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Choosing Veritas Faire…

I recently selected Veritas Medieval Faire as Butterfly Sundries’ newest Featured Charity and I want to tell you why this particular charity event is so very close to my heart. I chose this event because it offers something good, something honorable… and maybe even something compassionate to the residents of Grant County, Washington.

Both Veritas Medieval Faire’s parent non-profit, Kron, and my own business office were victims of multiple thefts during our respective years in Moses Lake, WA; as we shared building space, we both suffered substantial losses simultaneously.

In the case of Kron, the thefts included replica swords used in programming, blunt training weapons used in their educational videos on medieval combat, armour on loan to the organization from their Executive Director, a handcart to make transportation easier, an amp used for the program’s microphone system, a Bluetooth car stereo donated for the org’s vehicle to make long car rides safer and more enjoyable,  and more… items used in the service of others, most of which the organization has still not been able to replace.

In the case of Butterfly Sundries, I lost a smartphone, (all but 4 cups from) my Gramma’s Depression-era china set which I was using to inspire a new jewelry line (some of the few items of hers I was able to keep as most were given to other family members), a laptop computer, memory cards for my camera, a welding/torch set for a jewelry expansion, a CASIO keyboard, and more…. None of which have I been able to replace.

One of only four cups remaining after a theft in Moses Lake claimed the rest of the Depression-era china set I received from my Gramma.
One of only four cups remaining after a theft in Moses Lake claimed the rest of the Depression-era china set I received from my Gramma.

As some of the building space was offered to staff or volunteers for free storage, there were personal losses as well… including childhood collector’s items or toys, DVDs, etc.

The losses were heartbreaking. I still feel violated by the intrusion and have dreams related to it. Despite a number of wonderful people I met in the area, my personal experiences and memories are tainted by the sadness I feel.

It was with a certain amount of surprise I heard that Kron intended, last year, to bring Veritas Medieval Faire to Grant County, Washington. After the crimes they had been victim to in that area I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had written off the area after relocating to Ellensburg, WA. Instead, they decided to respond to their experiences, as well as the crime and gang rates associated with Grant County, by offering an event which centers on the culture of the knight, a warrior in his own time, with the Code of Chivalry as the central focus. They decided to offer an alternative to the crime and gang culture still-associated with that area by bringing engaging educational opportunities and programs to an area which might not otherwise have access to enrichment activities. I want to support them in that quest.

For my part, I want something good to come out of my negative experiences in Moses Lake and Grant County. The crimes to which I fell victim hurt my heart and my business- but if I can take that negativity and turn it into something good, perhaps I can create new meaning from the losses. The thefts made me aware of the horrible problems Grant County still needs to work on, but if my awareness does not move me to action it is valueless. I’m turning it into motivation to help a non-profit do good work in an area I know needs it. If the Code of Chivalry makes a difference in the life of at least one child or helps even one youth reconsider what it can mean to be a warrior and gives them an alternative code to use of character building… I’ll count it as a success and the losses worth it.

 

The life of even just one is worth far more than the material losses I suffered… and I am grateful to Kron for reminding me of that with their Veritas Medieval Faire.

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Earth Day 2014!

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…..

 

It’s Earth Day!

This past weekend I volunteered for some fantastic programming done by the Knights of Veritas for Weed WarriorsNewcastle Earth Day event (I had no idea how relevant environmental conservation was to people during the middle ages!). It was such a wonderful day. Even the downpour wasn’t enough to dampen my spirits! I also had an opportunity to meet a fantastic artist about whom I can’t wait to tell you in a later blog post!

 

But, for today, I want to tell you about how Butterfly Sundries uses environmentally responsible practices!

 

I save (and recycle) scrap metal! While it’s easy to recycle scrap silver by sending it back to my metal distributor, I also make a point to save every single little bit of scrap of copper and brass. Even the tiniest piece can find new purpose in becoming a handmade jump ring, headpin or rivet. The pieces which have not yet found new purpose are also kept in reserve for Butterfly Sundries’ planned (eventual) expansion into casting!

 

For etched pieces, I use and reuse the acid for as long as possible and then dispose of the (toxic) acid responsibly! I don’t like for anything to go to waste and so I store and reuse my acid as long as possible (I used my recent batch for more than 2 years)! Rather than diluting and neutralizing it before dumping it down the sink, as do many hobbyists and artists, I use ethical (and legal) disposal practices– calling to my relevant local governmental agencies and following their procedures for packaging it and bringing it to them for proper disposal (even when it costs me money)! I also use safe jewelry cleaning and “antiquing” products on all my pieces from a trusted company!

 

Whenever possible, I try to ensure that Butterfly Sundries’ only purchases jewelry gift boxes made of recycled materials. Mailing boxes are also, as often as possible (Priority Mail Boxes are the exception), re-purposed boxes from my supply shipments or from a local business which gives me their old boxes. My box filler comes from my supply shipments, old newspapers and sometimes even filtered wood shavings from Bender’s Wood and Brass!

 

If environmental stewardship is an important cause to you and you want your jewelry purchases to support a nonprofit dedicated to environmental stewardship programs, shop now to support Weed Warriors (the current Featured Charity, they receive 10% of all sale profits through the end of May)! Also, check out Butterfly Sundries’ Beautiful World Collection on Etsy here! 10% of the sale profits on all those items will continue to support Weed Warriors’ programming through February 2015!

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Romance & Mischief by Design

Celebrating old romance and fantasy novels with imperfect printing, this new etched cuff is a great accessory for the mischievous!
Celebrating old romance and fantasy novels with imperfect printing, this new etched cuff is a great accessory for the mischievous!

 

I love romance and I really like creating mischief. Blending those two things together isn’t always easy, but I discovered early on that- occasionally- the turn of a phrase can satisfy my desire to have both.

 

As a youth, I read a lot of romance and fantasy novels. A pastor’s brat, there were lots of things I wasn’t supposed to do or say (most of which I didn’t miss, but I felt irritated at not being allowed to watch Dirty Dancing). With ultra-conservative family members (primarily grandparents), I often felt restricted by the rules of propriety which were imposed on me. I learned, however, that the use of a good double entendre could often satisfy my personal need to create mischief or rebel.

 

When I started developing the designs for Butterfly Sundries’ Bookworm Collection (inspired by and supporting my current Featured Charity, Sound Learning), some of the first designs I started sketching drew on those early experiences and memories. And, with Knights of Veritas having also been a recent Featured Charity, I had knights on my mind… which is how this design (which supports both non-profits with 10% of the sale profits, though it is only officially part of the Bookworm Collection) came to be developed.

 

Being a person with a healthy sense of self-preservation, I also learned to always ensure that- should the need arise- I could point to the completely innocent origins of my statement. To keep with my tradition of always having a way out, I included shelves of books on the ends of this design (an easy disclaimer the wearer may use, if needed, for those  with sensitive dispositions or concerns about propriety; I recommend also feigning dismay and shock that their mind would go so quickly to such- delightfully- naughty places).

 

Incorporating my loves for old romances, fantasy novels, imperfect book printing, literature, a passable double entendre and mischief all in one design? My work here is done, at least for now (Yes, it is available on Etsy).

 

I think I’ll go hook up my old VCR to watch my taped copy of Dirty Dancing (one of several “forbidden” movies I taped on VHS, during my youth, and left unlabeled for viewing when my parents left the house).