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Some years ago I started a butterfly garden. I had always liked plants, but since I didn't own a home I only had houseplants. (Not that there is anything wrong with houseplants - I still have them too.) I told myself that someday when I had a house I'd have a garden. One day at the Butterfly House in Chesterfield, MO I picked up some information about butterfly gardening. I decided then that whenever the time finally came that I actually owned a home with a yard that I would have a butterfly garden.

It was still some years before I was ever able to buy a house. The first couple of years in the house I didn't have time to start a garden. Then, that next year, I decided it was time to do it. I didn't really know what I was doing back then. The first little garden areas I started around the house were small and didn't really get enough light for what I wanted to grow there.

Little by little over the years my butterfly garden has grown quite a bit. Now, we don't have lots of land on mulitple acres or anything like that. Of course, I would love that though! We have just a typical house with an average sized yard. But I've filled up as much of it as I can get away with and still leave a little bit of an open area.

Anyway, I didn't have a lot a success with attracting many butterflies the first couple years or so, but over time I started seeing more and more butterflies.

Eventually I started taking photographs of the butterflies. And as I started raising some caterpillars I took pictures of them too. At the time I hadn't found many web sites with pictures of all stages of a lot of different species life cycles. So I decided to photograph as many species whole life cycle as I could attract and raise.

So those first photos - all taken on film, I barely knew how to use a camera back then anyway - were taken primarily for educational purposes, to show people what to look for in their own butterfly gardens. The web site I started, Butterfly Gardening and Conservation was made for that purpose. It has lots of information to help people to create their own butterfly and wildlife gardens.

A few times I got lucky and took some pictures that turned out pretty good. To help justify all the time out in the garden and money spent on film and developing I started selling stuff with my photos on them at Cafepress. Since I was pretty good with Photoshop I was able to make some nice designs from my photos to sell on various products.

Cafepress tends to overcharge for prints though and the quality isn't always consistent. So recently I decided to start having prints made locally, matting them myself and selling them locally in stores.

I never really liked the domain 'butterflygardeningandconservation.com' - but at the time I couldn't come up with anything more creative with the word butterly in it that wasn't already taken. I'm that way sometimes. It's too long to type and not easy to remember. It really bugged me. One day I suddenly had a burst of creativity and came up with a much better, catchier name: Butterfly Sonatas.

Good timing too, I didn't want to have to sell my stuff offline with that real long domain name. And I wanted something to use for real branding.

So, the current plan is to keep ButterflyGardeningandConservation.com for the information and educational side of butterfly gardening. And I'll use this site, ButterflySonatas.com for selling my designs. The site is still in its early stages, so please be patient!

Of course I will leave lots of links going back and forth between the two sites because I am sure there will be people interested in both.

Currently, I'm investigating dye sublimating a number of different products and finding a better way to make and sell re-usable canvas shopping bags, t-shirts and other items.

While I consider my primary purpose of this endeavor to be educating and helping people create gardens to benefit wildlife - please don't hesitate to buy my stuff. Maybe I'll actually make enough money to buy a decent camera someday!

box that links to my site about how to create a butterfly garden.

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