Planning

The last week of January has arrived with a spike in energy. Mercury just went into retrograde, and it has me rearranging and prioritizing things on the home, business and financial front.

Teamwork seems to be the theme of the past few weeks. Spreading out responsibilities and engaging experts to assist me has been a revelation. My worst case scenarios are mere figments of my imagination. There are always options, everything is negotiable, and generally people want to please and be helpful.

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It is quite a lesson after being stoically self-sufficient for several years. Asking for assistance doesn’t mean losing one’s independence, it merely taps into the strengths of others and allows them to shine on your behalf.

As I interact with these helpers, I am also reminded of my past accomplishments, which took so much time and effort to achieve but that I now take for granted. I checked it off and moved on, setting the bar higher for myself.

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Then there are the un-checked items — particularly on the home improvement front — that I intend to revisit and at the very least get estimates for. Having contractors around the building this past summer alerted me to all the ‘someday improvements’ that have lingered for years.

We have a tendency to ‘put up’ with things when we don’t think we have the funds or the time to deal with it. For years I put up with a bathroom door that banged into my toilet and required squeezing past the door. It only took a day to have it flipped, and didn’t break the bank, but I held off on doing it for years.

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The sense of spaciousness made me giddy with joy, and it became a revelation of how we overcomplicate things in our heads when we don’t have the expertise to do it ourselves. The unknown can create so much inertia.

I’m looking forward to pushing through the scary variables and let others help me improve my home and my life. The only way to honor life is to live it fully, and to fix what is worn out or not functioning. I’m excited about the coming months and what the year has to offer.

Brightness

Fighting the ‘Why’

“You are here
so God can experience the world through your eyes.
See what you see, feel what you feel.
Everyday he can’t wait to see what you’ll do.
He can’t wait!
Every day he falls in love with the world all over again.
Elizabeth, you are his muse.”

~ Jeff Daniels as Arlen Faber in The Answer Man

I’m an introspective being, and sometimes overly so. In spite of a very active schedule and lots of wonderful people in my life, there are times where that one rejection, or a snarky comment by one person can send me into tailspin of existentialism. I question how that event reflects on me and my need for growth, when I feel like I am working so hard to make progress already.

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With my Polyanna outlook, I have a hard time with the low feelings. I am not as willing to admit to the ‘depths of despair’ as Anne of Green Gables is. But in my effort to move past the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the sadness, I might be fighting my own natural emotions.

We have to cycle through all feelings, and I have to accept that highs are followed by lows in order for us to fully appreciate and live life. While I fully subscribe to the power of positive thinking and strive to see the good in every day, ignoring that bad things happen and that those events come with a slew of emotions isn’t healthy either. Thankfully, other people have written on the same topic, such as Megan Hunt’s poignant post.

“I’ve found it to be good for me to
give up the impulse to over-analyze or
an obsession to understand.
To say “Okay, this is how I am and these are my limitations,”
rather than let the (completely human) urge to fix myself
drive me deeper into the pit of self-doubt and worry.”
~ Megan Hunt

I am also learning that I have a lot of conditioning in my life based on other people’s opinions and perceptions and reinforcements of those assumptions. It is easy to revert back to that thinking and lower one’s expectations. It is tough to not “Upper Limit” oneself as Gay Hendricks writes. Learning to trust life and focusing on the good and the hopeful without always assuming the worst takes much practice and a great deal of positive reinforcement.

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Asking why all this happens can send me into whether I ‘caused’ this even when I know that it will take perspective and time before I will fully understand the cosmic message. Resting in the unknowing is difficult. Patience and Faith and Trust are tough traits to achieve.

“When we’re doing what it is we’re meant to do,
when we allow our creative spirit a bit of freedom
to roam the mysteries of the “unknown”,
the universe opens up to us.
We don’t worry over the details.
Things seem to serendipitously fall into place.
We are in the moment. And our creative spirit soars.

Once we rest with the knowledge that we don’t have to know,
then we begin to understand that all we have to do is our best,
and the rest isn’t ours to determine.

The answers lie in the simplicity of having faith in the journey.”
~ Kelly Rae Roberts in Taking Flight

I know we have to savor every day we have, and most of the time I do. Trying to predict or control our lives is futile, but we create mechanisms for that anyway. Sometimes it is difficult to resist closing oneself off to avoid heartache and insincerity.

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Still, I know that ultimately our hearts have to remain open in order to let laughter and joy saturate the world and let love unfold as it will. Life isn’t always easy, but I am very grateful to be living this one.

“Love is
that which transforms the small drop of the soul
into the ocean of all-consciousness.”

~ Wes Milliman

The Ice Queen visits

My energy is coming back and some good things have been kicked off, but I still need to ease into a normal routine.

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The Ice Queen paid a visit this weekend and left some lovely art behind.

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There is much beauty in this wintry scenery, though staying out very long is not an option.

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I’m reminded of Alicia Forestall-Boehm’s waxed cubes with these ‘drippy’ scultures.

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Makes me want to slather encaustic medium onto something.

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White beaches abound.

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Here’s to finding beauty in everything,

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being inspired,

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and celebrating health!

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Pause and reset

It’s been slow-going for me since the holidays.

It feels counter-intuitive to lay/laze in bed when the media are blasting New Years’ Resolutions, everyone is sharing their organizing and goal-setting intentions, and you’re supposed to be off to a fresh start.

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The thing is I don’t feel fresh yet. My immune system has gone into hibernating mode.

Having your windows frosted over by below-zero weather doesn’t help motivate, even if the sun is shining brightly.

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So I am giving myself a few more days to fully recuperate.

I can start my official new year next week.

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In 2014 I carefully mapped out my year on a calendar in early January and a lot of things transpired that I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t foresee.

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My new exercise program started in May of last year, and I am just going to keep up with it. I won’t pressure myself with weight or measurement numbers as long as I feel toned.

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The home does need some organizing, but the clutter isn’t going to disappear, so I can tackle that next week.

My aim is to be open this year. To not try to control outcomes as much, and to embrace opportunities in spite of the fears and naysayers in my head.

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Part of that includes not putting so much pressure on myself. The year-end review shows that I was extremely productive, and a few more days of ‘laziness’ can only help energize me for the momentum that is to come.

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This is a time to pause and re-set. The hurrying and scurrying will start up soon enough.

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Noel

The ritual of a solo Christmas.           RitualBegins

Unpacking the mementos from years past.

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Neighborhood stroll.

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Making spirits bright.

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Mysterious gifts from Santa.

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Enjoying the view.

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Determining the sequence of things.

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Enjoying my creations that chose to remain with me this year.

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Wishing you and yours a lovely Christmas Holiday
and a great start to the new year!

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Post-Fair Gratitude

Well my holiday fairs are over and I am so flattered and honored at the reactions my pieces garnered.

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It is lovely to be complimented on my wire-bending skills, and to have people purchase pieces to give to their loved ones.

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Knowing the quotes and songs touch people’s hearts and have meaning to them makes my day, and validates the creation of each piece. I am honored that you shared your moments and intentions with me.

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The exertion of hauling bags from one place to the next does come with a weakened immune system, so now I am resting up before planning the coming year.

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Thank you to everyone who came buy to each of these fairs to support local artists and shop handmade pieces.

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Without you, the pursuit of our passion wouldn’t be possible, and it is great to see that Chicago has a vibrant community of shoppers who seek out local and small business venues over ordering online from big-box manufacturers.

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Thank you for supporting me personally, and for giving my pendants, earrings, bangles, necklaces, ornaments and desktop minis new homes.

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The more you collect the more I can make, and that is what brings my heart joy.

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You can still peruse my wares at the Evanston Art Center’s Holiday EXPO and Dragonfly Boutique in Evanston, at Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont, and on Etsy.

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Holiday Shop at the EXPO

Last week I browsed the Evanston Art Center’s 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO at the Evanston Art Center.

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It is a vibrant exhibit of local artists who have hand-crafted holiday gifts for you and your family.

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Numerous fiber arts promise to keep you and your loved ones warm, while cheering the spirit with fun colors.

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Those in love with ceramics can peruse a roomful of creations.

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Jewelry is abundant, and so varied.

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I am inspired by all I see.

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And look, I have a cute little tree showcasing my ornaments (and keychains).

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There is also plenty of wall art ranging from cigar band collages to encaustics.

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The EXPO is open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays 12 pm to 4 pm until December 22.

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Encaustic artist Robin Samiljan is back, like a few other familiar names from last year.

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I’ll be gallery sitting on December 19 for a few hours.

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Mens’ Shopping Day is Saturday, December 20th from 10 am to 4 pm.

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The last shopping day will be December 22nd.

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All proceeds from the EXPO sale will benefit EAC’s ongoing exhibition, scholarship, and outreach programs, which is where I got my start exhibiting.

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Bucktown Holiday ArtShow

I’m busy preparing for the Bucktown Holiday Fair this coming weekend.

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The fun begins at noon and goes until 5 p.m. December 13 and 14.

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More than 100 artists will exhibit and I enjoyed the creativity last year’s show featured.

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There is a silent auction, a raffle, and delicious food and drink will be offered.

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The Bucktown Holiday ArtShow is at the Holstein Fieldhouse at 2200 N Oakley Avenue in Chicago.

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You can get a free ticket here.

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If Bucktown isn’t on your holiday shopping route, check out my pieces at Aurora Rose Boutique in downtown Lemont (open til midnight on Friday, December 12!) or Evanston’s Dragonfly on Chicago Avenue by Dempster.

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The Evanston Art Center also hosts a variety of my pieces through December 22.

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I am also on Etsy 24/7.

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Sipping Tea at Peaceful Parlour

Before Thanksgiving the Network of Entrepreneurial Women gathered in Geneva for a lovely afternoon of chatting, tea-sipping and getting to know each other.

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Members from the neighborhood as well as Winfield, the O’Hare area, Elgin, St. Charles, Barrington, Hyde Park, Evanston and Downers Grove introduced their respective businesses.

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We sampled the delicious teas and chais at Peaceful Parlour, which was in full swing preparing for Small Business Saturday.

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The eco-chic boutique has stocked up on all kinds of environmentally friendly and locally sourced holiday gifts.

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So when you are strolling down third street in Geneva, step on down into this cozy store and warm yourself with a cup of tea.

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The store holds whimsy and calm for the spirit.

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I enjoyed taking home a delicious special blend with Dandelion leaves, which I complemented with some goodies from The Sugar Path.

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Due to the holidays we won’t be meeting in person in 2014, but we have plenty of locations in mind to gather every 2nd Wednesday and every 4th Thursday of the month next year.

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Photos copyright NetworkHoncho and Maike’s Marvels.

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NEW – The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is a group of Chicagoland business women who are upgrading business networking with fun and creative events that inspire attendees to work together, refer each other and most of all cheer each other on as the membership succeeds. Events rotate around various suburbs on a semimonthly basis, usually the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP for our upcoming events at Meetup, or like us on Facebook and check up on the calendar there.

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Ornaments Galore

Holiday season is official now, and I am busy making custom orders.

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I am also replenishing the angel and frosty supplies of ornaments that found new homes Thanksgiving week.

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My inventory numbers broke the 100 mark recently.

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On Friday I will have my entire inventory at the ADA Holiday Fair from 10 a.m. to  2 p.m. in the ADA building’s lobby.

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Saturday you will find me at the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser from 2 to 6 p.m.

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The Evanston Art Center’s 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO is hosting jewelry and ornaments until December 22.

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Aurora Rose will be hosting these ornaments in their shop at 111 Stephen Street in Lemont.

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Dragonfly boutique at 1309 Chicago Avenue in Evanston also has a few frosties, cages, angels and my jewelry in stock.

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You can message me via Facebook for your selection or special order.

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Etsy will gradually update between holiday fairs.

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My last fair for the year will be the Bucktown Holiday Fair December 13 & 14.

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