The Art of Wandering in Decorah

My Aunt Julie and I practiced the art of wandering this past weekend. We chose a quaint town in Northern Iowa. The two of us checked into our hotel and set out to wander the shops downtown. If you haven’t been to Decorah, Iowa you are missing a quaint town with shops, eateries, hotels and art. Most business in this town are “Mom and Pop” shops, same with the restaurants. No chains located here.

Our first stop was Ruby’s a cafe and catering business. The aromas of fresh baked bread, homemade foods and an atmosphere that feels like home drew us in doors. We found ourselves in a small cafe with residents of the town bringing in family to meet the waitress and the cook. Our waitress greeted us like family and spoke to us throughout our meal about her thoughts, her life and listened when we spoke. We dined on homemade chicken pot pie and brought home a loaf of fresh back chocolate chip zucchini bread.

We then decided to wander through the shops and walk off that scrumptious chicken pot pie. Agora Arts was filled with jewelry, paintings, decorative towels, cards, watercolors and more. My Aunt and I enjoyed the watercolor paintings with poetry and sayings. The jewelry sparkled and was well made. Purses in the window with wire handles wrapped in plastic tubing. The leather-work was masterful.

Sparrows Candles & Gifts was amazing! The scent of fall candles greeted us as we entered the quaint shop. The owner behind the counter with a smile welcoming us in and to feel free to look at and touch the items in the store. Being a tactile person I appreciate being able to touch items before purchase. There were up-cycled purses, candles, scarves and so many items we were surprised each time we looked a new spot in the store.

We wandered and viewed the art on the business walls. The art in the park area. We ended our wander at Blue Herron Knittery. So much yarn! We were in yarn Heaven! The two of us love to crochet and try different yarns with our creations. I believe we could have stayed here happily for days. The owner was friendly and told us about Thursday evening crochet with the ladies from town. Currently, they are working on an afghan.

The downtown area is filled with a plethora of shops and eateries. Driving around town we saw the most beautiful Victorian homes and Bed and breakfast establishments. We were amazed and the 40 some odd places to visit while in Decorah from arts to hiking, kayaking, bookstores, pottery….the list continues.

We enjoyed our afternoon of practicing the wander. There is nothing like time to wander and see what there is to see and experience along the journey.

Until next time, enjoy the journey, create and laugh more than you breathe.


The Mileurs

The Art of Two Arrows Studio

Saturday morning, at the Riverfront Farmer’s Market, we had the privilege of visiting with Janet Hill Owner and Designer of Two Arrows Studio located in Studios on Sheridan. Her work is both beautiful and dynamic. She and her daughter create masterful jewelry together at Two Arrows Studio. We also had the privilege of meeting Robin Salisbury Owner and Designer of Grazy Dazy Designs by Robin – with Peace, Love and Flowers.

Two Arrows Studio is a mother – daughter team creating lasting jewelry in a dynamic fashion. The studio is shared by several artists. Upon entering you see a studio brimming with creativity and beautiful works of art. Brownwyn, Janet’s daughter, created my husband’s and my Unity Pendants and wedding rings – beautiful!

Janet creates magnificent jewelry in a variety of colors and stitches. If you haven’t experienced Two Arrows Studio it is worth the stop and the views.

Robin Salisbury has a unique twist and creates jewelry full of life. her work is located in Two Arrows Studio and adds light and whimsy to the room.

These women are a pleasure to spend time with and learn new techniques. Janet teaches classes on jewelry making at Studios on Sheridan. The Riverfront Farmer’s Market is winding down with one month left. You can sill visit Janet, Bronwyn and Robin at their studio located in Studios on Sheridan. You can also visit Two Arrows Studio online via Facebook and Etsy.

We thank you ladies from the bottom of our hearts for sharing your morning and your masterpieces with us.

Until next time, enjoy the journey.


The Mileurs

The Art of Creating Together

Saturday afternoon we adventured to Art at the Bodega in Washington, Illinois. Upon entering we find beautifully painted ceramics on display and a smiling employee. He greeted us with a smile and walked us through the steps to create our masterpiece. My son and daughter-in-law invited me to tag along and enjoy the experience with their family.

It was both relaxing and fun to watch each choose a piece to make his or her own. My grandsons enjoyed all the color choices and paintbrush selection the most. We each chose our piece and shared a table to paint and visit. Ben chose a dinosaur, Malachi chose a dragon, Emily a polar bear and Martin an owl with a hat.

We spent several hours together laughing, talking and painting. Each of us taking care of the boys and helping them to paint their pieces. The energy here is amazing. Nearly every table was filled with a family sharing time and creating. A special place. My son discovered he can take his incomplete piece home and come in during normal business hours as often as needed to finish. He loved the at no extra charge and anytime. Our pieces will be glazed and fired this week for pick up Saturday.

I took several pictures of our afternoon to share our moment. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to our next adventure at Art at the Bodega. To all at Art at the Bodega that made this afternoon possible, thank you! We appreciate all of you!

Until next time, keep creating and enjoy the journey.


The Mileurs

This Week

The Happy Mileurs are out of the shop this week. We are working on packing for our child to go to college, getting ready for our grandson to start kindergarten and doing some updates.

We hope that you all have a wonderful week and look forward to catching up with all of you next week!

Until then enjoy the journey!


The Mileurs

9th Annual Summer Festival in Henry, Illinois

Happy Mileurs is excited to share… we will be a vendor at the 9th Annual Summer Festival in Henry, Illinois! Join us for music, food and shopping. We will have a special one day sale on select items! Hope to see you there!

Explore Second Saturday in the Heights

Second Saturday in Peoria Heights is approaching. Explore Art in the Heights this coming weekend. Meet local artists and take home a piece or more of their original work. Don’t miss out on this fabulous event!

Tom will be a local artist at this event with his dynamite earrings sure to add dazzle to any ensemble.

A special thank you to Tom Pries for sharing!

First Friday

Once a month we have the pleasure of wandering through more than 10 venues in Peoria. First Friday opens the doors of studios and erupts with fantastic artists and artwork. This First Friday was girls night out with my sister and youngest daughter. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, seeing familiar artists and meeting new ones.

Our first stop of the night was to Glazed and Confused to see Cyndi and Jeff. The two artists worked clay on the wheel and shared their current works with visitors. Definitely worth the stop. Great company, great work and the snacks are pretty good too. A fabulous place.

Studios on Sheridan has an exhibit gallery full of landscape and charcoal drawings. The pieces draw you in and calm you as you view. Carrie shared her work this evening as well. Beauty abounds. More than ten artists have their studios here and have masterful work in display. Each door opens to a new world to view and experience. An abundance of wonderful works. Live music fills the building and sets the mood.

CAC was the next on our tour and we saw familiar faces and admired the work. The exhibit gallery exhibits fantastic pottery. We took our time wandering and viewing the works. Chatted with a few artists and shared a few laughs. Always a great stop in the tour. The work speaks for itself. Fantastic.

Casa de Arte was a special treat this evening. We were able to see Tanya and view her beautiful works. She is a dear friend and we have missed her face so much. It was wonderful to visit with her and see her new works and favorite pieces on display. Congratulations to Tanya on her fabulous exhibit! Casa de Arte is a welcoming spot on the tour. The smells make your mouth water and the art inspires. Thank you for being a part of the tour.

The Mill had one of our favorites Gene-o showing how to bend metal. He enjoys sharing his skill with visitors. Jacob was in the middle of a sculpting class as we wandered though his works. We also found painting to music in the next room. Fabulous viewings and participation at The Mill.

Our evening ended at Sugar to share our favorite moments of the evening and glorious pizza. Thank you to all the artists and coordinators of First Friday. We continue to enjoy the tour and the works of art. It is our hope we also remember many artists have regular studio hours and are worth the trip. Still others offer classes to share their passion with others.

Thank you for spending your time with us today as we share our night of art. Until next time, keep dreaming and keep creating.


The Mileurs

Suzette Boulais

Suzette Boulais thank you for sharing your story, your fantastic work and for allowing us to publish all you have shared.

Our Spotlight this month turns to Suzette Boulais, a painter from Illinois, that specializes in abstract.

Take Five Q & A with Suzette Boulais
.What’s your background in art?

   I don’t have any formal background in art. I didn’t study it in high school or college and so am a bit of a late bloomer. I was raised in a household with two very artistic brothers, however, one who received a scholarship to attend Indianapolis’ Herron School of Art and so I have been surrounded by art for much of my life. I was well into my 40s when I decided to experiment with art and pursue it on own. Right from the start, with my very first painting, (which I still keep for sentimental purposes) I could see my style was leaning toward the contemporary and abstract and so have followed this path ever since.

2. What does your art aim to say?

   My art aims to communicate universal, abstract concepts like peace, hope and serenity, and by doing so, offer a sense of calm to the viewer. My paintings are often abstract landscapes that use light to reflect hope, as light for me is always a spiritual, not just physical dimension of my work. With a strong interest in graphic design and a love of symbolism, my paintings are in many ways symbolic graphic designs set to color and paint. When I paint a circle, for example, I’m using it as a symbol to represent the unity of life. The sun and moon are symbols for the light of God. Birds in my paintings reflect the spiritual journey throughout our lives and water reflects the symbolic, unconscious life force.

3. Who is your biggest art influence?

   My biggest influence to date is abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. I find his work with basic color schemes simple, yet sublime. On my best days when I feel my own colors and shapes are working together in harmonious ways, I hope my paintings express a small element of the sublime, too.

4. How have you developed your career?

   I can’t say that I have developed a career in art. What I have developed is an avocation in art. Creating art is my joy, my passion, my therapy, my prayer, my meditation, my contemplation, my connection to Source and my soulful expression. Creating art for me coincides perfectly with the Joseph Campbell quote, “Follow your bliss.” It’s my joy and my bliss to enter the quiet and private sanctuary of my art room and see how each and every piece of art takes on a creative life all its own.

5. How do you seek out opportunities?

   As a member of CIAO (Central Illinois Artist Organization) I like being aware of various opportunities to show my work along with the works of fellow CIAO artists. I have also found that promoting my art on Facebook and using my art as a backdrop to my Facebook Thoughts That Soar series where I put quotes to art, is a great way showcase some of my work. Facebook has also come in handy when making community connections when I do callouts to businesses or organizations to see if they might be interested in showing my work at their facilities. After a recent public callout I made on Facebook about some of larger pieces that were available for display, for instance, I received word from Methodist College that they would like to hang these pieces in the waiting room areas at their main campus. I was thrilled about this opportunity because it is gives the College an opportunity support local artists by displaying our work. And we artists have an opportunity to show our art in a public setting where someone can see it and make a possible purchase. And what artist doesn’t appreciate an art purchase? I certainly do. I’ve yet to get over the thrill when someone likes one of my paintings enough to buy it.
   And finally, while speaking of opportunities, I’m delighted that my two friends and art colleagues, Rebecca Draland-Doyle and Jaci Willis and I will have an opportunity to present a combined art exhibit at Studios on Sheridan that opens on the First Friday of August 2020. It’s follow-up to a combined exhibit we held there several years ago and so we are over the moon about coming back to Studios on Sheridan again!

The Art of Raising Awareness

Yesterday morning at the Farmer’s Market we had the privilege of meeting a few members of the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind family. The volunteers are survivors who shared their stories with us and touched our hearts. Our time was spent primarily with a fantastic gentleman who has survived two brain tumors in less than 10 years. His story moved us, listening to his battle. The emotions, fear, courage and strength. He is a warrior and shared his excitement in being a survivor, member and volunteer. Raising awareness is vital for the community to know about this condition and how to help those in need. We asked permission to write about the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind and to publish events and information surrounding this great organization. We were thrilled when we received a resounding yes!

About the Organization:

Every year over 79,000 Americans are living with a primary brain tumor. Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males aged 20-39 and the 5th leading cause of death in women aged 20-39. They are also the 2nd most common solid tumor in children. 

Mark was only in his 20’s when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A Peoria native, he graduated from Richwood High School and then Southern Illinois University in 1997. He completed his studies for a Masters degree in Industrial Occupational Psychology in 1997 from Western Kentucky University.

Mark’s goal was to create a place where brain tumor survivors and those still fighting the battle can come and support one another in this battle. In an effort to reach out to other brain tumor survivors and to help raise funds for brain tumor research, Mark founded the Walk for the Mind in 2003. The Walk is a way to unite those individuals and their families as well as to raise funds to support brain tumor research in hopes to find a cure.

Sadly, Linder lost his battle in 2005 at the age of 31 but not before he got to see his vision making a difference. Re-named after his death, the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind now attracts over 800 participants from all over Central Illinois.  For the eighth year, all net proceeds will be donated to the “Brain Tumor Research Program” at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Information shared from

Be a presence in Central Illinois to promote awareness of brain tumors and raise funds for research. Information shared from .

Continue an annual walk to raise awareness of brain tumors and their impact on those in Central Illinois. There are many misconceptions about those who have or had tumors. Many people are not aware of their tumors, blaming symptoms on other possible causes.

Additionally, funds will be raised for research into treatment and cures for the various know brain tumors. Research currently includes surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, medication, and other possible treatments and therapies.

We also will remember and honor those lost to brain tumors, their families, friends and loved ones and celebrate those who have survived. Information shared from

If you or someone you know would like to be involved in the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind, please visit the website at You can make a difference. The walk is 17 years strong and helps to support research, awareness and to provide support for those diagnosed, friends and family.

Calendar of Events:

Date(s) – 08/05/2019
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Peoria Pizza Ranch

Come and Eat Pizza and Fried Chicken with us!

Date(s) – 09/01/2019 – 09/30/2019
All Day

All 3 locations of Eli’s:




Date(s) – 09/11/2019
All Day

All day at Kep’s Sports Bar & Grill, a percentage of food for dine in or carry out will be given to Mark Linder Walk for the Mind for brain tumor research!

Kep’s Sports Bar & Grill

313 Muller Road

Washington, IL 61571

Date(s) – 09/28/2019
7:00 am – 11:00 am

17th Annual Mark Linder Walk for the Mind

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Peoria, IL

Date(s) – 09/30/2019
All Day

Come to: East Peoria Avanti’s
2320 E. Washington Rd. (309-694-6200)

On: September 30th, 10:30AM-10:00PM

Present this flyer to the cashier upon payment for tracking purposes
and 20% of proceeds will go to support:
On Dine-In/ Delivery or Carry Out orders

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tax, gratuity and alcohol sales are not included in donation

Thank you to the survivors and volunteers for allowing us to share your information and calendar of events. We also want to send a heartfelt thank you for sharing your stories with us and for raising awareness. We appreciate all you do.


The Mileurs