Thursday was a gorgeous day to spend at Navy Pier.  The overcast skies had made way for sunshine and the Chicago skyline was picture perfect.


I was a bit torn about having to spend the afternoon inside setting up for the big event, but happy so many people were celebrating a tentative Spring on the pier.


The RAW: natural born artist directors gave us ample time to set up for EXPOSURE on the Odyssey Yacht.


I customized my space early.


This was my first time setting up lamps with the display, and I am glad I am grown-up enough to have three desk lamps of the same color.


This left me with time to go to the other decks and take snapshots of their creations.


Carolyn Sullivan of PumPums ‘below deck’.


The fashion sneak peek looked fabulous.


I hope there will be an album of the actual show, which I missed since I was above them.


The most varied artists resided on ‘my’ Amethyst deck.


Each time the setup has its own feel.


I chatted with the two other jewelers present, who both have distinct styles and great passion for their craft. Rust Belt Americana scours the nation for rustic finds that are repurposed into jewelry.


Flux Of Feathers offers perfect adornments for the more morbidly minded with pendants holding claws, teeth and other animal parts.


My neighbor Troy of BowExotic creates fantastic wooden bow ties, which make dressing up a cinch!


They add elegance to the outfits of men and women alike. Troy makes many bow ties based on how inspiration strikes him, but he also customizes them with fraternity logos and other customer-specified designs.


He also made his own lamps for the event.


My left hand neighbor Brandin of Paper Moon Affairs hand-cuts beautiful paper vignettes and then places them in lit-up frames for a dreamlike scene to hang in your home.


I enjoyed the view during quiet moments.


Throughout the evening the outfits were a sight to behold. I spotted a lovely ethereal star dress, sky-high heels, and a vast interpretation of the requested ‘cocktail attire’ dress code.


The bar was closeby and Odyssey Waitstaff were quite helpful to the table-bound vendors to keep them hydrated and fed.


I enjoyed a slider and potato wedges for dinner and imbibed in some bubbly to celebrate the festivities.


A few pieces will be gifted to mothers on May 10, and even more business cards wandered off into the world.


The Odyssey Yacht offers lunchtime and dinner cruises during which the ship does traverse Lake Michigan.


As a bonus I forgot about, we were invited to take head shots by a professional photographer, and a videographer took detailed footage of each booth. I cannot wait to see how that turns out.


I’m scoping out the future RAW Midwest events and hope to pop up at one of those soon.


Meanwhile, check out the happenings in your city, and support a participating artist in your neighborhood.


Meanwhile, don’t forget to shop on Etsy for Mom!



Dutch vibe on King’s Day

Yesterday was Koningsdag or King’s Day in the Netherlands. After celebrating Queen Juliana’s Birthday on April 30 for 36 years, we are now honoring King Willem Alexander on his birthday.


Two of my globe-trotting friends have been posting photos of Delft and its porcelain and the Keukenhof’s gorgeous tulip splendor this week so I am definitely feeling a Dutch vibe. My fellow Dutchies posted their Oranje festivities which made me feel connected.


My nostalgia found a channel with a Delft Blue napkin I had been holding on to for a while. It reflects quintessential Dutch imagery often found on pottery.


The little girl is holding buckets, reminiscent of a childhood song.


Blue is prominent in my life, and Delftware has created an affinity to cobalt blue in particular.


My blue coat is finally back in rotation after wearing goose down for much too long.


I’ve also added some highlights to my hair for fun, which actually go well with my safety mask.


Boats are making their way back into Lake Michigan harbors. SAIL Amsterdam, a fantastic boat exhibit similar to the Chicago Air and Water show (sans air), will be held this summer.


I’m still working on a Winkeljuffrouw pendant that is not aligning properly in my printer. The original print turns out to be a bit too large for a necklace, and shrinking onto a double-sided print is proving to be harder than it should be.


Persistence will win out over this though.


More Mother’s Day pendants are going up on Etsy this week to round out the collection.


I’m enjoying the different color combinations and had to remake a lime green version that got snapped up at RAW Chicago.


Let me know what other combinations and shapes you would like to see.


The windmill is already on Etsy and the other two will make their way online next week if no one claims them via Facebook.


Resetting Nutrition

“We are never too busy
to take time to reset, recharge, and refuel.”
~ Svetlana Burak, My Health Beet

A few weeks ago I decided to take part in a mini-cleanse to reset my body and get into the swing of Spring. I’ve had very sluggish mornings during this long winter, and as the birds started chirping my body needed a jump start for Spring.


I had met Svetlana Burak of My Health Beet through a small business group and skipped her January announcement for a cleanse, but when this one popped up I felt ready. Of course, I dawdled the weekend of the start date and didn’t get my shopping list together until the 3rd day of the group cleanse. That was OK though. I just jumped in on the tail end and shared my daily meals on the Facebook group at my own pace.


I decided to skip the foods that didn’t appeal to me and instead doubled up on the other recipes I did like. That meant I ended up with more food than necessary, since I didn’t check the serving size and bought enough for a whole family!


The dressing recipes looked complicated to me, so I skipped those. I’m not big on salad dressings anyway. Between Aldi and Trader Joe’s it is easy to get produce without hurting the wallet, which was a good revelation to me. The idea that healthy food is expensive food had gotten ingrained into my head, and realizing that I can budget shop fresh food as easily as pre-packaged meals is going to change my shopping habits.

 “I created this program for the busy person
who simply needs the action plan simplified.” 
~ Svetlana Burak, My Health Beet

I purposely picked a slow week for the cleanse since I knew that making the meals would be time consuming. I’d gotten stuck in a rut of quick pasta meals or oven-baked meals from a box. But I found that the simple recipes Svetlana had put together for us were no more time consuming than waiting for something to finish baking. Sure I spent a little more time chopping and measuring foods, but interacting with the ingredients was a lot of fun and uncomplicated.


A lot of the ingredients can be pre-chopped and cooked later, or leftovers refrigerated for another day. I froze one smoothie the night before when I had an all-day road trip on my calendar.


Another bonus was that Svetlana is a fan of one-pan meals like me. Multi-pan cooking productions easily put me off preparing a meal.


It was fun to learn how to make carrot soup, and I promptly went on Pinterest to gather recipes for my favorite veggies (bell peppers and tomatoes) to turn into soup at a later date. What also surprised me is that I didn’t miss the standard habit of having a bread roll with soup. This cleanse was dairy and gluten free, and yet I didn’t miss the cheese and bread I am so fond of. Each meal filled me sufficiently to get through the day, and was flavorful enough to not generate any cravings.


One person reported losing a few pounds during the cleanse, but my results were not that dramatic. I definitely didn’t lose weight, but I did feel more energetic in the morning and throughout the day, which was my main objective.


What I am taking away from this cleanse is a better food consciousness. I found myself over-snacking at night simply by the trigger of watching something or reading a book in which people were eating. Feeling more full and knowing that I had all the nutrients I needed in my body had me reach for a glass of water instead of a snack, bake kale chips for the crunch, or mix cranberry concentrate into water in lieu of wine.


My fitbit arrived right before the cleanse and the cleanse prompted me to start on MyFitnessPal, which has me tracking my food. Calorie counting isn’t my favorite thing, but as I enter recipes and food combinations I am more aware of my snacking pitfalls and how tasty alternatives reduce my calorie intake and therefore allow for a wider variety of food grazing throughout the day.


Svetlana’s recipes aren’t about calorie counting. Her aim is for participants to change their relationship to food, which she accomplished. If a person doesn’t want to prepare smoothies, that is fine. If breakfast requires more protein, she encourages participants to change the order of the meals to suit their lifestyle and energy levels.

“The goal of this cleanse is
to warm and nourish your body for optimal digestion,
which means an optimal cleanse.”
~ Svetlana Burak, My Health Beet

The cleanse isn’t about only drinking smoothies, it completely ignores supplements, and encourages the participant to focus on self-care on all levels, including leisure time, physical care, and mental space. So many cleanses hawk specific supplements, insist that you go exactly by the book, focus on liquid diets, or try to sell something which has set me up for failure in the past. Taking this lifestyle-based approach is far more effective and enjoyable. Four days is also easier to incorporate than a 10- or 11-day cleanse.


I could have continued this cleanse for a few more days since there was no deprivation. However, I still had some cheese and non-veggies in the fridge and am back to having wine in the evenings. While this cleanse isn’t prompting me to give up my favorite foods, it is helping me moderate the portion sizes and change the percentages of where my nutrients come from.


I look forward to trying the recipes I skipped, will rotate between my regular dairy-based drinks and the coconut-milk smoothies, and savor the awareness of fun foods. With the abundance of leftover greens I actually looked up other recipes to incorporate these power-foods into.


Self-care is all about making manageable changes and keeping up with them one day at a time. Knowing how to make nutritious meals and snacks with your favorite veggies is empowering and beats trusting a manufacturer with your health and your energy levels.

New Mother’s Day pieces

Mother’s Day is less than a month away and I’ve been busy making new pendants to honor the nurturers in your life.


These pendants contain the word ‘mother’ in a variety of languages, and are fun to peruse. The majority of words have m and n sounds, but a surprising amount have different letter configurations altogether. ‘Patrino’ and ‘panjo’ surprised me the most.


I’ve incorporated birthstones and special mementos in various pieces, and look forward to creating another mother’s day birthstone bangle in the near future.


With Spring having sprung, flowers are on my mind as well. Lots of Springy pieces are going up on the Etsy shop this week.  Who doesn’t want flowers that last forever?


If your favorite nurturer doesn’t wear jewelry, desktop minis might be an option. Wall decor never goes out of style.


Of course the best gift you can give is your presence, so you can always come up with a fun mom-child activity to give the best gift a mother can ask for. After all, one holiday isn’t enough to show appreciation for your loved ones, and love and family should be celebrated year-round.


Or how about a little serenade for mom? May 10 is the day this year. Get creative!

Winning fun things

2015 is promising to be a winning year. I’ve won something unexpected three months in a row, and it makes me happy to live in Evanston. During Suminagashi artist Amy Lee Segami’s presentation at the Evanston Public Library in February I was the recipient of her poster, which she autographed for me.


Being in the winning category of a random drawing is new to me. I gave up holding my breath with those types of events over the years, and just considered participation a fun thing without attachment. Hashtagging proved lucrative in March, when I unexpectedly won Symphony tickets for participating in the #WeLoveEvanston campaign.


I didn’t even know there were prizes involved with this campaign, but it was a lovely introduction to this local orchestra and some wonderful composers I didn’t even know.The Evanston Symphony Orchestra is made up of volunteers.


Balikpapan, Indonesia got the most lovable city award, but Evanston was named the United States’ Earth Hour capital by the World Wildlife Fund.


This week I won a drawing class with my wonderful friend Lauren Levato Coyne through Instagram. Evanston Merchants held a Loop Giveaway campaign to gain more Instagram followers, and I played along to support my friends.


Incidentally SideTracked Studio was linked to my favorite shop, Dragonfly Boutique, where some of my pieces are having a slumber party among beautiful gift and fashion items.


Check out their goodies!


Lauren is a fabulous drawing teacher, and I cannot wait to see what models she has selected for us. SideTracked Studio is still hosting “What did she say?” through May 10, so take a peek at this intriguing exhibit, and grab some Hoosier Mama Pie around the cornerIt’s fun living here.

HVNSTN encaustic collage by Maike's Marvels

I also broke the 155 likes mark on Facebook, which makes me feel quite loved. Thank you for reading and for being a fan!


It’s selfie time!

Whenever I do my Etsy shoots, I try to also wear the pieces out and about for a photo record of how they look in real life, like this blue beaded pendant, ring and earring set.


Sweaterdress season is almost over, and this jade stone collar looks great with knits.


It’s fun to mix and match pieces and add my ring collection to the fun. You can view my combinations in real time on Instagram. Pairing my infinite earrings with a coil bangle and an exquisite purple pendant  brightened up the dreary days, and I gave my wool sweater a touch of spring with the caged butterfly pendant and matching scribble ball earrings.


I am also playing with my necklace collection, and wore my grandmother’s gift with New World Symphony when I won tickets to the Evanston Symphony Orchestra during a #weLoveEvanston campaign.


Pictured here: Musical wax and wire pendant, violin clef earrings,
a custom birthstone bangle bracelet, a butterfly ring from Ayla’s Originals.

The weather is warming but you can always make a fashion statement with a scarf pendant! This one is made with a piece of vintage coral.


I wore the freshly listed double helix wax and wire pendant to the Textual Encounters opening, along with pink scribble ball earrings and a butterfly scarf pendant.


A pop of red is always fun. This musical heart is one of my first and favorite pieces, and I combined it with the coil earrings that are quite popular. My triangle pendants have found a few new homes, and any color is available. The smashed earrings have a life or their own.


When I did the Yacht walk-through for RAW, the long wire earrings got combined with a lime green mother’s day pendant, a bangle bracelet and rings from fellow Etsy vendors Jelene Britten Designs and alapop jewelry.


Check out my Etsy shop for more pieces and always wear your seatbelts! They make pendants look awesome.

Celebrate Art on a Yacht!

I’m thrilled to announce that  I have been selected to participate in the April Exposure showcase sponsored by RAW: natural born artists.


On April 23, numerous artists will converge at the Odyssey Chicago, a 3-deck yacht docked at Navy Pier, to showcase their creativity and talent. EXPOSURE will include an independent film, a fashion show from an up-and-coming local designer, a musical performance, an art gallery featuring several independent visual artists and photographers, and performance art.


Tickets to the event are $15 each and can be obtained online by April 16.  The tickets will be $20 at the door. With artists in film, fashion, music, visual art, hair & makeup artistry, and performance art, RAW events come together to form an amazing one-night circus of creativity.


We took a tour of the Yacht last month to get our bearings, and I am excited to set up my wares in such an unusual spot. The Yacht has 3 decks, named after lovely gems (and birthstones), inspiring me for a future creation.


One or two bars will be open for spirited libations, and you can peruse the creations of about 40 artists throughout the ship. There’s an access ramp to the boat and the stairwells inside are just like home. The boat will remain docked throughout the event for stragglers, so you can come for an hour or for the duration of the event.


I had seen mention of RAW in various places, and love the story behind it.


Founded by Heidi Luerra, the seeds for RAW were sewn in 2005 in Los Angeles. Heidi was seeking a way to get her fashion designs out into the world and banded together with other artist friends to create a platform of talented, yet unnoticed artists. By 2009, RAW was formalized, and a web site collaboration added the online venue.


Since 2011, RAW has expanded to 54 cities in the United States, and even went overseas to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.


EXPOSURE takes place Thursday, April 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Odyssey Chicago yacht at Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The Yacht is near the Shakespeare Theater. Parking is recommended in the West Garage of Navy Pier. Alternate parking directions are here.


Tickets to the event are $15 each and can be obtained online by April 16: right here. I poked around and saw that a luncheon will cost $50 per person, so getting in at $15 is a bargain! You can put the event on your calendar via this link.


If you can’t make it to the Chicago event, check out RAW’s calendar for a showcase near you!

Women Out Walking

“You’ve got to find something that makes you happy
to keep you moving.”

~ Malik of Hip Circle Studio

In mid-March, the City of Evanston launched Women Out Walking for the 8th year in a row. The 12-week program encourages women to become more physically active and lead healthier lifestyles. Every week women are asked to log their steps, and whether as individuals or part of a team, are incentivized with prizes for their achievements.

Not only does this program give you incentive to walk more in your personal life, but local businesses are offering special sample sessions of exercise classes, like yoga, martial arts, dance, and running. Workshops on nutrition and general health are also promoted through June 21.


I attended the kickoff at Evanston Township High School and put on the pedometer that came with the goodie bag right after the speeches. Mayor Tisdahl endorsed the event, and Hip Circle Studio owner Malik offered a keynote speech.


Urban Beat Dance demonstrated the joy of moving with two fun performances.


Currently 400 women are part of the program, but registration is ongoing. Goals of the program are to engage women in meaningful and healthy activities, increase social interaction, provide access to healthy resources, and ensure a sense of safety while walking.


You submit your steps for the week every Monday with a link that is provided in a reminder email. You can use any step tracking device you want, such as the Fitbit, the WOW-provided pedometer, or other tools.


After the kick-off speeches we were sent to 3 different stations for exercise options. In Hip Circle Studio’s demonstration we learned steps to the bellydance flashmob that will be shown at the Custer Street Fair.


Connelly Martial Arts offered tips on how to walk around more safely, which means taking the earplugs out, putting your phone in your pocket, walking straight and purposefully and being alert of your surroundings. The best way to deal with a suspicious person is to simply walk away.


photo courtesy Hip Circle Studio

Balance Through Motion had brought various balance boards for us to try out. They can be used to improve your general sense of balance, but also as tools for moderate to more challenging exercises. While our instinct was to stand on them and use them as teeter-totters for our feet, you can also do exercises while sitting, laying down, and as part of a new pilates program.

There was a vendor scavenger hunt with Bingo during which we learned more about nutrition, spinal alignment, footwear and other health-related resources. 1914 steps later, I was encouraged with all the walking we did at the event itself.  At the end of that very active first day, I logged more than 6000 steps!


However, attaining the goal of 10,000 steps a day (recommended by the American Heart Association) is a challenge without an out-of-the-home commute. My ‘commute’ only logs about 33 steps. Thankfully the weather is nicer so I will be enticed to walk around the block more often during lunch time. Still, with Moxie Boxing, the most active of my workout sessions, the most steps I have gotten in one day is 7000.


I have experimented and found that the pedometer does count shimmies—albeit not one-for-one, something I am told the Fitbit doesn’t do. Ultimately the point is to get moving and be motivated to move more.

If I hit the 10,000 step mark during summer I’ll be happy, but I am allowing for the sedentary under 1000 steps days too. Maybe I’ll see you at the final Women out Walking Session, Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate at Long Field at the corner of Lincoln Street and Sheridan Road.


PS-I loooove this vending machine at ETHS.


It’s a writer’s dream.


Could it be Spring?

Could it be? Did Winter finally get the memo to make way for Spring?


I saw buds pop up last week only to be covered by snow.


But now the majority of ice blobs have melted, and these sprouts just might have a chance!


There are still remnants of ice. This was February 22.


And on April Fool’s Day, ice blobs are still taunting us.


Fascinating physics for sure.


Here’s hoping that spring is here to stay, and we can enjoy the blossoming of new life.


I am reminded of a childhood song whenever I see Croci


and Narcissus.


This is the only YouTube version I could find.

I wish those observing holy days this week(end) peace and pause.