve.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Erm, I only went running once this week, but we did get some nice hiking in on Thursday and Friday, despite lots of travel. Let's call this one not bad for a holiday week!

  3. Enjoy a quick road trip. Done! We drove up to the Redwoods on Thursday and headed back on Friday. Despite some rain, it was really nice -- I just love the unbelievable scale of redwoods and the beautiful forests.

THIS WEEK'S WISHES:

  1. Continue exploring my new painting series.

  2. Thirty minutes exercise every day. Every day!

  3. Work on my Python course. I'm closing in on the last third of Learn Python the Hard Way, and tentatively hoping to finish it up this week. It's supposed to be a good foundation, so I'd love to be able to explore some interesting projects once I have it under my belt.

What are your plans for the week? Best of luck getting your wish list done and your to-do's checked off!

xo Diana

Topics: weekly wishes
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Support the makers // Small Business Gift Guide

small business gift guide

We just got home last night from gallivanting around the Redwoods in the rain, and I returned to an inbox full of Black Friday deals.

Not that I was complaining -- this holiday season I was thrilled to see some truly wonderful things happening (check out Everlane's new Black Friday tradition if you haven't had a chance) and an increased focused on small businesses and handmade goods.

I decided to share a selection of small business goods from around the web that I felt a personal connection with.

1. Teardrop Vase

Emily, Reinhardt, aka the Object Enthusiast, makes brilliant made-to-order stoneware, and I'm always inspired by her journey. After graduating with a degree in ceramics, she set up her own studio in her home and has been taking the world by storm ever since -- she's even had items in Anthropologie!

2. USA Shaped Cutting Board

I first ran across AHeirloom at a craft fair I participated in, and was blown away by their professionalism and response to their consumers. They are sort of my role model when it comes to small business ownership: the idea was born out of a craft the husband and wife team made for their wedding, which has now grown into a large production with employees and a workshop.

3. Peak Studs

I love seeing artists evolve, and have followed Kristyn's journey from her older blog and jewelry style to her newer incredibly elegant shop. Her work has quickly become my go-to for simple and beautiful pieces.

4. Pencil Case

I've been following This Is Ground for a while, and I love how they combine traditional leather-working techniques with beautiful modern designs for electronic devices -- for everything from annoying tangled-up headphones cords to full-size iPad cases.

5. Concrete Vase

I'm a bit of a fan-girl for Traci's gorgeous, graphic work. After following her on Instagram for months, I ran into her at the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair, and she was an absolute delight! (I may have completely geeked out.) She has a beautifully simple but bold aesthetic that I just love.

6. January Miniature Postcard Painting

Yes, I am including one of my own paintings in this round-up, but I'm honestly really proud of the series. Creating these paintings was more emotional and meaningful to me than I expected and I'm excited to see them go out in the world. For those of you interested, I'm offering a Small Business Saturday (and Sunday) deal -- get 10% off any order in my Etsy shop over $50 with coupon code SHOPSMALL. Get one postcard for you, and one for a friend!

7. Reverse Denin Dopp Kit

Everlane's been doing some great things when it comes to business and factory transparency (and Black Friday, see above!), but also I seriously love their simple, well-made goods. I've been lusting after this particular dopp kit for a while -- perfect for traveling, right?

8. Happiness Tote Bag

Not only am I completely in the dog-people camp, but I'm a huge fan of all things hand-lettered, so this tote bag is definitely in my sweet spot. To top it off, the creator, Jess, is incredibly sweet and supportive of other makers -- she recently interviewed me on her blog about my new painting series. (She's also a fabulous graphic designer, so made my works look just stunning.)

9. Winter Landscape Mug

Brit of Paper & Clay is another incredible self-starting woman entrepreneur. I just love the beautiful but supremely functional pieces that come out of her one-woman studio and adore following her process on Instagram.

Do you have any favorite independent makers or small businesses? I'm putting together my own holiday shopping list and would love to support some of your favorite makers!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

xo Diana

Topics: inspiration
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