Scenes from the Renaissance Fair

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

play

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

zen

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.

dragonflies

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

creatures
Vavmazi

It was fun observing wood sprites,

woodsprite

lute

dulcimer

a whip-cracking man

AdamCrack

and knights in shining armor.

jousting

My team of blue and yellow won!

blueknight

yellowknight

starfkower

I also learned about ancient armor with this fun performance.

armortest
spiketesthorns

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

wingman
hobbits

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

RenFairoutfit
camel

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

maypoledancing

What is your favorite end-of-summer activity?

Imagine

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.

partysign

My post-haircut custard introduced the YAY-day!

YayDay

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.

MMsignAR

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.

bunnyhop

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

BlueSky

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.

Bdaygifts

bdaysushi

40roses

Even online media took part in the top 40!

GoogleDoodle

EtsyBday

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40Marvelers

40friends

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.

EmOaksDfly

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.

falcon

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!

bubbles

Being alive is a wonderful thing.

books

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.

NEWSymphonyPic

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.

 SymphNorthCentral

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!

Symph3

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.

Cofounders

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.

95listings

The Mustard Square:

134MustardSquare3

Three Pearls of Wisdom:

PearlsofWisdom3

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

earringshots

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

Giftwrap

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

 Step1

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.

 SmashingSteps

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

Selection

They certainly do, don’t you think?

EricaEarringSide

Wrapping them up was fun.

ribbon

You can find other earrings here.

EricaEarringWind

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

POD1
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.

 PeaceLovinSquiggle1

Seatbelts are cool!

Seatbelt

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

POD2

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!

neckshots

“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.

BdDecadesCurly

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.

Tiramisu

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.

DeepDish

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

 MaternalHug1

Maternal Hug by Maike’s Marvels

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

packages

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.

CoyneCoyne

Painting by Rory Coyne and Moth drawing by Lauren Levato Coyne

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

Shadows

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.

sweets

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.

 armor

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.

BflyPaintingAI

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.

GiantGoddess
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.

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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!

lastdayjustincase

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.

StellaMag

photo by Networkhoncho

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

Stellajewels

Erica in this fabulous versatile wonder woman ‘cape’.

EricaModels

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

KarenModels
photo by Networkhoncho

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

leatherjacket
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.

StellaStore

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

gifts

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

tree

Of course Beth Billups’ wax pieces caught my eye.

BethBillups

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

Butterflymat

I wanted to take this chair home too.

StellaChair

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).

LVGelato

LVGelatoPistachio
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.

flowersspices

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.

symphony_on_aug_29th_400

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

StellaLamp

Wax(in’) Blue opening night

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

MorphpFront

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

mingling4

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

WaxinBlue4
From dragonfly to dragonfly

WaxinBlue1
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.

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

Kimberly Fuller’s Jewelry intrigued me.

KimberlyFuller

Sculptural pieces give encaustic wonderful dimension.

DImension

Donna Zarbin-Byrne

WaxinBlue3

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.

LumenPrint

WaxinBlue2
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.

waterlilies
Jacqueline Drake

TorrentSueCahill
Sue Cahill

Discussing techniques was illuminating.

TichyLagger

Colors ranged from bright to subdued.

JessicaBehan

Jessica Behan

Kathleenroman
Kathy Roman

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

Moi

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.

mingling2

mingling1

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

Maikesmarvels

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.

StellaFront

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.

StellaPromo

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.

CentralAwnings

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.

flowersspices

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.

CentralHarvest

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.

CentralStreet

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

stellabuilding

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.

zonnebloem

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?

BrosKheart

Awesome computer decal!

GivingMac

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

EPLBflies

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

AndysCustardDeal

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

Custard

It is construction season here too.

Construction

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

ripples

Or ride a bike.

Bakfiets

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

blossom

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.

buddingpurple

Like this pensive statue.

pensivestatue

Our Lakeshore Historic District had a few old timers.

WhiteBMW

Hummer for the Summer, anyone?

blackcadillac

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

TJsSigns

BestEver

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

Bees

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

doornroosje

My neighborhood does have castles!

castle

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

cabbagewhite

Lucky shot. 🙂

flyer

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

sunflower