Valentine’s Day – Share the Love

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These are some of my treasured pictures.   Beautiful children,  loving sentiments and gratefulness.

It’s the first sign that winter is over – Valentine’s Day.  Time to share the love.  Yes, we have many beautiful gifts in our shop, both locally and on line.  Gifts for the special people in your lives.  What does “share your love” mean to you.  As I am sitting here after so many disturbing events in the news today; it’s a good thing to assess what this means to me.  Of course, the people in our own personal family and friend circles mean so much.  I am so grateful.  We need to appreciate every day how blessed we are.  

The romantic days of when we first met our spouse and the adventures that ensued.  Treasures of the heart.  The birth of our first child and the wonderful and exciting challenges that came afterward.  The birth of the child who followed and how they opened our eyes to the difference in people and the thrill as they grow, sharing their interests, talents and personalities.  How fortunate we are.  Then the grandchildren who are special gifts to us parents.  Again, so much love and sharing in watching them grow and experience the wonderful gifts of love and the trials and challenges that we faced as children as well.  We all witness loss, grieving, happiness, love, sharing and so many other emotional times that hopefully, make us closer.  Not everyone is so lucky.

Now at this time in our lives with everything that we have experienced; it makes me think of the lonely, suffering, military men and women, homeless, the hungry, people all over the world who are not as fortunate to have the abundance of gifts we have in this country.  It only takes a minute to smile at someone and to possibly touch their lives in a special way.   It’s easy to be grumpy if we happen to feel that way; but, it takes only a minute to smile and the gift you receive will be so much more than the gift you gave.  Love comes in all packages and perhaps is an overused word.  Maybe we need to think of kindness, laughter, reaching out and just experiencing those special times when they happen.  When you shake a hand in church, it might be the only touch that person receives that day.  What a gift.  Special Gifts for Special People don’t  have to be material gifts.  It can be a glance, warm comment, compliment, touch or just showing that it matters.  Pray for peace both in our nation and around the world.  Hugs mean so much.  Blessed are we.  Make every day special.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

That’s what memories are made of!


Gifts Given and Gifts Received

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Blessings have always been a part of my life.  As a young person and early adult I didn’t appreciate how fortunate I was to have had the experiences and the people who were in my life.   In retrospect, many people touched my life in different ways, my parents, relatives, friends, teachers,  and so on.  Looking back I was so empowered by so many.  Teachers leave their mark on you, whether it is good or not so good.  As I think about the past, I realize that I would not have had the career I have had if it were not for my high school business teacher who taught me how important it is to believe in yourself and to stand out among the rest.  The work ethic she instilled in me affected me all of my life.  Be proud of who you are; present yourself well; give above and beyond 100%; respect others; use your talents; and continue to learn the rest of your life.

Then the gift of children with a wonderful husband.   We were not blessed with a family right away and our journey took many paths.  Then we had two sons who came into our lives; maybe the timing was not the best and we didn’t have the patience we should have had and that we now have as grandparents.  But, as with most parents, they are the light of our lives and we did the best we could.  We are now blessed with two beautiful grandchildren and they really do come into your life when you are much more relaxed and perhaps able to enjoy them a little more than you could your children.

We receive so many gifts in our life; not material gifts, but gifts of love, kindness and all the things that really matter.  We give to our children and each other every day and some days are more difficult than others.  When we have our children we think that all is well and then we realize that they don’t always want to do what we want.  Surprise!  As the years go by, we don’t appreciate how blessed we are and the time passes quickly.

Now I have a business with my adult children and I look at them from a very different perspective.  Matt has the gift of words and expression and motivation to succeed.  He worked hard to get through college; both in a job and his learning.  He has the talent to communicate and reaches out and cares deeply about others.  He has finally achieved his dream and works in the field he loves.    Scott has the motivation to succeed and has overcome many obstacles to achieve his dream job.  He has the talent to express himself  through his photography and has always been artistic.  He’s a good father.  He’s a good problem solver and logical.  He keeps his feelings to himself.   The gifts they have given me are far beyond any parents hopes.  We share our motivation to succeed, creative ability, work ethic, love for nature and people, the desire to reach out and touch others and to appreciate our God-given blessings.  They also share their father’s work ethic, discipline and motivation, love for nature and ability to joke.

So, we give gifts to those we love and care about and we receive gifts from those we love and care about.  It’s not about things; it is about human caring for each other.  What more could anyone ask?

That’s what memories are made of!



Butte’s Cutest

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Cambree  Evyn and Harper

I had a great experience this past week. Three sweet little girls around 4 years old participated in the annual local Dynamic Dance and Tumbling show at our Beautiful Butte Mother Lode Theatre. Watched these three get their hair done at Salon 3 by one of their moms. The other moms decorated their little faces with makeup and they were feeling like little princesses. How cute – they were the epitome of excitement, laughter, fun, smiles, energy and just being young. The excitement was contagious and it would be wonderful if we could all experience this significant time in their lives just to make us feel good. It is sustainable energy and we all have it somewhere in our heart and soul; but, sometimes it gets buried and we forget what it is like to have this special joy. I was fortunate enough to witness both the preparation before the show and the show itself. What a pleasure. These are the things that we hope our children will carry with them all the days of their lives. The happiness that such a small piece of life can bring to everyone who shares in it. Their expressions and comments were priceless. For the moment they have the world by the tail. We treasure these moments in the lives of our children and the memories that will live with us forever. The show was wonderful and so much camaraderie to put an event like this together. If only they could remember how they felt on this special day thirty years from now or when events in their lives occur that may be painful or difficult. It is such a special time and hopefully will be a keepsake of memories about their friends, hometown, parents, school, mentors and everything that is worth reminiscing about and remembering always.


That’s What Memories Are Made Of!



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Last year, I read a story in the Wedding Guide of the Montana Standard and I did not forget about what a lovely message this story told.  I looked up on the web and found it and decided to use this for my first blog on Butte brides which I hope to print from time to time.  The stories are as unique as the brides.  This is the story of the preparation for the wedding of Katie Hursh and Matthew Crowe.  It is written by Katie and is printed verbatim with her and Matthew’s permission.  Photographs are a courtesy of the bride and groom and MKate Photography, Butte, Montana.  I hope you enjoy reading the story of this family, love for each other and their heritage. I am sure it will touch your hearts as it did mine.

Butte bride combines elegant and classy for her big day – On July 6, 2012, my fiance Matthew, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him in Park City, Utah, during the Food and Wine Festival. Following my gleeful acceptance, we immediately began discussing and planning the wedding event. We decided we wanted a Big Fat Butte Irish Catholic June Wedding that would be elegant  and classy while demonstrating our unique personalities. It was important to us to also keep mementoes from our special day. We immediately booked St. Ann’s Church for the ceremony and the Copper King Inn for our reception. We also lined up a group of eight professional musicians to play live music for our guests. I quickly began gathering ideas (pins) from “Pinterest” online for my Wedding Board and began discussing ideas with friends. A friend asked me if I had ever seen Brooch Bouquets before and showed me a few examples online. I looked up how much it might be to purchase one, and was amazed at the beauty as well as the cost to have one specially made. I sent my mother a few examples and asked her if she thought we could figure out how to make them ourselves. She thought we could build them, and I especially liked the sentiment of including brooches from family members alive and since passed.

We asked family members if they had any brooches that had rhinestones on them that they would be willing to give for the wedding bouquets. We also used family necklaces or pearls in our design. My great-aunt, Eileen Tourikis, tearfully gave me a beautiful brooch that belonged to my great-grandmother, Mary Berry, as well as some she had saved of her own. My grandmother, Carol Berry and my mother, Judy Staudinger, added to my collection. My mother started shopping antique and second-hand stores in Butte in search of pretty and unique items that fit our theme. She set a price limit and decided that the average cost per brooch would be between $5 and $7….Some were more, some less. My mother-in-law-to-be, Mary Crowe, found some pearls and rhinestone buttons we could use for corsages. We also shopped online. At the same time, my mother began to purchase shades of white and green silk flowers, greenery and beads, shopping sales whenever possible, but with a quality appearance.  Joann’s in Butte and Helena was a primary source. We communicated about choices with phone photo messages. My mother found instructions online of two different ways to create the bouquets. The first way is simply to gather the stems together and wrap them to use as the handle and the second is to cut and glue the stems into a handle with foam at the top. We decided the second way would be best as the weight of the bouquet would be an important factor considering all the supplies we wanted to use for the desired look. After gathering the supplies, my family worked to wire the brooches and pearls. It was great to have a connection with the family as many of us worked together on the construction during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. All of my bridesmaids had input in the process and what their bouquet would look like when complete. It was important that each brooch be able to stand on its own with the wire wrapped in floral tape as a stem. They also patiently strung little beads together to make loops for accents.

I began by trying to design my bouquet first. It took a couple tries before it started to come together. After I figured out how I would organize the bouquet, I used tacky glue on the end of the cut stem to hold the placement within the foam of the handle tip. I placed the greenery along the bottom edge first, then the hydrangeas, roses, etc. I created each bouquet with flowers first before deciding how to decorate them with the brooches and pearls. I picked the brooches for each bouquet and inserted their wired stems into the bouquet with tacky glue. I finally placed the pearl strands throughout and weaved them through the flowers. I was pleased with the final product and glad we used this method as the bouquet weight was exceptional. We placed them in rose bowl vases with colored stones as weight to allow them to stand upright. This would mean less stress on the bouquets on our big day, plus serve as beautiful decorations. I constructed my bouquet, four bridesmaid bouquets and 1 for tossing. After completing the bouquets, I constructed wrist and pinned corsages and boutonnieres, using flowers, greenery, buttons and shamrocks. I followed through with the same theme in decorating and filling baskets for my two nieces to carry as flower girls. Each bouquet style complemented the bridesmaid’s style and dress color. The bridesmaid dresses had the same shamrock green trim but were lovely in unique different shades of green. All of our bouquets included a green jeweled shamrock from Cavanaugh’s Celtic Shop, a piece from my mother’s collection, and a piece from my great aunt’s collection. My bouquet also included a brooch from my grandmother and my great-grandmother. The sentimental value of including personal family items made the bouquets that much more special and precious!

My wedding day was perfect and all of the work to incorporate the special details was worth it! Of course there were other projects that we created. One was “messages in a bottle” in which five empty bottles were labeled by anniversary. Our guests wrote messages which they placed inside and we will break them and read the messages on the appropriate anniversary. My stepdad, Gary Staudinger, built a bird house for our cards safekeeping and had two cardinals painted on to match an associated quilted wall hanging my mother made (Matt’s family loves the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.) The box said “Katie and Matt – Lovebirds.” Our cake was decorated with Celtic knots, a claddagh cake top, and sugar paste flowers with brooches. My stepdad made a base of vintage glass blocks and lights which added a special touch. The cake table also had shamrock table runners my mother sewed for us. We made our table centerpieces of mirrored bottoms, glass cylinders with colored green rocks filled with underwater lights, shamrock wires and lit candles.

Every aspect of the day encompassed the creation of my dream wedding! And I was able to keep many pieces of the day to hold the happy memories within our new home. It was lovely to share the creation of the event with so many and allow for the excitement to build as we worked to acknowledge the love between the new and old relationships! It was all because two people fell in love.

Katie Hursh

MKate Photography, Butte Montana

Katie and Matthew became husband and wife through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony at St. Ann’s Church in Butte, Montana on June 8, 2013



That’s What Memories are Made Of!


Motherly Love


On this most beautiful day in beautiful Butte, Montana, I am reminded of so many blessings that have been given to me and there are some thoughts I would like to share.

Now that Mother’s Day is almost here, I’d like to share my insights which are from the experiences in my lifetime.  Where would we be without our “moms”?  Words cannot express the love, respect and admiration we have for our mothers.  But, not all of us are mothers.  That does not mean that we are not motherly.  There are many women who do not have children and that is what I would like to touch on.  Remembering back over the years, we had a pastor in our church who I will never forget; and his Mother’s Day message always brought to the front those women who have not been blessed with children either by choice or otherwise.  There are many wonderful women who deserve to be honored on this day because of their motherly nature and devotion.  There are many women caregivers, nurses, foster grandparents, foster parents, teachers, aunts, sisters, neighbors, nuns and the religious orders, military women and many more who share their love everyday with someone.  There is also Mother Nature and Mother Earth who nurture us every day of our lives.  Many women care for animals;  women who minister to the sick and to those who are incarcerated; so many expressions of love.  Motherly love is in the heart, spirit, soul and nature of a woman.  They share their lives, sacrifice and give to others on a daily basis.  There are many women who have a career and cater to their clientele in a friendly, sincere manner with loyalty and integrity.  Women who serve the needy in human resources.  Many women sacrifice to give to others all over the world; to educate and reach other young women in foreign countries; and, to empower them to grow and become so much more than they would be in their present environment.  Think about the women you know.

 So, at this special time, let us reach out to these women and give thanks for all the loving women who touch our lives every day.  We are so blessed!

That is what memories are made of!


Big Sky Country

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We live in one of the most beautiful states in the US, Montana; aka Big Sky Country. I would like to share some of my photos of our beautiful countryside, as well as some of the wildlife we get to see from time to time. The mountains are rugged; the air is pure and the waterfalls, streams, lakes and rivers are great for fishing, boating, swimming and so on. Recreation, both winter and summer, are part of our lifestyle. We have about 1 million people in our very large state. That is almost hard to believe. Montana is a land of peace, with friendly people anywhere you go. As you travel throughout our state, you will find the highways are not congested and the sky is sunny almost every day, and blue. Montana is a great place to visit and even a more wonderful place to live. We are so blessed to live where the home is on the range and the buffalo roam. God Bless our wonderful country.

That’s what memories are made of!


Photography is “Fun”

It is so much fun when you put your memory card or usb cord into your computer to upload your most recent pictures. It is especially exciting when you discover something so special that you could not see with your naked eye; only the lens of the camera picks up these hidden treasures. I took a picture of a beautiful orange rose in Balboa Park, San Diego only to discover the rose had a visitor on one of it’s petals (a big black ant). I’ve seen, through the camera, a lizard hiding beneath a cactus only covered by the flower. So many wonderful adventures lie ahead at any given moment. Nature always surprises you and teaches you so many lessons. I was so excited one day when I saw a cedar waxwing bird sitting in the flowering cherry tree in my driveway here in Butte. I didn’t know what kind of bird it was but it sat on the branch long enough for me to go and get my camera to take his picture; and lo and behold, there was just a faint shadow of another on the lower branch. It’s amazing.

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Memories are made of this!


Land of the Free – Home of the Brave


Just wanted to post this beautiful picture and pray for the safety of our men and women in the armed forces who fight for the right for me to do this. So proud of my grandson who is a marine and heading out to sea on November 1st. Hope all of you will spend a minute or so thinking of all of our children who volunteer to serve. We must remember that not only are they sons and daughters, but also mothers and fathers. God Bless our nation and our wonderful children and their children.

Memories are made of this!