TONIGHT at Live Coal Gallery: Music, Paintings, & Poetry

Oct 24 at Live Coal Gallery

Come out tonight for music, poetry, and paintings! I’ll be hosting the Open Mic and some of Detroit’s talented jazz musicians will be performing at the Live Coal Gallery tonight. The event starts at 6pm, poetry starts at 7:30.  Suggested donation: $5.


LCG is a limited liability company owned and directed by Detroit artist Yvette Rock.  Rock describes LCG as a social venture whose primary purpose is to see Detroit renewed through the beauty and creativity that artists of every generation can bring.”

Ringing in some new decisions

I guess I just needed a mini-catharsis at work, by myself today.

I feel very accomplished though:

– domain name renewed ( is on the comeback!)
– decided to take a few open courseware classes this semester in Sustainability and Changing the World
– Updated my finance tracker and budget
– Had some quick & rewarding social media interactions
– Cleaned over 1,000 messages from 3 inboxes (still tons more work do do here, but at least the last month is handled)
– cried
– laughed/chuckled
– ate 1/2 of a rice krispies treat

And I still have about an hour left to be really productive. I’m going to take some time to think about the three sections of my life that I’d like to grow (business, academic/certifications, poetry) and ways that I can make that happen.  Tonight, I’m going to start with writing this blog.


Two weeks left! Check out my progress to Contractor-ship.

Dear Family & Friends,

First, I’d like to thank you for showing such great support as I pursue my Residential Builder’s License. I’m humbled to know that so many people believe in my dream as much as I do!

With just two weeks left, I can honestly exclaim that this has been one of the best academic experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve learned about so much – from framing a house to roofing – and have been able to mold my eye for a good project into one with the able body and skill to see it through.

So far, I’ve raised about 10% of my goal of $1,500 – which is great! However, in order to pay off my class and pay for the test with the State of Michigan, I need more donations. Would you consider giving $10, $20, $50, or $100 to help me through the last leg of this course? Each donation tier comes with a token of my appreciation. Donations of $1,000 or more will earn a custom home project to be completed by yours truly.

When I finish the builder’s course at the Detroit Training Center, I will pursue two complementary avenues of certification enhancement:

(1) Employment and an apprenticeship where I will formally learn all aspects of carpentry and building.

(2) Expand the scope of Invictus Custom Woodwork, LLC to include turning houses into multi-use, creative residences.

Even without my license, I’ve already started working on projects at a starter home: The Campsite. It’s a large undertaking, but I’ve been repairing doors and baseboards, fumigating and refinishing, and making plans for the addition of a deck and sauna to the backyard. I’ll be documenting the Campsite process along the way, as well as other community projects that I contribute to.

This is a scary and exciting journey to embark upon. Please come with me!

Thanks again,


I’m finally bound to be a builder!

Please consider donating to my campaign to raise funds for the Residential Builder’s Licensure course that starts on Monday. More information is below. Thank you for supporting and spreading the word on my cause.

Update:  Last August, I received my Certificate of Completion of the Residential Builder’s Licensing clear at the Detroit Training Center. I’ve been studying the 750 flashcards that I made to prepare for the exam,  but I still need the last push of $285 to complete the exam and half of my initial license.  Thanks everyone for your continous words of encouragement. Here is a picture of my certificate. Isn’t it great?!

Certificate of Completion 2013

Certificate of Completion 2013



Hello World!

My name is Naidra and I want to be a builder. If you’ve met me, you probably realized pretty quickly that I’m chocked full of ideas and ways to create space for people to live and work. From strategizing on how to get a utility trailer for a car or bike to transport materials across the city – to thinking of ways to transform a residential space to a live/work community, complete with gardens, a movie theatre, and a park designed to help people learn to train & socialize their dogs.

Currently, I’m interested in purchasing and rehabilitating properties as creative spaces to rent out to folks like me (creative, varying income, wide interests & career ideas, and who may/may not have a dog that society views as aggressive). I also want to build a series of little houses around Detroit proving that a) it’s possible, and b) that anyone can use locally sourced materials to create a cool spot to live that is comfortable, sustainable, potentially off-grid, and doesn’t require a 30-year mortgage.

(example of a little house. Photo from:

own and run a business, Invictus Custom Woodwork, LLC, where I repurpose wooden pallets into functional art like tables and chairs. I also make jewelry and paddles and shields for fraternities and sororities. Check out my work at Eventually, I’d like to incorporate building little houses into my business model.

So, I do own a company, and I do make things. Now, it’s time to step up to the next level.

This coming Monday, I will be starting the course to obtain my residential builder’s license with the Detroit Training Center. This certification will enable me to get to what I am really passionate about: creating space for people to live and work without the societal barriers that limit what that space looks like.

I’ve tried approaching this issue in a lot of different ways (like earning two degrees, and starting Invictus), but none of them have given me the practical skills and experience that I need to build or renovate structures. The bottom line simple: I want to be a builder, but I need to learn how.

The story behind it all starts when I was 2 years old…maybe 4. I’ve always had a passion to build things, but was not really encouraged to actually do it. It’s been “you’re too small,” or “girls don’t do construction,” or “just own a company that builds things.” So, I took up Architecture in high school and tried my hand at Engineering in college, but still haven’t had the opportunity to really get my hands dirty.

Please help me out by donating to this campaign to pay for the builder’s licensure course, the certification for the State of Michigan, and to get bonded & insured to be able to legally work as a contractor. That way I can join the carpenter’s union and start the 4-year apprenticeship program to gain the necessary skills and experience that I need to be a successful little house-builder.

This is a small step toward my overall career goal. Please consider helping me out by donating to this cause. If you can’t donate, help me spread the word! The course is 5 weeks long, so I have that much time to raise the funds to move forward.

Thanks a million!




Graphic: Naidra L Walls

I haven’t committed to changing my profile picture because I’ve only been following the trial via news feeds and social media commentary… but, I made this really quickly as a visual response to this case, the need for communities to pull together to move forward, and my personal journey to having space & place.