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Gifts of Inspiration from the Vine

With the warmer days and increased sunshine of spring, I’m starting to think of the beautiful vineyards of Washington. I recently had the opportunity to see some of the new growth of 2014 out at White Heron Cellars and I have to tell you, I’m already getting ideas! I think the texture of the vines will translate really well to some upcoming etched designs! I’ve also gotten some inspiration from the vineyards for some new original jewelry display options for some of my winery consignment locations!

 

But meanwhile…. think this beautiful cat might be able (and willing) to share some of the wine it’s guarding?

 

This beautiful cat caught my eye and agreed to be photographed at White Heron Cellars!
This beautiful cat caught my eye and agreed to be photographed at White Heron Cellars!

 

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Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

To all of Butterfly Sundries’ friends, fans, patrons and admirers (along with everyone else)…. I wish you the happiest of holidays, filled with friendship, love, companionship and family (whether blood relation or not). I thank each and every one you for your support of my business during this holiday season!

Now, that being said, I also understand the holidays can be a difficult time for many of us. Our commercialized society is great at building up often-impossible expectations of how the holidays are supposed to be…. while reality often differs from the fantasy we’ve learned to idealize. For all of us who have realities which differ from what we think the holidays should be or mean…. I invite you to join me in my Christmas tradition.

This Christmas or Yule, join me in letting go of all expectations of what a perfect Christmas should be– and let’s create our own meaning. Do something which makes you feel happy (even if it means avoiding people who make you miserable). Spend time in silence and ponder what would create meaning for you. What have you been putting off? What have you been saying you would do if you only had the time? How can you make the day of someone else a little brighter?

Love to cook? Prepare a nice elaborate meal for yourself, even if you are alone! Know someone who is home-bound or without family? Invite them to join you (or save some leftovers for them)! If you have extras, why not share them with someone you know or have seen who would appreciate (or benefit from) a homecooked meal?

Need coffee? Thank your barista for working on the holiday, leave them an extra tip, and make sure to wish them a happy holiday (and only nice customers)!

Do you know someone who has lost a loved one or significant other in the past year? Consider giving them a call for Christmas to tell them that you’re thinking of them and wish them a happy holiday. Listen if they need to talk.

However you celebrate your holiday season, I hope you share your joy and light with others. The holiday is just a day on the calendar; you create the meaning with the choices you make the the actions you choose. Whatever your personal, spiritual, cultural or religious inclinations- I hope you make this day a good one, for yourself and others.

And remember, when all else fails, two of the best gifts I can ever recommend giving to those you meet are your undivided attention (time) and a genuine smile (joy). In fact, I think it’s time I got back to the quality time with my household (actually, I’m writing this early- so I expect I’ll still be sleeping when this finally posts).

Happy Holidays! Wherever you are, and wherever you go- travel safe & bring joy to everyone you meet!
Happy Holidays! Wherever you are, and wherever you go- travel safe & bring joy to everyone you meet!
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New Tools, New Mediums

I’m always in a process of evolution. Personally, creatively… it doesn’t matter. If I’m not growing and expanding my horizons I start feeling constricted. And if I don’t do something to challenge myself quickly, once I feel confined, I begin to feel like I’m drowning in stagnate waters.

I try to challenge myself. I search for things that not only interest me, but also things that are beyond my comfort zone- even things that scare me (a little). I choose things that I don’t know if I’ll be good at… or things with which I have a history of struggling.

At the moment, that thing is Photoshop.

Technology and I have long had a history of being at odds. In high school I took a Computer Repair and Electronics class for one of my science credits (I just couldn’t stomach the idea of dissecting anything).  Almost none of my computer-related class projects worked; my teachers would stand by and watch me complete the task and even they couldn’t figure out what I did wrong (which probably helped save my grade). I quickly came to the conclusion that I was technologically cursed- a counterproductive viewpoint which became part of my life narrative. It has been my approach to almost all computer-related tasks ever since.

Now, in adulthood, I’m more ready to admit the viewpoint I’ve had for so many years is not serving me. That fear I developed of computers (and computer programs) is holding me back from using some (potentially) really cool tools for my photography and jewelry design goals. So, do I continue to limit myself… or do I jump in and start learning how to use the tools correctly?

  • I spent the better part of a year being scared to death of my camera- refusing to take a picture because I was convinced the camera was smarter than I was.
  • I spent 3 months limiting myself to the “auto” settings (No, you’ve never seen those pictures).
  • Once I discovered the RAW format for photos, I spent an 6 months avoiding that feature.
  • Then I spent four more months avoiding even the possibility of trying to process those photos after 1 failed attempt.

I admit it. The first time I tried to process this photo taken in RAW it turned out looking like an abstract painting that had gone horrifically wrong. You couldn’t even tell that there was a butterfly in the picture.

But, I came back. Calmer, wiser (I always do lots of research when I’m scared of something- knowledge is power!) and ready to try again.

And, for a second attempt, it’s not bad. I’ve got a lot more to learn…. but it still looks like a butterfly and that’s progress.

When at first you don't succeed, try again (repeat as often as necessary)! Close-up of an Oroville, WA butterfly.
When at first you don’t succeed, try again (repeat as often as necessary)! Close-up of an Oroville, WA butterfly.

I think once I process a few more photos (enough to get more familiar with the features and stop being scared of them) I’ll revisit one of the jewelry-making skills which scared me off a little over a year ago… pewter casting. After a year of research I have some new ideas about how to reliably get good results (I did get a perfect cast once, but I was never able to replicate the process to duplicate the results).

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Imperfect Beauty

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Some people find beauty in perfection... I cherish the beauty in "imperfection."
Some people find beauty in perfection… I cherish the beauty in “imperfection.”

Continue reading Imperfect Beauty

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Finding the EXIT…

This past weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for Knights of Veritas programming during Tacoma Maritime Fest. For me, it was a free trip out of town guaranteed to inspire me. For Knights, they were able to have and set of eyes watching their area while doing programming.

 

The day was so much fun… but I had frequent reminders of why, as a rule, I don’t vend at public events. I don’t function well in noisy environments. I perceive every sound to be louder than what others experience and some frequencies are actually painful. Also, I have difficulty blocking out background noise, so trying to focus on one person enough to maintain a conversation is hard- and exhausting. The more my energy I expend the worse my fibromyalgia symptoms become… and the longer it takes to recover. Then, when you factor in a severe reaction to cigarette smoke (which aggravates the fibro), I don’t suppose it’s any wonder that my body is still- days later- recovering.

 

All that being the case, it was a beautiful day…. and, as always, my coping strategies helped me maintain my sense of humor. No matter what, no matter when, no matter how bad the pain levels may get or overstimulated I am…. I can always find something positive on which to focus my thoughts when I don’t think I can cope another second. This time, the inspiration for my positive thought came from a nearby boat: the EXIT.

 

Every moment I had the impulse to run away from the sounds, cigarette smoke and even pain I would just look out over the water at “my” EXIT, often pausing long enough to take a picture,… imagining that soon it was going to carry me away to a quiet restful place until I recovered. Just that thought, that hope, that focus on the symbolism of escape was enough to keep my good humor going all day long. I am so grateful to the owner of that boat for being there and providing an easy visual reminder.

In retrospect, even as I continue to recover from being at Tacoma Maritime Fest, I still consider the day a wonderful one. I met great people, saw wonderful things and had a fantastic time. I even found inspiration for some new and upcoming jewelry designs (including one which will come to Etsy next week)!

The Exit, one of the photos from Butterfly Sundries cutting room floor. While it didn't make the cut- I credit this boat with saving my sanity.
The Exit, one of the photos from Butterfly Sundries cutting room floor. While it didn’t make the cut- I credit this boat with saving my sanity.

 

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Inspiration at The Butchart Gardens

This Day Lily photo, by Rebekka Van Der Does, has also inspired a new pendant design!
This Day Lily photo, by Rebekka Van Der Does, has also inspired a new pendant design!

My sweetheart and I recently took a mini-vacation to visit a friend up in Victoria, B.C; on our way home I was given a wonderful afternoon at The Butchart Gardens…. and I felt so inspired (and happy I brought my camera)! This is one of the many photographs I took during our visit and it will soon be available in Butterfly Sundries’ Etsy store!

But, keep checking back…. this flower has also inspired a new original pendant design which will be coming soon!