A&Z Designs at Aurora Rose

Last weekend I decided to be an attendee at Aurora Rose Boutique‘s Trunk Show instead of the vendor.


I’ve admired A&Z Designs’ jewelry for a while. Their steampunk-y pieces are custom formed, riveted, enameled and bent. It was nice to meet the family of creators, and I debated over a few pieces as I browsed their fabulous display.


Aurora Rose has a new card vendor with lovely witticisms.


Coasters that can be customized with your photography are also a new product there.


I took one of the happy octopi home.


Tomorrow is owner Kim Peters’ birthday and I had fun incorporating her family’s birthstones into a bangle fitted just for her.


Each stone represents one of Aurora Rose Boutique’s most avid supporters.


Happy birthday Kim!


Next Month’s #AuroraRoseTrunkShow will feature Laughing Cat, with lovely repurposed vintage pieces.


Stop by my shelf when you pop in!


I look forward to wearing the bangle and gifting the cards in the Fall.


something for everyone: Keychains

Last month I pondered what I can make that appeals to men and women, since my jewelry does have a slight gender bias. So I started making some keychains.


I put some coiled wax pieces on a keychain loop, which wandered off with customers at Aurora Rose during my last trunk show. I also put some scribble balls in the mix. The scribble balls can be customized with any color of choice.


My brother will be ‘product testing’ this one.


A blue keychain is on Etsy, but I’ll be happy to make more if you tell me that you’ll use them.


What do you think?

Summer Jewelry on Etsy

Before my 3-day escape last week I did a photoshoot for Etsy. This week I loaded more inventory onto the shop, as I explore other venues to display and sell my work.


Draw was inspired by the fabulous pencil handler Lauren Levato-Coyne. She taught me how to draw, and her friendship has drawn me into Chicago’s artistic community.


This Green Triangle is a modification from a different color.


My birthstone pieces found their start with this Turquoise set. Turquoise has lovely healing properties.


Years ago I made a watch from cubed beads, and the remaining beads became part of this ‘cubist’ pendant. It reminds me of Alicia Forestall-Boehm’s work.


The Sunshine sparkle beaded bangle with matching earrings cheers me up. I want to wear it but designed it for someone taller than me. Is it you?


This is blue wax and wire rectangle is one of my favorites, with a vintage glass bead from a chandelier that I only find in plastic these days.


I’ve had these pink tulip beads for some time as well, and hope they find their way to a new home soon.


Earrings abound as well, with these heart-shaped cages being the most recent internet debutantes.


Wouldn’t the pink scribble ball earrings go well with this Pretty in Pink oval pendant?


Remember that you can order custom pieces at any time. Birthstone bangles or pendants celebrate family and loved ones.


Custom verses, quotes, colors, shapes and sizes also apply to the waxed pieces, such as this Rose of Sharon Heart


quoting Song of Solomon.


Write is on its way up next week.


The musically inclined can wear their favorite song close to their hearts.


Poke around my shop and tell me what you like. I’ve also had fun with treasuries, which you can peruse here.


Summer Partying

I’m working on my hiking posts but spent the weekend partying so those will have to wait.


My friends Lauren and Rory celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary and several other special days with Sugarweek, and us friends were invited to tag along on their celebrations.


Friday evening marked the opening of a show at Zhou B Art Center, so before that 5 of us had dinner at the Honky Tonk BBQ. The ambiance is fun.


One of the few things I miss about Texas is a good brisket, and now I’ve found a local place to have it. Their food was delicious.


Fighting the food coma, we made our way to Zhou B, where the Self-Portrait Exhibition was in full swing.


Lauren and Rory were part of it, and perused the other works.


Here are a few of my snapshots.


I’m mesmerized by encaustic artists who work large.


Dan Addington’s Pereginus Cor: I am Content to Follow the Source with oil, wax, tar, collage on wood is striking and filled with texture.


Erin McClellan Zhoushi’s Untitled photography is so magical.


InJung Oh’s Untitled oil on canvas is so vibrant, and I was especially drawn to the texture and layering of Corinna Button’s Now + Then (oil and collage on canvas).


I like the multidimensionality of Robin Monique Rios’ Beyond Midnight with acrylic/liquid plastic. There are numerous other great pieces, so go see the exhibit this month.


Saturday was spent making a few trips to Belgian Chocolatier Piron, first to order mousse from last year’s birthday gift certificate and then to pick it up.


For once a party was walking distance for me, which I took full advantage of. Our friend Dean smoked a meal for us, that actually was quite a competitor to the Honky Tonk fare we had just feasted on yesterday.


Then we ate our hearts out on chocolate mousse and devil’s ganache cake.


We sampled various beers and whiskeys and had fun conversations until deep into the night.


Needless to say, not much writing was done on Sunday, so the blog will need to catch up later.


This is what summer is for, to enjoy the days and nights among friends and savor the love and joy that is in one’s life.


I am reminded almost daily how blessed I am, and how quickly things can change, so I am going to celebrate where I am, who I am with and whom I hold in my heart every single day.


Exploring Utica

Last week I took a road trip to Utica to satisfy my July travel itch.


It is just 2 and a half hours from home, an easy drive actually when you skip rush hour.


I had visited the Starved Rock area a few times, and gradually upgraded my stays from a KOA cabin with plastic mattresses and shared shower facilities to a motel, to a B&B. The motel is now defunct.


I stopped for a sampling of ice cream (on the sweet side) and chocolate truffles prior to heading to the Brightwood Inn.


The Brightwood Inn is a lovely Bed and Breakfast offering cozy rooms with luxurious amenities.


The property is adjacent to Matthiessen State Park, and the grounds have been landscaped as a wildlife habitat to encourage birds, insects and other critters to feed and seek shelter there.


Sunsets from this vantage point are spectacular.


Every morning a breakfast buffet of cereal, fruit and scones stills ‘den kleinen Hunger’, with warm breakfast, coffee and tea offered in the dining room.


I enjoyed the herb omelet on an English muffin the first morning, and whole grain blueberry pancakes the next.


Matthiessen, Starved Rock and the I&M Canal Trail are just a short drive from the Inn.


I perused the one-block downtown of Utica which has 3 pubs.


There is also a grocery store geared toward campers and other things one tends to forget but need on a road trip.


On both days opted to have lunch at Noni’s as it felt more cafe-like and had outdoor seating.


The area has a few wineries and several ‘trading posts’ offering leather goods for bikers passing through.


After some hiking I checked into my room, a haven of tranquility.


I splurged on a tub option, and was quite romanced by its heart shape and the stunning view.


There is a lovely bathroom of course.


I read on the cozy lounge, peeked at hummingbirds feeding in the tree, and fully relaxed in this pristine room without any chores for me to do.


My first evening I dined at Uptown Grill in LaSalle, which had tablet menus. The heat and late lunch had dampened my appetite, so I had the Asparagus salad. Their cocktails looked delicious, and I would dine here again to sample the other dishes.


The next morning I indulged a massage at Butterfly Landing, which stretched my muscles and helped me further sink into relaxation mode. Next time I want to try a facial in this lush day spa as well.


The second evening I visited Amici in Peru, a lovely Italian restaurant that is decorated to mimic a piazza, with twinkle lights in the ceiling to enhance the ‘outside’ feeling. I could have easily shared the pasta entree, and took some home.


The country roads offer lovely prairie and farm field views,


with some lovely river crossings as well.


I enjoyed the lush garden and journaled peacefully while listening to a variety of birds.


Chairs and tables allow for lounging al fresco.


They also have a wonderful porch.


It is amazing how being away from home can put your mind at ease enough to simply watch clouds go by.


It is good to just enjoy a day and ‘be’.


Perspective is so necessary in this world of personal and global tragedies.


I look forward to returning to this heavenly place.


Hiking adventures will be shared in upcoming posts.


Where will your summer vacation take you?


Weekend Interlude

I took a little road trip this week to clear my head.


It’s nice to do a re-set when home and internal changes are churning.


The good news is that you get to call dibs on the pieces on Facebook through the weekend.


Next week they’ll be up on Etsy for a wider audience to see, like some of these arleady are.


It is good get away for some perspective, even when you lead a solitary life and your home town is staycation-friendly.


If you’re pondering a retreat, but would like some company, consider NEW’s Fall getaway at White Pines.


Other people’s gardens

Normally this time of the year I have plenty of butterfly snapshots, but they’ve been scarce thus far.



I am pleased to see monarchs fluttering about, the cabbage whites are becoming more visible, and I’ve spotted a few admirals, but not as plentiful as seasons past.


Those I do see are either too fast or too far away from my camera.


Nonetheless, the gardens are vibrant with beautiful flowers and I love the scent of summer wafting along.


I’ve focused on orange flowers in the past month for #TeamOranje, but the Lilies are abundant in other colors as well.


Such stately flowers.


They are so gorgeous standing tall in numerous groupings around my neighborhood.


There are also other flowers whose names I don’t know, but their scents are lovely.


A stroll after a downpour always brings out freshness and pretty droplets.


And OK, the World Cup may be done, but orange is still abundant…



Bunnies are munching on the lawns.


The “toddlers” are so adorable.


It’s so good to love life, to enjoy old love and new love alike.


So much prettiness makes my heart sing.


Delicate yet strong.



Life looks rosy from this angle.



Flowers brighten up the grey.


Here’s to more sunshine and flowers as summer continues.


Stressbusting at Meet & Munch

Last Wednesday we had a lovely time de-stressing at Hub83 in South Barrington. Hub83 is a co-working space where start-ups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, telecommuters, and small or previously home-based businesses can work in a collaborative office space and get access to resources that can help grow their business.


The company provides commercial shared office space which includes shared and private desks, meeting and conference rooms, and optional private offices that can hold 1-6 people. The clean and bright South Barrington office felt professional and inviting. Other locations in Chicagoland are under review.


After introducing ourselves Ann Marie Berg, a worksite wellness consultant offered tips on how to de-stress.


She mentioned that everyone who sits at a computer for an extended period of time should take stretch breaks every 20 minutes. She also reminded us to check our posture throughout the day and ensure we don’t slump, as that compresses our organs. Everyone sat up straight for the duration of the meeting.


She noted that a stressor to one person could be nothing to another, such as timeliness. Not being punctual can put one person into stress mode, whereas another isn’t as concerned with minutes on the clock. She noted that in addition to stressors based on workload, loneliness and sadness can be stressful on the body, but we don’t not always realize those are underlying symptoms.


Our coping mechanisms for stress tend to be addicting habits, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or emotional eating. Instead of resorting to those behaviors, Ann Marie recommends breathing exercises, stretches to unclench the muscles where we hold our stress, and monitoring your self-talk with a rubber band on your wrist.


We did some very simple yet quite energizing stretches, and then engaged in a breathing exercise that further relaxed us. She also recommends 10% Happier by Dan Harris for further reading. Ann Marie recommended going for frequent walks, exercising, and finding a hobby.


To go to sleep, she recommended tensing and relaxing groups of muscles, she takes an inventory of what is in her drawers in her bedroom–counting what she owns instead of sheep. Aroma therapy in the form of a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue under one’s pillow might also help.


Member Belle Kohen of Creative Coaching provided the following tips for a healthy, less-stressed lifestyle:

  • Take a morning walk
  • Exercise to get endorphins going
  • Decrease your hyper state and avoid caffeine
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Stop ingesting anything an hour before bed
  • Turn all screens off 1 hour before bed
  • If you read, make sure the light source is behind you
  • Untense your muscles before sleeping
  • Make sure the room is dark and quiet


We were treated to drinks and munchies from Melaleuca by member Marianne Guinee, and enjoyed the presentation and overview of products she provided for us. Melaleuca has 400 products for home and family wellness, including  a complete line of skin care and cosmetics, bath and body solutions, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.


It was a lively and joyful afternoon, and we look forward to de-stressing more on July 24 during our family Barbecue in Busse Woods.


Most photos courtesy www.NetworkHoncho.com.


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.

Trunk Show Fun

Before the Independence Day festivities I had some fun at Aurora Rose Boutique.


Mannequins were adorned with my pieces.


I might play with a scarf pendant necklace in the Fall.


I set up for my trunk show there with a pretty and whimsical view.


Having extra surfaces to display my wares was nice, as well as not having to worry about the weather.



I’ve amassed quite a few pendants now, and hope to see more explore the world with new owners.



I accessorized my Make by Megan K. Dress with a Hello Kitty Ring, Rock-A-Ring, and Spiced Up Shoes.


Other vendors came in to restock their wares, and I became enamored with these crochet animals from The Happy Star.


Luckily I was too busy to pull out my wallet, but the Octopi might get a cuddle and a ride home next month.


Kim provided tasty treats by Tastefully Simple.


I met fellow vendors, new Maraviglia fans, and friends during the afternoon, and enjoyed seeing a few adornments go home with new owners.


Kim was happy with the custom Scarf pendant I made, featuring the story and music score of Aurora Rose, or Sleeping Beauty as most of us know her.


I enjoyed the inspiration of other vendors.



And am pondering the projected survival rate of a terrarium with my no-green thumbs.


My July inventory is freshened up.


With a few new scarf pendants and necklace pendants. Detailed photos of the ones I left are here.


The next #AuroraRoseTrunkShow will be held on July 26th with A&Z Designs, a must for steampunk fans. Join Al & Zivi for a demonstration, meet and greet, and check out their handcrafted jewelry, hand-stamped metals and steam-punk inspired pieces.


Always shop local and handmade. It is so much more gratifying to own one-of-a-kind pieces and know you supported someone in your neighborhood.


NOTE: Only vendors already registered with Aurora Rose can have trunk shows there.

The Fourth is with me

July started out quite active, and it truly feels like summer. I got my muscles unkinked Thursday and picked up some light reading for the holiday (and chuckled that each part of the trilogy was filed in a different library section).


Then my friends hosted a pig roast which turned into a block party filled with delicious potluck food, great conversation, and much fun.


The pig took some time, but once it was ready it was quite an event.


We watched fireworks and enjoyed more on the way home as all of Chicago was setting them off (though supposedly it’s illegal to do so).


On Saturday I got engrossed in the world cup. I’m loving the Google doodles.


During Argentina-Belgium tree trimmers were working on my neighbor’s yard, which was a bit surreal. I don’t usually have men with chainsaws right outside my window…


We now have a superstition that sharing family selfies in Oranje will help, so I will need to be clad in orange during our Meet & Munch.


It was fun to sample World Cup beers and interact with others watching the game at World of Beer. The stress of the long delay in scores was exhausting though. Amazing how worked up we humans get over people chasing a ball…


It’s all about community building and experience sharing. Having that virtual bonding time across the ocean through modern technology is such a blessing.


My German side isn’t as interactive on Facebook, so I haven’t been as engaged there, but I am proud my Motherland and Fatherland are both in the semifinals. Yesterday’s game was quite amazing!


I’m in a good place in my life and grateful for all that has transpired that got me here. Even the non-easy parts of this journey help me appreciate all the more what a wonderful life this is.