A Falcon’s Visit

The Evanston Public Library is the host to a pair of Peregrine Falcons each year, which means sighting them isn’t a big surprise.

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However, having one right outside your window and watching it devour a pigeon is quite the thrilling distraction from other chores.

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I had to ship an order so I reluctantly went out to run my errand.

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Upon my return, the falcon was still there.

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I watched a squirrel get too close and be chased away.

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Since 2004, the Library’s third floor window ledge has become a nesting site for falcons. Since 2005 Nona has come to lay her eggs, and as of 2006 she was accompanied by Squawker.  A falcon cam tracks the nest when eggs are laid and hatchlings come out.

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Each year the hatchlings receive names voted on by the community, and after their banding ceremony by wildlife preservation experts they are free to roam Evanston and beyond.

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While I was distracted that day, I am heeding this totem animal’s call to focus and strategize.

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“When they show themselves to us, we are being called to focus on our desires and our goals, and do what is necessary to bring our desires into our reality.”

Artists Challenge

Last month a Facebook Artists’ Challenge made its rounds and it was an interesting way to narrow down my art into categories. I posted hearts on day one since Valentine’s Day was nigh. For that day I nominated Lisa Wilson of Being Breath, an artist and life-balancer I met during Shawna Moore’s encaustic workshop.

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With the challenge you had to post three pieces of art each day for 5 days, and nominate a new artist with each of those posts. Rory Coyne and Lauren Levato Coyne were hosting a gathering at their new Sidetracked Studio so I linked back to their pages the next day. Since Lauren and I met through butterfly obsession, posting encaustic collages of my favorite creatures made sense. Their next show “What did she say?” opens on March 7.

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Day three was dedicated to Crystal Neubauer, who introduced me to wax and wire. She operates Healing House Artists Studio where I look forward to taking art workshops this summer. Since her color palette is in earth tones, I posted my musical pieces that day.

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As the newly elected co-President of FUSEDChicago I had to give a shout-out to our midwest encaustic artists group, which I did on Day 4 with my jewelry for mothers, including custom birthstone pendants and bangles and newborn customized pendants.

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The last day was dedicated to Brenda Schweder, who helped me wrangle bangles before regular wire-working was even on my radar. I am looking forward to using her Now That’s A Jig for more pieces.

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I’m working on some branding exercises to narrow down my style and how to describe it. This challenge was a good exercise to pick out my favorites jewelry pieces.

Self-love

It’s Valentine’s Day week. Hearts are everywhere, roses abound, chocolate is allowed, and romantic getaways are promoted. Love is grand for those who have found it, and I enjoy observing the couples who are truly meant for each other.

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Yet many of us don’t get to plan a night out for two. We’re busy living lives on our own, surrounded by friends, enjoying the freedom of a solitary life.

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“Be the person you want to be with” is a popular mantra these days, yet around these kinds of holidays, being a couple seems to be more important than working on being one’s own best friend.

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As a single gal, it is hard to balance the holiday promotions while not perpetuating the “if you’re single something’s wrong with you” implication of this holiday.

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I am perfectly uniquely me, and I am happily living my life the best way I can on my own until Mr. Wonderful finally stops to ask for directions to my vicinity. (He’s clearly gotten lost without wanting to admit it!)

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Over the past 6 months, self-love has become a big word for several people in my community, and that is something I can get behind.

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Who says we need our partner to draw us a bath, take us on a romantic night out, buy us flowers or chocolate? I can do all of those things on my own, any day of the year, if I choose to do so.

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So, my message is to not bum yourself out on this particular day. We can and should appreciate ourselves every day of the year, and we don’t need someone else to do that for us. (Though their validation is always graciously accepted.)

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Love yourself for who you are, and tell your bestie what you appreciate about them. Give love to the non-romantic companions in your life who always lend an ear and never turn down the opportunity for a hug.

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There is plenty of love to go around without that special man or woman in your life. Your sparkle is noted by many and just because you don’t get a flower or candy delivery at your door on February 14 doesn’t mean your radiance hasn’t made a difference in someone else’s life.

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Set a date with YOU. Indulge in something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t committed to yet. Post a query on social media to see if others want to tag along. Write yourself a gift certificate to do something for yourself and calendar it into a date when you think you can swing it.

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You are NEVER alone, and you are ALWAYS surrounded by love. Be happy with who you are right now, this minute, and revel in your unique awesomeness.

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Meanwhile, there’s always eye candy!

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Etsy Refresh

Valentine’s Day is coming up so it is time to review my jewelry inventory. With 238 pieces of jewelry in stock that is more time consuming than anticipated.

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I’m pleased to see that only one pendant has gone missing after packing and repacking items for multiple locations at least 10 times this past year.

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Deleting listings that have sold at fairs was satisfying.

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Now I am busy refreshing Etsy and photographing new wire-wrapped pieces that aren’t online yet. It feels like I have loaded some pendants before, but the listings tracker tells me otherwise.

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So I get to roll my eyes at the camera as I do my neck shots. Cropping is a wonderful thing!

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One of my favorite beaded wire-wrapped sets is uploaded now, and I am curious to see where it will travel.

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As I played with my wrap dress I found a new year-round use for scarf pendants: a belt-embellishment.

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Etsy has an #EtsyMatch campaign that I am trying out on Social Media.

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It got their attention on Instagram already.

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I still have a ways to go with photographing, editing and listing, but take a peek at my shop and see what you might like to get your Valentine.

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Here’s a sampling of the newbies on Etsy. I’ll post how they look in real life soon. Gotta get back into selfie-snapping.

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I’m contemplating a collar give-away for the ones I haven’t uploaded yet. What do you think?

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