Savoring small blessings

I heart my life.

3hearts by Maike's Marvels

The past few weeks have been filled with planning and creating and pushing myself.


So it is good to step out and put life in perspective by inhaling the fragrant air and observing nature for a spell.

bliss by Maike's Marvels

New life is emerging throughout the neighborhood.


A day trip also reminded me of life outside of the Custer-preparation-zone. Sometimes you have to stop and savor a cupcake.

White Russian at Geneva's The Sugar Path

Along with taking goodies to go.

Geneva goodies from Peaceful Parlour and The Sugar Path

In ‘you are what you eat’-speak, it felt great to ‘be’ a Cowboy Pie on Memorial Day.

cowboy pie from Geneva's The Sugar Path

And an Irish Bomb.

Irish Bomb from Geneva's The Sugar Path

Unexpected and expected presents arrive at my doorstep.


Plus I wake up to this every morning.

Awakening Decal by Single Stone Studios

Life is really really good.

heartstringed by Maike's Marvels

My Boudoir make-over

When I first moved in 2007, I knew I wanted to get a new bedframe and do a little jazzing up of the room. I splurged on a faux finish when I got the home painted, and then installed the necessities for sleeping and adorning, thinking I would at some point make a Morroccan themed boudoir out of the room.


A few years passed, my life was too busy with deadlines, so I got new curtains and new sheets for the time being. I can’t even find a picture of my ‘original’ bedroom setup. It was that ‘temporary’ to me. My metal bedframe gave out in 2009, so I moved the headboard and footboard into storage, and made do with a box spring on the floor.


Three years later it was time to get a new mattress, but when I laid down on the Tempurpedic I realized I had some saving up to do. So another year passed during which I got recommendations about the mattress from those I knew, and in February I set foot into a mattress store again to splurge.

Mattress store

Then came the fun part, furniture shopping! Nadeau had just gotten a shipment from India in, and I swooned over two handpainted nightstands. I wanted to get a side-board of sorts too, but couldn’t resist a corner cabinet. It passed the lift and load test, and I found myself hauling three pieces up the stairs that afternoon. My old nightstands sold on Craigslist the next weekend. My wall decor includes inherited Wayang dolls, a fiber arts art collage gifted from Egypt, and an Eastern-looking mirror.


The bedframe was a bit more challenging, as American Mattress didn’t have a platform bed option. The store manager called around and apparently my idea was ‘out of style’ with her vendors.



So on to the Internet I went, where a variety of platform beds were available, but I wasn’t sure of their quality. Fortunately, World Market had an option, and luckily the Evanston store had a floor model I could look at and knock on to check its sturdiness. It passed the test, but Evanston had no frame in stock, so a suburban round-robin call ensued, and the South Loop still had 2 available. Into the car I hopped to place my order there, and arrange for delivery with the recommended contracted company.


I ordered delivery and assembly, but the allotted time came and went, without a bed. So I had to reschedule for the next day. The next day two guys took the bed upstairs, and then set out to leave. No one had passed on the memo about assembly. So, the next morning, the assemblers came, and saw that one of the drawers was broken. Fortunately everything else was intact.


World Market was fantastic in offering me a replacement drawer, which it turns out took the South Loop store manager to St. Charles because this bed is no longer being carried in the stores.  I got one of the last ones in Chicagoland, with it now being an internet-only order. With the drawers complete, I could finally have the mattress delivered.


During the wait I had perused all the horror stories of how horrible the mattress smells, how for some it never went away, and I braced myself for sleeping on the futon for some time. It wasn’t that bad, even for a sensitive nose like mine. To me, it smelled mildewy–in spite of it coming out of a new box and plastic casing.


Of course the makeover called for a new duvet cover, which I found at World Market, and then some sheet sets to match from Target. After some contemplation I steered away from other fabric canopy designs floating in my head, since all the dust would likely aggravate my allergies, and it would crowd the room. Pinning ideas and inspiration was fun though.


I aired out the room for a few weeks, burned incense, and gradually the smell got fainter. I could still smell it a couple of weeks after coming in from outside.


However, I decided to be kind to my back and sleep on the bed after 7 days. Spine trumped lungs in my case, or I might have given it an extra week.


Then came the headboard design. I’d known Shelley from Single Stone Studios for a few years, and I always wanted one of her decals for my room. I sent her photos of my new furniture and the existing art work, and I knew I wanted butterflies incorporated. She sent me a gorgeous design that immediately spoke to me. She sent me some swatches to help me decide on color, and the chocolate brown matched my espresso wood perfectly.


I received the decal quickly after placing the order, and it was a lot bigger than I envisioned (which has nothing to do with the measurements Shelley and I agreed on, I just pictured it smaller in my head even though I approved her dimensions and had measured it out that way before). So I needed to recruit help, and my helper arrived Sunday to assist in putting it up.


This gave my butterfly lady plenty of time to unfurl on my dining room floor.


For something this size and intricate, I would recommend a professional installation. However, as much as I would’ve loved to fund a girly weekend with Shelley in Chicago, that just wasn’t in the budget this year.


So Lauren and I worked our way through the installation, fixing mistakes here and there, but incredibly happy with the end result. My arms are still a bit sore from all the burnishing, but I slept oh so well Sunday night, and waking up to butterflies the next morning was a thrill.


I may add some paper cut-out butterflies over time as I have seen on Pinterest, but for now, I am content with my new boudoir.


Here’s to awakening your dreams!



Exploring Glen Ellyn

In early April a few Positively NEW ladies met in Glen Ellyn to scope out its downtown area for an upcoming event. We were not disappointed.

Glen Ellyn sign

Glen Ellyn has a lovely downtown area, easily accessible by train.


We enjoyed sampling foods at Shannon’s Irish Pub, which we all plan to return to.


You can’t be in a pub without raising a pint!


Then we explored various boutiques, including a wine store, a few clothing stores, a yarn shop, and several spas.


Photo courtesy 

I waved at the Fire Station, of course.

Glen Ellyn Fire Department

We had so much fun and ‘fresh’ air that it brought tears to my eyes. 😉


Cabernet & Company had a feline co-proprietor.


For this Thursday, May 30, we have settled on revisiting the Swap Shop Resale Boutique at 484 Main St., Glen Ellyn, IL for Wine Women and Wellness. We will meet for private shopping and networking from 6 to 8 pm.


I was too busy browsing the store to take more photos, but their Facebook page shows lovely finds I’m looking forward to trying on.  I have high hopes for finding a Custer Fair outfit here (and would love this tree for the booth!).


We ended the afternoon field trip with delicious chocolate-filled desserts at Flour and Wine, which is another place we crave since our adventure.


I think I might meander over there for dessert after our wine event.  RSVP for Wine Women and Wellness on Meetup. We look forward to seeing you there!


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.

New pendants

I’m preparing for the Custer Street Fair, my first big fair booth ever. I’ll be sharing a tent with the talented Jason McPhillips, who will have his wonderful paintings on hand. It is quite the expansion from the tray-sized pop-ups I’ve been doing, and also my first outdoor show.


Since the pendants will get hot laying out in the sun all day, I’ve had to re-think my designs. While wearing a wax and wire pendant throughout a summer day is fine, since a human moves around and will go and cool off periodically, keeping them out on a table in bright sunlight all day long will invariably soften the wax as the wire heats up, making the pendants more fragile when handled.


So I am working with beads and string and other found objects to create new designs that won’t be so sensitive to an outdoor setting. It’s been fun to sift through my collections and reflect back on teenage years when my cousin and I went bead-crazy.


I’m also playing with Christmas ornaments.


The cage technique was taught to me by Brenda Schweder at The Creative Connection’s Wrangled Bangles class.


I have a huge number to make and hope I can keep up with my weekly quotas. Wish me luck and mark your calendars for June 15 and 16 when all will be revealed!


My wax and wire pendants remain on Etsy and are also at Aurora Rose Boutique.


In love with May flowers

The other day it was overcast, but I felt totally in love.


May certainly has my heart this year.


Sure, it requires allergy relief (I use the homeopathic Sabadil from Whole Foods), but I was ready to swoon at the sight of the vibrant colors and gorgeous flowers.


It was raining petals while birds were singing their songs.


Tulips lined up in wonderful color palettes.



The array made me think of the Efteling’s Fakir who makes the tulips grow.

tuliprow2 prettyinpink

Pops of yellow are everywhere.



Not to mention my favorite blue hue.



A snuggly friend walked with me for a spell.


I love these funky flowers.


Nature’s so vibrant it makes my heart swell.


Who knew looking at other people’s gardens could make me feel this way?


Even my coffee was feeling fern-y.


Thank you for tending your gardens, neighbors! 🙂

Youthful Art in Evanston

On Saturday the Young Evanston Artists (YEA) held their annual art fair.


Held since 1987, the festival allows students in Evanston schools to showcase their artistic talent with a sidewalk show and performance stage.


Art projects are prepared from the beginning of the school year.


I was quite inspired by the vibrant art created by children and teenagers.


There were paintings, collages, drawings, mosaics, and embroidery.


Sculptural works included fiber, wire, paper mache and pottery.



A media room was set up to showcase movies, and a stage allowed students to perform songs.


This year the weather was fantastic, starting off with a chill but warming up and remaining cloud-free all day.


I remember several years where it was too cold to linger and I would rush inside to warm up or get out of the rain.


It was wonderful to peruse the whimsical and realistic creatures rendered, and to be reminded of techniques that can spark creativity and influence my own art.


The Young Evanston Artists Foundation (YEA!) is a private, tax deductible foundation under IRS tax code 501(c)(3) and supported entirely by individuals, families and businesses.




junk pl

Sunny Spa afternoon

On Wednesday the Network of Entrepreneurial Women held its first Meet and Munch event.


photo courtesy

We met at Avalon Spa, located at the Deer Park Town Center. Chief inspirational officer Bonnie Conte greeted us and provided an overview of the Spa. Avalon Spa has been named one of the Top 200 Salons in Salon Today for the last 9 years.


A brief tour indicated why. There is a manicure room and a separate pedicure room. The salon has several talented hair stylists and a designated coloring area. As an Aveda Salon, the spa participated in the Guinness Book of Records challenge of providing the most charity haircuts in 24 hours.


The true experience, however is in the Spa area. Here, one can have a private pedicure experience for two in a cozy separate room. Pairs can also take advantage of a couples massage in a designated room. In addition to several other massage rooms, there is a designated Thai Massage space, where I wanted to lay down right away.


Bonnie pointed out that men are pampered just as much as women, and tend to opt for the private pedicure room. You could see her beaming with price as she introduced the staff, services and facilities to us. I love a spa that has a positive ambiance as well as aesthetic appeal, so I’m eager to book a spa day here (which would include a facial, massage, spa mani-pedis and optional shampoo and style).


After our tour we were treated to mini-hand and neck massages, which certainly made my wire-bending muscles happy.


Our group mingled with Aveda tea and small snacks. Business synergies were discovered, connections made, and spa appointments booked. We left happy to have met such wonderful, positive like-minded ladies.


It is always good to see my customers wearing my Maraviglia. Here is Wollgras, and one of my new creations, Three Pearls of Wisdom.


We eagerly anticipate the upcoming Wine Women and Wellness event at the Swap Shop Resale Boutique at 484 Main St., Glen Ellyn the evening of May 30 (6-8 pm).


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.


Apparently writing about Spring alerted my Sinuses and I’ve had to keep a low profile the past week to deal with pollen instead of blogging.


I love the flowers though.


You can catch me sniffing these along the street, what an irresistible scent!


My favorites are out now.


Tulips flourish.


The sun is bright


and trees are greening.


May is such a lovely month.


Season jitteriness

Changing seasons are very distracting to me. I am more sensitive to weather this year, getting antsy when the winds whip around the house at night, feeling pensive under grey skies, and becoming jittery on sunny days when spring is in bloom and birds are calling for mates.


Wednesday lured me outside with its summer weather, and it was fun to consider my flower photos research, since I often wonder whether the wire flowers that come out as pendants exist in real life. Now I can count petals and see what color my creations should be.


Back indoors I get antsy about upcoming summer shows, and am designing pieces that won’t melt in the sun. Just when you find your sweet spot you have to change it up again…


Which goes for life too. It doesn’t always turn out the way we expect, both in good and in bad ways. Monday and Tuesday were a respite from all the bad world news over the past month. It was refreshing to get caught up in the debate over the Dutch King’s song. Following and laughing about a heated debate over lyrics and music was just the right medicine to counteract all the other madness in the world.


I was glued to the monitor as the Royal Family toured the Ij River in Amsterdam, and enjoyed the highlights of Dutch culture along the way. Proving that they’re from my generation, it was lovely to watch Maxima’s eyes light up at Armin van Buuren’s appearance, and even cooler to watch the King act like a rock star by disembarking from the boat to get on stage with the DJ and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

So yeah, back in 1980 it was perfectly plausible to become a princess with 3 princes my age. But Willem-Alexander made a lovely choice and I am glad my life led me in other directions.


Between the temptation to rush outdoors into the sun and the internal debates over what to make and where to show my wares over the summer—and the nervousness that comes with that—each moment must be lived happily and fully, with the knowledge that we can only do the best we can with what we have where we are.


Enjoy the blooms this week!

Honoring the Nurturers

Sometimes a holiday sneaks up on me, which is a no-no as I venture into retailing world. But May 12 is Mother’s Day, and to get the gift to the main nurturer in your life, orders need to be placed now in order to get them shipped in time.

Mom pendants by Maike's Marvels

Interestingly, this May 12 honors mothers in each of my familial countries. Father’s Day comes on different dates in the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S.

Menocopsis pendant by Maike's Marvels

With a few of my friends being mothers, it’s been fun to expand on my ‘mother’s heart’ pendant and customize it with children’s names, birth dates and favorite colors. Recently as I looked up more maternal words, I found that there is a wide variety in other languages, when for some time I thought most words for mother did start with an M or an N. “Patrino and Panjo” were quite a surprise on this list.

Mamm Mati pendat by Maike's Marvels

My Helix is gaining hearts on Etsy, celebrating shared DNA.


If you’re a newsletter subscriber you have a special coupon code for Etsy purchases, which also applies to Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont.


Here is a sampling of Aurora Rose’s inventory.

Pendants at Aurora Rose Boutique

I like Luke 1:41-45 for the expectant mother: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!'”


The abstract-minded might like a feminine shape like this one:


If you’d like to order a commission, you can peruse this album for ideas on shapes and colors. My friend just purchased this mother-daughter set with birth stones for each member of the family.

Birthstones mother daughter pair by Maike's Marvels