One local jewelry designer is hitting the big time and having a great time creating beautiful jewelry and raising her beautiful family.
In a small studio in a West Knoxville home, you'll find Diane Wallace buried in buttons.
It's a place where she is truly happy, but it hasn't come without struggles. Those struggles began as a young girl.
"We moved the summer before school started so I went the whole summer with no friends," said Diane Wallace.
"That's when my life took a turn for the worst. I became really depressed," said Diane.
Diane almost failed out of school entirely.
"I barely got to high school and then my parents realized that something was wrong and by the grace of God they sent me to school in New York," said Diane.
It was a school with a lot of discipline, but it was there she had a breakthrough.
"In that school in New York, I really found myself. I found who I was. I was saved. I found the Lord. And that's when my life turned around," said Diane.
Diane ended up at Carson Newman. "I graduated with honors and it helped me so much," she said.
This is where Diane met her husband and soon after started making jewelry.
"I got to a point in my life where I started getting depressed again and I got to my knees and I asked the lord, 'What do you want me to do?' And he said, 'I want you to give back,'" she said. "He woke me up in the middle of the night and said, 'I want you to make bracelets for women who were suffering from cancer.'"
That's exactly what she did. "I'd get a group of women at church together and we would make bracelets," said Diane.
Diane's designs were well-received to say the least and D. Wallace Designs was born.
"I sat down and stared at them and oh the ideas never ended," said Diane. "I started doing farmer's markets here and it was just an amazing thing."
On a whim, Diane entered her creations into a contest through Belk Department Stores where they feature the winners' designs in their stores.
"I had to prepare 10 sets of jewelry to the judges to present in Charlotte at the headquarters," said Diane.
And she won! "A week later the doorbell rang and I opened the door to the VP of Fashion and Trend and she had a half dozen white roses and the director over marketing had a sign that said D. Wallace Designs Southern Showcase Winner."
In the spring, Diane's designs will be sold in select Belk stores. She says she has career success and happiness at home.
"My kids, Whitley, he's an artist and he can draw amazing things," said Diane. "My little guy, Wyatt, he's 18 months and he dances and he is right on the beat."
"I went from no happiness to so much happiness and I can stand on my own two feet and that's just huge," said Diane.
Diane Wallace, a southern belle at heart, creating jewelry southern belles love.
"They are all from the North, my whole family. And they say, 'Diane, you were meant to be in Tennessee.'"
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.