Bucktown Show Recap

My last show for the season was the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow.

As always, this show was a lot of fun and featured many creative artists.

I enjoyed making new friends and catching up with the regulars.

Day One was filled with visiting friends and some new admirers.

I enjoyed watching what people gravitated to in my booth.

I enjoyed lunch from the Yum Dum foodtruck outside.

The silent auction was in full swing in all rooms.


Chicago Cubs Pride was on display in many booths.

I was happy to see rainbow angels flutter off again.

Soon it was time to close up.

It snowed lightly on the way home.

The next morning I was greeted by a murmuration.

I unveiled my booth and rearranged my pieces.

It was my last time trimming trees for the year.

More customers streamed in.

Even our organizers and volunteers shopped.

These faux leather trees by MoHop are on my wishlist for next year.

I parted with some of my personal favorite angels.

Dragonflies also fluttered away.

I might see some of these adornments around town again.

A good day called for a reward.

Then came time for teardown.

I said bye to bobblehead frosty.

Another snowy evening for a beautiful winter wonderland.

Here’s to next year!

Countdown to Christmas

Fair season is over for me, but shopping is still allowed in these 10 days before Christmas.


I just posted the angels and frosties I have in stock on my Facebook page. You can see individual photos of the angels here.


Reds and Greens:


My remaining frosties have individual photos here.


I also still have a selection of ornaments in 4 Chicagoland retail locations that are each worth a visit.


Go visit The Collage Cafe for inspirational joy-bringing and creativity-fueling gifts. You can get something tangible or give the gift of a workshop.


Sacred Art has a lovely array locally made artisan gifts. This shop holds presents for all ages, genders and price-points. It’s also a one-stop art boutique for Chicago aficionados.


See Jane Sparkle has extended holiday hours you can confirm on Facebook, and offers all kinds of sparkly jewelry, vintage fashion, and unique ornaments.


ChromaK8 Beautique also has a variety of gift items for you to peruse while your hair treatment processes or after you get your nails done at Noktivo.


Contact me if you saw anything at fairs or in my booth snapshots that caught your eye. My online store will remain sparse until January, when I will have a chance to take stock and photograph the pieces to be uploaded.


I ran out of Rainbow Angels, but will be making more with new outfits my friend created, and will post those on Facebook soon.


Here’s to more ornaments hanging on other people’s trees this season.

Ornament Factory

Since sending off ornaments to 4 boutiques, my own supply has been depleted.


So for the Irish American Heritage Center’s Christmas Bazaar I had to go back into the studio.


I reviewed some Irish Christmas carols, and found my favorite on the list.


Then I realized my friends had requested rainbow safety pin angels, and I set to bending those as well.


Soon my fingers were sore and I had to put gloves on.


Putting outfits together came next, which was easier on the fingers.


Last month my favorite mini-iron lost its protective handle, and the back-up iron came apart as well.


I ordered a replacement, which is really a rhinestone setting tool.


The new one is so pristine that I am still using my rejiggered version, but the blue strip is coming apart again so the time is next to christen the clean one.


I dressed my “Irish” angels in reds and greens.


I also tried to draw a Chicago flag for a friend, but it requires more practice for the general public.


This rainbow angel had awesome hair, but it’s not feasible to keep that look.


A customer wrapped her pendant commission in lovely paper that had to be repurposed.


This is my Beetlejuice Frosty.


I also put a pom-pom frosty together.


I had a productive few days.


There are more ideas swirling in my head, but these will be the ones going on display on Sunday.


Tagging them was next.


I’m re-setting the jig for book ornament commissions, and am ready to take on a new batch of custom orders now that these cuties are floating to new homes.


This is my current full range of angels. Claim them on Sunday or at future pop-ups.


I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, or next Thursday at the Warm Bevvy Walk at See Jane Sparkle, or at the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow December 10 & 11.



Least Favorite Christmas Songs

Believe it or not, I incorporate lyrics of holiday tunes that grate on me, because I know they are popular.


We can’t get around Feliz Navidad during the holiday season. I enjoyed it the first time I heard it, but now it seems to be everywhere.


My younger brother is an established drummer in the Netherlands, so when I made his ornament last year Little Drummer Boy was appropriate.


I looked for a metal version and found a score by August Burns Red.


They’re an interesting band, and I like the rendition more than other covers.


It’s grown on me now, but Johann Sebastian Bach’s Weihnachts Oratorium was overplayed at home when I was a child.


Still, with early music aficionados in the family, this one became an angel as well.


When I make Christmas song ornaments the music is in my head the whole time.


Tissue paper colors inspire me as well.


So you’ll definitely be able to tell the favorites from the less favorite tunes by the amount of ornaments I have with each carol.


It’s a good thing I don’t get tired of Frosty the Snowman or White Christmas.


I used to buy a new holiday album every year, but I skipped it last year.


I’ll have to see if a soundtrack or artist captivates me with their renditions.


What holiday songs do you wish we didn’t have to listen to all the time this season? (My face with the Chipmunks below).


Come see my collection a See Jane Sparkle’s Pop-up Bazaar!

It’s custom order time!

’Tis the season to place orders, falalalalaa-lala-lala.


My waxed ornament inventory went from this:


to this during the Wilder Mansion Holiday Market.


I am thrilled the angels and frosties are gaining popularity, but for you regulars it means that if you want to gift these to your loved ones, you need to contact me now.


I’ll be bending and waxing for Small Business Saturday before Thanksgiving.


After Turkey Fest I will be popping up at a yet-to-be announced location (you’ll like it!) along with replenishing Blue Buddha Boutique stock and preparing for the Bucktown Holiday Market.


That’s a lot of studio time spent on non-custom orders, so get yourself penciled in while you can!


I’m printing out a variety of holiday songs and verses that inspire me.


I’m happy to learn that Love Came Down at Christmas is in the public domain, since I was introduced to it via Jars of Clay. I’ll adorn some angels with that poem by Christina Rossetti.


Last year a friend had me create birthstone angels and frosties with the name of her grandchild and the year the ornament was gifted. Such a fabulous idea.


The colors were specified by grandma based on her family’s preferences.


They also got a note with what each birthstone means.


I can also incorporate logos into a design.


My double-heart frosties sell out each year.


This cutie went to celebrate a young couple’s first married Christmas together.


Of course you’re not stuck with angels and snowmen. I have plenty of alternate options available too:


So put your thinking cap on and consider your family’s favorite holiday songs, verses, quotes, colors and aesthetic, and let me know if my ornaments are a match for their tree!


You can poke around my past posts for additional inspiration.


Etsy’s inventory updates will be sporadic, so follow me on Facebook to get previews of my latest creations.


Bucktown Holiday ArtShow

I’m busy preparing for the Bucktown Holiday Fair this coming weekend.


The fun begins at noon and goes until 5 p.m. December 13 and 14.


More than 100 artists will exhibit and I enjoyed the creativity last year’s show featured.


There is a silent auction, a raffle, and delicious food and drink will be offered.


The Bucktown Holiday ArtShow is at the Holstein Fieldhouse at 2200 N Oakley Avenue in Chicago.


You can get a free ticket here.


If Bucktown isn’t on your holiday shopping route, check out my pieces at Aurora Rose Boutique in downtown Lemont (open til midnight on Friday, December 12!) or Evanston’s Dragonfly on Chicago Avenue by Dempster.


The Evanston Art Center also hosts a variety of my pieces through December 22.


I am also on Etsy 24/7.


Ornaments Galore

Holiday season is official now, and I am busy making custom orders.


I am also replenishing the angel and frosty supplies of ornaments that found new homes Thanksgiving week.


My inventory numbers broke the 100 mark recently.


On Friday I will have my entire inventory at the ADA Holiday Fair from 10 a.m. to  2 p.m. in the ADA building’s lobby.


Saturday you will find me at the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser from 2 to 6 p.m.


The Evanston Art Center’s 12th Annual Winter Arts & Crafts EXPO is hosting jewelry and ornaments until December 22.


Aurora Rose will be hosting these ornaments in their shop at 111 Stephen Street in Lemont.


Dragonfly boutique at 1309 Chicago Avenue in Evanston also has a few frosties, cages, angels and my jewelry in stock.


You can message me via Facebook for your selection or special order.


Etsy will gradually update between holiday fairs.


My last fair for the year will be the Bucktown Holiday Fair December 13 & 14.


Jigging Frosties

My offline life is speeding up so the online blog is getting off-schedule. Here’s a peek at what pulls me away from the computer these days.


In mid-October I was able to purchase Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig Starter Kit, which I eagerly anticipated.


I consulted with Brenda via email on the various Rounds she had, and ordered the Big Rounds set for my Frosty the Snowman Holiday Ornaments.


I joyfully set up the jig on a sunny day.


Then I dove in with the frosty-making.


Once I had added an ‘allowance’ for the wire, twisting the strips was easy-peasy.


Having the option of making various sizes of Frosties is great.


It beats using the household mandrels I used last year, and makes the process much faster.


I still do some hand-bending after the base is completed.


Then I heat up the griddle for their adornments.


Sometimes a bit of smashing is required to flatten the snowmen out again.


I tried setting up the jig for trees and angels too but that requires a little more finessing (more pegs in particular).


Productivity is booming for the holiday season!


You’ll see my frosties, angels and other holiday ornaments on Etsy, at Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont, Dragonfly Boutique in Evanston, The Evanston Art Center’s EXPO, the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser and the Bucktown Holiday Fair.


Necklace pendants, earrings and key chains are also in the works.


Christmas Holiday

Today the remaining pieces from the EXPO are coming back home, and then I am taking a holiday break.


While I will be tempted to write up blog posts for the remainder of the year, I am going to allow for time to reflect and not post anything until the new year.


This will help me close out the year business wise, spend time with family, and also catch up on some travel blog posts in progress that I am looking forward to sharing with you.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice;
it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body,
and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.
The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition
for standing back from life and seeing it whole,
for making unexpected connections and
waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration —
it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
~ Tim Kreider

My Etsy shop is closed for the holiday as well, to eliminate the pressure of not being able to ship right away while I am visiting family. So hold your gift cards til the new year. 😉


I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas holiday, and a festive, cozy end of 2013.


See you in 2014!

Fun factory

It’s been a veritable factory in here the past few weeks as I created ornaments for fairs, friends, families and boutiques, and sprinkled in some new pendants and earrings to keep the fingers nimble.


The start is always cutting and prepping the wire (sanding off the oily residue) and hammering it into a straight line for easier bending. Then it is shaped into what it wants to be (sometimes matching my vision, sometimes making its own).


After that the tissue paper is selected and cut out.


I leave an allowance for trimming until it is properly fitted to the piece


Then the paper is adhered with wax, mostly with just encaustic medium but at times with pigmented wax to match the figure’s color scheme.


I use a little iron for detail work.


I don’t have a favorite thing to make. Creating is such a joy and interacting with the wire, the wax and coming up with color combinations and the right carol to apply makes each ornament a unique experience.


Trees are the most difficult, so I doubt I will make those in the quantities that I’ve done for the angels.


While I do get faster as my finger-strength has improved and the bending becomes more routine, I can’t count the physical studio time as the only time I spend creating.


Numerous pieces have mulled in my head for some time and I don’t log the time spent looking up quotes or musical scores and sizing them to fit the shape (plus the time picking up supplies from the store) by individual piece.


I know there is a limit to how many wire lengths I can sand and bend in a day, as my fingertips have made that known. So in general a piece probably takes 3 days from conception to completion, though not always in a linear fashion.


Of the 70 ornaments I made this year, 50 are scattered in Lemont, Geneva and the local Expo for in-person purchasing, and 15 were shipped overseas for custom orders. The remainder will be on display at the Bucktown Fair this weekend, but they’re available on Etsy until then.