Art Making Time

It’s 23 days until my show at Creative Coworking, and I am beginning to feel the push.


This weekend was spent recovering from a very hectic week covering my roles with NEW, FUSEDChicago, and as a jewelry vendor.


So now I need to switch gears back to larger collages and get the ideas I have in my head onto encaustic boards.


I am super excited about the show, and look forward to seeing how Melanie Deal’s collage art pairs up with mine.


We will see how the vision translates to real life!


I look forward to seeing you on Friday, March 18 from 5 to 8 pm at Creative Coworking, 922 Davis Street in Evanston.

Right Brain Business Planning

A few years ago I got all the business planning books in the world but never completed a plan for my Marvels.


With a few years of redirecting under my belt and the threat that this would be the last live eCourse, I signed up for the 2016 Right Brain Business Planning eCourse.


I had perused Jennifer Lee’s book from the library before, and listened to one or two of her webinars, but never delved into it.


When The Collage Cafe owner Lindy Stockton was featured on the January webinar it made me take notice, and I decided to give the Right Brain Business Plan concept another whirl.


Drafting a plan in 8 weeks is aggressive, and mid-week through the course most participants are feeling a bit behind.


Keeping up with reading chapters, doing exercises, completing the mid-week checkins, participating in weekly calls and keeping up with the Facebook newsfeed is a lot to take on on top of real life.


But I have to say that this challenge is full of affirmations, of new connections, and revelations.


Being in the midst of reading it all I cannot say what the results will be, but I feel good in some aspects “Hey, I have a spreadsheet, yay!” and unclear in others “What do these vision board images really mean?”


The key is to let this process help move me forward, align with what I am truly aiming for, and hopefully spur on the growth I want for Maike’s Marvels.


I’ll let you know where I am 4 weeks from now, when we’re supposed to be ‘finished’. My guess is it’ll take another 8 weeks to put plans into action, and another year to see how this course will have impacted my business.


What are you doing to move your life forward? Are you growing your brains, growing your community, or growing your money stash?


It’s exciting to have resources, support and opportunities. I hope you are maximizing yours in every way possible.


No Frills Fun Factory

I’ve been preparing for the No Frills Fun Run Vendor Night that takes place on Thursday. No Frills Fun Run is an annual charitable run that was started in 2012 by two local moms in Elmhurst, Illinois. On February 28, participants will run  a half-marathon or half-half distance (6.55 miles) to benefit one family in need.


This year the proceeds will benefit the May Family. Darryl May has battled Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer) for several years. Although the stem cell transplant was a success and he is making progress in his fight, he continues to need extensive medical care. 


In addition to the run, there is a No Frills Fun Run Vendor Fundraiser Night on Thursday, February 18 from 7 pm to 11 pm at an Elmhurst residence, with all hostess proceeds and a portion of vendor proceeds being donated directly to The No Frills Fun Run.


The Vendor Night will be a fun night of shopping, girlfriends, beverages and snacks all to benefit the Mays Family. Vendors include: Maxine’s Handbags, Pampered Chef, Origami Owl, Beautycounter, Gold Canyon Candles and Loch Bands. You can also shop online.


I’ve replenished my musical pieces with a piano primer and a song sheet.


I also found some old travel guides and cut out a Paris map for two pendants.


My new workbench has been in use and I am loving its functionality.


Having my beads at a glance gave me numerous ideas.


Combining paper and beads is fun as I plan pendants.


I had to make sets, of course.


Coiling and stringing.


The stackability of these bangles is creating even more ideas.


I posted an in-progress heart on Facebook that got snapped up right away. You can see it on YouTube!


I just tagged my 599th jewelry creation!


I hope to see you on Thursday night. Message me if you like one of these pieces and I can arrange a transaction with you, or make a set customized to your favorite beads or gemstones.


Scattering Love Initiative

Let’s scatter some love this weekend!


Valentine’s Day is coming, and for some that means feeling less loved rather than more loved. Lindy Stockton of The Collage Cafe is out to change that!


This Saturday, February 13th she is hosting a free Scatter Love event at her store (912 Sherman Avenue).

1) Stop by The Collage Cafe anytime between 12p- 5pm
2) Create one or two or ten inspiration cards
3) Take the cards with you and scatter them
in public spots for people to find and cherish


Don’t you love this idea? You can even do it in your community if Evanston is too far to visit.


If you’re pressed for time or feel uncreative, you can even scatter love with Lindy’s beautiful Joy*filled Journey Deck.


It offers uplift, inspiration and affirmation to me on a regular basis.


Lindy also has a variety of gift items to present to your loved ones and help you express what is sometimes hard to put into words.


This mug is such a fun way to sip your morning coffee or tea.


The Grown*UP Girls Club monthly meeting will also be about self-love and the love of good friends (it’s fun!). There may be drop-ins for the heart-making event on Sunday February 14th 1 pm, but you have to call to reserve a space. Follow The Collage Cafe on Instagram to see workshop results.


I’ve scattered some hearts into the store to help express that someone has your heart under lock and key.


Wunderblume is one of my favorites, made from an old dictionary page and a hand-stamped tulip (a most treasured flower in the 1600s).


Two bangles were made to match The Collage Cafe’s lovely color scheme when I first consigned here.


They’re hoping for someone to fall in love with them.


Visit The Collage Cafe’s website for classes and the most up-to-date calendar of events.


The Collage Cafe is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 6 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 pm. Private parties are also available.


Sparkly Maraviglia at SJS

This journey of solopreneurship has taught me that I have more peers than competitors, and it has been a joy to get to know Evanston businesswomen who are successful and supportive of fellow small business owners.


I met Sara Jane of See Jane Sparkle at a Custer Fair years ago, when I didn’t even think about making jewelry for a business. We chatted then, and I would peek into her window as I strolled home along Chicago Avenue after work.


The one day we Moxie Boxed at Hip Circle Studio together, and we attended each other’s fitness party demonstrations. A few sips at the Wine Goddess had us forging December’s pop-up plans.


The pop-up was fun but I am not ready for full-fledged boutique ownership (yet), so I am thrilled to be part of Sara Jane’s new store at 1312 Chicago Avenue.


I picked out pieces that complement Sara Jane’s sparkly designs, and hope to see them find new homes along with other fabulous Starlet accessories.


The leopard print pendant is inspired by the take-home bags Sara Jane carried last Fall.


See Jane Sparkle features unique jewelry with vintage styling, made by hand and inspired by Coco Chanel. She also offers vintage fashion, including shoes.


I got to try on some of the new 1940’s dresses that came in, and have my eye on one of them for Spring.


Of course each outfit gets accessorized with bling.


It was fun to witness the Instagram shoot to these images.


Last week I wrapped one of Sara Jane’s crystals into a cage pendant.


It sparkles so brightly and looks fabulous on Mrs. Sparkle.


There are a few Valentine’s Day specials going on in the store right now, so check out the boutique and get in touch with your inner starlet!


These dresses are made for date night.


I’ve wrapped some coordinating hearts just for you.


It’s fun to see my pieces in the window.


Who will adorn themselves with this expression of infinite love?


There are all kinds of sparklies waiting to be adopted.


Love is full of variety.


See Jane Sparkle carries my earrings, bangles, pendants and select collar necklaces, all made from steel wire and adorned with a variety of paper, beads, and stones.


You can take a virtual tour of the shop here, but it is much funner to sip on bubbly while browsing the store in person at 1312 Chicago Ave Evanston, IL 60201 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and  Fridays from 11 am to 6 pm or Saturdays from  10 am to 5 pm and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm.


Claiming my closets

When I first got my built-ins created my second bedroom was still a guest room that would function as a craft room. I was focused on greeting cards at the time, and that wall was ample space for all my supplies. Then I left my career and my plans as a small business owner morphed from greeting cards to wall art to then becoming more focused on jewelry making, adding more tools and confining my workspace.


Meanwhile, I only house guests twice a year max. So I started storing larger art boards and canvases in the his and hers clothes closets, and added display items that I balanced on a shoe rack. Shipping boxes gained importance, and over time the two large closets became rather inefficient.


In November I met Sandy Spatz of Step By Step by Sandy, and I blurted out that I wanted to organize my studio after the holiday season. Once out, the words became reality, and Sandy followed up with me in January. We soon set a date for her to assess the damage, and she was very understanding of how my studio functions for me.


I had picked up some books from the library for inspiration, but knew I needed closet overhaul rather than drool over vintage architect drawers and other items hard to find and get up stairs.


Sandy sent me links to various elfa shelving examples, and I started measuring out what I wanted stored and how it could get laid out with the new system.


I also moved things around the house and did some purging as I cleared the closets.


It did feel good to get things cleared out and dusted off.


The upheaval was not for the fainthearted.


I did a visual exercise of how the art books might fit.


I also measured lengths and widths and depths of items I wanted to store.


We then met at the Container Store to get the actual design mapped out and pick up the shelving. However, due to the January sale, most parts were on back order, so we only left with the top tracks and hanging standards. I did get to take home a modified version of the elfa utility Gift Packaging Door & Wall Rack Solution, though.


I live in a historic building, so I knew my walls might be problematic, but we did not anticipate spending almost an hour trying to drill holes into the wall.


We resorted to drywall anchors for the majority of the hanging system.


With one closet an inch wider than the other, the allowance for the wooden inserts had been forgotten about, and the top track was too long to install in the other closet (it was an easy re-cut when I went back to the store).

too long

So all we could do was install the tracks on one side, and I started playing with the over-the-door organizer.


It was nice to have one thing installed at least.


In the middle of that Friday night I decided the closets were boring, and got all my paint samples out. With a crappy brush and a limited supply of years-old paint I started painting one closet with a dry brush effect (to make the half pint stretch).


The next morning I swung by ACE hardware to get better equipment, and painted the other closet walls.


I went by swatch when I had the color mixed, only to find out out after the fact that the color name is “Happy Endings” : ) .


I pulled an inspiration card that affirmed my decision.


I set up my jeweler’s bench as well, and then waited the long week until I could pick the shelving up.


After some stairmastering and weightlifting exercising, I got all the components into the room.



It took a Youtube video for me to figure out how to snap in the shelving, but once I learned it was easy to set up the closet.


The other closet also had wonky walls, but the anchors did the trick.


I measured the brackets out based on the shelf heights I had allotted.


Soon the installation was complete, and my love for power tools had been re-affirmed.


Then I started pulling in everything from the closet explosion, and rearranged some shelving based on the actual feel in the space itself.


There was a moment of trepidation as I closed the door organizer, but the door still closes.


Did the Cat in the Hat’s cleaning machine help a lot? It did not!


Now I have storage for my art fair display pieces, my shipping supplies, art boards, collage ingredients, drawing supplies, and a bit of room for growth to expand my creativity.


There are still photos to organize, so one shelf may be filled with archival boxes soon (unless I go into a scrapbooking frenzy).


Meanwhile, my Manufakturen shop is on display.


With everything in place I felt compelled to tackle my collage work area, which had been in perpetual chaos from being both a jewelry and a wall art station.


Beads and jewelry supplies moved over to their new space, and soon I could wrap the table in fresh wax paper.


Now it is fully dedicated to the encaustic art work.


My encaustic palette got streamlined as well.


I also scraped the floor to get rid off a bunch of wax, not realizing what a difference that elbow grease would make-or I would have done before and after pictures!


On to creating more wall art for the Creative Coworking exhibit in March!


My built-ins will need some light straightening up, but I do have everything in its designated drawer still.


The ‘bead boards’ are my favorite.I bought more hooks and ribbon holders to round out that design.


It is so lovely to view the color array and gems at a glance.


It felt very empowering to dedicate the closets to my art, and to truly claim them as my own with the paint color. Guests can store their clothes over the doors, and I can always repaint when it comes to selling this place.


While my bank account is in slight shock at this mega-splurge, it also is a very important investment in my business, in my art and in myself. I can now be more productive by having two work stations and by having things in their place rather than sliding various bins around the floor and moving trays around the sofa.


There is a lightness of being that comes with repurposing cluttered spaces and thinking about how to make it more functional for oneself. The organizing frenzy will spill over into other parts of the house, but for now I need to focus on the upcoming pop-up February 18 and get moving on the pieces for March.

Jerry Stangl at Moon Art Gallery

This First Friday is hopping! Lots of my friends are in awesome openings throughout Chicagoland. My first stop on Friday will be Moon Art Gallery in Arlington Heights, where Jerry Stangl is the featured artist of the month.


Jerry strives “to present the many varied moods of the seasons and times of day in my paintings. I work mainly by recall and seek to transmit to the viewer the impression of subjects, be they natural or man-made, realistic or abstract.” His work will be the center-piece of the gallery, replacing last month’s showcase.


various artists at Moon Art Gallery

Working in watercolor and mixed media, Jerry has created landscapes, structural compositions, abstracts and figures. He was the recipient of “The William Church Osborne Memorial Award” in the 106th Annual Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society in New York City and received the “Best of Mixed Media” in the 2009 Art in the Barn Exhibition in Barrington, Illinois.


Jerry’s work will be showcased at 15 E Miner Street in Arlington Heights for the entire month. Moon Art Gallery hosts an Art Opening every First Friday of the month featuring a new artist, and the walls are lined with photography art work from the co-op.


You can also find fiber arts, jewelry, coasters, pottery and other gift items in addition to the wall art.


I dropped off some hearts and springy pieces for Valentine’s Day in January.


The new and expanded permanent hours in the Gallery are 12 pm to 7 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday. Please call to arrange for a visit outside of these hours.


Like Moon Art Gallery on Facebook  and follow on Twitter.  There is also an Etsy Shop.


It’s an inspiring place with many engaged artists.