November 11, 2014

An Interview

The Little Sea Otter Waves "Good-Bye" - Sold Saturday

Looking back at the "Creative Expressions - Home Grown Project".  So many have asked me how I got started hand illustrating BEARPAW boots.  This interview should help answer many questions.

What inspired you to become a part of the Creative Expressions campaign?

I started my line of wearable art a little over a year ago and really knew nothing about BEARPAW boots until I walked into their retail store in December of 2012.   I was looking for a pair of boots to illustrate as a Christmas present for our little granddaughter and struck up a conversation with the manager.  After showing her my business card and telling her what I intended to do with the boots, she promptly suggested that I contact the VP of Global marketing about the possibility of doing some boots for BEARPAW.  Once Randy told me about the campaign, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it and it was clearly a perfect fit.  I especially love what they are doing in the schools and hope to get more involved with that aspect of the campaign this coming summer.

Can you talk a little bit about the Home Grown Project? 

With technology advancing in every arena, it is becoming difficult to find wearable art which is not machine manufactured.  Project Home Grown, is not only providing an opportunity for relatively unknown artists to share their work world-wide; but, is also sparking a renewed interest in custom, hand illustrated, one of a kind footwear.   It is my hope that this project will inspire many who had never thought of expressing themselves creatively on footwear to pick up some artists pens and a pair of BEARPAWS and go for it!

How did you get involved in designing? 

I always say, poverty breeds creativity.  Having parents that cannot afford to buy you the latest outfit for your Barbie doll or puppets for a puppet show, can be a true blessing.  My designing started at the age of 5 when I was given a hand-me-down Barbie doll who also happened to be naked.  By the end of the week she had the coolest custom-designed clothes in the neighborhood.  Bet you didn’t know you can make Barbie Doll Panty hose out of your mom’s knee high nylons.  Basically, I have been designing and creating all of my life in one form or another.  My latest line is Wearable Art, focusing primarily on footwear.

What inspired your designs for the Home Grown Project?

For me this is so much more than just a fashion statement.  Wearable art, especially custom designed wearable art, is an unspoken expression of part of who you are and what you love.  It breaks down the barriers that exist among strangers and the reaction from others is heartwarming and wonderful.  The conversations that are sparked are amazing!  Creating art that can adorn a wall or brighten up a living space is wonderful; but; to create something that can become part of you as you walk through your day is truly a unique and inspiring experience.  It not only blesses the wearer, but also all of those who you happen to encounter

Inspiration has never been a problem for me.  It is all around.  My struggle is finding the time to get the designs that come into my mind, out of my head and onto the boots.  Each boot can take up to 20 hours or more to complete and working full time in Law Enforcement simply does not afford me a great deal of time in the studio.  So, for this project, I decided to do a diverse sampling of different design themes.

Overall, I want my designs to be timeless, bring great joy to the wearer, and appeal to a wide variety of age groups and lifestyles.  While designing the Wisteria Botanicals, this phrase came to mind, “You Don’t Need High Heels to Be Beautiful”   I hope to give women an alternative to high heel shoes when they want to look and feel really special; and, with the “Color Me” boots for kids, my desire was to give kids some really cool boot option while also inspiring them and their friends to eventually design their own.

How has the reaction been? 

Absolutely overwhelming.   If I could find a way to mass-produce my designs so that they only took a few hours to complete and could therefore sell them at a more reasonable price, I would be able to quit my day job.

What do you hope for the future of BEARPAW's Creative Expressions' initiative? 

This campaign is accomplishing some incredible things in people’s lives; both individually and community wide.  It is my hope it continues for many years so that more kids can be challenged to consider using their creative gifts in areas they may have never considered (like the footwear industry) and that the work of many more relatively unknown gifted artists can be seen and enjoyed by a bigger audience because of BEARPAWS willingness to promote their work by partnering with them.

Just think, years from now, there might be enough worn-out hand illustrated BEARPAW boots found all over the world to open an art museum.   We can call it “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”

Thank you so much for having an interest in this campaign and for taking the time to highlight the great stuff BEARPAWS is doing in individual lives and entire communities.

Blessing – Dianna Wood

October 10, 2014

W4K - "Warriors for Kaylee"

I am constantly amazed at how the Lord brings people into my life. I recently received a message from a mom who said, "My 18 year old daughter recently underwent breast cancer surgery and will soon be receiving chemo and radiation treatments. I was wondering if you could come up with some sort of breast cancer related, fun design for some necklaces for us to purchase?"

After the design was done and the mom purchased several pendants, I found this article:

http://www.columbiabasinherald.com/news/school_news/article_0e752b9e-37b3-11e4-95c0-001a4bcf887a.html

Wish I could make 2,000 pendants to help support and encourage Kaylee through this incredibly difficult Journey. Please keep her and her family in prayer.

I have now made these available in my etsy shop. Over 50% of the proceeds will go to support Kaylee in this battle. Please share this post with anyone you know who might want to be a "W4K".

https://www.etsy.com/listing/206585770/fund-raising-for-kaylee-pendant-cancer?ref=shop_home_active_1



September 28, 2014

Mommy & Me....

Mom and I had a blast this past Friday night going through old picture albums.  I came across a picture of the two of us from 1996.  Yep, that was 18 years ago!

I have made hundreds of pendants and several "Mom & Daughter" custom pendants for other people.  I never had a picture to do a Mother-Daughter one as a gift for my own mom.  Guess what she will be getting this year for Christmas?



Stop by my Facebook Product page to see more of my designs.  



August 30, 2014

A place I will not venture too close to any longer....


Okay - Not really.  But, I am so grossed out by these guys.  Michael came in with the camera and said, "Look what I found".  Well, I certainly won't be going over to the side of the yard where our neighbors tomato plants are hanging over our fence.  Yuck!  These guys gross me out!   Look at that.  They have fake little eyes all along the sides of their body.



August 21, 2014

It doesn't take much...

I am so thrilled that my husband Michael and I both get equally excited about the smallest of things.

When I get home from work, it has become somewhat of a routine to check the wildflower garden to see if any new flowers have bloomed.  This afternoon was no different.  However, this afternoon we had a new little visitor.  He was sitting on a broad leaf at the base of one of the wild flowers and hopped out of sight before we could return with the camera.

A few hours later, after soaking the garden really well, we decided to take another look and guess who we found?


This time he stayed put long enough for us to get a few pictures!

August 11, 2014

How Wonderful!

Before moving to our little mobile home in Rancho Cordova, we lived in an apartment that overlooked a creek and greenbelt.  During that time we must have seen seven different species of these little guys--more than I had seen during my entire lifetime.  I never dreamed that we might be visited by one here in the park.   But, to our delight, there he was.  I went out to the garden yesterday morning to water and as I moved a branch on the "bleeding heart" plant (that we had planted in May for our Anniversary) there he was!



 

July 22, 2014

Another custom order....

I am loving these "Keepsake/Memory Art Pendants".  I just finished another order.  These are so precious. Something really special (and affordable) that can not only be enjoyed as jewelry now, but passed down and cherished for generations to come.   Having so much creative fun!  

 

July 19, 2014

A Most Wonderful Gift Idea....

This is by far the best thing that has happened since I started making art pendants!

One of my customers emailed me about doing a custom order.  She wanted to know if I could make an art pendant for her grandmother who would have been celebrating her 70th wedding anniversary this year.  Her grandpa had recently passed away and she wanted something special and meaningful to give to her grandma.  She sent me the picture below (which is her grandma's favorite picture) and asked me to make an art pendant using this image:


The process involved sharpening the image and getting it to a point that I would be able to hand color the image in order to create the pendant that I had in mind.  I don't use a color printer for any of my design work.  One reason is because I don;t have one; but, even if I did, I actually want these to be little pieces of art, not just a printed image under glass.

After getting the photo where I needed it to be, I printed it out and began the process.  I hand colored the image, carved out a few areas where I wanted to add a little sparkle and then decoupaged the image to the glass gemstone.  Here is the finished pendant:


Seeing the finished pendant, my customer decided that she would want four more so that she could also give one to her mom and siblings.  Is that not a wonderful idea!  Wow!   I can't imagine a more precious and special gift.  I feel so blessed to be part of this celebration of love!

Each pendant is a one-of-a-kind creation.  No two are the same.  Each stone is unique in it's size and shape and the hand coloring is different, as well.  (Showing the pendants before the bail was attached)





If you are interested in working with me on a similar project, please visit my shop at the link below:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/195877705/custom-memory-pendant-necklace-glass?ref=shop_home_active_6

June 29, 2014

San Francisco Giants Frenzy!

I decided to make one SF Giants Logo pendant just for fun and post it in my shop last night.  Little did I know that within 10 minutes, I would have 12 orders!  Yikes!  Each one is hand-made and a little one-of-a-kind art piece. Making these requires a six stage process, but it's great fun and the layering of colors and sprinkling of diamond dust is what gives them the bling!

Looks like we are going to have "Club Giants" over at City Hall and the Police Department.  Go Team!


I am selling these for $19.99, so if you're interested, please contact me and I can make you a RESERVED Listing.  



 

June 25, 2014

The "Truth" Club

Having a blast creating little "Truth" pendants.  Here is my latest and my favorite so far:



You can view all of my designs here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWoodsSecretGarden?section_id=10705918


June 23, 2014

Scripture Rocks!

And this is why I sometimes can't sleep at night. I wanted something simple to advertise my latest line of "Wear the Word" and while laying in bed, this idea came to mind - so I had to get up and do a photo shoot.  I love the simplicity and the fact that the artist's hand (mine) is in the shot.  How I wish there were more hours in the day. 


June 22, 2014

I think I'm getting my Creative Groove Back!

For months we were working on the house and I had to give up my art for a time.  I knew I would have to give up the Hand Illustrated line of Suede clothes, because there is simply no room in our little 520 square foot home.  But, I started playing around with glass gems stones and, one thing led to another.  I just created these glass art pendants which merge words with abstract art.  Hey - I still fit into my "Wear the Word"   theme!  That makes me happy.




You can read more about them here:



June 20, 2014

Debunking the Myth: Mobile Home Living

I can't tell you how many times I get the raised eyebrow when I tell people that we live in a Mobile Home.  There is such a stigma tied to mobile home living and mobile home parks and, working in Code Enforcement as I do, I admit there are some who live in mobile homes that are not helping to improve the perception.  Having said that, there are also plenty of people who own "normal" homes that are less then upstanding citizens.

With the current trend to downsize and simplify, the best way to accomplish that is by purchasing a vintage mobile home (for next to nothing) and renovating it.  That is exactly what my husband and I have done.  We purchased a 1964, 520 square foot, single wide for $3,500 and turned it into a magical place--both beautiful and functional!  I have posted several of our renovation projects over at hometalk.com which you can read about here:

http://www.hometalk.com/4079y/posts

After posting my renovation projects, I was bombarded with people wanting more helpful hints for mobile home living.  Hometalk.com asked me to curate a list of projects that might be helpful and applicable for those who want to make the most of their living space.  I encourage you to visit Hometalk and take a look at these projects:


You can access them here: http://www.hometalk.com/b/1935422/mobile-home-makeover

You will find some wonderfully creative people and even though some of the projects are not Mobile Home Specific they would work really well for small space living.

Now - Sell that mansion, buy a little Mobile Home and experience the joy of simplicity and making a little space all your own.  Less house work and less yard work and more time to spend with family and friends!

June 18, 2014

Scripture ROCKS!

A friend of mine, (for whom I had made 100 gem stones), emailed us telling us that he had been giving "the scripture rocks" to strangers and that people really seemed to like them.



I really had not settled on a name for these little gems.  I had played with a few different ideas; but, nothing really seemed right until I read his email.  He named this new line without realizing it.  So here is the graphic that developed after reading that email:



You can tell I am into this design theme throughout everything I am doing lately.  And it all started with LOVE - After painting love on the living room wall, one thing led to another.  I really like the clean, bold, simplicity of this design work.


These are now available in my etsy shop for $14.99 each.





June 14, 2014

Our First Visitor to the Butterfly Garden

Before we actually started the renovation of our 1964 single-wide Mobile home, my husband Michael scattered some wild flower seeds that we had purchased at Home Depot along with all the cleaning supplies we would need to begin the renovation.  There were already two raised flower beds in the back of the house that our best friend Deni had weeded for us the previous week..

He really had no time to prepare the soil or do really anything right when it comes to seeding a garden.  However, the season was coming to an end and if he didn't scatter those seeds, we would have to wait another year.  I'm so glad he did.

I came home from work yesterday and Michael said, "You better check the camera. I have a little surprise for you". And to my delight, Michael had captured a beautiful Junonia coenia .  That's right a Buckeye Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae!  Isn't she lovely!



The wild flower seeds that we had purchased said they would attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  Don't you just love it when you actually get what you pay for!

There are probably 10 different types of wild flowers popping up in our little butterfly garden and each day we go out to see if any of the new varieties have bloomed.  A few shots from this morning!







And I will leave you with a close up of the buckeye butterfly.  Notice her lower left hand wings.  It appears that she has had a few rough encounters.


June 8, 2014

Little Truth Pebbles - Pocket Inspiration Stones

I am so excited about my latest project.  I had to give up my Wearable Art for a season because there is no where in our new little dwelling to store my boots, shoes, jackets, and vests. So, I am thrilled to be able to still create!  I am taking these to Church this morning to give away as little gifts and will be making many more over the next few months.


June 7, 2014

A few new light fixtures...



In the bedroom - We wanted to keep the originals; but they kept spinning around whenever we attempted to turn them on and off; and the threads were stripped, so they had to go.  We were able to find similar ones that actually matched the decor better.
.

The Kitchen as the sun is setting with the new light fixtures on:



Thanks Kelly!  You really blessed us today!

May 25, 2014

The Open House!


Our long awaited Open House happened yesterday!  The idea was for us to meet our new neighbors here at Mobile Country Club in Rancho Cordova.  One of the best things that happened?  We witnessed people who had been living here for quite sometime meet their neighbors for the very first time in our little house.



The only thing that might have improved upon the day, would have been the weather.  It was HOT!  So, we were unable to leave the doors and windows open and the area where the refreshments were set up was outside on the patio, in order to allow for more people to move through the house comfortably.

Even Betz stopped by on her way to the Jazz Festival:


May 18, 2014

An Anniversary Tradition



Today is our 4th Wedding Anniversary.  It has become a tradition (if you can count 3 years as a tradition), to purchase a living plant for our garden.  Our best friend, Deni, started this when she gifted us a beautiful potted Hydrangea for our First Wedding Anniversary.  The following year we bought 2 more Hydrangea.

Unfortunately, when we moved from our little apartment, we were unable to take our Hydrangea's with us.  Oh I suppose we could have; but,  they had become part of a garden that we started at the base of the stairs leading up to our apartment, and right before we moved, the management decided to build a garden wall to enhance what we had done, so we would have felt badly about digging up all the plants.

Yesterday, we took a trip to the Garden Center with the intention of buying a large potted Hydrangea.  As we were going up and down the aisles, we came across one of the most beautiful plants I think I have ever seen.

It is pictured above and is called a "Bleeding Heart".  It is a vining plant and can grow as tall as 16 feet!  We decided to also purchase a couple 8 pack "color spots" and I went with all white blossoms to fill the space between the fence and the garden box.

So begins our Anniversary tradition in the Wood's New Secret Garden.



















While working inside, trying to finish up some last minute projects, a funny little spider crawled out from behind molding in the kitchen that I was attempting to paint.  Look at the little bucked tooth face he has on the back of his little body.  P.S.  The black and white spider was smaller than the head of a screw.

May 15, 2014

We're Having an "Open House" and You're Invited!

Although we are not yet finished with all the renovation projects, we have decided to host an "Open House" next Saturday - in order to meet all of our new neighbors. Heck, we may not be done for another year and didn't want to put off meeting people in our new community.

The first step was to decide on how to invite everyone. I decided to create a photo collage invitation; save it as a jpg; and, have 4 X 6 photo prints printed at Walgreen's for 10 cents each. (We will be hand delivering these to all 500 and something homes in the park.) Phew - Not looking forward to that!

I also really wanted to have something for all the guests who might pop in to meet us and tour our little home to take home with them, so step two was created little favors. I found little organza bags (meant for baby shower favors) at the Dollar Tree - (6 bags for a dollar) and filled them with:

1. A brief bio for both me and Michael with our contact information and our blog addresses that I typeset in a WORD document; cut into 2 inch by 8 inch strips and folded into a little square. I wanted the cover to match the interior design of our house. So I placed a bold "Hello" on the right hand corner of the strip.

2. A little glass accent gem (which come 50 in a bag at the Dollar Tree) which I embellished with a little gold heart. I used a Sharpie Bronze metalic marker to draw the little heart on the flat side of the glass gem.
and of course candy

3. I purchased both "Graffiti" Taffy and individually wrapped chocolate gourmet ments and included one of each in each little bag.

If you want to tackle something like this - get a few friends to help draw gold hearts on the glass gems and to help fold all your little square "hello's".

I will be placing these little favors in a butterfly net near the front porch for guests to grab on their way out. You can use this concept to write anything you want inside the little square note - truly a one-of-a-kind party favor - This would be great for a wedding reception, as well.

Here is another look:


I am really pleased with how the little "Open House" favors match the interior feel of the house. Let me know if you have any questions about the supplies or the cute little folded note. Wish you all lived in Sacramento County and could stop by.

Hey - If any of you do--you are more than welcome to pop in - I would love to meet you!


May 12, 2014

"Monkey" is chill'n

As the temperatures climb in this part of California, we were blessed to finally get our window AC installed today.  Keep in mind, the 50 year old window AC had to be replaced and it had been installed in the Jalousie window of our 1964 Mobile home.  So, step one was finding a new unit that would actually fit the space without having to do major modifications to the window.  Michael had taken measurements and researched the internet to find the only one that would have enough BTU's and still fit in the existing space.  We were pretty sure it would work and prayed that no modification would need to be made, like removing another pane from the window.

By the time I got home from work our contractor and his son Ryan were already at work removing the old unit.  It was approximately 96 degrees outside and probably 85 inside our home.


Dang!  I have a really big head!  Anyway--here is the space where the new window AC needed to go.  It took a couple hours to get it installed; but, it fit like a glove and is now running on high and has cooled our little house down to a very comfortable 72 degrees!.

Monkey (who is a very large and furry cat) was most appreciative and quickly found a spot to enjoy the new addition to our little home.


The only thing left to do is finish caulking and painting the molding and trim in the kitchen and bathroom and get all the electrical work done in the kitchen.

As I sit here writing, it is a hot 92 outside and a cool 70 degrees in our little house.  This is one happy wifey!

Thanks husband for all your research and hard work to make sure that the unit we purchased would fit into the little window and efficiently cool down our little home.


May 11, 2014

A Delightful Surprise!

Well, we finally got the new fence.  When we moved in, we knew the back fence would need to be replaced.  It was leaning, rotten, and propped up with poles and boards in several locations.  The boys, (My husband Michael and our new neighbor Milan) had it up in just two days!

I knew I wanted to carry the "Word" theme that we used inside the house, out into the garden and so instead of doing what I should have been doing on Saturday, I decided to paint a word!  You can read about it here:

http://www.hometalk.com/3670854/you-gotta-have-faith

To my delight, while working on the "word", I had a little visitor.  What is amazing is that in our tiny little yard, we have seen different creatures that we had never seen while living in the apartment which backed up to a huge wilderness area.  We have been visited by two lizards and today--a snake!  My husband ran into the house and got the camera and the little snake decided to hang around for a photo session.  Here he is:





Interestingly enough, we also learned that Garter snakes were long thought to be nonvenomous, but recent discoveries have revealed they do, in fact, produce a mild neurotoxic venom. Although they don;t have enough venom to kill humans; I am really glad we didn't attempt to pick this little guy up.

Another cool discovery!  Our only rose bush, the one that was almost dead when we moved in, has come back to life and it reaching for the stars!  Our best friend Deni, had trimmed all the dead growth way back when we first bought the home and to our amazement it is growing like the beanstalk in "Jack and the beanstock".

Michael took this picture while standing on a chair. 




And here is how the fence came out:


Sunday Morning Delight!  ....and yet another wonderful surprise--we have morning glories coming up next to the shed in the back.  The lady that lived here before we bought the home; must have had a beautiful garden.  Loveliness is popping up from no where after just one month of a little water and care.


 It is as if God strung these together with a strand of little white Christmas tree lights!  Look at that glow!