Bead Counting

Last week I shopped for some birthstones at Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop and at Ayla’s Originals. Ayla’s had a wonderful vintage bead sale and I couldn’t resist picking up a  sparkly iridescent strand.

Then I made a pact with myself to inventory what I have at home. I always gravitate toward the same colors, so I had to ensure that what I have is sufficient rather than giving in to temptation.

I also need to update my spreadsheets with what is still on hand after a few years, so much counting ensued.

When I went to the Bead & Button Show I had a list of colors and types of beads I could buy. I also had a current photo of my bead rack in the camera for reference. Over two days I made my way through my stash and identified beads that I had not yet learned names of in 2011.

Clearly I have plenty in my stash to keep me busy, but it is still wonderful to peruse bead stores, fondle the strands, and learn more about unique gemstones and bead artisans.

Right now my mission is to make a dent in the beads I have and post those creations onto the shop.

I also need to get the birthstone bangle completed that started this inventory session in the first place.

What are your favorite gems?

Pampering at Avalon Day Spa

We are prepping for tomorrow’s Meet & Munch in Glen Ellyn, held in conjunction with Crain’s Small Business Week. Our ad was featured in last week’s issue, and Shannon’s Irish Pub will host us as in past years.

CrainsAd2015

Our last Meet & Munch at Avalon Day Spa was a blast.

WineGroup

Several new members attended and we gathered to discuss how to take care of ourselves amidst being focused on growing our businesses.

LongLife

Chief Inspiration Officer Bonnie Conte gave us a tour of the lovely spa, which incited me to book a massage for later that day. The spa offers hair services, nail services, and waxing.

AvalonSpaTour

Bonnie and her partner opened Avalon Day Spa June 2, 2010. Charlotte trains all the hair stylists and Bonnie focuses on brand building.

ChakraOils

Avalon Salon & Spa continues to be among the top 200 salons listed in Salon Today since 2004.

AvalonDaySpaAwards

The massage rooms are an oasis of calm and silence with the guest being asked to pick from 3 essential oils by scent, starting a lovely sensory experience.

OilsatAvalonDaySpa

The locker rooms (there is one for men too, with men-sized robes and slippers) are fully stocked with 93-97% organically derived products Aveda products to use after a treatment.

OilDiffuser

We discussed skin care and had our hands and neck pampered.

HandPampering

We sipped wine while learning more about each other’s businesses.

Wine

A raffle resulted in me getting a personal consultation on what brush to choose, and I also was gifted a lovely nail polish.

ergobrush

So many choices!

Smith-GreyNailPolish

It got so comfortable people took their shoes off.

shoesoff

Everyone left with a little goodie bag.

goodiebag

This included a cute little guy who will help my customers sign their square transactions going forward.

SquareMan

Of course I couldn’t just let the tissue paper gather dust, and it promptly got converted into new pendants.

MakingPendants

Avalon Day Spa is located in Deer Park Town Mail at 20530 N Rand Road Suite 346 , Deer Park, IL.

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Join us tomorrow for more massage treatments, lots of insightful speakers, and delicious food!

CrainsAd2015

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.

LoveDelivered0

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.

Lovedeliveredfirst

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

LoveDelivered1

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

LoveDelivered2Cards

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.

CurlyGirlDesignPencilsBlog

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

LoveDeliveredPolkaDots

It was begging to be converted into a pendant.

PerfectFrenchSticker

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.

PerfectFrenchMaking

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.

Polkadotpendant

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

PolkaDotPendantComplete

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.

PerfectFrenchPendant

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

CurlyGirlPendantInsta

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.

CurlyGirlDesignCalendar

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

Exploring Beads & Buttons

This year I attended the Bead & Button show for the first time, and it was a blast.

showsign

I laughed at Milwaukee’s interpretation of compact cars.

CompactCar

My intent was to systematically go down each isle, but there were too many sparklies and bargain tables distracting me.

Beadtable

So I meandered and enjoyed the colors, the inspiration, the plethora of tools.

Mermaid

I was told I would be overwhelmed and it was true.

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Fortified by beer and a burger I carried on (smart to have a mini-bar in a confined environment full of glitter!).

Beer&Burger

But for the first time I was glad I made just a day of it, a quick drive up, though I will ponder whether to stay overnight next time.

Bedbargains

You can see how a multi-day trip looks here, here 2, here 3, here 4.

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Brenda Schweder’s collaborative exhibit was mesmerizing.

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I am trying to track down the book to go with it (a case of “should have bought it there”–update, got it for my birthday!).

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Just the display is inspiring.

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I am intrigued by her Jig too, but need to compare it to wubbers to see which works best for me.

Collaborate1

Next year I may sign up for some classes and demos.

Collaborate3

So much to learn!

collaborate2

For now, my loot will keep me busy and inspired.

BBLoot

It complements my inventory nicely-which I will make better mental notes of next time since I wasn’t sure what I had in stock.

WhatIOwn

 

Crystal Clay demo at A Bella Bead

Last Wednesday the Network of Entrepreneurial Women had its Meet & Munch at A Bella Bead in Glen Ellyn. Since I am getting back into beading, I knew this was going to be a risky event for my wallet.

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Sharon Dotson started out making jewelry when she wanted something to go with an outfit for a wedding. As she created pieces people would follow her in grocery stores and buy her necklaces right there.

VintagePiecesABellaBead1

After doing trunk shows and fairs, Sharon opened a shop selling her jewelry, but when the owner sold her building after two years, it was time to make a change.

VintageJewels

In October 2013 Sharon opened A Bella Bead, which provides beading supplies, beading classes, and handmade jewelry by Sharon. Sharon likes to re-purpose vintage pieces and matches crystals and other accoutrements of that time period to the base piece. She can also do jewelry repair of vintage and not-so-vintage pieces.

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Sharon also believes in supporting the community and teaches classes at schools and churches. She hosts open tables on Saturdays where people can come in and play with beads for a set time frame.

AbellaBeadstore

We quickly started discussing the challenges of solopreneurship in a retail store, and Sharon credits her family members and friends with keeping her going. They volunteer their time and offer business insights that help her innovate and brainstorm new offerings.

Quirkydecor

Our group discussed goal setting and how to determine whether to hire an intern or staff member. That theme continued in my inbox that evening when I came across Leonie Dawson’s How To Hire Staff When You Want To Do It All Yourself article.

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One member suggested taking 90 days as a “year” planning cycle, and setting milestones for those 3 months at a time. She said that just by doing one thing on that list, other tasks may work themselves out as an effect of that first action item.

WineCorkClass

Sharon’s Wine cork classes and Cystal Clay classes are the most popular, and I can see why. She led us through a demonstration which has me itching to buy a kit and get sparkly.

Demo

The kit comes with an epoxy (gray) and clay (white in this case but available in all kinds of colors), and a small stick with beeswax for crystal setting. Sharon prefers using the magical pick for her crystals, and who wouldn’t want a touch of magic?

CCingredients1
ClayKit

You mix equal parts epoxy to clay and rub it together for it to adhere. Then you place the clay into the surface you wish to embellish, a bezel, ring, bracelet, earring, pen, brush, comb, etc. They can be metal or plastic backings.

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ClayOptions

Then you set the crystals into the clay, either forming a design or just as inspiration strikes. Sharon recommends Swarovski crystals as other crystals don’t have the same lustre. One has 2 hours to set the crystals before the clay starts to harden.

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After all the stones are set, a little crystal dust is applied, which also comes in various colors. This gives the piece a shimmer rather than the matte clay finish.

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Et voila, a pendant is born. This will now dry for 24-48 hours.

completed

crystalclaybezel

This could easily become a new addiction! I opted for a few crystal beads to embed in a vision I had before entering the store, and I will leave the Crystal Clay kit for a time when I have made room for new tools in my overflowing supply drawers.

choosing

A Bella Bead’s calendar is updated on its Facebook page. We might have to do a wine cork class next!

loot

We also happily took some promotional photos to aid Sharon in her social media needs.

PromoShot

Next week we’ll be dining at Symphony’s in Evanston and rotating after each course to get some quality networking time in with each other. (Last year’s progressive dinner was a blast). NEW’s May events are up on the calendar. We’ll be exploring Native American Culture at our next Meet & Munch and escaping to a spa during Wine Women and Wellness. Join us!

cofounders

Some photos courtesy NetworkHoncho.com, others by Maike’s Marvels

whatiwore

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.

buying

Oh yeah, we had delicious munchies too!

munchies

Quotable women at the Black History Month Panel

“I am proud of all women,
whether at the level of Oprah or local entrepreneurs.”
~ Dori Wilson

Last Tuesday the Women’s Innovation Network held its second annual Black History Month Innovation Panel. Moderated by LeeAnn Trotter, the panelists included artist Makeba Kedem-Dubose, author Dawgelene Sangster, and PR Entrepreneur Dori Wilson.

panel

Attending a panel by African-American women entrepreneurs is quite relevant, as the trend of a decade ago has not slowed down:

“Between the years 1997 and 2002,
the number of businesses owned by minority women
increased faster than those owned by non-minority women,
with minority women-owned firms accounting for
more than half of the increase in women-owned businesses.”

~ Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century October 2010 report

All women were shaped by life events, which then propelled them forward and led them to their current businesses. Some paths were created by fortuitous opportunities, others by necessity, and each step along the way provided growth.

“When we want to learn how to change something,
we have to unfreeze that way of thinking.
I have to embrace change.”
Dawgelene Sangster

POster3

Makeba said she is grateful for all the trials and tribulations in her life because it took her to a new level. When facing curve balls:

“Don’t give up. I had no money and now I’m fine. 
I had lived a different life. I realized I can’t go backward. 
You have to keep going, and I kept going.”
~ Makeba Kedem-Dubose

Dori echoed that sentiment, and said that her life path will not be the same for someone aspiring to follow in her footsteps.

“It isn’t about how I got started, it is about the circumstances you’re in.
It’s about survival, it’s about persistence,
it’s about hanging in there, it’s about being able to change. …
Being able to take the ‘nos’ without taking it personally.”
~ Dori Wilson

POster2

Perspective and a willingness to change were touted as key ingredients to success.

“We can re-do anything we want to do.
When stuff hits me in the face today,
it is not near as important tomorrow.”
~ Dori Wilson

“Just wake up every morning and reaffirm to yourself ‘I can do this’.”
~ Makeba Kedem-Dubose

“Sometimes when things happen to me and I am frustrated
I look at it from a different perspective.
I change my focus and I see what I didn’t see before.”
~ LeeAnn Trotter

“Remind yourself every day
‘I’ve been here before and I got through it, I can do it again’.”
~ Dori Wilson

When asked about how to press on when a significant other isn’t supportive, the women all affirmed that one has to be true to oneself first, regardless of the response from others.

“We have to have our own determination
regardless of anyone else.”
~ Dawgelene Sangster

Dori stated that sometimes that person is supporting you in the best way they can, and you have to accept them for who they are.  Makeba added that communicating your needs to that person is important too. They may not know how to support you, so expectation management is in order.

“Your personal happiness is not contingent on anyone else.”
~ Dori Wilson

Panelandhosts

LeeAnn stressed that groups like WIN can provide a community from which to draw the support a partner might not be able or willing to provide.

“Sometimes you have to look
at places outside the relationship for support.”
~ LeeAnn Trotter

The evening included savory appetizers by Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen, some bubbly to toast each other with, delicious sweet potato pralines by La Parisianne du Chocolat, plus cakes and pies by Classic Cobbler.

Delicious treats at WIN

Posters about inspiring African American women created by Kindergarten students were on display.

POster4

More pictures of the evening can be perused on Facebook.

In conjunction with the PBS Series MAKERS: Women Who Make America a Nebraska news outlet published this Owning It feature, highlighting another black woman entrepreneur.

“Know who you are, 
own who you are 
and don’t let anyone change that.” 
~ Dawgelene Sangster

For additional reading, the panelists recommended the following books:

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

 

Creativity for Business Day

“Be inspired by others.”
~ Jetta Bates

Tuesday was Creativity for Business Day for us Ladies of WIN.  We had a lovely breakfast provided by First Slice, were introduced to the art of jewelry making, listened to guest speakers, had a delicious lunch, and watched a drawing demonstration during Spa & Cupcakes. Yep, it was 3 days in one.

photo courtesy Women’s Innovation Network 

“We all have this potential of being an artist
because we all have the ability to create what we are doing.”
~ Rosemary Fanti

I’ve been playing with wire lately, but learning how to make a cuff ring/cuff bracelet was very educational. Susan Franker, Katie Mills and Maria Leppo showed us how to take a strip of brass or copper and embellish it with hammer strikes or decorative stamps. Hammering is quite therapeutic. 🙂

“I come up with all kinds of ideas looking at clouds.”
~ Jetta Bates

We then filed down the edges of our pieces. After this, the bracelet or ring was formed on a mandrel.

The bracelets were annealed (heated) to make them flexible for bending. And some people opted for patina on their bracelets.

“My bracelet looks like I just bought it from a store.”
~ WIN member Ivana Milano 

We then waxed them and wore them right away. It was a “WonderWIN powers, activate!” moment.

photo courtesy Women’s Innovation Network 

Lillstreet offers a variety of classes (including encaustics with Jenny Learner of “The Buzz” Gallery 303 fame) which you can peruse at this link.

Luxury brands consumer engagement/strategic planning expert Jetta Bates then spoke about Innovation in Marketing, highlighting that as small businesses we are also agile, and can leverage to stay current in the market.

“The fear of mistakes is an innovation killer.
Test ideas and get feedback from the marketplace.
A mistake is an experiment, as Thomas Edison said:
‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ ”
~ Jetta Bates 

Jetta recommends creating PR based on current events, using surveys to start a conversation with clients, developing strategic partnerships, and looking for opportunities in places where your competition is not.

After a brief brainstorming session as a group to get our own innovative juices flowing, we walked over to Spacca Napoli, where we were treated to a lavish menu of Caprese Salad, Malanzane (a yummy marinated eggplant), and Bufalina and Cacio di Bosco pizzas. I also opted for Lacrima Rosso, a lovely red wine.

 

Jonathan and Jennifer Goldsmith spent years in Italy, and eventually returned here, where they founded the pizzeria. Using their skills from their previous lives and careers, the couple is expanding its 24/7 ‘mom and pop’ operation to delegating more to staff, and getting systems and plans in place so they have more boundaries in their personal lives.

“Absolutely believe in yourself.”
~ Anupy Singla

While we were noshing on deliciousness, author Anupy Singla presented her creative career path from a news reporter to a cookbook author with a product sold by Williams-Sonoma.

“It’s nice to have a great idea but you also have to create a platform.”
~ Anupy Singla

From a blog came the book idea, The Indian Slow Cooker, which Anupy test marketed by making meals from her home and handing them out to blog readers with a request for feedback.

When she missed the Indian spice box she had grown up with, she developed her own, the Spice Tiffin, which caught the interest of the Williams-Sonoma president. Not content with a top-down approach, Anupy then took the initiative to provide demonstrations at her book signings in Williams-Sonoma stores, to educate the public but also show the store staff how her spice box is to be used.

“You can’t be out there not listening to people who give you feedback.”
~ Anupy Singla

Anupy’s tips to a creative business lifestyle include

  1. Clear your clutter
  2. Pay your bills
  3. Find time to exercise and eat right
  4. Just do it (feel comfortable to make your mistakes)
  5. Ask for advice from people you know and who get you
  6. Always say please and thank you
  7. Invest in others-the more you give the more you get

“I love to cook, I hate making dinner.”
~ Anupy Singla

Following this fabulous advice, a group of us took a private car to the next venue. Who doesn’t like being chauffeured on occasion?

At MySpa at the Fairmont, we were treated to mini cupcakes by Swirlz and the hotel, mini spa treatments, and big networking.

“If I have proven myself to the naysayers in my life,
then I have proven my idea.”
~ Anupy Singla

Fashion Illustrator Rosemary Fanti spoke about the Art of being very Unique. Following a layoff, she decided to reinvent herself doing what she loved, and discovered the niche of fashion illustration. By volunteering to draw at charity events, she became more known and generated a client base.

 

“My success has been to become what my brand is and to project that.”
~ Rosemary Fanti

She focused on creating a one-word description for her business, and then proceeded to project that image onto all avenues of publicity: Social Media, her web site, business cards and other packaging materials.

“There are people who don’t want to spend the money and that is fine.
There are people who find the value in your product.
You will find those people if you are
consistent in your brand and consistent in your product.”
~ Rosemary Fanti

In staying true to your value, Rosemary used the analogy of walking into a department store and liking a pair of shoes. “If you told the sales person, I really love these $1,200 shoes, but I only have $400, the salesperson will tell you to come back when you have $1,200.”

Following her talk, a lucky attendee was gifted with one of Rosemary’s drawings, which she drew right there on the spot!

It was a fabulous way to and celebrate Crain’s Chicago Business Week and kick off Chicago Artists Month, which is filled with creativity and inspiration in every neighborhood around town.

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

opening buzz

I’m on a bit of a high as I write this post. Apparently seeing your work hung among other very talented artists by a professional curator raises a boat load of endorphins. Maybe there should be an after-party for gallery openings. I’m so giddy!

Sunday was a lovely sunshiny day and I walked to the garage in a winter wonderland.

neighborhood photograph by Maike's Marvels

ice dragon photograph by Maike's Marvels

icicles photograph by Maike's Marvels

I drove to the Art Center which was also basking in light. Evanston’s lighthouse to the left can be visited during the warmer months.

EAC shines photograph by Maike's Marvels

Eighty-three artists had submitted metal and clay sculptures, etchings, drawings, paintings, collages and mosaics. I was given a badge as I checked in, and walked to the ‘sun room’ of the center and perused sculptural art there. As I made my round and stepped back up into the main hallway, my collage was right there in the corner!

Migrant Danaus by Maike's Marvels

It’s a billboard 🙂

I’m the person who analyzes the materials listed on those little name cards you see next to art work, and it was so neat to see my description typed up next to my name! It’s so credible.

Migrant Danaus by Maike's Marvels at EAC exhibit

Also in good company next to this sculpture, Bird Lover by Roberta Maltkin, that sold within hours of opening.

Migrant Danaus by Maike's Marvels at EAC exhibit

I then milled around the gallery hosting more beautiful sculptures and paintings–this side mostly still lifes and nature settings.

Evanston Art Center Gallery

The other side of the main floor had portraits, people paintings and small jewelry-like objects.

portraits at Evanston Art Center

I met both artists on this wall: Africa by Tineke Beckers and Victoria by Sally Neuert .

Upstairs the inspiration continued with metal sculptures, sketches, etchings, and prints. If you’re in Chicagoland, you can take the full tour until February 5.

still lifes at Evanston Art Center

The curator, David Gista, checked in to make sure I liked where my collage was (he had been up til 2 AM hanging everything the night before!), and introduced me to a Dutch painter. Another person joined the group and suddenly we were speaking Dutch and German, and analyzing my collage.

sculptures at Evanston Art Center

Boy do I need to practice explaining encaustics! The Art Marketing class I signed up for should help me get my ‘spiel’ down better.

It was so exciting to have a spot in a bona fide gallery. Up until today I still wondered if someone from EAC would call and say “sorry, your work doesn’t qualify as fine art.” I may not get the jurors’ attention yet, but I have another little notch to add to my qualification as a (fine) ARTIST.

I swung by Dick Blick’s on my way home and picked up their call for artists. Just getting out there is a huge step up from having your art sit in a corner somewhere. I highly recommend entering the local “free for all” shows. Your art work is valued, and people do enjoy looking at it. Don’t be shy.

Blick's call for art

To seal the deal, I took advantage of Curly Girl Design’s 20% off sale (through today) and rewarded myself with a laptop skin that says:

“We must absolutely do what we love,
or we run the risk of doing nothing at all.”

I’m hoping Migrant Danaus finds a new home through this exhibit, but if it doesn’t, I will treasure it as a piece that helped me migrate along my artistic path a little bit further.

Radvent: Writing

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 
~William Wordsworth

Last weekend I visited Piccolo Theatre’s Holiday Panto (ends tomorrow, December 17). Jessica Puller did a fabulous job writing Space Wars. I thought it would be a Star Wars vs. Star Trek type show, but the geekery was far better than that. This review gives a good synopsis.

Piccolo Theatre Space Wars Poster

I proofread a script for a roommate once and have such admiration for scriptwriters. All the nitty-gritty of how people open a door, which way they face etc. takes a lot of patience I think. My training has been all about cutting text where possible and avoiding redundancy (thanks Ms. Fusco and Dr. Schiff!), but in a script all that detail is necessary.

Princess Lasertron’s Radvent on Writing is quite insightful.

Radvent Writing by Princess Lasertron

Image re-blogged with permission from Princess Lasertron

This March I read my old diaries, all 30 of them (in three languages), and found that I had some very insightful perspectives. I keep a quote book where I jot down good passages from library books, and ended up quoting my 16-year-old self in there quite a bit!

reading diaries by Maike's Marvels

Writing has always been a part of me, no matter how many times I had to relearn how to write as we moved from country to country. I made up stories in my head all the time. My cousin and I were collaborators on a few ‘romance novels’ in our teenage years. We even drew blueprints of the farm on which we would live happily ever after with our handsome husbands (the boys we swooned over at the time).

early stories by Maike's Marvels

Our Barbie dolls had a lively correspondence too!

Barbie correspondence

Writing is very therapeutic for me. I find that when I haven’t journaled or blogged for a few days my thoughts are muddled and darker. As Princess Lasertron states, writing gives your ideas form. It also helps process events and experiences.

gathering quotes over the years

To-do lists give my days structure and help me cluster errands together so I don’t waste gas or muscle-energy running out several times a day or in different directions. I’m not as scatterbrained when I jot down mundane tasks and my days feel more productive as I check things off.

There have been times, both when writing in a journal or when writing to a friend, that I felt the message didn’t come from me but from the universe/a higher power. I have been told that my correspondence has arrived at times where people needed the message they read in my pages (now e-mail). I firmly believe that we can find messages like that on a daily basis. I even played with recognizing those messages on a recent outing.

MarvyMaike writing holiday cards

Here are two tips for holiday-card writing. Instead of the usual holiday and new year’s wishes, focus on the recipient a little more:

  1. Thank the recipient for something they did for you this year.
  2. Mention a trait or experience that you admire them for.

The gift of appreciation carries much further than any gift card ever will.

Holiday cards by Maike's Marvels

You can see my holiday cards here.

The Fine Arts Building

What I love about Chicago is that you can discover new things even a decade after living here. After my WIN-ning morning I decided to view an exhibit I had heard about. I strolled down Michigan Avenue but eventually realized it is a long walk from North to South, so I took the Red Line to the Jackson stop to visit the Fine Arts Building.

Second Floor Gallery at Chicago's Fine Arts Building

What a Gem of history this is. Chicago has so many beautiful historic buildings. Some are in better states of repair than others. I really enjoyed the journey back in time. This Chicago Landmark was designed by Solon S. Beman in 1885 and originally housed Studebaker carriages. It was converted into studios and theaters to become the Fine Arts Building in 1898. The mosaics, marble stairs, ornate sconces, wooden doors and stained glass windows all date from that renovation.

Chicago's Fine Arts Building

The original elevator was a bit scary though, which is why it is handled by a real operator and only one of the four banks is working.

Elevators at Chicago's Fine Arts Building

After I took an accidental tour back down the stairs I located the second floor with the exhibit in question. How beautiful and inspirational are these pieces?

Art by Karen Tichy

 Karen Tichy, Not My Usual Style, mixed media in encaustic medium

paintings by Laura Cerf-Dahl and Deepa Ajmire

Laura Cerf-Dahl, Windows to Infinity  and
Deepa Ajmire, Cherry Blossom and Crab Apple Blossom, each oil on canvas

Art by Michele Thrane and  Alenna Marie Sandy

Michele Thrane, Cool Glyphs and Hot Glyphs, encaustic and ink on paper,
with In Blue by Alenna Marie Sandy’s mixed media collage in the center

Of course I couldn’t resist the book store that offers vintage books for $2 up to some true collectors’ items.

Selected Works bookstore in Chicago

This exhibit runs through December 5. May you find a gem of sorts in your neighborhood this week.