Just say sNOw

We’re teased with spring only to be let down again.Within the span of two weeks we get warm weather, big snow melts, only to find our cars covered in snow and ice yet again.


It’s getting a bit old.


For a moment I thought I could put my snow boots away…


But not so fast, because let’s look out the window the next morning!


Layers and layers of snow ‘geology’.


After celebrating St. Patrick’s Day over the weekend I got to drive home in this…


I just say NO to the white stuff until late November. How about you?



creating a new universe

I am truly resonating with this poem right now.


When winter comes to a woman’s soul,
she withdraws
into her inner self,
her deepest spaces.
She refuses all connection,
refutes all arguments
that she should engage in the world.
She may say she is resting,
but she is more than resting:
She is creating a new universe within herself,
examining and breaking old patterns,
destroying what should not be revived,
feeding in secret what needs to thrive.

~ Patricia Monaghan



Some of you will envy me for this post, because I have a luxury this month: time.

I was lucky getting stuck in vortex-land near family, so I didn’t lose money on hotels and cab fares waiting out the winter storm that stranded flights for almost a week.


Nor did I need to call a boss to tell them my return to work was iffy, losing salary and vacation time (although my inner boss felt like I had to get started on 2014 business-wise).


Instead we had extra family time which was lovely.

Then when I got home I was exhausted from the stress of not knowing when I would get home. So I literally hibernated.


This cold weather and the abundance of grey skies this year is throwing me for a loop. Chicago winters are quite sunny in spite of the cold, but the past few weeks the sun has seemed sparse to me.


When I have these kind of drudg-y days I go to my neighborhood cafe for a boost in caffeine and good cheer, but the thought of bundling up has kept me inside more so that kickstarter has been lacking the past 2 weeks as well.


It has been freeing to just listen to my body and pretend to be a bear while I can, but at the same time I feel that guilt of needing to be productive, shoulding all kinds of things, and wanting to push on.


The thing is, it is just me in this life and this business, and the holiday season with all its new-to-me experiences, the holiday rush in a rushed season to begin with, and all the unknowns I’ve been learning about pretty much burnt me out. When I am down, my whole business is down, from production to promotion to planning for what’s next. Calling in sick means hitting the pause button.


So I am trying hard to be gentle with myself. I set smaller goals for each day rather than trying to get to a big list that exhausts me just looking at it. Just because I can’t get 5 things done in a day doesn’t mean I am not living each moment purposefully.


I still feel present, even when I am resting. The downtime will fuel inspiration for the coming year. We don’t begrudge trees for not producing leaves when the world is frozen.


Our modern world is able to defy nature with electricity and snow removal, when maybe human beings should take a cue from nature too at times instead of seeing storms as a nuisance. Frozen fuel lines do tell us to stop in our tracks and stay indoors.

I am clearly meant to ease into the new year slowly rather than rush into it with energy blazing.


Hopefully by February I will have my equilibrium back, and the ideas I have for 2014 will be implemented one day at a time.

Frosty weekend walks

Nope, I didn’t work on the pendant descriptions I had every intention to write.  Saturday morning became frustrating as I fruitlessly searched online for findings that I know exist but apparently can only be found in 24-packs at Michael’s for now, instead of through a wholesaler.

hoping for spring

That’s the trickery of the Internet. You think that you can find things in bulk online ‘somewhere,’ but alas, a retailer just might have exclusivity over that particular product.  So I abandoned the search and shut down the computer, to take a very frosty walk at which I certainly ‘cooled off’.

frosty lake

These crocuses are deceptive:

Deceptive Croci

For the rest of the day I lost myself in a book.

die hellen tage

It is surprisingly refreshing to transport yourself into another world, and immerse yourself into the lives of a group of people as they grow over 20+ years.

I forgot about what pendants to describe next for the Etsy upload, how many and what kind I want to make next week, the product photos I have yet to take, how to best determine the right field names for Bento to set up the database right the first time. Instead, I empathized with fictional characters who became so real in my head that it was hard to let them go after the last page.


Yesterday I realized Kari Chapin’s book is due soon so my morning was spent at a cafe getting close to finishing it. I really like this book a lot, and will do a roundup of business planning reads in the future.

After a frosty walk home, I certainly hope that this Robin truly is the harbinger of Spring. We’re more than ready for it up in the Midwest.


a day with all weathers

How’s your winter thus far?

lightsnow photo by Maike's Marvels

The other day I experienced a wide range of temperatures and weather. I took my car to the workshop and broke a sweat walking back to downtown in my coat. It was raining all the way, too.

sleet photograph by Maike's Marvels

Then after some indoorsy errands I picked up the car as the temperature dropped by ten degrees and the rain turned to sleet. The droplets were pretty though.

droplet photograph by Maike's Marvels

On my way from the garage (I rent a spot for winter time) the sleet turned to snow.

hours later photograph by Maike's Marvels

It was quite a day to pick to walk around town, but I am glad I avoided the huge temperature drop the next day.

snowfall photograph by Maike's Marvels

The library brought some joy.

Joy at the Evanston Public Library

I’m excited about perusing all these books. There’s a slew of books I’ve been meaning to ‘review’ on the blog but I just never get to it.

Library pickup

Real Magic and The Million Dollar Secret are quite uplifting already.

Speaking of uplift, Alexandra Jaye has a great idea with this Gratitude Jar:

We had more snow a few days later, which brought out all kinds of snow removal equipment.

snow shoveler

Seasons are fascinating to me, and I love seeing how nature responds to it.

more snow


As the year ends and I am pondering what 2013 might hold, here are some pictures of my walk through Narnia over the past week (we got a bit more snow since the White Christmas).

narnia woods

This will be my only post for this week as I am processing the year close-out and also working on de-cluttering my home.


snow crystals

It’s a ponderous process, and as I sit and reflect and set my intentions for the coming year, I feel the need to journal on paper more and return to the computer later.

peanuts tree


I do wish you a lovely and celebratory New Year’s Eve, and look forward to sharing more marvelous adventures with you in 2013.



See you next year!


smiley tree

winter brightness

heartprint by Maike's Marvels

After a recent snowfall I was inspired by OrangeMarigold to look at the tracks that had been made. It’s such fun to see the patterns in people’s shoe soles.

snowprints by Maike's Marvels

Spring is on its way, but there might be a few dustings before the full bloom.

defying winter by Maike's Marvels

My first Crocus sighting on Sunday! :)

crocuses by Maike's Marvels

Fortunately it’s been mild temperature-wise, and the sunshine lures me out. I love the crisp blue skies of Midwest winters.

lake view by Maike's Marvels

This weekend PerficalSense Studios is hosting another exhibit opening.

Exhibit Announcement by PerficalSense Studios

I look forward to perusing Bridgette Guerzon Mills‘ art work, who has me snapping pictures of branches lately.

clouds and branches by Maike's Marvels

Crystal Neubauer’s work looks intriguing too. Both artists will be hosting workshops at PerficalSense this spring, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for announcements.

sunburst tree by Maike's Marvels

Have a fabulous snow-free week!

frosty Friday

Last weekend I walked to PerficalSense Studio for an opening and saw these lovely icicles.

icicles photographed by Maike's Marvels

My fingers got quite frosty so the camera stayed in the bag for the rest of the evening.

frosty evergreen photographed by Maike's Marvels

You can peruse some very vibrant digital art on PerficalSense Studio’s Facebook page.

Stay warm this weekend!

Winter has arrived

We had our first snow storm of the year yesterday.

White shrubs photographed by Maike's Marvels

I rode the train from an outing and enjoyed the stress-free travel while marveling at the storm.

photographed by Maike's Marvels

The neighborhood transforms so nicely in snow.

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

Santa should come back :)

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

This Sunday is the Evanston Art Center’s Biennial Members’ Exhibit opening. Per the newsletter: “Curated by EAC faculty member, David Gista, the exhibit will feature over 80 artists.” It is also juried. I hope my Migrant Danaus fits in :)

photographed by Maike's Marvels

Wishing you a very cozy weekend.

photographed by Maike's Marvels

Merry Christmas!

…or Solstice, or reflective year-end time…

I grew up celebrating Christmas as a cultural tradition. In Germany Weihnachten was less a religious event as it was a celebration of traditions, rituals, and the gathering of family (to me at least). I like the slowing down and cozying up as a family unit to light candles, rediscover familiar stories, and celebrate life. There is something soothing about the rituals of advent, baking, and having certain meals every year.

Listening to the carols (and singing along), picking out a wreath, seeing annual performances such as the Nutcracker or Christmas Carol all provide a sense of closure to the year. A lot has been accomplished, and we can rest for a bit.

This Christmas season is quite auspicious as Solstice coincided with a lunar eclipse. I wasn’t able to see the eclipse due to an overcast sky, but enjoyed this particular quote on its astrological interpretation: “step out of time. We are free of the past, and we can consciously create the future, for ourselves, for our communities, for the earth.”

So as you peruse the goodies under the tree and the feast on the table, remember that your gift for you is the PRESENT. The past is done, and the future can be created by you. We may not have full control over all our circumstances, but our approach to these circumstances and our attitude toward change can be powerful tools in crafting the new year you want.

May your stocking be filled to the brim with joy, peace and hopefulness.

Next Page »