Seussian Studiotime

I’ve done a lot of uploading and tweaking wordpress for the shop, and while I have plenty of pieces in stock, I was itching to get back into the studio again.

This brush needed to be taken out of its misery too!

My rainbow collection garnered a custom Valentine order, which I cheerfully fulfilled.

These are off to new homes.

I also recreated the infinity pendant that came out of a Now That’s a Jig! playdate.

My original version was snapped up right away, so here is this brighter pendant.

A bangle I created last year turned out to be too small, and then my customer asked to have it embellished with birthstone beads to represent her family.

So I set out to Dave’s Rock Shop and Ayla’s Originals to get the right gemstones.

The bigger size bangle called for a new mandrel.

Then I layed out the stones.

Stringing took a full afternoon, as most of these tiered bangles do.

I love the look of them though.

I donated a few keychains to worthy causes.

Some will pop up in various fundraisers throughout the year.

I also made a Seuss-inspired pendant for Chiaravalle Montessori School’s “Oh The Places You’ll Go”-themed Spring Benefit.

Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors and I own his full collection, including the Dutch books I grew up with. So I wiggled together a whimsical wire form to reflect the Seussian landscape.

I took a cue from “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and drew some lines in the pastel colors of the book onto tissue paper. Of course there had to be a nod to the message of the book on the back.

Now my spirit is restored and I can get back to the mundaner tasks of business management and planning. I multitask during product uploads, and ponder the places my business will go.


The day before my birthday, a light fixture fell on my head. My mom was coming to town and I was preparing the futon for her to sleep on, when the ceiling fan decided to wobble out of alignment and to the floor, but since I had just pulled the futon out and was looking down, it bounced off my head onto the cushions.

A lightbulb shattered all over the place, and my forehead had an instant bump.

So I told mom to take a cab and swept the shards off myself to lay down for a bit, while googling concussion symptoms. After mom arrived we did cleanup and I had a fun birthday week with her, including a visit to Little Light Bazaar so I could shop for light fixtures.

After mom departed I interviewed electricians, and then researched ceiling fans, concentrating on flush mounts only.

I had a fun visit with Mateen to select the colors of my chandelier. All globes are interchangeable so you can change your mind and do a new color scheme over time.

The electricians arrived and on day one pulled out all the old wiring of my 1925 unit.

Outlets came first.

All the old lights came down.

Then they ran new wiring through all the light switches and light fixtures.

The next day they upgraded my fuses, and I no longer have neighbor envy. Now my studio has the appropriate power supply for all my equipment.

Soon the pretty part came and the new light fixtures were securely and professionally installed. I didn’t ask anyone to swing from chandeliers, but I am assured none of these will crash down on me.

Getting electrical work done is a scary thing, and I held off out of fear of the expense and any scope creep, but this project was completed within 2 days. Some of the vintage fixtures could have been fire hazards. I donated all the old ones to a refurbishing store.

I had fun playing with the dimmer switches and enjoying the light in my studio.

Since my futon cover was littered with mercury glitter, we tossed the thing out and I shopped affordable portables for a new cover. I fell in love with BOHO by SIS covers, which was so new the store had to order a sample. That made me feel quite fashion forward.

I love the bohemian-ness of this design, which obviously fits right in as a work surface!

My favorite room is the bedroom, where we installed the beautiful chandelier.

All globes are hand made with Czech glass and each has its own personality. It completes the decal headboard very nicely.

Now I am enlightened in all my rooms, and happy this home improvement project is completed. My head is also OK. The weekend after the bump I had some bad symptoms where lights were too bright and noises were too loud. Strobe lights at a party were very irritating so I had to move off the dance floor, but otherwise things are back to my normal.

Affair of the Arts on Sunday

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and I have been in the holiday spirit since September. On November 20 you can see the fruits of my latest studio sessions at Affair of the Arts.  The Affair of the Arts is a Fine Art & Artisan Gift Show held at The Shores of Turtle Creek, in Spring Grove, Illinois.  The spacious lodge will be filled with 10,000 square feet of original artwork and artisan crafts for one day.


Affair of the Arts takes place Sunday, November 20, from 10:00 to 5:00 pm at 7908 Winn Road, Spring Grove, Illinois 60081. Admission to the event is free.


You can buy art, jewelry, ceramics, paintings, glass, photography, mixed media and more. Visitors are able to purchase beverages and enjoy complimentary snacks during the event. Hors d’ oeuvres and light snacks will be available.


The first floor of Turtle Creek accommodates about half of the participating artists, with plenty of room for browsers to mingle and shop. Downstairs you will find another full level of fine art and crafts to purchase.


All items for sale are handcrafted. There will be something for everyone’s budget, from affordable small gifts to collector pieces. Both levels are handicapped-accessible. There is a ramp to the upper level along the west side of the building, and also a ramp sloping down to the lower level entrance.


Ceramics artists include:

  •     Lois Hoveke
  •     Jan Johnson
  •     Elaine Kadakia
  •     Danuta Loane
  •     Regina Lombardo
  •     Pietrangelo Rustic Furnishing
  •     Josie Rochell
  •     TreeNut Studio


Fiber & Photo Artists

  •     Katie Biedrzycka
  •     Kathie Chicoine
  •     Destiny Photographic Art
  •     Kathleen Freund
  •     Debby Henning
  •     Anthony Spittler
  •     Upsydoozy



  •     Marianne A. McKoveck
  •     Paula Dammeyer
  •     Leanne Emery
  •     Jewels Botanica
  •     Kim Falat
  •     Rachel Joyce
  •     Linda Julian
  •     Karen’s Nature Art
  •     Marie Morrison
  •     Monica Sargeant
  •     Lynda Wallis
  •     Kathleen Watson



  •     Karen Ann Hollingsworth
  •     J + K Isacson
  •     Rachel Joyce
  •     Sara Michaels
  •     Connie Olmstead
  •     Karen Sako
  •     Elizabeth Waddington


Other Mediums

  •     J + K Isacson
  •     Maike’s Marvels
  •     Will Slagel
  •     Maija Steele
  •     Whispering Oaks
  •     Snow White


Check out the Facebook event and join us! 

Witchy Studio

I meant to get my travel blog started but I had too much fun in the studio.


Halloween is coming, and I picked up some napkins in Germany to expand the collection from last year.


So I set about wrapping wire based on the designs.


I used the Now That’s A Jig! Big rounds to shape the wire.


Then I adhered the napkin, which turned out to be of fabulous waxing caliber.


Skull beads are fun.


Later in the week I rediscovered a stamp I had purchased after last year’s season.


So I made a whimsical spider pendant that reminds me of Jip en Janneke illustrations.


My sister’s felted pieces are also very encaustic-friendly, so more “treats” were made.


Some bitchy witchys didn’t want to do as I said, so they were scrapped and new ones flown into spiderwebs.


Some of these pendants will be uploaded later in the week, and I am dropping off a small necklace selection at The Collage Cafe during tomorrow’s playtime drop-in.


Have fun getting your Halloween adornments together! It’s fun to add to the collection and I am curious to see what goes to new homes this year.


Making Mini-books

During my play date with Brenda Schweder I specifically focused on her angled gadgets, since sharp corners are not my forte.


I took home the Square NTaJ Accessory Peg Pak Mix.


Higher gauge wire is easier to manipulate, but my affinity for 16 gauge steel remains strong.


As I fiddled with the multiple squares a book shape emerged.


At home I played some more.


Sadly the book lovers guide paper is too thick for this design, but it was fun to consider.


Cutting, waxing, inserting and sizing the paper is quite time consuming.

David CopperfieldMM

Each type of paper reacts differently to the wax and to the steel wire structure.


So these will be higher-priced pendants or ornaments.


For now, Angel is enjoying her temporary library of a Paris travel guide, a David Copperfield review, a coloring book and a journal.


You may see some other bookish designs as I rip up books and work with scraps.


I am happy to take commissions.


I also want to remake this pendant.


Speaking of reading material, one of my creations is featured in a book. You can order Incite 4: Relax, Restore, Renew right now.

Incite 4 cover

Reading is good for you!


More musical pendants

My violin clef pendants are a best-seller, and I need to replenish my inventory on a regular basis.


See Jane Sparkle has a bass clef pendant in stock, but I need to swing by there to add more violin clefs for a friend.


I sold a musical pendant at Moon Art Gallery as well.


So I sat down and made some more.

collaging clefs

A friend had gifted me with vintage music books, and one page has a song about a Shepherd-boy.


It turns out to be a poem by Thomas Moore, but there seems to be no musical piece online that I could find. Google has the poem in The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore.


It’s fun to refresh my musical vocabulary as my flute is gathering patina. Subito means “quickly, suddenly” and Simile means “in the same way” .


Some pendants don’t quite turn out for the purpose I intended, but then they get re-bended into a new piece.


I liked a page on whole notes from the Robyn-Hanks Keyboard Primer and placed those in pendants. It also had a section about major scales I’ll be pulling from more.


I also play with earrings and bangles and not-so-literal shapes.


Some think my Chakra and birthstone bangles have a musical feel to them as well.


You’ll see these at the Ladies Who Lunch fundraiser on Sunday, and the April 30 pop-up at See Jane Sparkle. I’ll be sure to get some to The Collage Cafe and Moon Art Gallery by May as well.


Jigging a Daisy

In 2011 I learned to make wrangled bangles with Brenda Schweder.


Little did I know that intro to wire class would lead to a whole new career!


Wrangled Bangle by Brenda Schweder in 2011

At the time I considered myself a paper collage artist, and encaustics were just beginning to show up on my radar.


The bangles workshop was just to pass the time at the Creative Connection Event, but I did like the results.


Fast forward a few years and I am now the owner of Brenda’s Now That’s a Jig!


I added a round peg combo pack to my order so I could use the Jig for my Frosties.


Then as I was fooling around with a daisy I realized that might be a jiggable item as well.


So I laid the hand-wrangled version on the jig and started spacing out pegs. Then the bending began.


2 petals formed.


And then I kept looping around the pegs and created a replica of the daisy.


The center wasn’t stable, so I wrapped more wire around it to secure the shape. I bent the petals for dimension and adhered the wire to the encaustic substrate with a mini-iron.


Then I had to conduct an overnight hang test to make sure the wire would stay on.


Now you can see this piece at Creative Coworking through the end of the month.


I’m looking forward to taking Brenda’s Now That’s a Pliers! Class at the Bead & Button Show.


Collaborate Project by Brenda Schweder in 2014

Her creations are so inspiring!


Steel wire jewelry by Brenda Schweder in 2011

No Frills Fun Factory

I’ve been preparing for the No Frills Fun Run Vendor Night that takes place on Thursday. No Frills Fun Run is an annual charitable run that was started in 2012 by two local moms in Elmhurst, Illinois. On February 28, participants will run  a half-marathon or half-half distance (6.55 miles) to benefit one family in need.


This year the proceeds will benefit the May Family. Darryl May has battled Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer) for several years. Although the stem cell transplant was a success and he is making progress in his fight, he continues to need extensive medical care. 


In addition to the run, there is a No Frills Fun Run Vendor Fundraiser Night on Thursday, February 18 from 7 pm to 11 pm at an Elmhurst residence, with all hostess proceeds and a portion of vendor proceeds being donated directly to The No Frills Fun Run.


The Vendor Night will be a fun night of shopping, girlfriends, beverages and snacks all to benefit the Mays Family. Vendors include: Maxine’s Handbags, Pampered Chef, Origami Owl, Beautycounter, Gold Canyon Candles and Loch Bands. You can also shop online.


I’ve replenished my musical pieces with a piano primer and a song sheet.


I also found some old travel guides and cut out a Paris map for two pendants.


My new workbench has been in use and I am loving its functionality.


Having my beads at a glance gave me numerous ideas.


Combining paper and beads is fun as I plan pendants.


I had to make sets, of course.


Coiling and stringing.


The stackability of these bangles is creating even more ideas.


I posted an in-progress heart on Facebook that got snapped up right away. You can see it on YouTube!


I just tagged my 599th jewelry creation!


I hope to see you on Thursday night. Message me if you like one of these pieces and I can arrange a transaction with you, or make a set customized to your favorite beads or gemstones.


Claiming my closets

When I first got my built-ins created my second bedroom was still a guest room that would function as a craft room. I was focused on greeting cards at the time, and that wall was ample space for all my supplies. Then I left my career and my plans as a small business owner morphed from greeting cards to wall art to then becoming more focused on jewelry making, adding more tools and confining my workspace.


Meanwhile, I only house guests twice a year max. So I started storing larger art boards and canvases in the his and hers clothes closets, and added display items that I balanced on a shoe rack. Shipping boxes gained importance, and over time the two large closets became rather inefficient.


In November I met Sandy Spatz of Step By Step by Sandy, and I blurted out that I wanted to organize my studio after the holiday season. Once out, the words became reality, and Sandy followed up with me in January. We soon set a date for her to assess the damage, and she was very understanding of how my studio functions for me.


I had picked up some books from the library for inspiration, but knew I needed closet overhaul rather than drool over vintage architect drawers and other items hard to find and get up stairs.


Sandy sent me links to various elfa shelving examples, and I started measuring out what I wanted stored and how it could get laid out with the new system.


I also moved things around the house and did some purging as I cleared the closets.


It did feel good to get things cleared out and dusted off.


The upheaval was not for the fainthearted.


I did a visual exercise of how the art books might fit.


I also measured lengths and widths and depths of items I wanted to store.


We then met at the Container Store to get the actual design mapped out and pick up the shelving. However, due to the January sale, most parts were on back order, so we only left with the top tracks and hanging standards. I did get to take home a modified version of the elfa utility Gift Packaging Door & Wall Rack Solution, though.


I live in a historic building, so I knew my walls might be problematic, but we did not anticipate spending almost an hour trying to drill holes into the wall.


We resorted to drywall anchors for the majority of the hanging system.


With one closet an inch wider than the other, the allowance for the wooden inserts had been forgotten about, and the top track was too long to install in the other closet (it was an easy re-cut when I went back to the store).

too long

So all we could do was install the tracks on one side, and I started playing with the over-the-door organizer.


It was nice to have one thing installed at least.


In the middle of that Friday night I decided the closets were boring, and got all my paint samples out. With a crappy brush and a limited supply of years-old paint I started painting one closet with a dry brush effect (to make the half pint stretch).


The next morning I swung by ACE hardware to get better equipment, and painted the other closet walls.


I went by swatch when I had the color mixed, only to find out out after the fact that the color name is “Happy Endings” : ) .


I pulled an inspiration card that affirmed my decision.


I set up my jeweler’s bench as well, and then waited the long week until I could pick the shelving up.


After some stairmastering and weightlifting exercising, I got all the components into the room.



It took a Youtube video for me to figure out how to snap in the shelving, but once I learned it was easy to set up the closet.


The other closet also had wonky walls, but the anchors did the trick.


I measured the brackets out based on the shelf heights I had allotted.


Soon the installation was complete, and my love for power tools had been re-affirmed.


Then I started pulling in everything from the closet explosion, and rearranged some shelving based on the actual feel in the space itself.


There was a moment of trepidation as I closed the door organizer, but the door still closes.


Did the Cat in the Hat’s cleaning machine help a lot? It did not!


Now I have storage for my art fair display pieces, my shipping supplies, art boards, collage ingredients, drawing supplies, and a bit of room for growth to expand my creativity.


There are still photos to organize, so one shelf may be filled with archival boxes soon (unless I go into a scrapbooking frenzy).


Meanwhile, my Manufakturen shop is on display.


With everything in place I felt compelled to tackle my collage work area, which had been in perpetual chaos from being both a jewelry and a wall art station.


Beads and jewelry supplies moved over to their new space, and soon I could wrap the table in fresh wax paper.


Now it is fully dedicated to the encaustic art work.


My encaustic palette got streamlined as well.


I also scraped the floor to get rid off a bunch of wax, not realizing what a difference that elbow grease would make-or I would have done before and after pictures!


On to creating more wall art for the Creative Coworking exhibit in March!


My built-ins will need some light straightening up, but I do have everything in its designated drawer still.


The ‘bead boards’ are my favorite.I bought more hooks and ribbon holders to round out that design.


It is so lovely to view the color array and gems at a glance.


It felt very empowering to dedicate the closets to my art, and to truly claim them as my own with the paint color. Guests can store their clothes over the doors, and I can always repaint when it comes to selling this place.


While my bank account is in slight shock at this mega-splurge, it also is a very important investment in my business, in my art and in myself. I can now be more productive by having two work stations and by having things in their place rather than sliding various bins around the floor and moving trays around the sofa.


There is a lightness of being that comes with repurposing cluttered spaces and thinking about how to make it more functional for oneself. The organizing frenzy will spill over into other parts of the house, but for now I need to focus on the upcoming pop-up February 18 and get moving on the pieces for March.

Upgrading my Studio Space

It is pretty telling that with all the documenting I do, I have not taken a single photo of my studio since my last studio view blog post in 2014. As my creations toggled between jewelry making and larger wall collages, I’ve been envisioning an extra table in my space, but wasn’t sure how to make it happen since storage was becoming an issue.


When I met an organizer at a networking event last fall, I blurted out that I wanted to organize my studio after the holiday season, and once I made that proclamation, it took hold. After a meeting on closet organizing, I started sorting through everything.


As I reviewed other people’s spaces in books and thought about my needs, I started poking around for jewelers’ workspaces online, and came across fabulous workbenches.


Not encouraged by the online reviews (arrived damaged, had to drill holes to assemble), I poked around some more and found a local store that carried benches. So I went downtown to check it out.


Jeweler’s Row takes on a whole new meaning for me as jewelry tool and supply stores are discovered.


The in-store sample was exactly what I wanted, and the order was made.


I also ordered a desktop organizer which has Jeweler-specific functions I need to investigate.


After getting it loaded into my trunk (barely) I happily awaited my friend’s muscles to carry it up three flights of stairs.


Initially I held off on assembly to get the closets installed first, but a delay in shelving had me itching to assemble this before the studio was fully re-assembled.


Getting the legs on was easy-peasy, but how to lift up this hefty and bulky piece by myself?

adding legs

I took out the drawers that didn’t change much of the weight (the table top is solid).


After some online browsing I learned to prop it up with a chair, so my trusty yellow chair became my assistant.


A bit of gravity finagling soon got the bench into its intended upright position.


I decided to restring some beads in my collection to get a feel for the workspace.


The drawers have functions I don’t even know about yet.


The catch tray is handy though.


It also has nifty armrests.


Soon task lighting was added, and I transferred some of my tools from the big table.


I am excited to work on my next commission from this new dedicated workstation.


Meanwhile, my shelves are on order for next week’s closet organization. Elfa has a fabulous wrapping station that I modified.


I saw a pegboard wall of beads in a book which this door-installation is perfect for. My beads had been gathering on a tray for years.


I rediscovered many gems as I re-sorted them. I need to pick up more hooks to space them out, but I love the beginning of it.


Stay tuned for the closet reorganization adventure.


I’m days away from getting the new shelves installed.


It feels very empowering to truly invest in my studio space and give my different modes of creation dedicated work areas. While it will still function as a guest room, it was time to adjust the space for its primary purpose.


After all, there is so much inspiration to put into tangible objects!