Thanksgiving Reflections

10 things I am grateful for this year:

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1. The deepening of relationships and appreciating each person in my life for their unique qualities

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2. Embracing opportunities instead of shying away from them

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3. Seeing myself through other people’s eyes and liking their reflection of me

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4. Being encouraged to challenge myself and enjoying the growth it brings

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5. Joining small communities and savoring the spirit of acceptance and camaraderie

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6. Living in this day and age, and learning from all the inspirational ladies present and past

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7. Being an empath in spite of the emotional challenges that brings

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8. Resilience in spite of the disappointment, sadness and loss that comes with living life to the fullest

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9. Living in a beautiful world that holds so many wonders and joys every day

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10. The knowledge that love is always around me and within me, which makes all things possible

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Small Business Saturday

This is a week of gratitude, and I am particularly grateful for all the small business women I have gotten to know over the past year. Through the Network of Entrepreneurial Women I have been exposed to a variety of fascinating businesses, and I am inspired by the ladies who run them.

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On Saturday, November 29 many of us will be celebrating Small Business Saturday, an initiative sponsored by American Express to counteract the Black Friday craze of big box retailers. Local and family owned businesses can’t compete with the deep discounts that come with mass manufactured goods, but we do offer personalized and unique goods and services that are designed to lift your spirits and enhance your life.

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In my hometown Evanston, all three merchant associations (Main Street, Chicago-Dempster and Central Street) have joined forces to create a holiday event with a trolley service. Hip Circle Studio will be hosting family dance sessions. My favorite Main Street Businesses are listed here. The Chicago-Dempster Corridor also offered lovely businesses that I explored during a recent wine tasting event.

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Dragonfly Boutique, which hosts several of my pieces, offers a free tote when you spend $75 on Small Business Saturday, and you get more perks when you bring in that tote throughout December.

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Another lovely venue for a Small Business Saturday field trip is Geneva, where Peaceful Parlour owner Shari Ralish resides. She was recently featured in Black Friday Is Fading Away and Customers Are Noticing.

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Per the article, Small Business Saturday has grown consistently since 2010. Last year, it was estimated that $5.7 billion was spent as part of the Shop Small movement. “It really is a special day that seems to be growing each year among customers and businesses both,” Ralish said.

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While you are in Geneva, I highly recommend sweetening up at the Sugar Path with a cupcake or a slice of pie. All of Third Street and State Street offer really fun small businesses filled with delights to gift or indulge in this holiday season.

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My favorite family-owned business is in Lemont. Aurora Rose Boutique was the first shop to carry my products, and they have a variety of events this holiday season that should have you checking out the Historic Downtown area.

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Also supporting local artisans is the Evanston Art Center with the 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO from November 22 to December 22. You can peruse my jewelry and ornaments there while taking in the taken and creativity of other Evanstonians.

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I admire all the brick and mortars willing to take on overhead that I don’t dare to fund yet. Your local merchants are invested in the community and make your hometown what it is, so support them with your wallet and your referrals.

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Lemont Fair Fun

My Holiday Market started in earnest November 1, at the 7th Annual Lemont Township Neighbor to Neighbor Vendor/Crafter Market.

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I set up my table among several other vendors and had a blast seeing the creativity represented.

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Aurora Rose Boutique owners presented their Quirkals line with some quirky sayings.

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They offer custom printed coasters on tile and wood.

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Across from me Designs by Starla etched away, and made me a present.

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They have some of their inventory at Aurora Rose Boutique for the Holiday Season.

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Greeting cards got me started into this artistic adventure, so chatting with my neighbor was lovely.

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A few ornaments and my violin clef earrings walked away. The fair supports the Lemont Township Family Assistance Fund, helping neighbors in need.

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I stopped by Aurora Rose Boutique for a shelf update.

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I swapped out a few earrings.

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Scarf Season is official now.

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They will also be hosting these ornaments in their shop on Stephen Street in Lemont.

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A Happy Star’s cuddlies always cheer me up.

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Harry Potter fans will find some merchandise here.

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Fairies abound, along with quirky stitchwork.

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Check out their upcoming events and shop local!

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My next fairs include the ADA Holiday Fair downtown on December 5,  the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser December 6, and the Bucktown Holiday Fair December 13 & 14.

Maraviglia at the Winter EXPO

This weekend I dropped off 70 pieces for the 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO at the Evanston Art Center.

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It was a veritable tagging fest the night before.

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The EXPO opens on Friday evening and will be 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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The Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO features original, handmade works of jewelry, ceramics, fiber, metal, glass, painting, photography, mixed-media and more. It offers Chicagolanders a venue for purchasing Christmas presents while supporting 100 local artists.

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A Preview Party for early shopping will be held on Friday, November 21st from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door).

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A Student Expo opens on Saturday, December 6th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jewelry Fest will be held on Saturday, December 6th from 10 am to 4 pm.

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

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I included some keychains for Mens’ Shopping Day on Saturday, December 20th from 10 am to 4 pm (though I think they’re supposed to shop for their leading ladies).

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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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The Evanston Art Center is moving so it is also the last month to peruse the charming historic Harley Clarke Mansion before it changes residents.

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New pendants for dibs

I made a few new pendants this month that I almost do not want to part with.

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The studio has been shiny and bright, luring me in.

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Someone posted Isaiah 55:12 in a piece of their work, so I went to my art Bible and ripped that page out for a pendant.

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Don’t you love its message?

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May it bring much joy to its future wearer.

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Meanwhile, Iggy Azalea’s ear worm was in my head, so I took a piece of Hello Holiday tissue paper and stamped its theme onto the paper (but not quite out of my head).

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I was also feeling the need to create an empowerment talisman with royal purple.

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American Authors’ song reminds me to live each day to the fullest this year, so I wrote their lyrics out too.

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For the Evanston Art Center’s 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO I created a green pendant, which will debut there November 22.

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For their Men’s Shopping Day: Saturday, December 20 from 10am to 4 pm I also made a keychain (though I think they’re supposed to get help shopping for the leading ladies in their lives).

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Turning the clock back has me feeling like I am chasing daylight as the sun sets sooner.

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I also used some scraps to create mini pendants.

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Clearly purple is vibing with me these days.

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I’ve also got a few more earrings in my head that will hopefully come out of my hands soon.

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I have not loaded these on Etsy yet but you can message me via Facebook for your selection or special order. Holiday pendants are coming too.

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Lots of ornaments are in the works and some will float around Chicagoland next month. Etsy will gradually update between holiday fairs.

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If you like to shop in person, you can peruse The ADA Holiday Fair downtown on December 5, the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser December 6, and the Bucktown Holiday Fair December 13 & 14.

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Learning and growing with NEW

NEW’s Crain’s Small Business Day was a blast, and full of nuggets of wisdom by our fabulous guest speakers. During our meet and greet ladies mingled and were introduced to NetworkHoncho.com with their pop-up of a new small business networking tool that is currently in beta launch.

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Members and visitors also perused my wares at my pop-up table.

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Then we gathered around for formal introductions and a business card exchange, with a variety of very interesting businesses represented.

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After learning more about each other we split into three groups for roundtable discussions.

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Peggy Goddeau discussed retirement planning, highlighting how inflation and taxation do not increase at the same rate, and we thus have to base our retirement planning on projected true buying power. She recommends a balance between cash flow and debt management based on three categories of assets: protection, savings and growth. As a financial advisor with The Heartland Group, Peggy offers consulting services for anyone at any age to ensure their retirement is on the right track.

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Dr. Crystal Foreseman Landers offered wellness tips which included an 80/20 rule for eating whole foods (80% of the time), and allowing for 20% of not-so-nutritious meal or snack decisions. This would allow for 2 ‘cheat’ meals a week, creating less pressure than a vigorous diet. She also recommended having lean protein with each meal to counteract food cravings, and paying attention to what we are eating instead of multitasking while we chew. She also recomended drinking 1/2 of your body weight in ounces to stay properly hydrated.  Dr. Crystal offers additional naturopathic health tips at Living Tree Natural Health, Inc.

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Author and speaker Niquenya D. Fulbright discussed the 4 P’s of profit, which are not price, product place or promotion, but passion, purpose, partners and productivity. She recommends that to achieve a goal, we need to make a list of weekly steps to get there. This makes long-range planning far more effective, because we know we can do one thing a week in a specific category, and then feel more accomplished about doing another thing the next week. She also stated that sunk cost should never be considered when making a decision (and who isn’t guilty of hanging on to something just because we spent so much time and money on it already?). As President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting, Niquenya transforms dreamers into successful entrepreneurs by giving them the tools to turn their passion into a viable business.

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After all this insightful learning it was time for a pint and we gathered around to dine on our host Shannon’s Irish Pub’s delicious food.

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NEW will gather tomorrow in Geneva for our November Meet & Munch. We will revisit the lovely Peaceful Parlour for some tea time and to gather ideas for eco-friendly holiday shopping.

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Peaceful Parlour is an eco-friendly shopper’s paradise located in Geneva, IL. The boutique offers products that are locally made, USA made, natural or organic, hand crafted and made from renewable or sustainable materials. Their focus is to find products with environmental and community benefits, supporting local artists, small businesses, fair trade and women co-op groups around the world.

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Due to Thanksgiving, this will also be our only event for November. No Wine, Women and Wellness on 11/27, since we’re all likely to be gathered around dinner tables.

Photos copyright NetworkHoncho.

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.

Jigging Frosties

My offline life is speeding up so the online blog is getting off-schedule. Here’s a peek at what pulls me away from the computer these days.

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In mid-October I was able to purchase Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig Starter Kit, which I eagerly anticipated.

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I consulted with Brenda via email on the various Rounds she had, and ordered the Big Rounds set for my Frosty the Snowman Holiday Ornaments.

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I joyfully set up the jig on a sunny day.

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Then I dove in with the frosty-making.

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Once I had added an ‘allowance’ for the wire, twisting the strips was easy-peasy.

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Having the option of making various sizes of Frosties is great.

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It beats using the household mandrels I used last year, and makes the process much faster.

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I still do some hand-bending after the base is completed.

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Then I heat up the griddle for their adornments.

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Sometimes a bit of smashing is required to flatten the snowmen out again.

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I tried setting up the jig for trees and angels too but that requires a little more finessing (more pegs in particular).

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Productivity is booming for the holiday season!

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You’ll see my frosties, angels and other holiday ornaments on Etsy, at Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont, Dragonfly Boutique in Evanston, The Evanston Art Center’s EXPO, the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser and the Bucktown Holiday Fair.

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Necklace pendants, earrings and key chains are also in the works.

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Golden Radiance

Tomorrow is Halloween, but this year I am more in Samhain mode.

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I don’t know of any costume parties to go to, though the coming weekend is packed.

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So here are some photos of the glorious Fall colors we’re having this month.

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I love the brilliance of the golds and reds.

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The ‘stoplight’ trees are my favorite.

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The skies are a glorious blue and the sun is out with its brilliance.

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We still have some bunnies hopping about.

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he trees are so brilliant.

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Colors abound.

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Watching the progression is fascinating.

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I can’t help but think of Monty Python when the leaves flutter about me.

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Here’s hoping the Indian Summer weather holds for a few more weeks into November.

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Saturday I’ll be in Lemont for a craft show from 9-12:30 with these three pieces.

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I’ll pop by Aurora Rose Boutique afterwards where they have lots of fun Halloween gifts!

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Want more trees?

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I can’t get enough either.

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Happy change of season to you!

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May you harvest much goodness.

Lemont’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fair

On Saturday, All Saint’s Day, I’ll be heading to Lemont for a half-day pop-up. The 7th Annual Lemont Township Neighbor to Neighbor Vendor/Crafter Market will be held on Saturday, November 1st from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Lemont Township Community Center (located NW of the Timberline Drive & 127th Street intersection).

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I was part of this fair last year and was impressed with the variety of businesses represented. The Vendor/Crafter Market was created to provide an opportunity for those in our community to browse through the many products and crafts that are locally available and created, and to raise funds for the Lemont Township Family Assistance Fund, helping neighbors in need.

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A 50/50 raffle will raise additional funds to benefit the Lemont Township Family Assistance Fund, which provides emergency assistance for households in crisis.  Funds have been awarded to assist with unpayable bills or prescriptions.

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I look forward to seeing what pieces customers snap up this year. Early October proved to be a head start of holiday shopping to some with ornaments flying off at the Ravenswood ArtWalk.

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Earrings and pendants were popular too.

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I garnered some custom orders that week and enjoyed making presents for customers’ loved ones.

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I will see you at 16300 Alba Street in Lemont IL 60439 Saturday morningEtsy will be closed that day, but fully operational the rest of the month.

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Final Week for Show & Tell

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Yesterday I picked up my Kedzie’s Red Admirals diptych from the Ecology Center as one part of the Adult Show & Tell Show closes.

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It was fun to peruse the lovely art work by other Evanstonians earlier this month.

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It is always inspiring to see artists interpret nature themes and be inspired by them.

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Nature is so rich with inspiration itself.

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Fellow FUSEDChicago artist Mary Krebs-Smythe has a few works in the show.

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This is the final week to peruse our art at Curt’s Cafe.

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I swung by there and love the cozy atmosphere.

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The art there is quite vibrant.

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My Odonata look nice against the brick backdrop.

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Stop by Curt’s Cafe before Wednesday, October 29 to see all the pieces from various Evanston artists.

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Fall is creating its own art (same tree as above a few weeks later).

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