Playing with beads

The Bead and Button Show is on May 27 through June 8, but this year I won’t be able to attend.

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I would love to take Brenda Schweder’s Jig workshops, but time- and money-wise it’s not feasible to travel to Milwaukee this year.

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Instead, I am perusing the beads I picked up last year for new projects.  The Yellow Agate chunky beads from Ayla’s Fall Bead Bazaar inspired a new set.

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I love the uneven shapes and the marbled patterns. Playing with the shapes and wrapping steel wire around them to create earrings and two pendants was fun.

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Two other strands caught my eye, the chunky glass beads I also obtained at Ayla’s Fall Bead Bazaar and the purple coral from A Bella Bead in Glen Ellyn.

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The purple coral became a pair of earrings, and I’ll likely add a pendant and a bracelet to match.

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The glass beads have such cheerful colors that were fun to sort.

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I liked playing with different designs based on how the beads coordinated themselves. First I just strung some beads on a wire the traditional way.

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These asked for the classic oval cage design.

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Then I kept wrapping around it until the wire was up.

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The angular beads asked for a triangular shape.

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Then I wrapped around them more.

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Fiddling with wire gauges and bending the beads into clusters is very organic.

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This cluster wrapped itself into a rectangular shape.

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It is fun to watch the pieces catch the light.

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Dirty hands make me feel accomplished.

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Being a matchy-matchy person, I added earrings to the mix as well.

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I still have plenty of beads to make a bangle bracelet.

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I also made Amazonite earrings to go with the collar and bangle set I have up on Etsy.

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These newbies will be loaded onto Etsy after my pop-up shop on May 30 at Creative Coworking.

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‘Heart’ your favorites on Etsy!

Collages at Creative Coworking

My wall collages are adorning a new (temporary) home. Earlier this month I dropped off a few of my pieces to be on display at Creative Coworking in Evanston.

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Creative Coworking is a lovely building filled with office spaces for solopreneurs and small business owners in Evanston. With a tagline of ‘your office home’ it truly feels cozy.

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The entrance is a lounge area with comfortable sofas.

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Further back on the first floor you can find closed conference rooms for team projects.

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A spacious kitchen rounds out the first floor.

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The second and third floors combine closed office space with open desk space areas. Click for a virtual tour.

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Not only does this bright space offer a positive vibe and comfortable working atmosphere for business owners, but all walls are decorated with local art work that is available for sale.

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Angela said that curating art is one of her favorite parts of her ’job’ and I love that this venture founded by her and her husband truly supports anyone trying to strike out on their own.

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The building use memberships range from three months per visit to unlimited use of a fully furnished suite with bathroom. The fees offer flexibility and the opportunity to grow.

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One can start with three visits a month and upgrade that incrementally by specific number of visits to reserving a desk or an office. Mail and fax services are also available.

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You can read this fabulous ID8 Nation article to learn more about Creative Coworking. I perused the space during the March Art & Wine night, after hearing of it since Creative Coworking started.

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Angela admired my Morpho Butterfly wax and wire pendant and after reconnecting when she wasn’t hostessing we arranged for me to drop off my wall decor.

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Not only do my butterfly collages get to have a sleepover among 30+ artists, but I also get to pop up at the next Art & Wine night, which will be on May 30. You’ll be able to peruse my wax and wire jewelry as you make your way around this lovely building.

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There will be delicious snacks, wine, ample room to mingle, and lots of intriguing people to converse with.

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Join us on on Saturday, May 30 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 922 Davis Street, or check out other events Creative Coworking hosts.

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Discussing being your best boss

“I believe in recharging as often as possible.
Go somewhere luxurious to luxuriate.”
~ Niquenya Fulbright of Building Bridges Consulting

Last week the Network of Entrepreneurial Women held a discussion on treating ourselves. As we nibbled on savory paninis and vegan chocolate pralines at Let Them Eat Chocolate, NEW co-founder Erica Thomas provided tips on how to become better bosses to ourselves, while facilitating a lively discussion around self-care.

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Erica stressed that as our own boss, we have to be the best boss, in order to keep our business functioning and energized. “Burnout can ruin a perfect production schedule,” Erica said. “Avoiding burnout has to be prioritized as highly as project goals.”

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Our attendees covered the full spectrum of women business care taking needs, including 2 nutrition and wellness experts, a fashion designer, a wardrobe stylist, a brand consultant, a technology consultant, and a small business coach. With our introductions we had to state how we treat ourselves. These treats ranged from booking luxurious getaways to pampering in retail and at home spa places.

A “2011 study found that frequent small pleasures,
like double lattes, pedicures, or soft socks provides
more happiness than infrequent large ones like sports cars or vacations.
Research shows that breaking up enjoyable experiences into brief events
— such as two 20-minute massages at different times
rather than one 40-minute massage —
gives people more pleasure. “

~ 33 Ways To Be Happier by Dina Spector

While massages and manicures and pedicures were popular, the majority of ladies present love to take a (jacuzzi) bath. To soak our stressors away, this article suggests taking a champagne bath, and offers a less extravagant milk and honey recipe a la Cleopatra. Before that bath, My Health Beet’s Svetlana Burak recommended dry brushing to exfoliate and detoxify.

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Highlighting that treats do not have to be high-cost or difficult to implement, many women also enjoyed getting lost in a story, whether through a popular TV series or by being transported into a book. Savoring a delicious meal or anticipating a glass of wine at the end of the day also served as pleasurable rewards for a job well done.

“Self-care is such a buzz word that it’s often tossed around
without people really thinking about what it means to practice it.
The truth is that integrating self-care into life is a choice
and a practice, and it only happens successfully
when someone is conscious and consistent about it.”

~ During Your Next Launch, Don’t Neglect Self-Care by Kate Swoboda

One way to treat ourselves better is by stopping to review what we have achieved. We each grow and learn every day, and looking back on a to-do list from a year to 6 months ago can indicate milestones we may not recognize as we adopt new skills into our regular routine.

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When asked what we would give our best employee suggestions ranged from a day (completely logged) off to family outings to writing down a daily or weekly list of accomplishments. Realizing that acknowledgement of things well done is a key motivator, we encouraged each other to print certificates of achievements for the things we sometimes fail to recognize.

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Getting in touch with nature also offers the opportunity for a re-set and turns out to be extremely helpful for the brain. John Haltiwanger writes that people who appreciate nature are happier, healthier and more innovative.

“Natural environments stimulate the brain
in ways civilization cannot,
exponentially improving our cognitive abilities
and igniting our imaginations.”
~ John Haltiwanger

Erica suggested that solopreneurs evaluate their businesses based on Crain’s “Best Places to Work 2015.” The selection criteria included: quantitative issues about pay, promotions, health care and other benefits, hiring practices as well as fairness of pay, vacation time, relationships with management and co-workers, career development and other day-to-day workplace issues.

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Being self-employed can cause for some pitfalls of bossiness. Key to preventing burnout is to also acknowledge our biorhythms, which we can sometimes try to push through. Once again, the best places to work example came to the rescue with the question “Would you work for someone who made you come into the office during a blizzard?”

“It’s OK that you don’t do everything.
It’s OK that someone else does it for you.
You have the wisdom to understand:
‘that’s not my strong suit, that is not my best quality’.”
~ Brand Consultant Cierra Cole

Delegation was also discussed and encouraged, whether it be training a 3-year old to shred papers, engaging older children in answering the phone, or outright hiring someone. Erica stated that we tend to take the longest doing the things we don’t like to do, and outsourcing that task to someone else can free us up to more productivity. Being a perfectionist can hinder that process, but one member pointed out that getting it done is better than for it to be perfect.

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It was lovely to lounge in a welcoming and comfortable space while bonding over indulgences. We look forward to revisiting Let Them Eat Chocolate in Andersonville, and are excited to spur each other on in our respective ventures.

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Continuing our theme of wellness and self-care, our next Wine Women and Wellness Event will coincide with a Women Out Walking presentation. NEW member Svetlana Burak of My Health Beet is partnering with Kim Leider, a Training Leader with Ava Anderson Non Toxic to present: “Clean Living Inside and Out” at the Evanston Public Library on Thursday, May 28 from 7 to 8:30 pm.

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Group photo courtesy 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.

 

Mixing and Matching wire jewelry

Late April and Early May were the times to showcase my Mother’s Day collection, and I had fun mixing and matching hearts with various earrings and outfits.

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The baby blue striped pendant wandered about town with the new short dancing spirals earrings.

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We had a particularly warm day the first week of May so I got my fun dress out and matched the lime green Mother’s Day Heart with the yellow sparkly bead earrings and bangle set.

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Rainbow lovers can enjoy this polka-dotted heart that I wore with my popular double spiral earrings and a pink and green jade bangle.

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Pink was a theme when the flowers started popping out and I had to showcase my new fuchsia flower collection. The scribble ball earrings are always a hit.

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Scarf season slowly made its exit, and I sported Purple Wonder with my coiled wire earrings.

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My wrap dress made an appearance at a social gathering, this time with the rainbow crystal clouds that I have in necklace pendant and scarf/belt pendant form.  I also showed off my mom’s bangle that day.

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On a visit to the Kane County Flea Market I wore the wax and wire Premium Privilege pendant and the new greece-inspired square spiral earrings.

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It is fun to rotate different combinations, and also realize which pieces I gravitate toward.

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You can express your infinite love to your leading lady with a crystal embellished infinity symbol or the earrings that also have infinity shapes.

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The day I had my hair dyed blue I wore matching beads to set off the new hue.

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The Blue vibe continued with the new Delft Blue batch of pendants.

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The round windmill wax and wire pendant against a backdrop of my favorite author’s books.

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The little Dutch Girl looks great against pale yellow.

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We recently had two summer-ish days on which I could get my sundress out, which I combined with a sculptural pedant and the short dancing spirals.

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My Yellow Agate creations got a whiff of sweetness during NEW’s May Meet & Munch.

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Go pick out your favorite wire-wrapped pendants, earrings, bangles and collar necklaces in my Etsy Shop.

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A Mother’s Day Bangle

When I was in grad school I would drive off to Sedona to get away from the books and learned about vortexes and crystal healing.

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I don’t think I actually experienced a Vortex, but I did obtain a copy of Melody’s Love is in the Earth and started looking into crystal healing. I’ve enjoyed enhancing my life with beautiful and helpful energy infusing stones, and love carrying on the spirit of healing into my creations.

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For Mother’s Day, I made my mom a birthstone bangle representing our family, along with her favorite stone, the Malachite. I’d picked up the strand of Malachites at last year’s Bead & Button show, which is coming up in June.

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I went to my favorite place, Dave’s Down to Earth Rock shop (which just moved across the street but is still on Main Street) to pick out the birthstone beads representing my family. I consulted Judy Hall’s Crystal Bible for alternate beads when the traditional selection wasn’t available.

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The wire was coiled with my high-tech mandrel. 😉

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Then I designed the order of the beads.

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Adding the Malachites was fun. They’re such a positive and empowering stone, and have lovely patterns.

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It was fun to think about everyone and our memories as I strung the birthstones.

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I lucked out with my family.

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There’s a butterfly named after the Malachite, which I incorporated into a desktop mini. I’ve created a few Malachite Butterfly collages over the years.

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After completing the bangle I decided to add some earrings as well.

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Circling wire around the beads is a challenge, but it worked.

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Then I reviewed all the energies of the stones I had incorporated and picked out the words that rung most true about the personalities I know and the energies my mom should carry with her on her adventures.

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Right now our family is pretty set, so I used a single wire to connect all the beads. If there is an addition I’ll probably add the stone with a new piece of wire, but I could also re-string everything. That’s a challenge for the future.

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I’ve got a few beaded bangles in my Etsy shop that are based on color schemes and chakras, but I always love taking custom orders to make something with meaning just for you.

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You can peruse these in person on May 30 during my pop-up at Creative Coworking’s Art & Wine night from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

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I cannot wait to see my mom wear this set!

Tulip Love

Life is blooming here with trees awakening and birds beginning to nest.

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Blossoms abound in wide arrays of color.

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Tulips are the most dominant beauties this month.

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Sunshine and warmth brings so much joy.

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The amazing colorations of these flowers are fascinating.

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Even showers cannot dampen my spirit with all the color and fragrance.

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My favorite, the forget-me-not is in bloom as well and makes me so happy.

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I also captured a cabbage white butterfly on camera. This is the third one I have spotted since April.

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Magnolias are mesmerizing.

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Wishing you a vibrant, joyous day!

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Join Our Treat Yourself Meet & Munch

Guess what? The Network of Entrepreneurial Women is back! With the unpredictable winter weather we decided to take a hiatus since long commutes are no fun. But now that spring has sprung and birds are chirping we are ready to connect with women business owners throughout the Chicagoland Suburbs.

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Our next event is coming up on Wednesday, a Chocolate Meet & Munch. We’ll gather at Let Them Eat Chocolate to pamper ourselves with delicious treats and discuss why we should indulge ourselves.

The high-powered businesswomen present will address the Return On Investment of treating yourself and creating strategies around being the best boss ever when you’re self-employed. If you can’t be your own best boss, who will be? There will be ample time for mingling to get to know each other and make business or personal connections.

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“Treat yourself as well as you do your business,” advises Entrepreneur.com. We’ll tackle the best strategies by sharing experiences, wisdom, and questions as women entrepreneurs while we indulge in delicious chocolate. This lovely venue also offers paninis, baked goods, Italian soda and a jolt of caffeine with various coffee beverages.

Treat Yourself: Chocolate Meet & Munch will be held on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 2 to 4 pm at Let Them Eat Chocolate, 5306 N. Damen Ave., Chicago. For $5 per person, you can delight in advice, support, and sweetness. I’m looking forward to this treat and exploring Andersonville a little bit more. Andersonville was named by real estate site Redfin as the 7th hottest neighborhood in the country – attributing the ranking in part to the “abundance of charming small businesses”.

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Let Them Eat Chocolate is a high-end all natural chocolate shop and lounge. It offers Belgian and vegan chocolates as well as cozy chairs and gelato that is most commonly reviewed as “amazing.” Tickets for this event are $5. Each participant pays for her own chocolates and refreshments from Let Them Eat Chocolate’s Menu.

Graphic courtesy NetworkHoncho.com and photos courtesy Let Them Eat Chocolate.

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.

 

Love Delivered Inspiration

At Christmas Santa gifted me with a subscription to Curly Girl Design’s Love Delivered.

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Each quarter, the wonderful people at Curly Girl Design pack up their latest releases, boxed sets of cards and other odds and ends to cheer the recipient up.

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Then the job becomes figuring out whom to send these pearls of wisdom to.

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The list of recipients is almost completed, but the writing of the cards is still to be done.

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My aim is to take some of my electronic hiatus weekend days to sit down with pen and paper and write (scribble) someone a personal note. Handwritten notes are so unusual these days, and I’ve relied too much on electronic (group) correspondence the past few years.

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The third installment had festive polkadot tissue paper with a fabulous sticker on it.

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It was begging to be converted into a pendant.

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I pasted some of the tissue paper on the back of the pendant to even out the stickiness, and then twisted wire into a circle to go around the sticker shape.

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I used a piece of Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s a Jig to form a polkadot pendant and made spirals emulating the happy dots.

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After some shaping and bending I waxed the paper and added it on to the wire with black encaustic paint.

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These pendants will make their way to Etsy this week, so someone who does dream in perfect French can snap it up. I used to dream in Dutch, then German, but now it is mostly English.

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Check out Leigh Standley’s amazing wisdom and quirky collage designs.

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I’ve had her calendar two years in a row, and was fortunate to listen to her share her journey at the Creative Connection Event when I first responded to the tinglings of embarking on a creative life.

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It is fun to be encouraged to “live imperfectly with great delight.”