Another video!

The past few weeks have been filled with excitement, fun, inspiration and preparation, and now I’m tired.

Photo via Facebook

Meanwhile my freakin’ awesome friends at MassUpdater and created this new YouTube Video for me.

I’ll take a holiday from the blog in anticipation of Independence Day. See you next week, and happy barbecuing!

Exploring Beads & Buttons

This year I attended the Bead & Button show for the first time, and it was a blast.


I laughed at Milwaukee’s interpretation of compact cars.


My intent was to systematically go down each isle, but there were too many sparklies and bargain tables distracting me.


So I meandered and enjoyed the colors, the inspiration, the plethora of tools.


I was told I would be overwhelmed and it was true.


Fortified by beer and a burger I carried on (smart to have a mini-bar in a confined environment full of glitter!).


But for the first time I was glad I made just a day of it, a quick drive up, though I will ponder whether to stay overnight next time.


You can see how a multi-day trip looks here, here 2, here 3, here 4.


Brenda Schweder’s collaborative exhibit was mesmerizing.



I am trying to track down the book to go with it (a case of “should have bought it there”–update, got it for my birthday!).


Just the display is inspiring.


I am intrigued by her Jig too, but need to compare it to wubbers to see which works best for me.


Next year I may sign up for some classes and demos.


So much to learn!


For now, my loot will keep me busy and inspired.


It complements my inventory nicely-which I will make better mental notes of next time since I wasn’t sure what I had in stock.



Trunk Show Tagging

This week I am busy tagging my pieces for the Aurora Rose Trunk Show on Saturday.


Originally I printed tags because I had to tag hundreds of pieces, but now it is more convenient to handwrite them on pre-punched jewelry tags.


Branding is a constant evolution, especially when different boutiques and shows have different tagging requirements.


Older pieces are also getting a refreshed coat of Renaissance Wax to protect them from the elements.


I am looking forward to perusing the store’s new items, as new vendors and inventory are constantly added.


Aurora Rose Boutique just had an awning facelift.


I look forward to wearing this dress by Megan K. It was lovely to meet Megan at the Custer Street Fair last weekend.


There will be swag bags for the 10 first #AuroraRoseTrunkShow customers.


Owner Kim Peters will also be making deliciousness from Tastefully Simple, yummy Beer Bread and Spinach and Herb Dip which I sampled with NEW, and Iced Red Rooibos Tiesta Tea.


I look forward to interacting with Lemont’s finest (because anyone visiting Aurora Rose has great taste!).


There is so much creativity in this store!


Historic Lemont also hosts the Lemont Legends Cruise Nights, which NEW will attend in August, but are ongoing every Wednesday until the end of August.


A new acquisition serves as a nod to the fairy tale and movie.


Tomorrow I’ll be learning more about branding in our group’s session on How To Brag. Hopefully I’ll put that to good use on Saturday.



June Outings

June marked its arrival with numerous outings. It truly is summer when your social calendar fills up.


My friends and I dined at Nightwood one lovely evening and savored every bite.


Then we saw Redmoon’s Spring Spectacle: Bellboys, Bears and Baggage and were transported to a magical world of vignettes with hidden meanings and thought provokers.


I attended the much-anticipated Queen + Adam Lambert Concert on June 19.


Their tour kick-off was fabulous and I am glad I got to experience it.


I highly recommended the show to any Queen or Adam Lambert fan.


Go see!!!


The next day I met some fellow Thunderbirds for a scrumptious dinner on Michigan Avenue, with a limo ride, no less!


On Saturday I saw the Monarch movie at the Museum of Science and Industry with friends and played shadow games with them.


Fred Urquhart’s 39-year quest to track Monarch butterflies is inspiring (I am so impatient with myself!).


We had fun exploring the newly renovated Fairy Castle — my favorite exhibit next to the Swiss Pinball Machine.


Yesterday I had my annual funnel cake and then participated in the flash mob of Hip Circle Studio at the Custer Street Fair, where the World Cup was live streamed.


This is going to be a GREAT Summer!


Summer Trunk Show Prepping

I’ve been reviewing my inventory and adding some new pieces over the past two weeks.


Next Saturday I’ll have my only summer show in Lemont, an indoor trunk show at Aurora Rose Boutique.

The fun starts at 1 and goes until 4, though I will probably hang out open to close. Aurora Rose is doing these every fourth Saturday of the month, and the calendar of resident vendors filled up quickly.

Maike's Trunk Show

Co-owners Kim and Amber Peters are putting together swag bags for the first 10 visitors, so showing up at 1 may get you a reward!


Preparing in the studio is such fun, especially as I play with my loot from the Bead & Button Show (which I will write up in another blog post).


Musical pieces tend to resonate with my fans, so I’ve made few of those.


I had a mini-score of Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” (This image is enchantingly lovely) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart floating around that became a blue pendant. The scarf pendant is a special nod to Aurora Rose boutique, and the heart pendant is a vintage piece of violin sheet music (Old Melody and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).


I also got a strong yellow vibe this week as I found a scarf I forgot I had, so I embellished it with this dragonfly. You can put it on your own scarf at the trunk show.


The yellow sparklies brightened an overcast and blustery day this week. I’m not sure if I should make a pendant to go with this for a full set.


I also created my first clip-on earring pair. All earrings in my shop can be modified with clip-ons now, just convo me your need and I will make the switch. Sterling silver ear hooks/studs can also be added at cost.


I look forward to the meet & greet of Aurora Rose’s Lemont customers and hope these newbies fly off to new homes.


The lineup of other #AuroraRoseTrunkShows is at Aurora Rose’s event page.


Seeing what my colleagues created is always a blast. Aurora Rose is located at 111 Stephen Street in Lemont, IL.


Have a great weekend and see you NEXT Saturday.

NEW’s fantastic Birthday Party

Last week we had a fabulous NEW birthday party at Avalon Salon and Spa in Deer Park.


Familiar faces and new members joined us in our celebration, which also honored Ruth McBride and Girls in the Game.


It is lovely to connect with a charity that has a personal resonance with one of our members.


We introduced ourselves and chatted about each others’ businesses.


Wine was flowing freely thanks to our host Bonnie Conte — in LED-lit glasses, no less (I want some of those)!


Deciding on red or white might have been the hardest part of the afternoon.


A silent auction was held to benefit the Ruth McBride Scholarship for Girls in the Game.



Our bidders went home pleased.


A raffle also raised additional funds.


The prizes (including an Avalon Massage) caused much cheer.


The gift basket from Aurora Rose Boutique is going to one of our online bidders, who has yet to be determined…


Bonnie provided an overview of the spa and salon and gave a tour to many of us. The nail polish wall is a rainbow of inspiration.


Then we received hand and neck massages.


Ruth McBride Scholarship Director Chris Pierucci gifted us cofounders with hearts.


One is to keep, and one is to pass on to someone who has left an impression on our hearts.


Chris also had handbags, suitcases and business card holders available for sale of which 100% of the proceeds benefit the Ruth McBride Scholarship as well.


I couldn’t decide so I got both. While the tally isn’t in, our informal goal for the fundraiser may have been met!


Nobody went home empty-handed, as Bonnie gave us lovely swag bags.


This is the coolest pen I ever owned, and we received the relaxing lotion we were pampered with during our mini-treatments.


Thank you Avalon for hosting us!


Join us for our next event in Hyde Park, where we will learn how to promote ourselves better.


Networking is far from boring when you do it in the right company.


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.

Photos Courtesy, some by Maike’s Marvels.

Summertime Reading

Summer weather is finally here, and I’ve been basking in the sunlight the past few days.


With the mighty success of NEW’s birthday party and fundraiser I declared Thursday a holiday.


Friday afternoon became another one as my family goaded me into watching the amazing World Cup opening game of team orange.


It was a blast sharing the joy of 5 goals via Facebook and Whatsapp.

hugging dandelions

Meanwhile I am doing some mental excavating and reprogramming as I read these affirmative books.


Lifelong patterns take a while to break, and re-identifying them to craft a life lived by purpose is important.


It’s not all brain acrobatics. I’m sprinkling in some childhood romance books, too.


What’s your summer reading?


Creating an in-home gallery (Part 2)

“I believe that if you love everything you are consuming/purchasing/
collecting/surrounding yourself with, it will all go together.
I suppose that’s the idea behind eclectic style–
that if you love it, it matches.”

~ Megan Hunt, It matches if you love it

Since 2008 my home has undergone a few small improvements, but my library walls were always a long-term project.


When I freelanced in 2012 I paid my funds forward by purchasing art from my friends (read this lovely article about art collecting).


Quickly a butterfly theme emerged, but I also acquired/was gifted pieces that spoke to me emotionally.


Then I started working on my art business more and my affluence waned. It wasn’t until I got my estimated taxes back this year that I gave myself permission to have the pieces framed and start a hanging system.


It’s funny how frugal I am with myself (to the point of stingy) when for anyone else I would be in total support of them surrounding themselves with beauty. But if I was willing to fork over that money to the IRS, I should be willing to invest some in my home, right?


So I swung by the Frame Warehouse to get the non-standard sizes framed, and had a wonderful collaborative session with Marian on matching mats and frame styles.


Because the content of each picture is so varied, I decided to form cohesion with basic black frames, rather than getting creative with tones in the work which can be great as well.


I realized my art fair-buddy Jason McPhillips wasn’t represented, and went through his ‘bargain bin’ one afternoon to remedy that.


Since I had to go back to the Frame Warehouse for his piece I decided to also frame my own favorite studies from Lauren Levato Coyne’s drawing workshops, a vanity-project if you will.


It was another collaborative project with Maggie picking the mat color and getting a visual of what the final frame would look like.


Then came the hardware adjustments, since store-bought frames aren’t set up for gallery-style hanging.


It took some time to figure out gravity and weight. Smaller and lighter pieces hang differently than wider and heavier ones.


I got my exercise stringing, hanging, seeing how it looked, and adjusting.


The project wasn’t as expensive as I thought. The big ticket items are large frames (on which I got generous discounts), as expected. The fishing line (I chose 30 lbs strength) cost $3, the moulding hooks can run between $1 to $5 a piece, and the d-ring hanger hardware was about $2 per pack of 3 (why they pack those in odd numbers is a mystery to me).


Michaels often has 40% off deals on their frames and shadowboxes, and I took advantage of that for the two butterfly prints and the pinned specimens.


From dropping off the pieces for framing to getting the second set back the process was about a month, and I didn’t complete the walls all at once.


You need a breather to step back and review the progress and rethink the layout-even after you’ve stared at it on a floor for 3 weeks.


The great part is that no holes are in the walls, so you can re-commit anything at any time you want.


The completed landscape and places corner.


The original works are:


Lest you imagine my whole home is spic-and-span, here’s the pile of paperwork I ignored while taking the weekend to finish the bigger wall…


But now the butterfly collection is complete.



  • Vintage butterfly print gifted from a friend via Anthropologie
  • Shadowbox of Buckeyes
  • Morning Drawing by Lauren Levato Coyne, tropical moth, species unknown, colored pencil on maple
  • Selah! by Crystal Neubauer, collage, ink, graphite, pastel




Time to throw a cocktail party with the artists represented here! It’s been a pleasure to get to know each of them better over the past few years, and I’m so happy to have their creativity and talent present in my home.


“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.
It will not only improve your life,
it will improve the lives of all those around you.”
~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Overcast Waterfall Glen

Last week I defied the weather forecasts and drove up to Lemont determined to revisit Waterfall Glen. Fortunately the rain subsided on the way there and the predicted Thunderstorms passed us by.


(Warning: slugs and millipedes in this post-if you don’t like them, don’t scroll down)
The droplets were gorgeous.


Nature always has a way to give me perspective, and the lessons of that day started with a sign about a trail restoration project.


The park district is removing buckthorn, honeysuckle and other select weedy, invasive trees and shrubs from Kettle Woods, and over time will replant native shrubs.


“Before work began, nearly 85 percent of the trees and shrubs fewer than 4 inches in diameter that grew under Kettle Woods’ leafy canopy were nonnative invasives. Their dense foliage was some of the first to leaf out in the spring and the last to die back in the fall and prevented sunlight from reaching native plants below. In some areas, less than 5 percent of ambient light made it to the woodland floor.”


“Perhaps more critically, young oak and hickory seedlings couldn’t soak up the moisture and light they needed to grow and replace older generations or compete against invasives.” The aftermath of the clearing is jarring.


“By removing the weedy, invasive understory plants, however, the District can bring more moisture and sunlight to the ground, which will accelerate the growth of native flowers and grasses and secure the valuable soil during heavy rains”


“These brighter conditions will also give rise to the next generation of oak and hickory seedlings, which will benefit wildlife and wildlife watchers for years to come. On a larger scale, the healthier, functional woodland will be able to respond better to potentially adverse effects of climate extremes, insect outbreaks and diseases.” A barren view before restoration.


My takeaway was: Clearing out invasive opinions is important for one’s true nature to thrive (even if it looks a bit devastating in the interim)


Naturally the rain drew out the slugs, and I watched a few cross paths. One blog states that as a hermaphrodite, the slug is “considered to embody both the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. Because of this, the slug is more a spiritual being than an earthly being. Great balance and strength is also a message that the slug can bring to its beholder.”


I came upon a small brown butterfly but it was quite sensitive to my movements. A few of its genus fluttered along the path, but every time I stopped to snap a photo I was accosted by Mosquitos, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I liked.


I resorted to waving my citronella stick around, since the multiple layers I had rubbed on throughout my hike had no effect on the pesky creatures. Waving one hand while trying to focus on a creature with the camera hand proved futile.


It was ‘eat Maike’s left ear day’ for sure. Lin’s Domain says Mosquitos represent temporary irritants: “Rather than letting the temporary irritants take over our lives, focus on protecting our creative projects and our sense of joy and accomplishment. If Mosquito is truly becoming a constant pest, then we need to take serious look at our environment, both work and home. Something needs to change in it.”


My change was to keep moving and not stop for photos as much. Ironically the creative project of nature photography was interrupted temporarily.


I will concede that an overcast day with much moisture in the air does give mosquitos an advantage and ‘right-of-way’ when I visit their habitat.


Psychically, “Damp environments are symbolic of creative, psychic, and emotional areas. …it’s important to find an environment supportive to their creative and psychic sensibilities, necessary for their health and well-being.” blog quote from Ted Andrews’ Animal-Wise.


Away from the trees in the plains areas I was able to stop for other random insects. I’m not a fan of millipedes, but the red-striped variety is fascinating. Via one blog: Millipede sends the message that “successful movement in all endeavors will come with age— ‘late bloomers.’  … Many centipedes are also blind, and this an be a reminder to trust our inner perceptions and not outer appearances.”


Being a lone singleton I sometimes feel that I am getting too set in my ways, but my friend recently told me “You are not ornery, you have stronger boundaries.” I love that thought since I always empathize to the point of giving in to others.


When I saw this prickly thistle I pondered its beauty, and realized that having boundaries (or being ‘prickly’) isn’t ugly at all.


The thistle was surrounded by plants that had heart-shaped seed pods, which I found another striking analogy. Love seemingly seeking out the thistle.


Then I came upon this lovely snail which was oblivious to my camera shutter as it navigated the gravel path. Its message: “Snail people are often loners, not very social and often timid. Their life lesson will be to learn to trust.  Learning to balance trust and protection is a difficult lesson. Snails also teach us to protect the inner child.” Interestingly a few books and interactions are urging me to honor the inner child, so I will keep working on that this summer.


I chuckled at the last phrase of a prairie sign.


On the way back to my car several swallows soared above me, representing objectivity and perspective per Lin’s Domain: “Rise above the small stuff and you will gain a better perspective on your life.”


I doused my ear in vinegar when I got home, and the swelling went down after a few hours. I may have to eat and rub on some garlic or vinegar on the next humid hike.


The walk did help me step through some things that had been bugging me, and allowed me take a break from the giant to-do and should-do lists awaiting me at home.


The wind and moisture felt cleansing, and I will heed the insights this trail gave me as I make my moves throughout the summer.


NEW’s first Birthday

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.
We should all be thankful for those people
who rekindle the inner spirit.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

Last year, an inner fire went out on a group I was a part of. As a result, Karen McCormack and Erica Thomas and I set out to create a community of supportive entrepreneurial women seeking to balance business-building with some self-care and fun.


This Wednesday we celebrate our one-year (+ one month) milestone with an anniversary celebration, and I look forward to recapping the events of the past year.

“A very inspirational group led by 3 terrific women
who have great enthusiasm and information to share.
Thanks for a great event.”
~ Jenifer B. October 2013


Our members have been tremendously generous in providing silent auction donations, which will raise funds for the Ruth McBride Scholarship for Girls in the Game. We have gift certificates for photography, massages and guest speakers, as well as various gift baskets, a book, and a pendant by me.


We are also raffling off at least two prizes, for which you don’t have to be present, so get your raffle tickets here before the drawing closes at 2 pm on June 11.


Over the past year, this group has brought much joy and growth, which we celebrate Wednesday. As an introvert the passion for growing this group has made me much more outgoing, and every time I get past that initial hurdle of dressing in something other than pajamas and walking out the door I have made fantastic connections, learned something new, and been inspired.


Every woman in our group has a special mission in life, and they serve their purpose with a passion and tenacity that spurs me on to live my best life. I’ve learned that I am not alone in my doubts and worries about solopreneurship, that we all feel overwhelmed at times and are winging it until we gain our footing. Women I look up to as ‘having arrived’ still rely heavily on their intuition for innovation and progress, when one would think that they have processes in place and ‘take it easy’.


The honesty among this group is heartening. Yes, we’ve given elevator pitches, passed out business cards, promoted our upcoming events and products. We have cheered each other’s milestones and done business with each other (as well as our fabulous hosts).


 “This was my first experience meeting up with NEW
and it definitely will not be my last!
Great group of women who truly care about
expanding each other’s businesses!
It was a pleasure meeting all of you!”
~ Casie F., August 2013


“It was a great pleasure meeting you all!
The meeting was very productive. I even learned a new word ;).
I would love to participate in future meetings.”
~ Lina A., August 2013

We’ve also had heart-to-heart conversations about how to move forward, how to overcome internal and external obstacles, and how to remain motivated when winters are harsh and sales are slow.

“Great meeting! Very well-planned and organized (!).
I’m glad there was a small turn-out, because we learned a lot
about each other and our businesses, and
how to network to help each other.”

~ Karen Y., August 2013


“Fantastic group of women! I am looking forward to next time!”
~ Lina B., September 2013

“It was great to meet women in business. Very Empowering!”
~ Tracy B. September 2013


“I had a great time.
It was nice to meet some very motivated and
talented women entrepreneurs!
I look forward to the next event.”
~ Kristin S., September 2013

We’ve expanded our brains with learning about historical trailblazing women, museum visits and business roundtables.


“The meeting was inspiring, informative, and fun-5 Star for sure :)”
~ Barbara Z., October 2013

We’ve been silly playing dress-up and dancing can-cans in group shoots.

“I totally enjoyed the experience…
I am glad I connected with this group.”
~ Robin G., October 2013


“This is an awesome group of women.”
~ Kim B., October 2013

“Taking two hours this afternoon to meet dynamic and interesting entrepreneurs from whom I can learn was wonderful. The samples of “Tastefully Simple” and chocolates were delicious and the gathering was very warm and cordial. I discovered unique jewelry and greeting cards and enjoyed my purchase. Aurora Rose Boutique and its owners are professional, yet very friendly and accommodating. I’m very glad I stopped in to meet everyone this afternoon. Thank you.”
~ Donna S., November 2013


We’ve pampered ourselves with mini-massages and delectable desserts. We’ve toasted each other on bubbly, cocktails, wine and beer. We’ve honored our health with teas, heart-healthy snacks and outdoor events.


“What a great venue and awesome group of women!
Can’t wait to get to know you all more!!”
~ Marina C., December 2013


What a wonderful group of energetic, inspiring women!”
~ Barbara, May 2013


“It was very inspiring to hear of all
of the new business adventures taking off.

I was also very impressed with all of the women
who braved the cold and showed up
ready to talk business and network. Very professional.”
~ Shari, January 2014


“Had a great time and enjoyed meeting all the fantastic women.
Peaceful Parlour provided a nice comfy atmosphere
which made it all possible.
The tea and snacks were awesome.
I’m looking forward to networking with everyone.”
~ Teresa Triplett, January 2014


“My first time at the Meet & Munch
and WOW what a great group of women
sharing their expertise with each other.”
~ Pam V., February 2014


I love that it is such an eclectic group of women.
Had a great time!”
~ Cheryl S., March 2014


“So fun! It was so interesting to hear about everyone’s businesses,
and I feel like I, or someone else I know, could benefit
from the knowledge and expertise of each
and every one of the women I met!”
~ Ayumi, March 2014

Interestingly, it is easier to write this retrospective about NEW than to do a post about Maike’s Marvels’ past year. I guess I need to take special notes during our next event, “How to Brag; Self Marketing for the Women’s Business Owner”. Join us at 57th Street Books on 1301 East 57th Street in Chicago on Thursday, June 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

“What I’ve learned is that businesses grow through friendships.
Individual accomplishments are built through friendships.
Feeling trusted, understood, and valued is cultivated in friendships”
~ Megan Hunt, owner of Hello Holiday

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.