Platt-A-Palooza this Labor Day Saturday!

On the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend I will be popping up at Platt Hill Nursery again.

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It’s my third year participating in Platt-A-Polooza and I look forward to perusing the handcrafted booths in such a fun setting.

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You can shop for garden supplies and garden decor all Labor Day weekend, likely with a bunch of discounts for the Labor Day Weekend.

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The pop-up is one day only, and will feature garden accessories, gift items and handmade household utensils from 9 am to 5 pm.

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I’ll be bringing some botanical pieces.

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Platt Hill Nursery will be selling hot dogs, chips, and drinks.

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Platt-A-Palooza Craft Show is September 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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Platt Hill Nursery is located at 222 W Lake Street in Bloomingdale, IL 60108. 

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Platt Hill Nursery’s Carpentersville location will also have a handmade pop-up that day.

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The Carpentersville location is at 2400 Randall Road, Carpentersville, IL 60110.

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Spam the pig might make an appearance.

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I’ll see if I can complete more critters.

Ladybugs

I hope to see you there!

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More events are in the works for September.

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Birthday Break

Monday was my birthday, and I started the celebration early with my mom’s visit on Thursday.

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We took a long weekend and explored Evanston, while meeting friends for food and libations among various stops.

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Prior to mom flying in a ceiling fan fell on my head, so we made this a walking weekend while monitoring for potential concussion symptoms.

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We walked Main street first, picking up delicious chocolate mousse and lots of chocolate at Piron.

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We got our nails done at Agora Spa.

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Then we looked at the rocks at Dave’s Rock Shop and took some goodies home.

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I got a silver dollar plant from Cultivate.

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We took the alcohol ink coaster workshop at The Collage Cafe for one of my birthday parties.

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I even got birthday cake and a serenade.

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The inks are wonderful, and I played with some on my wire to see what that would do.

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Then I picked out the colors to take home. The iridescent effect is lovely, and I cannot wait to design new pieces.

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Afterwards we met friends at La Principal for delicious tacos, churros and cocktails.

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Sunday was Dempster day, with a stop at Little Light Bazaar to explore my new lighting options.

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Mateen has designed a whole new line of light fixtures out of punched copper and metal.

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Some of these might work with a ceiling fan attached, so I get to ponder various rooms.

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So many pretties!

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You can create a souq-like atmosphere or be very monochromatic.

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Lots of ideas to ponder, and also consider more functional lighting in the studio.

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We stopped in Stumble & Relish and then visited my inventory at See Jane Sparkle.

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I want these bangles to go travel the world.

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After those sparklies we made our way to Ayla’s Orginals to pick out more beads.

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Ayla’s has a bingo game so you should go in and get your playing cards to earn discounts on future purchases.

AylasBingo

All that shopping made us thirsty, so Sketchbook’s new Taproom was a great spot for refreshment.

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We had dinner at Campagnola which is always a treat.

campagnola

Monday morning we had our coffee fix at Brothers K, and I get to drink more with a gift card!

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The bulk of the day was spent wandering near the lake.

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We dined at Oceanique for a lovely birthday celebration.

Oceanique

Of course Lucky Platter was the favorite breakfast choice.

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With all that could have gone wrong during the ceiling fan drop, I am grateful to have another year to look forward to, and to have so many friends and loved ones to celebrate life with.

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It is good to be alive, and to live the life I am living.

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Here’s to more bright days ahead!

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Jigging with Brenda

Recently I took a mini-roadtrip to Waukesha to visit Brenda Schweder in her studio. I have been intrigued by her Now That’s a Pliers! since she introduced them, but wanted to take them for a spin before committing to another tool investment.

NtAJPlaytime

She showed me her fabulous studio space that has various sections to run the different functions of her business and craft. I also delivered the angel that she had reverse-engineered for me, in Now That’s A Jig! colors.

BrendasAngel

Then she demonstrated the Pliers and I got to play with them a little bit.

NTAPPlaytime

Soon I realized that the Now That’s a Jig! was the better tool for my purposes, and I started playing with the variety of pegs Brenda had on hand.

NTAJBangleStacker

She gave me tips and recommendations, and I got to peruse her plethora of demonstration pieces. You can see her tutorials on YouTube.

Inspiration

Soon I had created a shopping pile, and I went home with a variety of tools, inspiration, and design ideas.

NTAJLoot

At home I implemented the DoubleDekr peg for earrings and a bangle.

doubleDekrSpiral

I’ll still need gloves, but this will be easier than the uneven paintbrush handle I’ve been using.

CrystalBangle

I played with the infinity design of the 3/8″ pegs some more.

InfinityMakingNtAJ

The results are on the NtAJ Facebook page. I like how these turned out.

InfinityCombo

I made earrings out of the pieces that were too short.

PurpleEarringsNtAJ

Pretty cool.

purple earrings

Brenda publishes in various magazines, and is in the latest issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry.

WireMagazine

A smaller frosty design was born.

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So many more ideas percolating!

NewDesigns

These aren’t loaded into the Shop yet but feel free to message me if you are interested in purchasing one of my creations.

PlayatHome

Discovering River Trail Nature Center

On Saturday I discovered the River Trail Nature Center. I needed a nature getaway between errands in various burbs, and this was a mid-way point. It was love at first sight.

GreenTrees

Upon entering the parking lot, you can see various large cages.

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After I parked and went up close, these turned out to have various animals for up-close observation.

Barred Owl

Great Horned Owl

Coyote

Coyote

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Red-tailed Hawk which was napping earlier

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Bald Eagle

SwansonHawk

Swanson Hawk which decided to sunbathe

Their wing spans are amazing!

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There is a nature center explaining the history of this area, and lovely illustrations along the trail to visualize the glacial melt-down.

glaciers

Chipmunks were everywhere.

chipmunk

Mosquitoes liked my ears a lot, but that didn’t keep me from walking the two looped trails which are easy for young and old to navigate.

Trails

There are lots of benches to rest on along the way of the .5 mile loops.

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The bridle path can lead all the way up to Wisconsin, or down to Oak Park.

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The Green Bay Trail leads to Allison Woods.

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That park entrance has a shelter for picnicking and a grassy area for games.

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The education center has a nature discovery area, where kids can climb in an eagle nest, crawl in a fox den, create their own puppet shows, and more.

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Turtle lovers can have their fill observing these quirky creatures.

Turtles

I met a Fox Squirrel which had been rescued as a baby.

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It is curious about people but suffered brain damage so wouldn’t survive in the wild.

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When I returned it was taking a nap.

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Two Black Rat Snakes were hugging.

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I couldn’t get enough of the scales of this reptile (didn’t note the breed).

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Trail maps and interpretive publications are available at the front desk, and naturalists will answer questions.

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A Tree Guide helps with identifying trees.

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The River Trail Nature Center is at 3120 Milwaukee Avenue in Northbrook, IL 60062.

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A butterfly garden has labeled plants to see what you might want to plant at home.

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I spotted a Tiger Swallowtail.

Swallowtail

There was also a mourning cloak in the woods but it was camera shy.

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Dragonflies didn’t like to be photographed much either, but I prevailed.

dragonfly

Behind the nature center is a lovely line-up of Adirondack chairs.

adirondack cheirs

I meant to journal but just stared out into space and listened to the sounds around me.

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Hours from March to October are 9 am to 5 pm, closed Fridays for the building, and 8 am to 5 pm all week for the grounds.

Beehives

In November through February the building is open 9 am to 4 pm, closed Fridays, and the grounds are open from 8 am to 4 pm all week.

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The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day. I’m already plotting my return to this place.

Yin Yang

I’ve never read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but I could very much relate to the title this past week.

rejected

I try to Pollyanna as much as I can, but there was one day where the morning started off with an invasion of flies (in spite of recent pest control treatments), people didn’t pull through on a time commitment, a project was held up, and a fair I was looking forward to put me on the waitlist AND is undergoing organizational changes that don’t bode well.

Sawfly

In Natsuo Kirino’s Goddess Chronicles the island inhabitants firmly believe that for every Yin there is a Yang, and it was interesting that the Yang seemed to be absent for a full day for me. That evening I went to network in hopes of cheering me up, and I got seated next to a Debbi Downer who had a “yes-but” to every positive statement I tried to cheer up the conversation with. I should have spent my time at another event that would have been more fun for sure.

breakwithpastforfuture

So I made some DIY flytraps when I got home, and hoped for improvement. Sure enough, the next day I got word of the book release that I contributed to and had almost forgotten about.

Incite 4 cover

Then a contact at the networking mixer called me to upgrade my booth space for a future fair, so a comment I had made in passing did not go unnoticed, and attending wasn’t a waste in spite of the energetic drain.

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I had fun in the studio and delivered some new pieces to my friends–one of whom invited me along to a pedicure.

KateyDelivery

I did make the tough decision to pull out of Moon Art Gallery since my shelf fee didn’t recoup itself. Afterwards I was stopped in traffic for a funeral procession to pass. That gave me pause. The Collage Cafe and See Jane Sparkle and ChromaK8 continue to carry my creations.

DotsatTCC

The weekend had me recuperating with a nature walk and dinner with friends, and now I am ready to take on another week.

LaPrincipalHappyHour

What do you do to pull yourself out of the grumps?

Setting up Webshop

I just installed JigoShop to my site and am in the process of uploading my new products.

JSDashboard

You’ll see some website makeovers as I figure out the right theme that also keeps my sidebar alive.

product page

I’ll still have an Etsy presence, but it is getting harder to keep track of what is online, what expired, and what hasn’t been uploaded yet.

Inventorytracking

Since the Etsy IPO and made-in-China products creeping in it feels like it is time to take control over my online shop.

photoshopping

The good news is that product shoots and edits have become routine and are less tricky than when I first started listing products.

photoshoot

The WordPress interface is just like my blog.

product page

I already got my very first order the day after installation.

Shipping

Now I just need to figure out more of its functionality so I can ship more pieces into the world.

ToUSPSwego

I still have a lot more to upload!

InventorytoLoad

You’ll also see everything in my various Fall and Holiday fairs that I am applying to right now.

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Here’s to upward trends!

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Summer strolls

August is my birthday month, and I am taking a breather from exhibits.

AngelFlower

I am also making it a point to walk around the block more, and it is fun to give Angel things to do.

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A group of friends went to see Ghostbusters.

ghostbusters

We picked up a Pixie Mood purse at Stumble & Relish during a Sip & Shop event.

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We cocktail and color on Fourth Fridays at The Collage Cafe.

FourthFriday

I love these giant flowers.

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Angel delivered a bangle to one friend.

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And we gifted skull earrings to another.

skulldelivery

I’m pleased to see Monarch butterflies float in the air.

MOnarchSighting

There aren’t many, but there is hope that they won’t be extinct just yet.

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I received a lovely delivery of gems that I look forward to playing with.

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Hopefully I can work a few hikes into my schedule soon.

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Nature beckons!

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Fun at the Sidewalk Sale

I always have a bit of a hangover after a weekend fair, and this week is no different.

SidewalkSign

The Sidewalk sale was lots of fun, but setting up and tearing down two tents 6 times is a workout.

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Construction workers had just finished pouring cement when we started setting up but they were eager to help us maximize our space.

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Soon we were set up and ready to greet shoppers.

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Soon browsers started to shop.

shoppers

On Friday afternoon Sara Jane decided to move the party inside when the radar indicated rain, and I was glad for that decision.

reversible earrings

Sparkle Angel had fun with the sparklies, and so did I.

SJSSparklies

I met a friend at Sketchbook after the sale, and love their new taproom.

Sketchbook

Saturday morning was overcast, but later the skies cleared up.

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A Pedi-cab gave lifts to downtown or Main Street for additional sidewalk explorations.

Pedicab

Lots of friends stopped by.

SidewalkBrowsers

It was Christmas in July at the Stumble & Relish table.

CatOrnaments

On Sunday I decided to take the Angels outside for some air.

AngelsOutside

It is fun to rearrange the setup each time.

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Stumble & Relish had lots of deals throughout the weekend.

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Sara Jane did major markdowns as well.

SJSBargains

Most people on Sunday were looking for slashed prices, which is good to know for next year.

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I took home some bargains myself.SRLoot

Quite a few pieces were adopted, which makes me happy.

sidewalk sale adoptees

Some of my inventory remains at See Jane Sparkle.

PendantsatSJS

Sara Jane kept the Swarm, so go peruse my butterflies, dragonflies and ladybugs in her store.

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I hope they go home to new owners soon.

SwarmatSJS

I’m taking a pop-up break in August, so you’ll see me next at Platt-A-Palooza on September 3 in Bloomingdale.

SaturdaySidewalkSale

Meanwhile, you can peruse my pieces at The Collage Cafe and ChromaK8 Beautique as well.

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