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Coming Alive to 2015

While I was taking photographs at The Butchart Gardens, this bee decided to claim a flower for its own.....
While I was taking photographs at The Butchart Gardens, this bee decided to claim a flower for its own…..

I find one of the hardest things about being a business owner, particularly one with disabilities which impact my immune system, is allowing myself the time off to get healthy. It’s especially difficult when I have commitments I need to honor. When I can’t do everything Continue reading Coming Alive to 2015

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Designing Dancing Women (and Men)!

Women, in all their forms, are beautiful and celebration-worthy.
Women, in all their forms, are beautiful and celebration-worthy.

I’ve been having a great time designing new pieces for Butterfly Sundries’ Dancing Women Collection, several of which will be unveiled soon. But, it’s also been a very mind-bending experience. I started the collection knowing I wanted to feature diverse representations of beauty, including women with visible disabilities and a wide range of body types. I never expected that to be the easiest part of the design process.

The challenging part of the process, as it turns out, is choosing powerful dance representations and postures for the designs. As I began designing I realized that so many of the dance positions I learned as a child and can draw at the drop of the hat make women appear graceful… but somehow smaller. Many of them are overtly sexual (and while sexuality and sensuality are both good things, these things are not part of the focus of this collection). They make us take up less space. My quest has been to find and choose artistic representations which are fluid, graceful and still empowering. I want a woman to feel encouraged to fill the space she occupies with her own power and beauty.

The first Dancing Women Etched Cuff sold within less than 2 weeks!
The first Dancing Women Etched Cuff sold within less than 2 weeks!

By contrast, it’s also been an interesting process considering the possibility of exploring a customer’s request for expansion in the direction of Dancing Men designs. I never realized how little I’ve thought of what men look like when they’re dancing. Imagining them in body postures similar to the ones in the Dancing Women Cuff bracelet is counter-intuitive to me (I am embarrassed to admit that my first conceptualization was of men of all sizes and shapes in various body building poses- which then led me to question my own preconceptions and biases; my second thought was of a scene from the movie Hitch).

It’s amazing to me how the simple process of creating a line of socially-conscious jewelry which seeks to combat the bias of media depictions of beauty can be so enriching to me personally. I never realized that I’d adopted gender-role constructs surrounding dance, but- now that I recognize how I’ve internalized some of our cultural values- I look forward to the process of creating and adopting new, healthier, and more empowering constructs!

Meanwhile, you can kind find these designs- and many more- in Butterfly Sundries’ shop on Etsy!

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Practicing Gratitude

“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~  William Arthur Ward


Thanksgiving is over. Family visits are coming to a close, at least until Christmas-time. Siblings have had their annual squabbles; someone won the fight for the turkey’s wishbone. Arrangements are being made for Christmas and now the shopping plans for everyone on our wishlists is (presumably) getting started in earnest. Black Friday has started and many are shopping for deals on the gifts which will “truly make Christmas special” for their loved ones. The rush, the bustle and the chaos of the season we often look forward to (and feel completely crazy by the end of) has begun.


I’m not ready to leave the sanctuary of gratitude yet. I want to stay here a while longer- no, I want to stay here forever.

I am grateful that I’m not out shopping for Black Friday.

There is nothing I can buy which will make me happier. No thing would mean so much to my loved ones as a few minutes of my precious time without distraction. No time spent shopping will mean so much to me as a few more hours of sleep, quiet, reading or jewelry-making.

I am grateful for all that I can do.

As a person with disabilities, there are many things I cannot do as easily as others. But for every single thing I can do, I am grateful. It may take me longer, it may come at a high price- but I am grateful for the choice.

I am grateful for the power to choose (and the ability to recognize the gift).

Everything is a choice. Everything. I cannot always choose what happens to me but I can absolutely choose how I will respond to it. Every choice is a matter of priorities- and while I may not always choose wisely, I have the ability to change my choices- if I choose. Choice empowers me in a way that simple bodily health cannot. I know from experience that my time, energy, health and even brainpower can fail me; I am not invincible. Capability can be taken for granted and then wasted; I know to be mindful of how I use whatever I am blessed enough to get.

I am grateful for quality friends and family.

I don’t tend to have a lot of relationships (people are, much as I love them, exhausting). I don’t spend much time out socializing. I’m lousy on the phone and I visit in-person even less. But, as quirky and out-of-touch as I am, I have a few close friends and family members who understand my limitations and love me anyway. However frustrated they get with me- they know (I hope)- that I will always love them, give them what energy I can and I’ll always accept them who and what they are.

I am grateful for the eyes and heart to recognize beauty- and the opportunity to create it.

Beauty is everywhere, even in a spiderweb covered with dew or a spider (through the safety of a camera lens).
Beauty is everywhere, even in a spiderweb covered with dew or a spider (through the safety of a camera lens).

Beauty is all around us, all the time. It’s in a spiderweb covered with dew. It’s in the warm colors of autumn leaves. Genuine smiles, a cat’s purr, a warm heart, a thoughtful gesture, we know those things are beautiful. But the person who is bent over from arthritis and pain but gets up and greets you anyway… this too is beauty. The homeless person who shares what she has with someone even less fortunate, this is beauty. The man who is struggling to make ends meet and care for his children but still finds time to bring groceries to the home-bound person in the next apartment, he creates beauty. The youth who spends time listening to the same story again which she’s heard 20 times before from her grandmother… beauty is everywhere.

It’s in the little moments we take for granted every day; beauty is in the choices we make every day, each opportunity to help create a better world with the choices we make. Sometimes it’s a choice to acknowledge the beauty of a moment when we see something which can inspire our spirit, sometimes it’s a choice we make to do something.

I am grateful for the opportunity to create a more beautiful world, one choice at a time.

Whether it’s where I spend my money, how I spend my time, who I choose to become, what I choose to do…. In this moment now, I choose to practice gratitude for every choice I can make. May they be good ones, and may I do my part in helping to make this world a better, brighter and more just place for all.


“Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” ~ Margaret Cousins