Girls Nite Out September 13

On Wednesday, September 13 I am off to Elmhurst for their Fourth Annual Girls Nite Out. I had a blast last year meeting wonderful shoppers and admiring the works of other vendors. The event begins at 4 pm and runs until 9 pmThe Wilder Mansion is located at 211 S Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, Illinois.

Treat yourself to a fun night out with more than 60 vendors including pampering services, wellness experts, wine tastings and wine for sale provided by Tannins Wine Bar, boutique shopping, artisans, food tastings, and live music performed by Scottie Long outdoors. There will be free giveaways and raffle prizes. Admission is $10 at the Front door.

The event is presented by Brewpoint Coffee, Sponsored by Elmhurst Park District, and produced by RGL Marketing for the Arts, Inc.

The following business will be represented: Practical Girl Designs, Pink Clouds, Artis Senior Living, Blue Violet Candles, BeMo Designs, Gratitude Greetings,

Danielle’s Lipstick Divas, Valerie William Additions, Maike’s Marvels, Tannins, BarcacaoChocolat, Brewpoint Coffee, Jo Syrups, Spice Done Right, The Rach Place, Math Tutor Elmhurst,

Color Wheel Products, Black Angel Designs, Cookies for Kids Cancer, Vasayo, In Motion Foot and Ankle, OMG! Olive Oil, Hand & Stone Massage, Gorlus Whips, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Elmhurst Symphony,

4 Girls Jewelry, Couch Clarity, Barbara Bettag Jewelry, Brim and Dash, SAOR Perfume, Rebellion Bags, R2 Creative Designs, Fly 2 Buy, Edward Jones, Blossom Wellness Centre,

Vitality Women’s PT and Wellness, Sue Rosengard Jewelry Design, Threadings Handwoven Designs, Illinois Spinal Care, Victoria on Main, Chiro One, Modere, The Juice Plus Co, Pinot’s Palette, Chocolate Moonshine, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Savvy Sister, Nourish + Flourish, Rodin + Fields, Hazyl,

benessere…to be well, Charlotte Muzik Jewelry, Core Interior Design, European Wax Center ,Tree of Life Chiropractic Center, Lights and Health, Fleet Fleet Sports, Olympia Chiropractic/Physical Therapy, Mion Artisan Soap, Pavel Adamek Photography, RGL Marketing for the Arts, Scottie Long Productions.

I’ll be bringing sparklies, pearls, and other jewelry adornments. Of course the angels, ornaments and stakes I have in stock will also come along. I hope to see you at the Mansion, and maybe I’ll bump into you at the museum earlier that day.

Heart in Texas

I’ve been trying to maintain normalcy since August 25, but there is a lot of emotional upheaval when the town you spent 8 years in is devastated by a catastrophic storm.

My mom and brother still live in the greater Houston area, as do many of my high school classmates whose parents are still rooted in the subdivision I finished High School in.

Since the airports were closed and the surrounding infrastructure tentative, I wasn’t able to rush out and be with my family. Now I keep tabs on them daily, watch the Facebook feeds of my friends in the aftermath, and feel helpless and guilty and on edge. I was too agitated to go into the studio last week; it felt too trivial to make art when lives were in danger.

The beauty is that so much unity is coming out of this. A lot of kindness and helpfulness and an abundance of love.

With my heart heavy, I decided to get back into my commissions yesterday, and worked on a Texas angel as well. Concentrating on the wire and pieces I have been assigned to make helped settle me again. I should remember that art is therapeutic, and that it would have helped me last week as well.

This storm has marked my family and friends. The full extent of the aftermath is not yet known. Neighborhoods that made it through numerous storms have become floodzones. My family was lucky in spite of the material losses. For my friends, their kids are displaced as Kingwood High School undergoes repairs, some of their families are dealing with devastating home damage, and emotionally everyone is spent.

I am aware of raging wildfires, more water damage around the world, political craziness going on, and all the microcosmic events my friends in non-disaster areas deal with day to day. I see the cynics utilizing images and opinions to promote their divisive agendas.

But Hurricane Harvey is deeply personal, and it is OK to sit with that for a moment while the rest of the world rages on.

What gives me peace is that my firefighter brother is utilizing his skills to help his neighbors, completely in his element, as weird as that seems. I know mom will be OK, and we all still have each other.

As volatile as the world and life seems just a few weeks after my birthday, I will continue to pursue what I am called to do, which means sending more angels out in to the world as I gear up for my mid-September fairs.

Ayla’s Trunk Show Fun

In mid-August I spend the weekend at Ayla’s Originals, a lovely bead bazaar.


I frequently peruse this treasure chest of beads, and my wallet was shivering slightly at the thought of being surrounded by sparklies two full days.

It was fun to have two big tables to set up.

I dedicated one to jewelry.

The other held my critters and angels.

Ayla’s does a lot of jewelry repair. On Saturday, the lovely Phyllis was working on re-knotting a strand of pearls. A father and a little girl picked out charms for a bracelet and necklace, and several people came in to replace clasps on their jewelry, pick up repaired pieces, or drop off items that needed time to be fixed.

All of this was done with cheerfulness and a variety of findings to choose from.

At the Bead & Button Show I had purchased some large hole pearls and did my best not to scratch them while wrapping them in wire. I am a bit attached to the end result, but hope they will find a home at the Girls Nite Out show on September 13.

I also made other pieces for the event incorporating beads purchased at Ayla’s various trunk shows and bazaars.

I browsed the gift wares, including You Are Beautiful magnets, coin purses, notebooks and other small gift items.

Of course the majority of the store is dedicated to ready-made jewelry as well as a wide array of colorful beads and pearls to convert into your own pieces.

The array of David Christensen Beads was very tempting, since they fit 16 gauge wire so well.

Two Charming Chix has a great sense of humor.

Ayla’s also has the tools for jewelry making, and offers a variety of workshops, even as live streams, so you can hone your skills. I browsed and made a pile of items.

Since it is birthday month, I didn’t feel too bad about adding these tools and beads to my collection.

Sunday brought in a flurry of early visitors, and I was thrilled to see pendants adopted by new owners.

Then my stakes fluttered off to a new garden.

The angels were admired and enjoyed basking in the sparkle.

Soon it was time to tear down and go home.

I am definitely inspired to incorporate more of Ayla’s treasures into my pieces, and will display those in mid-September!

Visit 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston for some sparkly inspirational fun.

Sidewalk Sale fun

It is interesting to see how different pockets of Evanston participate in the Sidewalk Sale. Last year I had a blast with See Jane Sparkle on Chicago and Dempster, where the Sidewalk Sale is a big event. This year I learned that on Sherman Avenue in Downtown Evanston, the participating merchants are less concentrated.

I set up a table in front of the Evanston Pop Up Gallery to help boost their recent grand opening.

Several of the other resident artists popped in and out throughout the day, and it was nice to get to know each of them better and learn more about their chosen art forms and lives.

 

Steve made some adjustments to the window display and goofed around.

Pop Up Pat paid a visit.

On Sunday I strolled the Chicago Dempster corner which was full of bargains.

I met friends at Bagel Art Cafe and enjoyed a lox bagel.

Then I strolled by Ayla’s temptations, but didn’t linger since I had a table to be at.

I took a selfie with Wonder Woman at The Other Brother cafe.

It was good to see the signage directing people around the giant Fountain Square construction zone.

My table had already been pulled out, and I had more fun conversations with fellow artists.

Pop Up Gallery owner Sally Beach had just been featured in Evanston Woman Magazine.

 

While foot traffic wasn’t as heavy as the Sidewalk Sale last year, we still had several people pop by and the store itself gets great traffic.

I left a Howlite set to be featured by Steve on Pop Up Television.

The window changes each week with new offers.

Over the month I made several sales, a few in person as I popped in.

It is nice to see the positive response to this unique gift boutique.

Before long the second day was done, and the balloons also lost steam.

Pop in and see my shelf, as updates keep happening.

A video interview is in the works.

You can find all kinds of art work at varying price points here, some with the bonus of smelling delicious. The Evanston Pop Up Gallery is located at 1627 Sherman Avenue in Evanston, and open 7 days a week.

Reflecting in Nature

I am taking a little pre-birthday time-out.

It is easy to get overwhelmed in calls to actions, FOMO, grass-is-greener and doomsday thinking with the barrage of headlines and ensuing social media reactions.

My Atlas of World History confirms that territorialism began when land ownership started in 9000 BC. As Billy Joel sings, we didn’t start the fire. The mid-eighties were full of songs about the End of the World, and When the Wind Blows still flashes in my head on occasion.

So I go to the lake to stare at the horizon and ponder the tides going in and out.

Hopefully the skyline will remain for a bit.

It is lovely to be a tourist in my hometown. I rarely visit Bennison’s, so strolling there is worthy of a treat for here and one to go.

There is a private park with little reading nooks that is open to the public part of the day.

Shimmying at the beach is a lovely way to start the day in summer.

I love the Brothers K baristas and used up the last bit of my gift card for this gorgeous creation.

A moth hung out by the basement as I was doing laundry.

Flowers are blooming so gorgeously.

I recite the Desiderata in my head when things seem too depressing.

Then I ponder the bravery of Sophie Scholl, Anne Frank, Miep Gies and Corrie Ten Boom.

The Little Prince has left a reminder by the lake as well.

The upcoming solar eclipse is supposed to be auspicious, and I sincerely hope it will bring with it goodwill and peace.

But for now, I will reflect on all the agitation of the world in silence, and hope that my plans for my next year aren’t too frivolous for this time in history.

After all, my town can sometimes seem like I’m in wonderland, so anything can happen!

See you sometime next week.

An Emerald Keychain

Sometimes a newsletter can lead to a commission. In response to my July newsletter, I got a request for a keychain. My friend wanted to carry a reminder of her ‘emerald green’ aura with her, and as soon as I read that I was thrilled.

I wasn’t sure if I had Emerald, but it turned out that I had picked up a small strand at the Bead & Button Show a few years back. So then I set about matching that green to my stash of green wire.

Bridgette has a family of four, so I picked 4 beads to encage into her scribble ball.

Then I wrapped the wire around the steel, and made a keychain.

After that I perused my crystal healing books for information on the beads and the color green related to the heart chakra, and made an information sheet. As always, the gems incorporated in my projects tend to suit the person who will receive the piece. So this one was especially fun to read about.

Bridgette is a fabulous encaustic artist and painter, and recently completed a 100 day drawing challenge, for which she chose to capture birds.

I own two of her beautiful encaustic paintings, and love her journals as well. One of my encaustic classes was with Bridgette.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

You can learn more about Bridgette’s upcoming art events here.

I am happy another keychain is traveling elsewhere in the U.S.

Plant Stakes for the Trunk Show

Last summer I made a dragonfly stake on a whim and it was well-received. This year I took the production level up a notch and added ladybug stakes to the collection. I distributed them at my various boutique outlets, and they steadily fly off to new homes. A post on Facebook prompted Ayla’s Originals to coordinate a trunk show with me.

So for Ayla’s Trunk Show this coming weekend, August 12 and 13, I am replenishing the batch. The traditional ladybugs go fastest, so red was on the brain this week.

Meanwhile, the jig I had set up for the Morpho application needed to be dismantled. However, I was inspired to create a stake form that setup before making the change.

I had also just made two mini-books, and that book setup led me to make two bookish stakes.

Then I changed the jig to my custom-created dragonfly template, and started bending wire into the popular dragonfly stakes. When my fingertips were sore I closed the studio for the evening.

The next morning I fired up the griddle and my irons, and started laying out the outfits for each critter. I hand-stamped lime green paper and interfacing fabric to reflect the writings of a book. Then I painstakingly added each page, which takes a lot of aligning, adjusting, cutting and realigning.

The books are my most time-consuming piece at this stage, followed by the dragonflies and their waxing intricacies.

I hand-colored interfacing with rainbow stripes (in permanent marker) for the ever-popular rainbow dragonfly.

One ladybug was begging for polka-dotted fabric, and the other two were given red tissue paper.

Storm clouds were brewing, so I also used that tissue paper and another fabric scrap for a test ladybug ornament, which I swiftly hung outside.

Soon the buckets came down and even splattered onto the deck.

Nonetheless, I stepped out in the rain to see how my own two creatures were faring. Rain was bouncing off the dragonfly.  The ladybug was shielded from the onslaught, but soon the angle changed and it too started getting wet.

After the storm, both ornaments were wet, but undamaged.

Upon closer inspection you can see spots of rust in the dragonfly, which has accumulated since I hung it in April.

But overall the droplets just hang out on the wax until they evaporate, and the fabric and tissue strips remain intact.

I waxed my new creations. The whimsical oval piece was fun to design.

Then I photographed them as the light and angle allowed.

Stakes are harder to take pictures of than my other pieces. They don’t lay flat like regular ornaments, and getting all the angles in a photogenic way is challenging.

The Everlasting Fire Studio vases showcase each one well, though.

I really like the bookish ones, which will be a whole other outdoor test run. As ornaments, these books are more fragile than my other pieces. So for now I’d recommend them indoors only.

Good thing I have a volunteer with an outdoor plant I can send one of these off to.

My fireplace mantel is also a bit crowded, so I played with one corner for now, which isn’t ideal.

I will need to work on a light box setup to block out the windowsill.

Meanwhile, they look pretty as a bouquet and by themselves, and make me happy.

Since I will be showing at a bead store next, I also wanted to play with some bling on a stake.

The organic creation received 3 led crystals, which I know will hold up outside.

I plan on asking Ayla what else is suitable for outdoor sun catchers when I set up my trunk show this weekend.

The new creations will have their own table at the Ayla’s Originals Trunk show. I will also bring my jewelry and angels of course. 

Ayla’s Originals Store is located at 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. I will be there Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm. Then all unsold pieces go home with me again.

There are lots of fun shops and eateries around 1511 Sherman. Be sure to take a selfie with Wonder Woman at the Other Brother Coffeehouse!

Trunk Show at Ayla’s this weekend

Whew, I thought 2 weeks between shows is a long time, but there is still a lot to be done by Saturday.

When I went to the Bead & Button show in June I stopped by Ayla’s booth first, and was promptly stickered by Joe.

At that time, we made plans for a trunk show, and August 12 & 13 felt so far away. I optimistically purchased some large hole pearls for the occasion. Fast forward one eventful month and I am wrangling wire like crazy, with idea after idea piling into my brain.

My aim is to make sure I am using beads sourced via Ayla, so I went through my inventory list, and I’ve attended quite a few of Ayla’s bead shows over the years, along with visits to the store itself with friends.

I compared the inventory dates to my visual archives (photos snapped after each shopping spree) and set those beads aside in my jewelers bench.

Soon I had ideas and matched papers to my designs.

The last batch came from Kina’s Trunk Show, and I started with those first.

I was pleasantly surprised that the vintage beads I bought from Ayla actually fit the 16 gauge wire, and had fun stringing those.

I waxed the pieces, with the cage versions being a bit more challenging than the others. The etched jade also fit the thicker wire, and I am glad my friend and I shared this strand last summer.

Ayla’s store has many beads that can be strung directly onto the steel wire for a swinging bead effect. David Christensen creates a gorgeous array of glass beads that I have had in my collection for a while. This pendant will get some matching earrings too, though whether that happens by Saturday is still a question mark.

Ayla’s Originals offers freshwater pearls, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, antique trade beads and gemstones from all over the world. If you see something you love in the store this weekend, I am happy to design a piece if you aren’t interested in creating your own.

In 2016, Ayla’s Originals received an official proclamation from Evanston’s Mayor for the 20th anniversary in Evanston. The store’s history is longer though.

Two decades ago, Ayla was a Director of Human Resources in corporate America. She frequented a bead store to take her mind off her waning passion in the work she was doing.

After a few workshops, Ayla began designing her own jewelry. The bead store owner was retiring, putting Ayla in a position to take over the store’s lease after resigning from her job.

The Ayla’s Own jewelry line was soon featured in the Art Institute of Chicago and Field Museum Gift Shops and well publicized. In 1998 Ayla’s Originals moved to Sherman Avenue in Evanston.

The store offers classes, private lessons, and private party options. The store offers a wide array of You Are Beautiful merchandise as well.

You can get a bingo card for special discounts on future purchases. Ayla and her husband, photographer Joe Pizzo, reside in Evanston.

Ayla’s Originals Store is located at 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. Hours are: T,W, F: 10 am to 6 pm; Th: 10 am to 7 pm; Sat. 10 am to 5 pm; Sun 12 to 5 pm. Closed Mondays.

I will also be bringing my stakes, which are getting additional siblings this week.

There is so much more to make!

Morpho’s 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition

On Friday, I will be attending Morpho Gallery’s National Call for Encaustic Entries Opening party. This annual exhibit of encaustic artists will be held  August 4 at from 6 to 9 pm at 5216 N Damen Avenue in Chicago.

The 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition includes 2D and 3D work made with the hot wax method of encaustic. Juried by Kathy Blankley Roman and Dan Addington, the exhibit includes works by several FUSEDChicago members and some encaustic artists I look forward to meeting that evening. The exhibit will be held August 4th through September 2nd 2017. Morpho Gallery’s hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 6 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 6 pm.

Artists included are: Brad Hook, Cat Crotchett, Laura Graveline, Anna Wagner-Ott, Brenda Erickson, Candace Law, Carol Myers, Carrie Baxter, Cindy Lesperance, Claudia Hollister, David Brown, Deborah Martin, Derek Brennan, Jeannette MacDougall, Jodie Sutton, Karen Ruth Karlsson, Katelyn Patton, Kathryn Isbister, Kathy Blankley Roman, Kay Vinson, Kaylee Dalton, Lamia Holden, Laura LaRue, Linda Mayer, Elizabeth Hubler-Torrey, Patricia Lagger, Penny Park, Rinat Goren, and Teresa Foster (the ones in bold are my FUSEDChicago friends).

For this show submission, I made a whimsical wall hanging. I was inspired by Brenda’s Now That’s A Jig! Shapes and put a bunch onto the Jig, initially thinking I would work with a 6 x 6 shadowbox.

Of course I went off-jig right away and started rearranging the wire as I went to make the shape more freeform.

Soon I had the basic shape to make a wall hanging.

I wanted to incorporate a vintage book page, which then determined the rest of the palette.

After some rearranging, I settled on purple and blue tones in addition to the text papers.

Then the fusing began.

With the fan going for ventilation, I had to weight the snippets down to keep them from fluttering off the table.

As always, the Xacto knife is my friend.

My friends recruited me for an evening meal, and it is always good to call it a day after a few hours in the studio anyway, because you need perspective and also don’t want to rush the design process.

While I liked the piece where it was, I still wanted to add the remaining papers as planned. I did swap out some swatches as the remaining papers were attached.

With big (to me) pieces like this, the wire isn’t always flush. It is a delicate balance of making sure the forms will be straight enough to hold the paper and also keeping in mind how the piece will hang in the end.

A Traveler’s Whimsy by Maike’s Marvels.


I am curious to see how the accepted pieces came together. Morpho Gallery always showcases a variety of techniques at this annual show. 

I didn’t get into the show, but this piece proudly hangs on my own wall until I am ready to part with it.

Arming ourselves with body positivity

Last weekend Hip Circle Empowerment Center hosted its third annual body positivity photoshoot.  This year’s focus was arms, with a dress code of sleeveless tops and dresses.

Having just made two sleeveless dresses, it didn’t occur to me that some women are self-conscious about their arms. Then on July 14 going sleeveless even became a political issue in congress with women striving to change the dress code that doesn’t allow for sleeveless dresses in the Capitol’s House of Representatives lobby.  

I like my arms, especially now that they are toned from wire bending and Moxie Boxing. We had a blast striking various poses in front of the new Main Street Station Mural (more will pop up on Hip Circle’s web site). The fabulous Zinta Jauntirāns-Vogel took all our photos.

I knew I would bump into friends and was pleased to meet new power-women. Some are studio regulars, and others just found out about the shoot and decided to join in. We even tried to get passers-by in sleeveless outfits to take pictures with us (they declined).

Unlike the bikini shoot that sparked this annual event, I had no jitters during the day. It was more about deciding which dress to wear! One person had bought a top especially for the occasion.

A little girl who had been made self-conscious of a farmers tan refused to join. She later wanted to be part of some photos, but the rule was that she had to remove her cardigan. As the shoot progressed and we asked her about Wonder Woman’s power poses, she warmed up to the ladies present. Just as the group session wrapped she decided to join in after all. Now she is happy to leave the cardigan at home on hot days.

Here’s to the next empowering activity. I missed the shorts photoshoot last year, which also has fabulous messages.  Check out the various classes, workshops and events Hip Circle Empowerment Center organizes and see if one or more of them resonate with you.

Photos copyright Zinta Jauntirāns-Vogel

Hip Circle Empowerment Center just turned non-profit. Their mission: “Through dance, fitness, and community we empower ALL women to believe they are strong, beautiful, and worthy of attention.

Vision: The Hip Circle Empowerment Center is a safe space for women of all ages, backgrounds, and economic status. It brings together women from across societal boundaries for shared experiences. Through dance and fitness, women are empowered to joyfully inhabit their bodies. Through personal and professional development, women are empowered to courageously accomplish their goals. Through involvement in the studio community, women are empowered to confidently make their voices heard.”