Ready for Advent

On Sunday Advent begins again.

When mom came to visit for her post-Harvey getaway, we spotted some lovely advent mittens at Ten Thousand Villages. We promptly decided it would be a fun craft activity for the family.

So after the Turkey feast we sat down and gathered quote books and coloring supplies. Together we lined up along the kitchen island and used quotes from our books that applied to each family member.  We also doodled and Zentangled.

Soon the boxes were filled with 21 messages, plus 3 mini bars of chocolate to sweeten the surprise.

We placed each paper in a mitten, and four of us now share a daily ritual for the month of December. The box comes with preprinted daily blessings as well, so we will be able to use those next year.

I helped mom hang hers.

When I got home I set up my Christmas Mantle.

This year I’m just using what’s on the mantle already, along with lights and a few small ornaments that were easy to reach.

I incorporated creations acquired at Chicago’s Sacred Art, and Evanston’s The Pop Up Gallery, Shaker Traditions, Secret Treasures, and Ayla’s Originals.

A few came from Wiesbaden’s Cuckoo Clock and famed German Holzschnitzereien.

Some angels are gifts from my family. They’ve come from Africa, Bali, Luxembourg and Germany.

My Photobomb Angel just turned two and I like having her hang out with these family members.

It is fun to rearrange the collection with creations by my friends, like Chai Wolfman.

After the Bucktown Holiday Fair I will set up a Christmas tree with my handmade ornaments.

Do you have an Advent Calendar?

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.


Frohe Weihnachten!

Happy Holidays


shalom snowflakes holiday cards by Maike's Marvels

I wish you and yours a lovely year-end and safe travels to see your loved ones, whether around the block or a flight away.

Angel holiday cards by Maike's Marvels

Here are the cards (both mine and for clients) that are making their way to various post boxes around the world.

Gingerbread and Snowman cards by Maike's Marvels

May your last week of the year be filled with leisurely walks, warm hugs, conversations by the fireplace, joyful games, savory feasts and the gifts of gratitude and tranquility.

Evergreen Tree cards by Maike's Marvels

Radvent: a breather to get Started

Today I am planning on working with Princess Lasertron’s “how to get started” prompts to get my 2012 goals fleshed out. Identifying my mission to “begin to be the person you want to be today” is a daunting task, so these 6 tips will help me move it along.

Radvent Starting by Princess Lasertron

Image re-blogged with permission from Princess Lasertron 

For Radvent 5 on Drawing I’ll direct you to my drawing class experience. Art Journaling is something I am intrigued by but I haven’t delved into it yet. My journals are still full of words rather than pictures.

Since I’ll be mulling a bit today, here are a few pics of this year’s Christmas coziness at my home (I did start early on decorating!).

Maike's Marvels' holiday fire place

My Willow Tree Nativity Scene by Susan Lordi grew as a Christmas present over several years, and this season the Wise Men round it out. 🙂

Willow Tree nativity scene

My friend made the scribble heart which I embellished with fake rubies from mom’s Goose Fest Christmas table last year. The Texas Snowman (as I call him) came from a garage sale in Phoenix. The poinsettia runner is from a German Gift store in Old Town Spring (my sister-in-law purchased a similar one at the time), along with the cute little angel serving sweets. The blue angel comes from my aunt in Germany. Both were made “im Erzgebirge” famous for wood cuttings.

believe it scene

The Weihnachtspyramide came from Germany too via mom.


You’ll remember the wire ball from my challenging project. I purchased the shimmery mosaic balls and the mirror mosaic tree on post-christmas sale from Target. The wooden reading angel was 75 percent off at Pier1 a few years back. Like the scribble heart, the angel moves around the house year-round.

wire ball by Maike's Marvels

The red paper star garland is from Ten Thousand Villages, I made the silver one from a beading kit a few years back (I can’t find that kit anymore), and my sister made the sequin ball in the middle for me.

garland by Maike's Marvels

The knitted santa has been in my family for years. I believe a babysitter (who taught me how to knit a pink doll’s sweater once) may have made it for us. It used to have ribbon at its feet to pin greeting cards on.

Knitted Santa

My tree is a small rosemary tree. I was going to decorate it with small snowflakes, but I don’t want the glitter to get into my food. 🙂 I usually have a wreath for the pine-ey scent, but this year a candle will do.

I like how my advent  surroundings join memories of my whole life together. Santa represents my childhood in the Netherlands (near Alphen), the German decorations remind me of teenage-hood (near Wiesbaden), a snowman representing my time in the South (Houston and Phoenix), and new items from my new life and new friends in the Midwest. It keeps home with me even when I have celebrated on my own, and is a nice way to reflect on how far I’ve come since my early years (not just geographically, obviously). Hey, as I look at everything now it is even helping me identify ‘me’ in keeping with our Radvent challenge!

Holiday traditions are a good way to re-set for the coming year and get ready to implement those intentions Princess Lasertron encourages us to get started on today.

What is your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate its arrival?