Exploring Crystal Lake

On Friday I was scheduled for an evening art fair at the Immanuel Lutheran School in Crystal Lake, a suburb I had never visited before. So prior to the 4:30 pm setup time I decided to take the afternoon to explore the town. An online search produced an intriguing map of a nice walkable cluster downtown, so I figured out where to park and set the coordinates for a leisurely drive.

The weather was lovely (albeit slightly chilly), and I parked my car in a 4-hour spot. Then I oriented myself based on the map by the train station.

Since it was lunchtime I checked the list of restaurants first, and picked two that looked intriguing. While passing a bunch of enticing windows I decided on Le Petit Marche, a lovely french-inspired bistro.

I ordered a tuna salad brioche with tea, which was served quickly.

The ambiance is lovely, and I would love take part in a wine and cheese evening sometime.

I was going to leave some postcards for Affair of the Arts, but someone already had. 🙂

Fully nourished, I walked to the end of the street and fell in love with the Crystal Lake Antique Mall. This place has rooms upon rooms of vintage pieces that inspire nostalgia and tempt those with a flair for spinning stories about old pieces. I saw a lovely wooden desk secretary at a bargain price, but instead settled on a tray I actually needed. I do think I’ll visit again though, maybe I will know a place to put that piece by then (if it is still there).

Fully uplifted by this historic surprise, I strolled back outside and made my way back into modern times in an old-town setting.

I meandered 2 fabric stores, some fashion boutiques, and then stumbled onto Kaleidoscoops via a gift shop, and couldn’t resist treating myself to a cone. This is a nice after-school hangout for teens. I needed caffeine for a long evening so “The Grind” was a perfect fix with its delicious caramel and the crunch of chocolate covered espresso beans inside.

Across from the ice cream store was Evolve, a store with yummy-smelling chakra candles, lots of healing crystals, altar pieces, incense and beautiful instruments to center the soul. I could have spent hours in there but had a schedule to keep.

So I strolled in and out of a few more cute stores before being stopped by the Metra. In the future I could catch the UP-NW metro line in Mount Prospect for a mini trip to Crystal Lake.

On my way to the car I spotted this fun sign that applies to so much of life.

Five minutes later I was at the Lutheran School to unload my car in the gym.

Soon the place was transformed into a vibrant and colorful fair.

Fancy meeting Le Petit Marche here again!

It was fun getting back into the booth setup routine.

I had fun doing a quick perusal.

 Tupperware is more vibrant these days.

Now that I am sewing again, this coat by Ginspiration spoke to me.

A raffle drawing was held every 30 minutes.

I gained some new admirers and a few pieces walked away.

My angels, dragonflies and ladybugs were all petted.

A friend stopped by and snapped me in action.

My neighbors were fun to connect with.

Soon it was time to pack up again and head home. It was a good evening and I look forward to visiting here again.

On to Affair of the Arts!

A Merry Year-end

It’s been fun to create new goodies for my friends this season. Their inspiration has sparked my creativity, and I have more spin-offs in my head from the pendants and ornaments ordered for their loved ones or themselves.


My chunky beaded bangle got a few admirers, and fortunately Dakota Beads had two more strands for me at Ayla’s Originals Highland Park Bead Bazaar so I could make two custom bangles for my friends.


Her wonder woman powers will only be used for good and adventuring.


This set of portraits has special meaning to the recipients.


They are now traversing the world.


A transgender symbol adorns a proud owner.


I wonder if I will see these pendants around town or if they flew elsewhere.


Some of my favorite Angels got adopted.


Frosties weren’t as popular due to the lack of snow, but some found new homes and What Linus Said sold twice this year. Destinations include Mexico and Portland, Oregon.


Earrings were admired, one pair converted to clip-ons at the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow, and ‘write’ actually went to a novelist.


Musical pendants continue to be bestsellers.


My Delft Blue set stayed in the family.


Two of these sets will be auctioned off in Houston on New Year’s Eve.


Thank you all for your support this season. It’s been very affirming to make these goodies and know that they are meaningful to you.


I have re-opened Etsy, and The Collage Cafe has my bangles and pendants in Evanston. Moon Art Gallery will get an inventory update in January. I’m exploring additional venues, and will keep you posted on upcoming fairs and pop-ups.

Fun at the Wilder Mansion Holiday Market

The Wilder Mansion Holiday Market was a lovely event. The drive to Elmhurst was bright with scenic Fall colors.


The Mansion is impressive.


I can only imagine what it must have been like to live there in the stately rooms with beautiful crown molding, fancy chandeliers and gran fireplaces.


Unloading was in full swing when I arrived, but I was the first in my room on the first floor.


I unloaded my car and then drove to the designated parking area at Elmhurst College.


The short walk was lovely.


Soon my wares were all set up, and I was able to take a peek at the other rooms, which weren’t fully set up yet.


Everyone’s art work is so inspiring, and I wish I could have shopped a little.


I bumped into a vendor from the Ravenswood ArtWalk and one I had recently met at a Ravenswood Women in Business Chamber event.


There was jewelry made from broken china-both antique and more current.


Across the room a real loom was being used for more lovely bags.


We were provided some sustenance shortly before the doors opened, which made me feel well cared for.


Soon the doors were opened, and streams of people started walking in.


My first sale was to a friend, but that garnered more sales as the evening went along, which made me very happy.


I celebrated with some prosecco.


Before we knew it it was time to cover up our tables and leave the building for the night.


I splurged on a hotel room nearby to save me the stress of driving late at night and early in the morning.


I was thinking I would have a cocktail and snack at the bar, but the ‘bar’ was a vending machine.


So I settled for beer and popcorn and made myself at home upstairs.

cocktail hour

My sore feet recovered sightly during a bath, and I read a little before sleeping fitfully in a strange bed-next to a freeway.


The next morning some sad news made it hard to prepare, but I put on my bright yellow dress and shifted into vending mode.


To start we were provided a lovely spread of breakfast foods and coffee.


Then we all uncovered our tables.


I uncovered my table and once again the minute the doors opened we had a steady stream of attendees.


Within the first hour I sold 4 ornaments, and more sales kept coming.


To cover fair expenses and make some extra money was a very validating experience.


I did a little shopping with my neighbors.


Traffic continued to be steady during the afternoon.


I think most people did well.


Then the doors were closed and we started tearing down our booths.


I still love my handy bag, and it was surreal to only fill my ornament box halfway.


The weekend sales filled me with contentment, and I am grateful more pieces have found new owners throughout the month.


My next pop-up will be on Small Business Saturday on Damen Avenue.


I’m heading to the studio to replenish my ornaments for that event.


Spam and grasshopper friends

It was a scorching day on Saturday, but light breezes and the occasional cloud blocking the sun made the day lovely for an art fair.


It was early when I set out to bring my wares to Bloomingdale.


As always, Platt Hill Nursery has a plethora of fun and quirky garden accessories to peruse.


The rainbow of watering cans cheered me up.


The professional and cheerful staff directed us where we needed to set up.


Soon my table was transformed.


This year’s vendors sold jewelry, children’s clothes, stuffed animals, fun hand-crafted decorative items,


gifts, household items, garden decor, and holiday ornaments.


These golf ball critters were fun to peruse.


Garden stakes are such fun, if you have a garden…


I didn’t have much time to peruse the tents, but they looked like fun.


It was fun to try out my souvenir from the home country.


Spam the pig visited again and was loved by many.


Butterflies and bumblebees fluttered by, and this grasshopper jumped into my path.


I thought it would jump the minute after I snapped the photo, which it did, right on to my table!


Then it explored for a bit and even picked out a pendant to go with its outfit.


I had my annual hot dog and soft drink, but didn’t get around to sipping a Margarita this year.


Two customers bought a keychain and a butterfly pendant and a few business cards walked away.


It was fun to watch people parade their plant selections, and I was tempted to try my black thumb at a green orchid.


Soon it was closing time, though, and tear-down became more important.


If you’re a gardener, go check out Platt Hill Nursery in Bloomingdale or Carpentersville. They’ll have some fun Fall items in store for you.


My next pop-up event is the Ravenswood ArtWalk September 19 and 20. I hope to see you there.


Spiffying up my shelf display

It’s been a year and three months since I started showing at Aurora Rose Boutique, and since then my shelf has undergone a few transformations.


Owners Kim and Amber take such pride in their store and I love seeing the rearrangements they make to best display the handmade products created by more than 40 vendors.


As my shelf got moved and re-hooked and pared down, it’s been a great collaborative process to help boost each other’s business.


Last month co-owner Amber re-arranged a few things, which prompted me to create new display gadgets to showcase my pieces.


I had purchased some fabric that initially was going to be a backdrop for my jewelry, but inspired by the velvet display rectangle Amber had found I decided to copy that concept.


Michaels had plenty of low-cost pieces of wood and foam core I could repurpose. Then I looked up tutorials on covering foam core and I got some batting from Vogue Fabrics. One evening was spent stapling the batting to the substrates.


Then I had to dig up my sewing machine and read the manual. It has been 5 or 6 years since I last used a hand-me-down machine, and when I was gifted this one my interests had diverted to other things.


I learned that linen is a difficult trial fabric but proceeded with the hemming anyway, and played with tension and different kind of stitches.


While it isn’t perfect, for the purpose of this project I am fine with the hemlines, and look forward to finishing that UFO quilt in my drawer.


After ironing again (which I never do for clothing, btw), I covered the wooden pieces with a staple gun.


The necklace stand was too thin for staples so I used spray adhesive quite messily and got that covered.


The foam core became a blend of spray adhesive and a few finishing staples. The easels came from the ‘project presentation’ section of Michaels.


Now I have a nice cohesive set of display pieces that will hopefully help my pendants, bracelets and earrings fly off the shelf.



Aurora Rose is actively engaged in Lemont’s summertime events, so pop by before the Wednesday evening Cruise Nights, the sunset soiree concerts and the farmers market.


I will be there with my art fair setup on Saturday, June 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. for Aurora Rose’s 4th Saturday Trunk Show. You can view all my inventory that day, including larger encaustic collages.


My Etsy shop is open 24/7, for those of you who aren’t near Lemont.




I took off most of August to tend to visitors which meant that my studio was also occupied. As I reviewed the upcoming exhibits and fairs I felt stressed that I had not spent more time in the studio.

Studio Time

Then I created some pieces for Aurora Rose which brought me back into that zone of flow and zen, and their reception of the newbies made me feel better.


As I shared photos of pieces in progress and completed, the earrings not placed in Aurora Rose Boutique were quickly claimed by my friends.


Another friend who had placed a pendant on hold a few months ago was able to send her check in, and I happily shipped her piece off.


Then I got birthstone orders from a repeat customer for two fall birthdays, which has me excited to create custom pieces reflecting family members.


A day later, my Etsy store got an order from someone whose name I didn’t recognize.


Out-of-town visitors admired one of my musical pendants so much they took it home.


It is super-exciting to make sales, because it validates that my creations resonate with people.


All artists struggle with the economic viability of pursuing their passion, so having this sales boost is giving me hope that I can eventually create a steady income stream and truly make a living at this (rather than depleting savings and looking for freelance gigs).


So please put your money where your mouth is and buy from local artisans. Praise is wonderful and being complimented on one’s work is always affirming, but making a sale, no matter how small, is cause for happy dances and joy that words alone cannot generate.


I will showcase my inventory at the Ravenswood Art Walk October 5 and 6 and am hoping for lots of happy dances behind my table in the big tent.

Meanwhile, Art Lakeview will host my Malachites at Powell’s Bookstore. PerficalSense Studio has an encaustic show coming up, about which more details will emerge in the coming weeks.


Etsy is getting crowded

“Very beautiful!
I love the attention and artistic care you put into both sets.”

~ Birthday earring shopper

I’ve been loading pieces to Etsy over the past week or so, so you have some new pieces to peruse.


The Mustard Square:


Three Pearls of Wisdom:


I loaded a set of earrings last week that got snapped up right away. I love it when pieces speak to a customer.


They were option 2 of a birthday commission for a friend.


The desired earrings had already been sold, so I offered to make similar ones (exact replicas don’t happen with this gauge wire).


Erica’s husband wanted to accentuate his wife’s neck with my earrings. How cool is that? So I set to work ‘replicating’ the initial design, curling the wire and then hammering it flat.


I made two options and he decided which ones would “look especially beautiful on Erica.”


They certainly do, don’t you think?


Wrapping them up was fun.


You can find other earrings here.


I’ve enjoyed modeling a few pieces while I was out and about.

Yellow Butterfly
, Waves Wire Earrings ,
not-yet-listed squiggle square, Dvořák pupil

Wax and wire pendants like Peace-loving Squiggledee will be perfect for Fall weather.


Seatbelts are cool!


Mixing and matching is fun (as is dipping into the non-selfmade collection).


Love Letter, Vintage Coral Necklace with Chinese bead earrings,
Sparkly Pink Butterfly Heart with earrings from Aurora Rose,
unlisted earrings and a to-be-listed pendant

I’d like to see some collar necklaces move too, since I can’t wear the larger ones. Go shop so I have incentive to make more!


“They just hit me Maike. Like they were made for me.”
~ A happy earring customer

Pendants of the Day/Week

I started posting pendants of the day to my personal Facebook page, which seems to be resonating with my friends. So I’m contemplating shifting that over to the fan page to see if a pendant of the day/week is something people like to see.

Clockwise: Seashells in the Waves,
Raffia Square,
Wrapped Boomerang
Womanly sculptural pendant

I enjoy picking out a piece to go with my outfit, and sometimes it even forces me to get dressed. I will admit that one of these shots is actually in a pajama top.


Clockwise: Sculptural collar necklace that has been dibbed,
but a similar one is here,
Curled Collar Necklace,
Four-petal Flower (part of this set), or
check out the wax and wire option, and
Funky Dance Moves which was purchased at Custer,
but Triple Dance Moves is over here.

I’m trying to decide what to wear to this evening’s barebecue. There is a wedding to go to soon, too. It sure is fun to have a lot of inventory to choose from. Please pick something for you to strut around with!

Clockwise: Sparkly heart,
Ballsy Collar and Earrings Set with Cuff,
Sparkly Rainbow Square,
Bling-a-Ring which was purchased at Custer and has no sibling, and
Green Scribble Balls Earrings and Collar Set with a knotty bracelet/cuff (coming soon to Etsy).

What colors do you want to see these pendants with?
Remember that I have pieces at Aurora Rose in Lemont as well, which will be hosting its Cruise Night this evening.

Boutiquing in Lemont

I’ve been creating new pieces that aren’t up on Etsy, because as of today they are available for sale in a boutique.

Maike's Marvels at Aurora Rose

Yesterday I drove into Lemont, Illinois for the first time, which was a revelation. Just a short ride off I-55, entering via exit 271 offers a lovely view of a hillside town with many church steeples. It was settled in 1836 by workers digging the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and is “one of the oldest American communities in northeastern Illinois.”


My destination was right in the heart of historic downtown Lemont, where the buildings do harken back to historic America.

Aurora Rose store front

There, at 111 Stephen Street, I met the owners of Aurora Rose Boutique, Kim and Amber, and cat Hermione Rose who recently relocated the shop from another location to Lemont. They hand-pick creators of unique artisan gifts and pride themselves on selling items you cannot easily find in other stores.*

Kim and Amber

The store offers children’s and doll clothing, fairies, handcrafted jewelry, decorative and functional pieces for the home, wall decor, and select food products.


You can view a list of the vendors here.

Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont

I enjoyed the humorous take on little girls’ outfits.


Doll’s dresses fit for Princess Scientists abound.

Princess Dolls

Fairies peek at you from various vantage points.

fairies at Aurora Rose

I had a fortifying lunch across the street at H&H Family Restaurant, visited a fun antiques and memorabilia store, drove around a little bit to explore, and then made my way home since it was too chilly to linger.


The town hosts activities year-round, and looks to be a fun destination for Spring and Summer. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is eagerly anticipated for March 9 at 1 pm. Aurora Rose will host a fairy event later in the month. I look forward to future excursions.

Green for the Parade

Meanwhile, if Lemont is too far for you, peruse Aurora Rose’s Facebook page where they post pictures of the gift items they sell.

Aurora Rose

Maike’s Maraviglia available at Aurora Rose include:

Love pendants inspired by Song of Solomon

Solomon pendants Maike's Maraviglia

 New collar necklaces.

Necklace details Maike's Maraviglia


wire necklaces by Maike's Marvels

Brand-new creations including a princess heart, a denim triangle, Kindly Recommended, a woven oval, Barbalala, Irish Rose ‘I’ll greet her’, Dark Chocolate, Irish Rose Fairies, a polka-dot flower, quirky blue shamrock, Psalms 103:15 circle, and an abstract form.

Wax and Wire Maike's Maraviglia pendants

I also brought in some earlier creations.

More pendants by Maike's Marvels

I enjoy creating them, and they’re just as much fun to wear. Pick out yours (and one for a friend) today!

* To clarify, we had been in contact before the in-person meeting. It is always good form to make an appointment with retail establishments if you wish to sell your wares at their venue. (I don’t want it to appear that I just showed up with my pieces in hand…)

Girls’ Night Out at The Sugar Path

Last week I attended The Sugar Path’s first Girls’ Night Out pop-up event, which was a lovely gathering of women. Owner Michelle Adams kindly invited me to bring my Maraviglia wax and wire pendants.


The Sugar Path was founded in 2011, when three sisters decided to pursue a love of baking. Michelle researched the food industry for 6 years prior to leaving her career as an attorney to embark on this venture with her family.

The Sugar Path storefront

Initially the cupcakes and pies traveled to various farmers markets in the Geneva area, but when a storefront became available last summer, The Sugar Path expanded into a storefront operation. Their official ribbon cutting was on February 5.

Now the bakery has become a lovely gathering spot for after-school tutoring, post-work cupcake happy hours, and fun events like Girls Night Out. In addition to regular and alcohol-infused cupcakes, mini-pies and slices of pie, the cafe-style location offers teas, coffees, cocoa and milk.

Vitrine at The Sugar Path

Since I arrived early (The Sugar Path’s hours and menu are updated here), I had lunch at Graham’s 318, which served a fabulous egg salad sandwich and yummy hot cocoa.

I admired the snowy landscape as I walked around.


Then I stopped in at the Peaceful Parlour to stock up on tea and honey. Owner Shari had introduced her wares to us at the Geneva WIN Retreat.

Peaceful Parlour in Geneva IL

Soon it was time to set up at the store.

Maike's Maraviglia Pop-up

Girl’s Night Out! features female owned businesses, and will be held on a regular basis. The vendors in the February 4th line up included:

Frock ’n Roll Chicago (clothing)

FrockNRoll Chicago

NYR Organics (make-up and lotions)

NYR Organic

Pawprint Barkery (dog treats)

Pawprint Barkery

Bema and Pa’s (infused Olive Oils)

Bema and Pas

The Farmer’s Wife Aprons


Stella & Dot jewelry

Stella and Dot

We were offered samples of K’Tizo Tea, Fresh Ground Roastin Coffee, and mini cupcakes by The Sugar Path.

Tea and Coffee

Harpist Tina Barber of Simply Elegant Harp played lovely melodies.

Simply Elegant Harp

Sweet Embellishment’s postcards were a favorite as well.

Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes

Sweet Embellishments at The Sugar Path

A few friends stopped by for the fun.


I was happy to send my wire pendants off with new owners, including two of the girly hearts inspired by the shop owner’s daughter.

Maraviglia sold at Girls Night Out

A great time was had by all.

Girls Night Out at The Sugar Path

My collages are still up at The Sugar Path’s Market Place corner, so stop in and peruse the vendor shelves and don’t forget to pick up a cupcake or some pie!

The Sugar Path market

My pendants wanted to jump into the Cowboy Pie (so I took one home).