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

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Happy Thanksgiving, from Van Gogh + Co

mondrianh, hannah rothstein

Piet Mondrian

van gogh, hannah rothstein

Vincent van Gogh

magritte, hannah rothstein

Rene Magritte

warhol, hannah rothstein

Andy Warhol

picasso, hannah rothstein

Pablo Picasso

seurat, hannah rothstein

Georges Seurat

rothko, hannah rothstein

Mark Rothko

I had another post planned for today, but as soon as I say these wonderful and hilarious photographs on Colossal, I knew I had to share them.

Painter and illustrator Hannah Rothstein created this series, entitled "Thanksgiving Special: How Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Meals," a sort of tongue-in-cheek homage to a number of artists' distinctive styles.

She has limited edition prints of these (and a couple more) on her site, and 10% of the profits will be donated to the SF-Marin Food Bank.

For those of you in the US, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and for those of you elsewhere, have a lovely weekend!

xo Diana

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Medical Art School

medical art school 01

I ran across these images from the LIFE Archives via Miss Moss's (another Diana!) lovely blog. People often suggest that I become either a medical illustrator or an art therapist as a way of resolving my career crisis, er, conflict, but those specific careers aren't particularly interesting to me.

However, I am always looking for ways to combine my artistic and scientific interests, and the idea of a medical school for artists made me smile. Plus, that giant magnifying glass

medical art school 02

medical art school 03

These are just a couple of my favorites, but you can see some more of them at Miss Moss's post.

Have a lovely day,

xo Diana

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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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Hand-Made

Scissors

I've been kind of obsessed with watching and re-watching these two videos I found via Colossal. I just find the process of making something so intricate by hand mesmerizing.

The Putter from Shaun Bloodworth.

Hands from Gucci Japan.

It's clear from both these videos that the craftsman have an incredible amount of skill and years of practice behind them. I've been thinking a lot about the nature and importance of practice lately, and later in the week I'll be sharing some ways I'm incorporating it into my daily routine.

xo Diana

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Dose of inspiration // Interview with Hannah Braime

Hannah Braime, coach & writer

I met the lovely Hannah Braime at a time when I was feeling a little desperate.

I was getting to paint all the time, setting up my new studio, and preparing for my first art show. And yet I was panicking. I was filled with self-doubt and uncertainties and basically working myself in a nice little anxiety-induced paralysis.

Fortunately, on a whim I contacted Hannah for a self-kindness counseling session through Sarah's Network of Nice. Best decision ever.

Hannah is an incredible listener and full of insightful and practical advice. She works as a writer and coach, and after talking to her, I knew I wanted to hear a bit more about her story and her tips for those of us who could use a does of self-kindness.

Hannah Braime, quote 1

Hannah, tell us a little about yourself! What do you do?

I'm a coach and a writer from the UK. I founded becomingwhoyouare.net, where I teach people how to be kinder to themselves and reconnect with their creative joy.

How did you come to do this type of work?

I became interested in personal development when I went through a very difficult time during my late teens/early twenties. I originally started my blog as a way of exploring my own thoughts and feelings. After training to be a counsellor for a year, I realised that, although I think it's a hugely valuable service and profession, I felt more excited about supporting people to focus on the future rather than the past. I started coaching in 2013 and have been loving it ever since!

Hannah Braime, quote 2

What has been the biggest hurdle you had to overcome to achieve your goals?

The biggest hurdle for me has been my internal dialogue. There's a saying that we end up teaching what we most need to learn ourselves, and this is certainly true in my case!

I started my site in 2010, but it's only become a business venture in the last 18 months. During that time, one of the biggest challenges has been self-negotiation -- learning to embrace uncertainty and discomfort, learning to take reasonable risks, and moving through the "what will people think of this?" fear (all of which are still a work in progress).

Two things in particular have helped me overcome this hurdle. The first is surrounding myself with the right people. In the beginning, I didn't pay enough attention to this and, consequently, I think the journey was more challenging than it might have been otherwise. One of the best things I've done over the past year is to start building a community of people who are supportive and challenge me to be the best version of myself.

The second is getting really clear on my non-negotiables, the activities that help me feel like the best version of myself. I know that when I'm getting enough sleep, journaling, exercising, meditating regularly, and making time to create every day, I'm far better able to handle the highs and lows of life and business. It sounds really simple (and it is!) but these activities are usually the first to go when we feel stretched or stressed.

Hannah Braime, quote 3

What has been your proudest moment in this journey?

It's hard to choose one proudest moment. . . I know I've felt proud when I've been able to reach and serve a lot of people, whether that's through coaching, getting published in HuffPo, or through running a bundle of self-care products like I did earlier in June.

I've also noticed on a day-to-day level that I feel most satisfied by the work I'm doing when I focus on the process rather than the outcome and make sure I'm showing up each day, focusing on what's important, and putting my community first.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations or role models?

Steve Chandler. I love his wisdom around overcoming self-limiting beliefs and living as the best version of ourselves.

Jacob Sokol from Sensophy: Jacob really helped me get my coaching business off the ground and seeing his progress is an inspiration.

Eric Maisel. His books on creativity are down-to-earth BS-free inspiration.

Cigdem Kobu: I'm part of The Progress Lounge, Cigdem's group for introverted women solopreneurs. Not only is she a fabulous mentor, but she's created a lovely community there.

Gwen Bell: Gwen started off in the tech-meets-personal-development world and has since gone uber tech. I admire the fact that she lives life on her terms. She educated me about a few things that are key in my own life, from Non-Violent Communication to the writing software Scrivener.

Hannah Braime, quote 4

What advice would you give to new creative entrepreneurs who are struggling with anxiety, stress, or feelings of defeat?

First, remember that you are definitely not alone in feeling this. Even people who appear to have everything "sorted" experience fear, worry, stress, doubt, and all that uncomfortable stuff. Feeling isolated can compound this experience, so I'd encourage you to reach out to someone you can trust who will listen and empathise with what you're dealing with.

Next, focus on what you can give rather than what you can get. We all want to pay bills and have clients knocking down our door, but these things both come from adding value first. When we become fixed in a scarcity mindset (i.e. not having enough, not doing enough, not being enough, etc.), we start making it all about us. Shifting that focus back to our clients, customers, and communities helps take some of that pressure off and leaves us in a better position to serve the people our work can really help.

Finally, think of your business like a marathon: if you're at the beginning of a marathon and you keep thinking about how far the finish line is, you'll soon start to feel demotivated and frustrated. Instead, focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Find someone to pace you. Use the people cheering on the sidelines to keep moving. Get up each morning and ask yourself: "What is the one thing I can do today that will move my business forward?"

Hannah Braime, quote 5

Any projects coming up you want to share?

Yes! I have a big project coming up later this year. It will be an offering for creative entrepreneurs who want to explore ways they can reclaim their creative joy while building a sustainable and thriving business. If you're reading this and feel like you could use more balance in your hustle, I recommend joining my community to hear more information when its ready.

And just for fun. . . coffee or tea?

I gave up coffee earlier this year so, while I still pine for it, I'm going to say herbal tea. :)

Thank you so much Hannah for taking the time to share all this great material with us!

xo Diana

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INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION // let's just flip it
clockwise from top left:

Take a photo. Flip it. Brilliant.

Check out #letsjustflipit on Instagram for more goodness.

I kind of can't wait to try this...except I'm pretty sure my abstract paintings aren't going to look that different upside down!

Have a great weekend everyone!

xo Diana
DOSE OF INSPIRATION // interview with joe fairless (+ a gift!)
One of the great things about trying out a new career is all the amazing people you meet through it. 

I've been so inspired by these fantastic entrepreneurs, and I want to start sharing some of their wonderful work and excellent advice with you all. As inspired by several other bloggers (notably Tara Victoria, from whom I borrowed the last question!), I decided to start up an interview series to get to dive deeper in these awesome people's knowledge. 


First up is Joe Fairless, a sort of business and marketing guru I met through his Skillshare class. I previously talked about how helpful this course was to me as a beginning (read: noob) entrepreneur, especially because the extraordinary amount of thought and time Joe puts into the class and helping individual students.

His willingness to help is particularly remarkable in the face of how many hats he wears and how many projects he has going on! He explains it best, so I'll let him take the floor...

(Oh, and check out the bottom of the post for an awesome gift Joe is giving everyone!)

Tell us a little about yourself! What do you do? 


I raise money from private investors and buy apartment communities with them. We then split the profits. I find the deals, manage them and handle the finances. They fund the deals. But, that's a far cry from what I USED to do! About a year ago I was the youngest vice president at an award-winning advertising agency in New York City. I climbed the corporate ladder pretty quickly but realized that I just didn't care to go any further. I wasn't fulfilled and needed a change. So I left the ad agency world and started my own real estate investing company. 

I also have a consultation practice where I help real estate investors to buy properties and put deals together. 

...I also teach a class on Skillshare that helps beginning entrepreneurs structure their new business (and that's how I met you!!!). 

...I am ALSO writing a book on how to have a remarkable career. It's called Join the Remarkables: 75 Tips to Have a Remarkable Career and is due in 2014. You can download a chapter for free here!


How did you come to do this type of work?


I've been investing in real estate on the side since 2009 while I worked at an ad agency. Once I left the ad industry I had to figure out my next steps. So I took my experience in real estate and my background in marketing/advertising and combined it to create my own company, Fairless Investing.


What has been the biggest hurdle you had to overcome to achieve your goals? What helped you overcome it?



What has been your proudest movement in this journey?


Paying my investors exactly how much I'd projected I'd pay them. I'm sure they would agree that this is a highlight too! :) 


Who are some of your biggest inspirations or role models?


I am CONSTANTLY INSPIRED by different people. 

  • Terry Fox, the one-legged runner who inspired all of Canada in 1980 when he ran over 3k miles across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. 
  • Magic Johnson who was diagnosed with HIV and had to quit the sport he loved, only to then become an uber-successful business man worth over $500 million because of his vision in investing in inner city development. 
  • Elon Musk who believes in what he does so much that he has risked it all multiple times.
...and those three are just from last week. 

I could go on and on because I am constantly seeking inspirational figures. 

Kids who grow up with limited resources but end up doing great things, Will Smith and his fierce drive to accomplish goals, my 98 years-young grandma and her never-ending caring soul, my late-grandpa and his humor and love, my mom and her unconditional love and pursuit of personal growth, my stepdad and his willingness to treat me like his son, my dad and his resilience no matter what challenges life poses, etc... Seriously, this is a BIG area of focus for me.  


What advice would you give new creative entrepreneurs without a business or marketing background?


Know what you want to create. Find people who have successfully done a similar business. Learn how they did it. Apply. 


Any projects coming up you want to share?


I'm excited my next apartment community deal. I'm excited about my book that's due out in Dec of 2014. I'm excited about the real estate that my clients are buying. And, I'm excited that I'm living life doing what I love to do. 

And just for fun... coffee or tea?


A green drink please! I don't drink coffee or tea (or soda!). Just water, green veggie drinks and booze. 


Thanks so much for so generously sharing your story and advice, Joe! 

Seriously, I cannot recommend his course highly enough for those of you (like me) who have no idea how to create a business model or plan... and lucky for you all, he's providing an awesome discount on his class

Check out the class here, and use coupon code DIANA to access the discount. Oh, and Joe's offered anyone who signs up a 30 minute free phone consultation on their project! Kind of ridiculously awesome.

xo Diana
JAPANESE PRINCIPLES OF AESTHETICS

While I'm on this crazy new journey into the world of art, design, and business, I often feel like a (slightly desperate) sponge -- sucking up all interesting tidbits from any source I can get my hands on. These become my inspiration, guiding directions, or simply ideas to mull over.

Most recently I came across these Japanese principles of aesthetics. I was intrigued in the tremendous history behind them, and how they continue to evolve today.

sources of beauty // principles of aesthetics 


shinto-buddism
emphasis on nature and transience

wabi-sabi
mindfulness and the beauty of imperfections

miyabi
elegance + refinement

shibui
simplicity + subtlety

iki
originality + spontaneity

jo-ha-kyu
begin, accelerate, end

yugen
mysterious + profound

geido
discipline, ethics

enso
"circle," indicating the void or enlightenment

kawaii
modern phenomena of "cute," may signify harmony

As an experiment, I want to keep these in mind as I go through my work this week. I'm curious which ones connect most with my creative process, and which ones challenge me. Do you find any of these principles ring true for you or your work?  

xo Diana
INSPIRATION // real life mood boards
I've suddenly found myself with a good chunk of white wall space in my studio to fill, which is both exciting and overwhelming.

I tossed up a couple of finished and unfinished paintings, realized my aesthetic sense may not extend all the way to planning gallery walls, and decided to go for a more intentionally-chaotic display: an inspiration wall for my art.

I went looking for some examples to model my inspiration wall after, and absolutely fell in love with these massive wall collages. I was especially inspired by Emmadime's real life moodboards and I love the idea of doing more of a multi-media collage.

Some of my favorites:
Emmadime's real life moodboard (source)


Do you like to create physical moodboards, or do you prefer to keep them digital? What are your favorite sources of inspiration?

xo Diana
CURATING INSPIRATION // the lean pinterest movement?


I've been seeing a lot of blog posts lately about curating your closet. Probably the best-organized advice column on the topic is Cuyana's Lean Closet Series, but I was also really inspired by Madelynn's and Breanna's posts.

So inspired that I included the idea in my Life, Designed list, and have actually gotten to work on it.

Er...until I got completely sidetracked.

STEP 1: the purge (so far so good)


Between these articles, my natural tendency to get rid of stuff (ask my friends or family: I'm kind of the terrifying opposite of a pack-rat), and our recent move, I was inspired to off-load about half my closet.

THE CHALLENGE: One of the downsides to not growing since sixth grade is that you still fit into everything. EVERYTHING. So long t-shirts from elementary school. (yes, really.)

THE UPSIDE: it turns out the Bay Area has only one season, so I really need one season of clothing. Locals will argue otherwise, but us cold-climate-transplants know the truth.

THE RESULTS: Let's just say I've had to increase the frequency of our laundry schedule.


STEP 2: shopping


But this would cost money!

I decided to ease myself into this phase (i.e., see if it was absolutely necessary), by starting one of those secrete Pinterest boards to collect inspiration for clothing items. I collected about 30 images I liked, and started editing them down to the ten or so I adored.

Who knew purging online could be as fun as in real life? Seriously. I felt cleansed as I deleted the pins -- as though I was literally editing out all the junky, trendy influences and getting to the core of the things I loved. (Read: the junky trendy influence that are just so me.)

STEP 3: the purge continues!


At this point, Cuyana suggests working on styling and organizing your closet, but if you haven't actually gone shopping yet, what are you to do?

Look, some of us love shopping. Some of us love styling. Some of us love...deleting pins from Pinterest? It's possible there's an actual clinical diagnosis for this habit, but I'm going to be forgiving to myself and call it "curating inspiration." Anyone else? Anyone?

After deleting a ton of pins from my boards, I became interested in my reluctance to delete certain pins that had been repinned a lot, even if I no longer loved the image. These were my popular pins! They validated me as a social media something-or-other!

After wrestling with my ego for a bit, I did end up deleting a good chunk of these popular images. (My ego also won a few battles.) The conclusion I came to was that -- like my closet and my living space -- Pinterest is part of my environment. Yes, it's virtual, but I need it to work for me: to give me clarity and inspiration when I need it. And if someone else likes those images as well, all the better!


I'm not really sure where this is headed (besides more compulsive pin-deleting, obviously), but I think streamlining and curating my sources of inspiration has already made me more focused about the look and feel of the work I want to create.

What are your sources of inspiration? How do you avoid getting sucked into trendy inspiration, as opposed to ideas that really fit you? I'd love to hear your thoughts or advice!

Have a great weekend!

xo Diana

P.S. Take a look at the rest of my Pinterest inspiration to get a sense of how many pins I must have started out with! :)
INSPIRATION // seeing new york
Photographer Jamie Beck had the simple and brilliant idea to create short "cinemagraphs" of New York scenes, as viewed through lenses of her glasses. Just stunning.




I hope you all have a beautiful week.

xo Diana
FAVORITE SKILLSHARE CLASSES

I started this year doing a lot of new things I had no clue how to do.


Starting and running a business.

Marketing and promoting myself and my work.

Creating an artistic portfolio without the guidance of an instructor.

Working from home without coworkers or classmates to keep me on track.

Some things, I'm proud to say, I've figured out.


How to cram all of our belongings into less than 200 square feet (okay, we cheated and stored stored some stuff in the trunk of the car). >>

How to get myself to eat a healthy lunch each day. >>

How to keep my calendar and ideas organized. >>

Because I'm working on learning so many new skills this year, but for the first time without the benefit of a structured school or training program, I've been turning to online courses a lot more. I've been especially enjoying some Skillshare courses, and thought I'd share some of my favorites with you guys!

Skillshare is a website where teachers create online courses in their area of expertise, post video lessons, give step-by-step assignments, and provide feedback. Probably the nicest thing about Skillshare is that each class has a built-in community of classmates who share their own projects and also give great feedback and encouragement.

I've taken five classes, but these are the ones I learned the most from and really enjoyed:

Meg Lewis // introduction to photoshop

This is perfect for people who literally don't know how to open photoshop, as Meg walks you through everything from setting up a document to using some of the more advanced tools. 

I thought her videos were some of the best I'd seen, and her pacing and explanations were extremely clear. Plus, the end-result projects are super helpful -- I used it to create a mood board (above) for my redesign of my personal website!


Joe Fairless // launch a no-fail business model

This class walks you through a process of goal-defining and market research in a really accessible way. It gave me a structure to think about business decisions and left me with a lot to think about in the way of big picture ideas for my business. 

I also found that Joe was by far the most engaged instructor of any of the classes I'd taken, and he actually chatted with me on the phone for thirty minutes to answer my questions!

Molly Jacques // introduction to calligraphy

This was my just-for-fun class, and I thought it was fantastic! Molly spends a lot of time going over some really important fundamentals: which materials to use, how to hold the pen, and what the basic strokes are. 

You can go as far as you want with this class -- ultimately, the goal is to design your own alphabet/lettering style. I'm still working on the basics of this class, and really enjoying the process.

If any of you want to try out Skillshare for the first time, let me know -- I can send you a link to get a discount on your first class!

Have a great weekend everyone!

xo Diana

P.S. The top image is of my Turquoise Water painting -- you can see more pictures of it on my Etsy shop!
INSPIRATION // top self-promoters

I am so, so new to the whole being-a-small-business-owner thing. My background is medicine and art, so I've spent a lot of the past six months giving myself a kind of business 101 crash course. 

Some things, like learning how to do accounting and taxes and inventory, weren't exactly stimulating but felt doable for me. 

Other things felt just unbelievably foreign and impossible. I'm looking at you, marketing and self-promotion. 

With the goal in mind about being more intentional with my work, I decided to look to some of the people who I think are amazing self-promoters to see what they are doing right. 

A couple common themes I noticed: 

  1. The obvious one: they do outstanding work. Their products or services are flawless and show a lot of a care.
  2. They use social media really skillfully to highlight not just their product, but also their personality and story. I think the key here is that each person finds a style that fits them and their work, so the end result feels natural.
And so, some of the creative self-promoters I admire the most:


Breanna Rose is a graphic designer, and this comes across in every aspect of her online persona: her blog is simple and beautiful, her in-progress work is stunning, and even her Instagram account has a strong visual style. Everything is just so beautifully curated, she really doesn't need to do anything else. But she does -- I love her fantastic advice column for freelancers.


Rachel Castle is an artist and home-goods designer who (for me at least) sells her work brilliantly through her personality, especially as showcased on her Instagram. Not only are her designs bright and witty, but she accompanies them with hilarious stream-of-consciousness descriptions of her life. I literally look out for her posts because I enjoy them so much.

Emily Jeffords is a painter who is fantastic about utilizing her social network -- she often showcases her gorgeous paintings on Instagram, but also hosts giveaways where to enter, followers must share one of her paintings on their social network. Plus, she has some of the most beautiful in-progress painting photos I've ever seen and awesome tips for artists on her blog.



Shenee is a branding expert who sells her work through total and absolute confidence in herself and her abilities -- like, saying straight out that she is the best at what she does. Plus, she's hilarious, and has me convinced that she is without a doubt the best at what she does.

Jessica Hische is a lettering and illustrator who has basically created a name and an entirely new career for herself through some brilliant creative side projects -- most famously Daily Drop Cap. Plus, she's got some awe-inspiring pep talks out there, possibly the coolest wedding website ever, and a Skillshare course I've been dying to take.

I'm obviously hugely inspired by these women and their work, and especially their complete confidence in themselves. So to take their lessons to heart, a brief plug: I'm super excited to be moving to a bigger studio, and celebrating with a short Etsy sale that ends Saturday -- check it out here!

xo Diana
INSPIRATION // Victoria Will's Sundance Tintype Portraits
I can't get enough of Victoria Will's beautiful and haunting tintype portraits of celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival. Thank you to Charlotte for introducing me to the images!
In college, I adored my photography classes and was lucky enough to take a class on alternative photography processes. We tried out many techniques (unfortunately not tintypes), and I loved the unpredictable nature of these types of photographs. You literally don't know what image you have until you've developed it.

This short video gives a great description of the steps involved in making a tintype.


Hope you guys are having a great week!

xo Diana
BOMBAY CHAUPATI // video love

We're off! S and I will be visiting friends in India for two weeks! I'm beyond excited, and wanted to leave you with a brief video of Bombay that always inspires me.

The video is made by one of S's cousins and features some beautiful shots of the Bombay shoreline and activity, with a wonderful soundtrack.

Have a great weekend!

xo Diana


Bombay Chaupati from Kunal Sen on Vimeo.
FAVORITE LANDSCAPE ARTISTS // whimsical images
armed/luminous, JENNIFER MEHIGAN

For the past few months, I've been taking a landscape painting class that focused on very traditionally rendered nature scenes. 

The class definitely has improved my drawing and painting skills, but I find myself itching to add a little...something to my paintings. Colorful flames? Hand embroidery? Dramatic geometric shapes? Feeling very inspired! :)


I'll just nip out and grab some milk, INGRID KOOL CLARKE


 quarantine, KATE SHAW


conformation 3, SHAUN KARDINAL


cold feelings, DJUNO TOMSNI

xo Diana
ART INSPIRATION // favorite sketchbook artists

I resolved recently to spend more time on sketches -- instead of just launching myself into larger projects without a direction -- and have really enjoyed it.

However, these artists take sketching to a whole new level. I love seeing their sketchbook pages, which seem practically like finished pieces, but also checking out the direction their finished works goes. Time to break away from the number 2 pencil? :)




ASHLEY GOLDBERG (also check out her fun Etsy shop!)











And finally, if just one book isn't enough for you, Ekaterina Panikanova creates huge, incredible pieces using multiple books pieces together!


Do you have any favorite artists that show their process? Or do any of you share your sketchbook pages? I'd love to see them!

xo Diana
INSPIRATION // Rifle Paper Co.



I've been a fan of Rifle Paper Company's beautiful floral stationary for a while, and their current lookbook is absolutely gorgeous! I love the mixture of real flowers and fruits with paper cut-outs and their stationary. Thanks to A Pair of Pears for introducing the lookbook to me -- just lovely!

xo Diana
FAVORITE FONTS // 04 // FORMAL SCRIPTS

After trying out a calligraphy class, I've gotten more into fancy and formal scripts -- here are some of my favorites!

xo Diana

P.S. See the previous free font collections herehere, and here!
FAVORITE FONTS // 03 // RETRO FONTS
airstream | fairview | oil can | intro inline {from the title}

I hope everyone had a good weekend! As a quick exercise for getting back into the swing of things, I put together this collection of retro fonts -- fonts that remind me of old-school signs and baseball games. Enjoy!

xo Diana


P.S. See the previous free font collections here and here!
HAND LETTERING INSPIRATION
I've been loving hand lettering lately! Above are some of my favorites from around the web -- thanks to Nachiket for some great recommendations!


Have a great weekend!

xo Diana

P.S. I'm taking an online Skillshare class on calligraphy by Molly Jacques -- if you want to take it with me, you can sign up here. You can get a $10 discount on the class by signing up with this link (and I'll also get a discount on a later class).
FAVORITE FREE FONTS // 02 // CASUAL SCRIPTS
pacifico | lavanderia | lighthouse | intro inline {from the title}

I had way too much fun putting together the last set of fonts (here), so I couldn't resist creating another set! These casual scripts look great as headings -- Lobster and Wisdom script in particular are extremely popular right now. My favorite though has to be Sofia -- it's so simple and delicate!

Enjoy!

xo Diana


FAVORITE FREE FONTS // 01

Confession: I'm totally addicted to finding and experimenting with new fonts. It's kind of a problem... These are some of my favorite new finds that work best as big decorative headers (I use Josefin Slab as my logo font) or shorter blurbs. FYI, the fonts from Lost Type Co-Op can be downloaded for free if you input zero into the "Name Your Price" section, although they are pretty awesome, so you may want to increase your price. :)

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

xo Diana
FAVORITE MODERN ABSTRACT ARTISTS

Since I've been so inspired by abstract art recently, I wanted to share some of my favorite abstract artists at the moment. Check out more of my favorites here! What are some of your favorite artists?

xo Diana