Pondering Easter and its origins

I was born in the Netherlands and grew up with the secular version of Easter, blended with German traditions and food as well. We dyed eggs, had an egg hunt on Easter morning, and enjoyed a fabulous Easter Brunch that featured butter in the shape of a lamb, home-baked braided bread, boiled eggs served in a basket, and a nest of chocolate eggs. The centerpiece on the table was the Paasboom, a bouquet of branches adorned with decorated hollowed egg ornaments. A few hyacinths would be wafting their scent around the house.


“Easter Eggs” on Etsy and at Aurora Rose 

My grandmother took us to an Easter service once, from which I remember a song about the resurrection, but the Christian meaning didn’t really sink in until later in life. In my childhood, it was a feast of Spring and color and joy.

Spring Flowers wax and wire pendants by Maike's Marvels

Bring in Spring!

Since teenage-hood, Bible passages and hymns related to Easter do crop up during this time, and I pulled some of them out of my second-hand Bible to convert into pendants.

I was drawn to Mary’s Song, which is sung right after the annunciation. In Luke 1:25-30 angel Gabriel comes down to Nazareth and said; “ ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.’ ”

Mary's Song wax and wire pendant by Maike's Marvels

Now from other accounts in the Bible meeting an angel is a terrifying experience.  In addition to that, the “favor with God” was a pregnancy. I think I would have crawled in a corner and started worrying about the logistics of this as well as how my family would react. Instead, Mary sings a song:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.

An impressive message for anyone who is facing challenges they are not sure how to meet just yet. But then, maybe she just knew that this was her path in life. Finding one’s purpose can indeed create a sense of peace and also euphoria at what the future might hold.

My next piece was about the resurrection, which of course was preceded by the death of Jesus, in Mark 15:35-40. On the front of the pendant I highlighted: “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Risen wax and wire pendant by Maike's Marvels

The back shows Mark 16:5-9: “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

After this, in Mark 16:14-20, Jesus tells his disciples to go and preach the good news, which is embedded in the pendant of this blog post.

I pulled some hymns and their scores and printed those out, but thus far only  “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” transformed into pendant form.


As I’ve researched various religions, clearly traditions related to Spring and renewal from ancient times have been adapted into religious rituals and storytelling. I’m impressed by how imagery and symbolism has survived for centuries, even if our interpretation morphs over time. I did like seeing butterflies as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection.

Butterfly pendants by Maike's Marvels

Butterflies on Etsy, one going to Aurora Rose

To celebrate life, I also made a Helix, I’ll perfect this shape into a double helix over time.

Helix pendant by Maike's Marvels

However you celebrate the beginning of spring, the renewal of life, or your personal transformation into something new and different, may you have a fabulous weekend, filled with glorifying the source of life and the goodness of the Universe.

Square Foot Show and other Arts of Life news

On Friday, the Arts of Life is hosting the opening of its second annual Square Foot Show. Last year’s opening was a bright and uplifting evening, and I look forward to seeing what art has been contributed this year. More than 100 pieces from the Arts of Life and other artists from around the country have been accepted, with the only stipulation that they be 12 inches by 12 inches each.


The opening reception will be at the North Shore Studio at 1963 Johns Dr, Glenview, IL, on Friday, March 29th from 6 to 8pm, with a performance by the North Shore Music Ensemble at 7pm. Sponsored by Glenview Caribou Coffee, the event is free and open to the public. My Swift Swallowtails will be gliding along the show walls, and Meetup Painter Piotr Wolodkowicz has entered a piece as well.

Inside Glenview featured The Arts of Life in their March 2013 issue, featuring North Shore Studio’s 2013 artist of the year, Nikole Heusman. You can check out the issue online by clicking on March in the calendar next to the search box.


If you can’t make it this Friday, Kinzie Corridor Arts of Life is hosting another event next FridayHow We Make It is a celebration of the extraordinary life of our founding artist Veronica “Granny” Cuculich and the wonderful staff and volunteers who make our community what it is today. Celebrate on Friday, April 5th from 6 pm-9 pm at The Arts of Life Chicago Studio + Gallery at 2010 W. Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL.

Arts of Life Core Values

There will be a viewing of the documentary feature “Life and Where I’m At: The Life and Art of Veronica Cuculich”, which reveals Granny’s important role in the creation of The Arts of Life. Guests can expect to enjoy a potluck dinner featuring all of Granny’s favorite foods and are welcome to partake in an open mic limited to Elvis, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Johnny Cash songs. This joyous celebration is free and open to the public.

Inside Glenview feature

Frosty weekend walks

Nope, I didn’t work on the pendant descriptions I had every intention to write.  Saturday morning became frustrating as I fruitlessly searched online for findings that I know exist but apparently can only be found in 24-packs at Michael’s for now, instead of through a wholesaler.

hoping for spring

That’s the trickery of the Internet. You think that you can find things in bulk online ‘somewhere,’ but alas, a retailer just might have exclusivity over that particular product.  So I abandoned the search and shut down the computer, to take a very frosty walk at which I certainly ‘cooled off’.

frosty lake

These crocuses are deceptive:

Deceptive Croci

For the rest of the day I lost myself in a book.

die hellen tage

It is surprisingly refreshing to transport yourself into another world, and immerse yourself into the lives of a group of people as they grow over 20+ years.

I forgot about what pendants to describe next for the Etsy upload, how many and what kind I want to make next week, the product photos I have yet to take, how to best determine the right field names for Bento to set up the database right the first time. Instead, I empathized with fictional characters who became so real in my head that it was hard to let them go after the last page.


Yesterday I realized Kari Chapin’s book is due soon so my morning was spent at a cafe getting close to finishing it. I really like this book a lot, and will do a roundup of business planning reads in the future.

After a frosty walk home, I certainly hope that this Robin truly is the harbinger of Spring. We’re more than ready for it up in the Midwest.


Bending wire and the mind

Wow, it’s Friday already? Congratulations! Give yourself a round of applause for living the best week you could possibly have. It is all meant to be, and you’ve done your best.

Creativity Explosion at Maike's Marvels

Creativity in action at Maike’s Marvels

Yesterday was an immersion in Bento learning. It should be a handy program once I have figured out how to import my spreadsheets and link them. Looking at the forms had me flashing back to grad school exercises in Access.

Bento Learning

 Entering collages was the easy part

I’ve also been hammering and fusing away in the studio and will be working on pendant descriptions and pricing for Etsy today.

nekkid Maraviglia pieces

Ready to get dressed Maraviglia pieces

If you’re a Facebook fan you can check out the ‘for dibs’ album. Pipe up in the comments if you want me to hold a piece for you, they’ll be open to the wide world of Etsy early next week.

Etsy Pics for Maraviglia upload

Wax and wire pendant glamour shots for Etsy

Meanwhile, I hope it’s sunny and bright where you are. Here it is deceptively so. We still need winter coats to shield ourselves from wind and frostiness.

Frosty Tot Lot

Snow, snow go away…

Have a fantastic weekend!

Easter on the brain


The other day I pulled a Bible page and created a new pendant.

Faith wax and wire pendant by Maike's Marvels

I placed the text I wanted to remain legible on the back of the pendant. Do you agree or would you want your favorite verse to be on the front, even if a wire embellishment obscures the text?

Faith wax and wire pendant back

Then I realized the front wasn’t a happy passage, so I covered it up with the message the pendant is supposed to convey.

Faith wax and wire pendant front

This week I realized Easter is nigh, so I am playing with additional passages near the page I tore out.

Risen verses series

So many possibilities! Stay tuned for what these wires turn into… 🙂

Art and aging, a healing combination

“Age is an issue of mind over matter.
If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
~ Mark Twain

Last month I attended a discussion on Arts and Aging with the Chicago Painters and Artists Meetup Group. Fabiana Glazer is the owner of GoldMind: Arts and Aging, focused on bringing more arts to more older adults, including arts on dementia treatment.

“One of the things about art is that you can’t be wrong.
It is also very personal.”
~ Fabiana Glazer

She spent 15 years in arts education, including Assistant Director of ArtReach and Director of Community and Business Programs at Lillstreet. She was inspired to form GoldMind at her NEA sponsored training for “Creative Aging” with The Creative Center: Arts in Healthcare in NYC in 2011.

“There is a stigma to working with older adults.
No one wants to age.”
~ Fabiana Glazer

Noting that by 2030 there will be more older adults than school-age children, Fabiana said there is a new initiative to hold off on institutionalized long-term care as long as possible, which can cost up to $10,000 a day. Aging in place, allowing older people to stay where they are, is far more beneficial, as studies show that those who are placed in long-term care decline rapidly.

“The minute a man ceases to grow,
no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.”

~ William James  

However, studies by Dr. Gene Cohen, the first chief of the Center on Aging at the National Institute of Mental Health study, show that older adults engaged in arts activities:

  • are happier!
  • gain a new sense of identity
  • can live at home longer
  • use less medication
  • fall down less often
  • visit the doctor less
  • suffer fewer adverse side effects from medications
  • score lower on loneliness scale

Fabiana and her associates teach weekly 90-minute classes to promote this positive effect, which also results in more engagement and a sense of mastery in the participants. She pointed out that she is not an art therapist, but an art teacher, her focus is on making art, not on the art as a tool to get to something else. Learning something new makes participants happy, she said.

“Art is great because it is engaging.
It is an opportunity for lifelong learning.”
~ Fabiana Glazer

Noting that Alzheimers Disease affects 5 million Americans and is predicted to rise to 8.5 million in 2016, Fabiana also works with dementia patients. A cause is still elusive, and dementia is detected earlier and earlier, even when people are in their 50s, Fabiana said.

Creating art helps bring memories back. It ‘reactivates’ brian cells to where patients remember who they are, which can last for up to 24 hours.

“There is no reason you can’t be making new parts of your brain
as you lose part of your brain.”
~ Fabiana Glazer

The 10-week classes help participants overcome grief and loss, and gives them a sense of community. Fabiana said that participants will keep in touch after the course has been completed.

“Art is a magic cure all for depression and aging.
You can drive your own learning, it is infinite.
Artists have the highest quality of life in older age.”
~ Fabiana Glazer

So here’s another great reason to make art: to prevent or slow the effects of aging!

Maike’s Marvels takes commissions

I recently shipped off another commission. A customer I met at the Girls’ Night Out pop-up was torn between the design of Beacon Triangle and the message of Know Thyself.

Know Thyself and Beacon Triangle pendants by Maike's Marvels

I hand-stamped the message, including a blooper:

Stamping Know Thyself

Upon clarifying the favorite colors of her recipient, I set about combining the elements she liked.

Know Thyself components

Here are the two options. One was selected and is on its way to a new home. The other shape will be repurposed, since I do want my customers to have truly unique pendants.

Know Thyself Commission options by Maike's Marvels

Over Christmas I incorporated ‘Die Zauberflöte’ into a pendant for an opera-lover.

My collaborative customer was inspired by the shapes of Love Letter and Lao Tzu Imperfection and asked if I could incorporate a music score. “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” came to mind, and I modified the score and lyrics to fit the pendant.

Bildnis progress

I’m still perfecting the G-clef shape-as much as the wire will let me. Playing with Bible verses and other inspirational words is also fun.

Psalms 103:15 pendant by Maike's Marvels

I like layering colors and papers within the pendant.

Psalms 103:15 wax and wire pendant by Maike's Marvels

During the holiday I also modified Coiled Clock (currently at Aurora Rose) into a token of friendship.


Purple was a specific request.


The quote was not requested, but anything can go on front or back of the pendants (provided it is in the public domain).

Wahre Freundschaft Commission by Maike's Marvels

Meanwhile, another pendant became reminiscent of a cartoon I grew up with. I cannot replicate cartoon characters directly due to copyright restrictions, but otherwise any shape is fun to play with. Barbalala is at Aurora Rose Boutique.

Barbalala Wax and Wire Pendant by Maike's Marvels

Remember that you can still vote for Ruby Meadhowhawk as People’s Choice Award in ArtisTTable’s “Let’s Get Acquainted!” exhibition. Have a fantastic weekend!

Making Magic

“When I am focused on what I am for,
rather than what I am against,
I am empowered.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

Since Magic is my word of the year, I picked up Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer from the library and have been reading through it the past few months. Basically the magic of life is all in your head: it is how you respond to situations, it is how you approach life, it is what you visualize for yourself.

“Uppermost in your mind is
how you can serve the needs of those around you
by focusing always on their needs and their quotas.
Being on purpose generally means
that you are at peace with yourself, and
that peace is what you have to give away.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

Sometimes in life however, things aren’t very peaceful. Seemingly out of nowhere something can stop you in your tracks and bring you down for a bit. An organization you have been part of and endorsing for some time may suddenly explode into hostility when questions about finances are raised. Leadership actions no longer align with the spirit of Inclusion, Inspiration and Innovation in an Ethical Environment that members supported and literally bought into.

Incidentally, as these events unfolded I read these lovely bullets by Dr. Wayne Dyer:

  • Quality rather than appearance
  • Ethics rather than rules
  • Knowledge rather than achievement
  • Integrity rather than domination
  • Serenity rather than acquisitions

This is the spirit I endorse, and that still exists, even if the umbrella under which it gathered is changing. I am heeding these words to try to get through the shift:

“The bad news, the gossip, the emphasis in the media
on tragedy and pessimism will not capture your attention.
You will note these as areas for improvement,
but your inner divine self will be noting also
how many acts of healing, kindness, and friendliness
outnumber those of suffering.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

The friends I have made remain. The wounded will heal. Kindness prevails. My blog posts about the group also remain because they support the hard-working women business owners whom I admire and am glad to know. I have made wonderful connections over the past year and value the friendships that have since developed.

“You are in a partnership with all human beings,
not a contest to be judged better than some
and worse than others. …
Have a quiet acceptance of what is,
send it love
and then
get on with the business of
creating a full, prosperous, loving life for yourself.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

There is a lovely ‘possibilitarian tribe’ growing in many corners of the world, and I know we will continue to have other gatherings that do promote inspiration, inclusion, quality, ethics, knowledge, integrity and serenity. That is what I support, and that is what I wish for my own business and actions to reflect.

“You can choose to make your life
into a grand, ever-evolving work of art.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer, Real Magic

Thank you to all activists for making our world a more magical place.

Planning and Processing

I am processing many thoughts of the Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit, which held Webinars every day for the past two weeks. Kari Chapin was one of the interviewees, and I am going through her book as well.

Grow your handmade business by Kari Chapin

It’s exciting to think of all the possibilities, to know that there are numerous energetic communities and resources out there, and that as long as I believe in myself and my ideas and pursue this passion, something really cool will come out of it.

Wishing you an inspiring, hopeful and uplifting week!

Spa & Cupcakes in Geneva

I made another trip to Geneva this week to pick up my dragonflies. They are in online exhibits right now but I hope that they will hang in some local exhibits this spring as well, so in anticipation of a ‘yes’, I need to have them close to me.

Well Polished nail polish

I picked Wednesday to combine it with WIN’s Suburban Spa & Cupcakes. The Women’s Innovation Network not only rotates business networking events around the Chicago loop, but also in various Chicagoland suburbs on a monthly basis.

Spa & Cupcakes geneva

The event was held at Well Polished in Geneva this month.  The spa opened in March 2012 and offers manicure and pedicure services. As of its one-year anniversary in a few weeks, the unisex boutique will also offer blow-out services so your hair can match the fancy nails for your next big event.

WonderWINpowers unite

The Sugar Path provided delicious cupcakes, including the popular Black and White, Salty Caramel, Coconut, Red Velvet, Oreo and something Cinnamon-y.

The Sugar Path Mini-Cupcakes

It was lovely to gather among like-minded ladies, including the owners of Geneva-based Well Polished, The Sugar Path, Peaceful Parlour, Going To My Happy Place, and a suburban-based healthcare consultant, a lawyer, and a greeting card provider.


Everyone received a complimentary manicure with a dash of glitter.


Shari of Peaceful Parlour modeled a beautiful purse made from seatbelts. She’s getting additional purses from other recycled materials in by the end of the month.

Seatbelt Purse at Peaceful Parlour

We got to share in owner Megan’s joy when she saw that Well Polished just got named West Suburban Living Magazine’s Best of the West. An honor well-deserved, as this isn’t the average nail spa. I scheduled mani-pedi prior to the WIN event, and my hands and feet were quite pampered. I didn’t realize this lovely seating arrangement was the actual pedicure location.

spa treatment at Well Polished

My feet enjoyed the loving rose petal soak and the restorative care they received.

soak at Well Polished

After the power-hour was over, I joined Michelle on her way back to The Sugar Path for my six-pack, their delicious Dragon’s Milk cupcakes, which I shared with my Dragon’s Milk loving friends later on.

sixpack cupcakes by The Sugar Path

The Sugar Path still has most of my butterfly collages available for sale. Currently my Malachites and the Migrating Monarchs are on display, and Migrant Danaus, Fluttering Papilio and Kedzie’s Red Admirals are hibernating there as well.


I’m looking forward to their next Girls’ Night Out in April.

encaustic collages by Maike's Marvels

Prior to the pampering and networking, I brunched at Graham’s 318, which has a delicious sipping chocolate. As I noshed on my sandwich, I noted to try their chocolate fondue next time, which two ladies were enjoying. Graham’s has a snow sculptor ‘in residence’, who had created this St. Patrick’s Day sculpture with Tuesday’s snowfall.

Snow Sculpture by Joseph

On my way back to the train, a rabbit was added. Might as well get Easter in with this crazy mixture of seasons.

rabbit snow sculpture at Graham's 318

It was a lovely day blending pampering with connecting and transacting. We’ll see how long the manicure lasts after I head back into the studio this weekend.


ADDENDUM:  As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.