Birthday Break

Monday was my birthday, and I started the celebration early with my mom’s visit on Thursday.

whiteflowers

We took a long weekend and explored Evanston, while meeting friends for food and libations among various stops.

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Prior to mom flying in a ceiling fan fell on my head, so we made this a walking weekend while monitoring for potential concussion symptoms.

deadceilingfan

We walked Main street first, picking up delicious chocolate mousse and lots of chocolate at Piron.

piron

We got our nails done at Agora Spa.

manies

Then we looked at the rocks at Dave’s Rock Shop and took some goodies home.

DavesStorefront

I got a silver dollar plant from Cultivate.

cultivate

We took the alcohol ink coaster workshop at The Collage Cafe for one of my birthday parties.

CoasterClass

I even got birthday cake and a serenade.

bdaycake

The inks are wonderful, and I played with some on my wire to see what that would do.

coasters

Then I picked out the colors to take home. The iridescent effect is lovely, and I cannot wait to design new pieces.

patina

Afterwards we met friends at La Principal for delicious tacos, churros and cocktails.

principal

Sunday was Dempster day, with a stop at Little Light Bazaar to explore my new lighting options.

czech glass

Mateen has designed a whole new line of light fixtures out of punched copper and metal.

lantern

Some of these might work with a ceiling fan attached, so I get to ponder various rooms.

lightblending

So many pretties!

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You can create a souq-like atmosphere or be very monochromatic.

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Lots of ideas to ponder, and also consider more functional lighting in the studio.

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We stopped in Stumble & Relish and then visited my inventory at See Jane Sparkle.

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I want these bangles to go travel the world.

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After those sparklies we made our way to Ayla’s Orginals to pick out more beads.

angelatAylas

Ayla’s has a bingo game so you should go in and get your playing cards to earn discounts on future purchases.

AylasBingo

All that shopping made us thirsty, so Sketchbook’s new Taproom was a great spot for refreshment.

sketchbook

We had dinner at Campagnola which is always a treat.

campagnola

Monday morning we had our coffee fix at Brothers K, and I get to drink more with a gift card!

brothersk

The bulk of the day was spent wandering near the lake.

angellakemich

We dined at Oceanique for a lovely birthday celebration.

Oceanique

Of course Lucky Platter was the favorite breakfast choice.

luckP

With all that could have gone wrong during the ceiling fan drop, I am grateful to have another year to look forward to, and to have so many friends and loved ones to celebrate life with.

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It is good to be alive, and to live the life I am living.

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Here’s to more bright days ahead!

brightdaysahead

Jigging with Brenda

Recently I took a mini-roadtrip to Waukesha to visit Brenda Schweder in her studio. I have been intrigued by her Now That’s a Pliers! since she introduced them, but wanted to take them for a spin before committing to another tool investment.

NtAJPlaytime

She showed me her fabulous studio space tat has various sections to run the different functions of her business and craft. I also delivered the angel that she had reverse-engineered for me, in Now That’s A Jig! colors.

BrendasAngel

Then she demonstrated the Pliers and I got to play with them a little bit.

NTAPPlaytime

Soon I realized that the Now That’s a Jig! was the better tool for my purposes, and I started playing with the variety of pegs Brenda had on hand.

NTAJBangleStacker

She gave me tips and recommendations, and I got to peruse her plethora of demonstration pieces. You can see her tutorials on YouTube.

Inspiration

Soon I had created a shopping pile, and I went home with a variety of tools, inspiration, and design ideas.

NTAJLoot

At home I implemented the DoubleDekr peg for earrings and a bangle.

doubleDekrSpiral

I’ll still need gloves, but this will be easier than the uneven paintbrush handle I’ve been using.

CrystalBangle

I played with the infinity design of the 3/8″ pegs some more.

InfinityMakingNtAJ

The results are on the NtAJ Facebook page. I like how these turned out.

InfinityCombo

I made earrings out of the pieces that were too short.

PurpleEarringsNtAJ

Pretty cool.

purple earrings

Brenda publishes in various magazines, and is in the latest issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry.

WireMagazine

A smaller frosty design was born.

LiterateInfinity

So many more ideas percolating!

NewDesigns

These aren’t loaded into the Shop yet but feel free to message me if you are interested in purchasing one of my creations.

PlayatHome

Discovering River Trail Nature Center

On Saturday I discovered the River Trail Nature Center. I needed a nature getaway between errands in various burbs, and this was a mid-way point. It was love at first sight.

GreenTrees

Upon entering the parking lot, you can see various large cages.

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After I parked and went up close, these turned out to have various animals for up-close observation.

Barred Owl

Great Horned Owl

Coyote

Coyote

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Red-tailed Hawk which was napping earlier

BaldEagle

Bald Eagle

SwansonHawk

Swanson Hawk which decided to sunbathe

Their wing spans are amazing!

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There is a nature center explaining the history of this area, and lovely illustrations along the trail to visualize the glacial melt-down.

glaciers

Chipmunks were everywhere.

chipmunk

Mosquitoes liked my ears a lot, but that didn’t keep me from walking the two looped trails which are easy for young and old to navigate.

Trails

There are lots of benches to rest on along the way of the .5 mile loops.

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The bridle path can lead all the way up to Wisconsin, or down to Oak Park.

bridlepath

The Green Bay Trail leads to Allison Woods.

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That park entrance has a shelter for picnicking and a grassy area for games.

AllisonWoods

The education center has a nature discovery area, where kids can climb in an eagle nest, crawl in a fox den, create their own puppet shows, and more.

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Turtle lovers can have their fill observing these quirky creatures.

Turtles

I met a Fox Squirrel which had been rescued as a baby.

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It is curious about people but suffered brain damage so wouldn’t survive in the wild.

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When I returned it was taking a nap.

sleepingFoxSquirrel

Two Black Rat Snakes were hugging.

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I couldn’t get enough of the scales of this reptile (didn’t note the breed).

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Trail maps and interpretive publications are available at the front desk, and naturalists will answer questions.

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A Tree Guide helps with identifying trees.

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The River Trail Nature Center is at 3120 Milwaukee Avenue in Northbrook, IL 60062.

StuffedFowl

A butterfly garden has labeled plants to see what you might want to plant at home.

butterflygarden

I spotted a Tiger Swallowtail.

Swallowtail

There was also a mourning cloak in the woods but it was camera shy.

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Dragonflies didn’t like to be photographed much either, but I prevailed.

dragonfly

Behind the nature center is a lovely line-up of Adirondack chairs.

adirondack cheirs

I meant to journal but just stared out into space and listened to the sounds around me.

staringintospace

Hours from March to October are 9 am to 5 pm, closed Fridays for the building, and 8 am to 5 pm all week for the grounds.

Beehives

In November through February the building is open 9 am to 4 pm, closed Fridays, and the grounds are open from 8 am to 4 pm all week.

LovelyBones

The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day. I’m already plotting my return to this place.

Yin Yang

I’ve never read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but I could very much relate to the title this past week.

rejected

I try to Pollyanna as much as I can, but there was one day where the morning started off with an invasion of flies (in spite of recent pest control treatments), people didn’t pull through on a time commitment, a project was held up, and a fair I was looking forward to put me on the waitlist AND is undergoing organizational changes that don’t bode well.

Sawfly

In Natsuo Kirino’s Goddess Chronicles the island inhabitants firmly believe that for every Yin there is a Yang, and it was interesting that the Yang seemed to be absent for a full day for me. That evening I went to network in hopes of cheering me up, and I got seated next to a Debbi Downer who had a “yes-but” to every positive statement I tried to cheer up the conversation with. I should have spent my time at another event that would have been more fun for sure.

breakwithpastforfuture

So I made some DIY flytraps when I got home, and hoped for improvement. Sure enough, the next day I got word of the book release that I contributed to and had almost forgotten about.

Incite 4 cover

Then a contact at the networking mixer called me to upgrade my booth space for a future fair, so a comment I had made in passing did not go unnoticed, and attending wasn’t a waste in spite of the energetic drain.

inconvenientdremfollowing

I had fun in the studio and delivered some new pieces to my friends–one of whom invited me along to a pedicure.

KateyDelivery

I did make the tough decision to pull out of Moon Art Gallery since my shelf fee didn’t recoup itself. Afterwards I was stopped in traffic for a funeral procession to pass. That gave me pause. The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle and ChromaK8 continue to carry my creations.

DotsatTCC

The weekend had me recuperating with a nature walk and dinner with friends, and now I am ready to take on another week.

LaPrincipalHappyHour

What do you do to pull yourself out of the grumps?

Setting up Webshop

I just installed JigoShop to my site and am in the process of uploading my new products.

JSDashboard

You’ll see some website makeovers as I figure out the right theme that also keeps my sidebar alive.

product page

I’ll still have an Etsy presence, but it is getting harder to keep track of what is online, what expired, and what hasn’t been uploaded yet.

Inventorytracking

Since the Etsy IPO and made-in-China products creeping in it feels like it is time to take control over my online shop.

photoshopping

The good news is that product shoots and edits have become routine and are less tricky than when I first started listing products.

photoshoot

The WordPress interface is just like my blog.

product page

I already got my very first order the day after installation.

Shipping

Now I just need to figure out more of its functionality so I can ship more pieces into the world.

ToUSPSwego

I still have a lot more to upload!

InventorytoLoad

You’ll also see everything in my various Fall and Holiday fairs that I am applying to right now.

craftfairtracker

Here’s to upward trends!

SalesTrends

Summer strolls

August is my birthday month, and I am taking a breather from exhibits.

AngelFlower

I am also making it a point to walk around the block more, and it is fun to give Angel things to do.

laketime

A group of friends went to see Ghostbusters.

ghostbusters

We picked up a Pixie Mood purse at Stumble & Relish during a Sip & Shop event.

new purse

We cocktail and color on Fourth Fridays at The Collage Cafe.

FourthFriday

I love these giant flowers.

whiteflowerangel

Angel delivered a bangle to one friend.

bangledelivery

And we gifted skull earrings to another.

skulldelivery

I’m pleased to see Monarch butterflies float in the air.

MOnarchSighting

There aren’t many, but there is hope that they won’t be extinct just yet.

monarchflutter

I received a lovely delivery of gems that I look forward to playing with.

birthstonesparklies

Hopefully I can work a few hikes into my schedule soon.

angellakemich

Nature beckons!

angelchills

Fun at the Sidewalk Sale

I always have a bit of a hangover after a weekend fair, and this week is no different.

SidewalkSign

The Sidewalk sale was lots of fun, but setting up and tearing down two tents 6 times is a workout.

FridaySidewalkTents

Construction workers had just finished pouring cement when we started setting up but they were eager to help us maximize our space.

vintageclothingSJS

Soon we were set up and ready to greet shoppers.

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Soon browsers started to shop.

shoppers

On Friday afternoon Sara Jane decided to move the party inside when the radar indicated rain, and I was glad for that decision.

reversible earrings

Sparkle Angel had fun with the sparklies, and so did I.

SJSSparklies

I met a friend at Sketchbook after the sale, and love their new taproom.

Sketchbook

Saturday morning was overcast, but later the skies cleared up.

SaturdaySidewalk

A Pedi-cab gave lifts to downtown or Main Street for additional sidewalk explorations.

Pedicab

Lots of friends stopped by.

SidewalkBrowsers

It was Christmas in July at the Stumble & Relish table.

CatOrnaments

On Sunday I decided to take the Angels outside for some air.

AngelsOutside

It is fun to rearrange the setup each time.

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Stumble & Relish had lots of deals throughout the weekend.

SRBargains

Sara Jane did major markdowns as well.

SJSBargains

Most people on Sunday were looking for slashed prices, which is good to know for next year.

Tableshot

I took home some bargains myself.SRLoot

Quite a few pieces were adopted, which makes me happy.

sidewalk sale adoptees

Some of my inventory remains at See Jane Sparkle.

PendantsatSJS

Sara Jane kept the Swarm, so go peruse my butterflies, dragonflies and ladybugs in her store.

SwarmatSJSpretty

I hope they go home to new owners soon.

SwarmatSJS

I’m taking a pop-up break in August, so you’ll see me next at Platt-A-Palooza on September 3 in Bloomingdale.

SaturdaySidewalkSale

Meanwhile, you can peruse my pieces at The Collage Cafe and ChromaK8 Beautique as well.

SundaySidewalk

Sparkly Sidewalk Sale tomorrow!

I’ve been sparkling up the studio this week to make more beaded pieces.

studioaftermath

Then I tagged all the newbies for the upcoming 3-day sale.

Z_Tagging

Tomorrow I’ll be setting up in front of See Jane Sparkle for the Evanston Sidewalk Sale.

NewSparklies

I’ll have a table in front of 1312 Chicago Avenue from 10 am to 4 pm July 29, 30 and 31.

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Depending on weather, Sara Jane will have my wax and wire pieces inside.

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My swarm is also planning on fluttering in.

LadyBugs

You can look for Sparkly Angel in the store too, along with her friends.

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This year the sidewalk sale extends down to Main Street, so be sure to visit my favorite shops there as well, including The Collage Cafe, Cultivate, Hip Circle Studio, and more.

HCSCircle

There will be a variety of specials offered by retailers.

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In downtown Evanston a few artists will pop up over the weekend, so plan to head toward Fountain Square and see what’s going on.

vintageflower

To get to See Jane Sparkle you can take the CTA Purple line to Dempster Street or on the weekends, the CTA Red Line to Howard Street and then the Purple Line to Dempster Street. You can also take the Metra UP-N Line to the Dempster station. Downtown Evanston is just a few blocks from Dempster Street and a few more from Main Street so you can easily walk between the districts.

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If you’re driving, there are three City of Evanston parking garages in downtown Evanston, there is metered parking on the streets and free parking on side streets (like Hinman Ave.). Parking is $1/hr and it is free on Sundays.

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Visit the Main-Dempster Mile Facebook page to learn about the deals at participating stores and other fun activities on Dempster St., Main St. and Chicago Ave.

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Final Week of the Abstract Show

On Friday the Brickton Art Center had its exhibit opening for their fourth annual Abstract Show.

BricktonOpening4

Several FUSEDChicago artists were represented, so it was also a fun gathering of friends.

BricktonOpening

Curated by Ahavani Mullen, the show had a variety of media represented.

BricktonAbstract1

The show runs through July 29. The art center is located at 306 Busse Hwy, Park Ridge, IL 60068.

BricktonAbstract4

Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm, Fridays from 9 am to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm (closed on Sundays).

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I enjoyed the vibrance of color choices and the contrast of whimsy vs. more serious themes.

BridgetMullenBrickton

FUSEDChicago artists represented are: Carol Hamilton, Rebecca Stahr, Carol L. Meyers, Pat Lagger and Cindy Lesperance.

BricktonFused

Representing other art mediums are Jordan Acker Anderson, Patrick Carr, Brian Franczyk, Jung J. Jae, Megan Woodard Johnson, Kathryn Kane, Guntis Lauzums, Julia Levin, Ara Lucia.

BricktonAbstract3

As well as Mark P. McKernin, Jane Michalski, Bridget Mullen, Mark J. Palmeri, Adriana Poterash, Sara Risley, Kat Rodriguez, Camille Silverman, and Courtney E. Thayer.

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There was lots of texture to admire.

BricktonAbstract2

Kenna Delmar’s work played shadowgames.

KennaDelmarBrickton

Josh Anderson also incorporated shadow effects in his work.

JoshAndersonBrickton

Tim Abel’s installation added a festive element.

TimAbelBrickton

Established in 1997, Brickton Art Center is a non-profit organization serving the people of Park Ridge and surrounding communities through creative outreach services in art therapy, art education and exhibitions.

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In addition to exhibits, they provide art therapy programming for community organizations and diverse art education for adults, teens and children.

ArtParties

Check out their Web site for future events.

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Evanston Sidewalk Sale next weekend

Next week is the Evanston Sidewalk sale. Independent retailers and national chains will set up shop with specials on the sidewalks throughout downtown.

AngelSidewalkSale

I am teaming up with Sara Jane at See Jane Sparkle to scatter more sparkle into the world.

prewxpendants

I will have a table outside with newly created sparkle sets from 10 am to 4 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

NewSparklies1

Sara Jane will have special offers on her own designs and likely some nibbles and bubbles.

SparkleAngelSJS

It’s been fun to use the sparkle beads I picked up at the Bead & Button Show last month and come up with new designs.

designing

I’ve been coiling away.

coiling

Some Sidewalks along Chicago Avenue are undergoing a makeover, but there will still be plenty of room to stroll. Check out the calendar event here.

Newsidewalk

The Evanston Sidewalk Sale is held along the Main-Dempster mile and in downtown Evanston throughout the weekend.

detaildesigns

There will be discounts and special offers on apparel, shoes, one-of-a-kind accessories and decorative arts, including specialty and hand-crafted goods. Not all retailers will have items on the sidewalk per se but go inside to check out goodies.

makinglavenderbangle

Depending on weather, you can peruse my wax and wire creations inside the See Jane Sparkle Boutique.

MMatSJS

An “Artists Row” will be set up on Sherman Ave. between Davis and Church Streets, displaying paintings, clothing, jewelry, home goods, accessories and more for all to peruse, enjoy and purchase.

BeadedPendants1

Artists will display their wares in downtown Evanston on Saturday and Sunday.

purplesparklebangle

In addition to shopping and art, there will be games and kid-friendly art activities set-up in Fountain Square. Challenge friends and family to a match of ping-pong, life-sized chess, giant Jenga and Scrabble or take part in a massive chalk art.

ovalbeading

Then, head over to Hyatt House located at 1515 Chicago Ave. to check out the outdoor terrace and enjoy a complimentary, cold glass of lemonade (regular and spiked!).

newbangledesign

To get to See Jane Sparkle you can take the CTA Purple line to Dempster St. or on the weekends, the CTA Red Line to Howard St. and then the Purple Line to Dempster Street.

newsparklies2

You can also take the Metra UP-N Line to the Dempster St. station. Downtown Evanston is just a few blocks from Dempster St. and a few more from Main St. so you can easily walk between the districts.

newwaxed

If you’re driving, there are three City of Evanston parking garages in downtown Evanston, there is metered parking on the streets and free parking on side streets (like Hinman Ave.). Parking is $1/hr and it is free on Sundays.

banglesinstock

Visit the Main-Dempster Mile Facebook page to learn about the deals at participating stores and other fun activities on Dempster Street, Main Street and Chicago Avenue.

Sidewalk Sale Poster-11x17_Final