Scenes from the Renaissance Fair

On Sunday I went to the Renaissance Fair, a new birthday tradition.


I only got declines to my invitation to come along so I made the outing alone.


I’ve learned that if I wait for people to come with me I will never go anywhere, and I had had plenty of companionship the week before.


You get approached by various characters anyway throughout the faire, so one never feels alone there.


It was fun observing wood sprites,




a whip-cracking man


and knights in shining armor.


My team of blue and yellow won!




I also learned about ancient armor with this fun performance.


I treated myself to goodies and let my mind wander as I took in all the interesting costumes.


Mine wasn’t that exciting, but comfort is valuable too.


I love being in this century, but it is nice to travel back in time on occasion.


What is your favorite end-of-summer activity?


Birthday Joy

It’s been a lovely week of partying, and I am trying to get back into more productivity while the summer gives its last hurrah with a heat wave.


My post-haircut custard introduced the YAY-day!


Wednesday evening was spent at Lemont’s Emergency Vehicle night, which I posted on Facebook. Aurora Rose had placed my name in their window, which was a lovely gift.


At midnight I opened my first present, which included the adorable bunny hop ring from Hello Holiday. I picked that package so I could figure out my birthday outfit the next day.


It was gray the next day, but I had blue skies in my home (thanks to Rory Coyne).


I opened more presents the next morning, took myself for a sushi lunch in the rain, then came home to 40 roses, and enjoyed basking in the love and well-wishes of online and telephone postings.




Even online media took part in the top 40!






Friday was spent doing paperwork and laundry, but on Saturday I went offline and spend the afternoon at Emily Oaks. Dragonflies were sparse that day, but I captured one new one.


As I left the park a Falcon landed on a branch, so of course I snapped some shots of that until it saw me approach and flew away.


Now it’s time to figure out how to fill in this new year of my life, and I am looking forward to all the adventures that await!


Being alive is a wonderful thing.


Progressive dining at Symphony’s

I’m excited about my dinner out this week. On Thursday the Positively NEW ladies will gather for a Progressive Networking Dinner at Evanston’s Symphony’s Cafe. We’ll have cozy tête-à-têtes while rotating tables between appetizers, entree, and dessert to maximize the networking fun.


Symphony’s Cafe, located at 1945 Central Street in Evanston, offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and a wine list to add the ‘Wine’ to Wine, Women and Wellness. It’ll be another culinary adventure in my home town, along with the enriching company of fellow entrepreneurial women. I highly recommend making an afternoon of it and perusing the entrepreneurial shops along this street, many woman-owned.


Coin metered parking (free after 6 p.m.) is available along the streets, and a freshly rehabbed credit card metered lot is located just west of the restaurant, next to Independence Park via Stewart Avenue. 
The Central Street Evanston Metra station is two (walkable) blocks East of Symphony’s. RSVP at our Meetup page or via Facebook, or pop in!


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, generally the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of the month.


Etsy is getting crowded

“Very beautiful!
I love the attention and artistic care you put into both sets.”

~ Birthday earring shopper

I’ve been loading pieces to Etsy over the past week or so, so you have some new pieces to peruse.


The Mustard Square:


Three Pearls of Wisdom:


I loaded a set of earrings last week that got snapped up right away. I love it when pieces speak to a customer.


They were option 2 of a birthday commission for a friend.


The desired earrings had already been sold, so I offered to make similar ones (exact replicas don’t happen with this gauge wire).


Erica’s husband wanted to accentuate his wife’s neck with my earrings. How cool is that? So I set to work ‘replicating’ the initial design, curling the wire and then hammering it flat.


I made two options and he decided which ones would “look especially beautiful on Erica.”


They certainly do, don’t you think?


Wrapping them up was fun.


You can find other earrings here.


I’ve enjoyed modeling a few pieces while I was out and about.

Yellow Butterfly
, Waves Wire Earrings ,
not-yet-listed squiggle square, Dvořák pupil

Wax and wire pendants like Peace-loving Squiggledee will be perfect for Fall weather.


Seatbelts are cool!


Mixing and matching is fun (as is dipping into the non-selfmade collection).


Love Letter, Vintage Coral Necklace with Chinese bead earrings,
Sparkly Pink Butterfly Heart with earrings from Aurora Rose,
unlisted earrings and a to-be-listed pendant

I’d like to see some collar necklaces move too, since I can’t wear the larger ones. Go shop so I have incentive to make more!


“They just hit me Maike. Like they were made for me.”
~ A happy earring customer

Big Birthday

Tomorrow is my official birthday, but I’ve been celebrating throughout the summer essentially.


Last year’s Curly Girl Design Calendar

Being with loved ones is the best form of celebrating life, and I’ve been fortunate to have been at numerous celebratory gatherings over the past few months.


My brother and his love took a road trip to see me, and we enjoyed walking around town in unseasonably cool weather, perusing the art institute, and eating lots and lots of good food.


Then my friend and her daughter flew in for more fun.


Maternal Hug by Maike’s Marvels

Meanwhile packages have been trickling in (love the Amazon wish list) which I look forward to opening tomorrow.


This year has been very much about appreciating every moment I have. The news is full of tragedy, and I’ve spent a few days this year reflecting on loss and the instant change a life can take (for better or for worse), reminding me that getting up every morning able-bodied and healthy is such a supreme blessing.


Painting by Rory Coyne and Moth drawing by Lauren Levato Coyne

I genuinely am happy where I am and with what I have.


Yes I want to speed up the profitability of my fledgling business and bill-paying feels like a drain on resources right now, but having the opportunity to give Maike’s Marvels a solid try is something I am grateful for every day.


As I check in with my 2013 goals, I was more optimistic than realistic, and will need to work harder at marketing and getting myself out there. In looking at the resolutions, I feel that I have incorporated most of them into my year.


A Knight in Shining Armor at the Art Institute

I am learning not to compare myself to others as much (#1), because my life is unique and I cannot truly benchmark my 40 with other people’s 40.

My social gatherings include more authenticity (#3), which has allowed me to express myself more honestly (#2).

Magic does happen every day, (#5) whether it is the rays of sun reflecting sparkles off an object in my house, butterflies and dragonflies swirling around me (I will always hold my breath a little whenever that happens), serendipitous meetings with people, or an explosion of color in flowers, surroundings and rainbows.


Still Life with Flowers by Odilon Redon at Art Institute

The book (#4) is still in my head and ideas are swirling, so that’s probably something I should genuinely put in my calendar for the remainder of the year.

Battle between gods and giants, Etruscan (Art Institute)

I have no idea what the next 40 years hold, but I do know that thus far, the meandering path my life has taken has enriched me, blessed me, and placed me right where I need to be.


Bentouttashape pendant by Maike’s Marvels

I’m hoping the next decade will include just as much joy, growth (even if at times reluctantly), and continued good health.

Hooray for life!


Brainstorming at Stella

On Wednesday the Network of Entrepreneurial Women co-founders browsed Stella Boutique on Central Street in Evanston. Stella was recently named Best Boutique for Women and a Best Gift Shop in Make It Better Magazine.


photo by Networkhoncho

We enjoyed brainstorming upcoming events while trying on some of Stella’s treasures.


Erica in this fabulous versatile wonder woman ‘cape’.


Karen in a flattering skirt with a floral blouse (which went home with her).

photo by Networkhoncho

This faux-leather jacket could bring out an alter ego, don’t you think? (Alas, not in my budget right now).

photo by Networkhoncho

The cozy shop includes bright and ethereal clothing by designers like Desigual, lovely nature-inspired purses and clutches, and a variety of accessories to adorn clothes, necks and ears.


In addition, there are decorative gift items, lovely greeting cards, and other unique pieces.


If I sold more pieces I could invest in that lovely jewelry tree for fall fairs…


Of course Beth Billups’ wax pieces caught my eye.


For my birthday I couldn’t resist a lovely floor mat (almost 40 butterflies), and I found some treasure for upcoming birthdays as well.


I wanted to take this chair home too.


Since it was a gorgeous day, we explored the rest of this lovely street, and couldn’t resist Linz & Vail’s Gelato (Pistachio for me, Cupcake for Karen).


Moon phase bracelet from Dave’s Rock Shop

The scents of the Spice House at Symphony’s Cafe had me wishing I was more of a cook.


Our next NEW event is a Progressive Dinner at Symphony’s Cafe on August 29, also on Central Street in Evanston. Meters are free after 6 p.m., but I highly recommend coming earlier to peruse this lovely entrepreneurial corridor of Evanston.


In September we will be circling back to the Chicago Western suburbs, so check out our Meetup page for upcoming events.


Wax(in’) Blue opening night

I had a lovely evening mingling with encaustic artists at the Wax(in’) Blue exhibit.


It was naturally a gathering of FUSEDChicago members, but also artists who had come in from as far as Michigan to peruse this exhibit.


As the title indicates, the theme was blue, and it was great to see the spectrum of blue on display.

From dragonfly to dragonfly

Encaustic Art by Carol Hamilton, Mary J O’Hearn, Yvonne Prisble, Ahavani Mullen,
Bobbette Rose, Carol Hamilton, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Kimberly Fuller

My Dragonflies were in lovely company.

Patricia Lagger, Karen Tichy, Lynda Cole,
Patricia Lagger, Maike van Wijk, Candace Meyers

Kimberly Fuller’s Jewelry intrigued me.


Sculptural pieces give encaustic wonderful dimension.


Donna Zarbin-Byrne


Robin Samiljan, Sue Cahill, Nikkole Huss,  Laura LaRue,
Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Valerie McCune, Jenny Learner, Karen Tichy, Vicki Reed

This Lumen print technique on silk by Vicki Reed is intriguing.


Kari Hall, Brad Hook, Kari Hall

I also enjoyed seeing a few figurative pieces in this exhibit, since truly painting in wax is a challenge I have not mastered.

Jacqueline Drake

Sue Cahill

Discussing techniques was illuminating.


Colors ranged from bright to subdued.


Jessica Behan

Kathy Roman

Since it was at Morpho Gallery, I wore my Morpho pendant, with a blue dress of course.


The show is up from August 10th-31st with walk-in hours Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m., or by appointment. Morpho Gallery is located at 5216 North Damen, Chicago.



I just submitted to another show, so we’ll see if the momentum keeps going!


A Birthday Treasure Hunt

My fabulous birthday month is full of festivities. After Friday’s Wax(in’) Blue exhibit opening I look forward to celebrating some more with my NEW friends at our next Meet & Munch. I got to pick the venues for August, and we’ll be hunting for treasure at Stella Boutique on Central Street.


Stella Boutique is a chic and funky store filled an eclectic mix of clothing, jewelry, handbags, accessories, home accoutrements and gifts. You will be charmed by all the unique finds in a warm and relaxing atmosphere. A sneak peek at current treasures is at their Facebook page or on Stella’s web site.


We’ll be meeting there, at 2116 Central St  Evanston, IL 60201, on Wednesday, August 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. Since I share an August birthday with NEW co-founder Erica Thomas, I anticipate some present shopping.


Central Street is a lovely Evanston corridor I don’t visit enough (because Main Street is so much fun!). The street is lined with other unique shops such as a Spice House, several bakeries (including one for pets!), Walsh Natural Health, paper goods, a flower shop and home decor.


Central Street is also the home of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, which I should get to soon!

Independence Park

Coin metered parking is available along the streets, and a freshly rehabbed credit card metered lot is located across the street from Stella via Stewart Avenue. The Central Street Evanston Metra station is two (walkable) blocks East of Stella.


Stella celebrated its 10 year anniversary in March 2012. I’m excited to see the goodies owner Rachel has collected. You can RSVP on Facebook or via Meetup.


Can’t make this week’s event? RSVP for our Wine Women & Wellness Progressive Networking Dinner at Symphony’s Cafe in Evanston August 29.


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.

Frozen Custard Day

Yesterday was Frozen Custard Day. The weather was magnificent, giving a holiday feel.


I meant to have a quick breakfast at Brothers K and then run errands but my across-the-hall neighbor spotted me and we ended up catching up for an hour after months of not seeing each other. ‘Cause good neighbors meet at the corner cafe every few months, right?


Awesome computer decal!


Then I walked around town to take care of a few things.


Andy’s had 55 cent cones, which of course I couldn’t resist.


Deliciousness. Tomorrow is National S’mores Day, so I need to find a camp fire!


It is construction season here too.


Best thing to do is to remain ‘zen’ about it.


Or ride a bike.


I relished the mid-70s temperature with a soft breeze and gorgeous sunshine.


Somehow that brightness makes me hyper-aware of nature and color, and I start noticing new things in the neighborhood I’ve walked for ten years.


Like this pensive statue.


Our Lakeshore Historic District had a few old timers.


Hummer for the Summer, anyone?


I’m super excited about Trader Joe’s becoming walking distance.



This bee posed for me for a bit. It’s good to see them around.


With roses shining brightly and the joyous sun I felt like I was in a fairy tale.


My neighborhood does have castles!


Admirals and painted ladies are still scarce in our neighborhood (compared to last year), but the cabbage whites and sulphurs are flitting about.


Lucky shot. 🙂


I am looking forward to tomorrow’s Wax(in’) Blue opening. Hope to see you there.