Family Jewels: The Next Generation of Sutton Smithworks Leaders

Proud to share my article and hope you enjoy!

Smart Biz

by Tanya Misseghers
Photo Credit: Flashbound Photography

Tom Sutton started working as a goldsmith at the age of 19.

Now, 38 years later, Tom and his wife Peggy are developing their young staff as the next generation of Sutton Smithworks leadership.

Assistant manager Holly Knight began her association with Sutton as a teenage client.

“In 2012, I needed a stone replaced in a ring. Every jeweller I visited treated me with disrespect,” said Holly.

“When I walked into Sutton Smithworks, they were like no jeweller I had ever seen before, including the one I was working for. I was treated like family. My small job mattered to them.”

“I started referring my customers to Sutton. A year or two later I was picking up repairs and Peggy asked me to come in for an interview. I thought my role would be purely retail or administrative. I was stunned that Tom and Peggy…

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Racking Up the C/Klicks: Shutter & Mileage

Who hasn’t had a creative slump? The story of how master photographer Rodney S. Braun hit the road and the shutter button to inspiration with his photo adventure tours, and how you can experience it for yourself.

Rodney Headshot-S.jpgRodney has been a photographer in Winnipeg for 16 years. He and his wife Sonya run Eve’s Studios, “building the self-esteem of women through beauty and art nude photography.”

Art is an amazing thing. It…give[s] us a perspective into how someone views the world…In my work, I seek to capture a small part of the amazing beauty that God has created, and I seek to do it in a way that is honouring and respectful to both the Creator and the creation. H2Oohh

Rodney currently teaches at Red River College and sits on the National Board of the Professionals Photographers of Canada. He has a Master of Photographic Arts designation, five solo art shows and two books to his credit.

In 2013, Rodney was in need of inspiration – something to re-awaken his love for photography – so he hit the road. In Winter 2015, he led his first photography tour and was instantly hooked.


I was giving so much energy to teaching. I felt burnt out. I designed my own dream trip to the stunning landscapes of the Southwestern US to bring back my creative spark. What I discovered is that others share the same dream. It’s been a blessing.

Tours are a unique experience. Small groups of eight to ten people travel in a 2016 van with executive seating. Pre-scouted locations in national parks include Death Valley, Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon.

Photographers range from amateur hobbyists, to students, to professionals. All skill levels are welcome. The small group allows for individualized guidance from Rodney plus the opportunity to learn, share, and grow with others.

RBS_tour“The bus becomes like a little family very quickly,” Rodney explains. “Everyone helps each other capture amazing images, even our drivers pull out their iphones and join in.”

The scenery is breathtaking. Rodney describes his favourite moment from the most recent trip.

At our sunset stop in Yosemite, we sat on a four-foot wide tree that had blown over, looking out at the mountains and waterfalls. We all put our cameras down and just watched the sun set together.

Upcoming tours include:RBS_Yosemite_545_Ret[1]

Landscape/Portrait/Art Nudes: August 20-26, 2016 – South & Central Utah

H2Oohhh Workshop: December 29, 2016-January 2, 2017 – Southern Arizona

Reading Week: February 11-18, 2017 – Utah, Arizona, New Mexico



Anyone who loves photography, or even just seeing great scenery, is welcome to join a tour. Our focus is on seeing the best sights in the best light, so you can take home some beautiful images as well as some great memories.

All images courtesy of Rodney Braun

My Mother’s Hands

I remember from my childhood good reasons, real reasons, for my mother’s hands to be red and swollen:

Doing dishes, doing laundry, pickling beets, washing and stewing fresh Manitoba strawberries and rhubarb for pie and spread;

(My mother’s pies are the stuff of legend. And there is no better breakfast in the heat of summer than rye toast, generously buttered, topped with a thick layer of sweet-tart, strawberry rhubarb goodness;)

Doing up skates for my brother and I, in the dead of a -35C Prairie winter, laces stiff and unyielding like frozen garter snakes.

Now, in her mid-seventies, my mother’s hands are red and swollen from a disease that has treatments, but no cure.

It’s rheumatoid arthritis, the crippling and deforming kind. Her immune system has rebelled, attacking her joints as if they were a virus.

RA hand
Not my mother’s actual hand but hers look like this.

I am convinced it is the result of stress. And I know that stress can bring on a host of inflammatory conditions, like RA, or Crohn’s disease, colitis, or MS:

Caring for my father, who had his fourth joint replacement surgery in 20 years last year, but refuses to be active;

Supporting my brother to get back on his feet financially;

(Nearly 40 years old, living with my parents in their apartment, letting my mother drive him to his 4am shift at airport security.)

We caught the signs before extensive damage could set in. It started in her feet with pain and swelling, moving to her knees, then her wrists and hands.

One morning she needed both hands to lift a coffee mug. And then she needed both hands to pour her evening tea.

We know what we’re dealing with. We have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. But oh, it breaks my heart and angers me that my mother has been dealt this blow so far into retirement.

I will be a healthcare advocate for her, I will be a support. I will gently hold my mother’s hands because they have supported so many others for so long.


Day 2: 3-day Quote Challenge

Be a pineapple

I saw this quote for the first time earlier this week and could not resist sharing. I would add to be a pineapple and have a strong core!

In response to the 3-day Quote Challenge I nominate the following bloggers for Day 2:

Daniella’s Ramblings by Daniella Argento

Being Zingy! by Ananya

Normalcy is Overrated by Shamilah

If you accept, post 1-3 quotes for 3 consecutive days, and nominate 3 fellow bloggers to do the same each day. Thank you so much.

Day 1: 3-Day Quote Challenge

I relent!

Thank you Frances at By Brighton Beach and Wendy at Greater Than Gravity for nominating me for the 3-day Quote Challenge. I accept.

This quote is one I found for work and loved the message.

Embrace Grace

I’ve met so many awesome people in the Blogging Meetup, and in life in general, facing big-time challenges.

So much of the struggle happens on the inside where nobody can see it. If we could turn our insides out, everyone would see our red, burning pain and black, empty despair.

We all have our battles. Embrace grace. Take care.

In response to the 3-day Quote Challenge I nominate the following bloggers:

Joy to The Winnipeg by Joy Balmana

Family Life CEO by Maria Boicova-Wynants

Things to Learn, Know, & Share by amosgirl

If you accept, post 1-3 quotes for 3 consecutive days, and nominate 3 fellow bloggers to do the same each day. Thank you so much.

Monthly Feature: WAHS’up Reads Winnipeg Blogs

Hello everyone!

For this month I am taking a look at three blogs authored by Kenton Larsen’s students in Winnipeg’s Red River College Creative Communications program, or CreComm for short.

It’s a rigourous and exclusive 2-year, full-time program. Only the best photography and writing portfolios are accepted for interviews. The waiting list is long. Many students have already completed a university degree.


All this pre-amble to prep you for some excellent writing. Some posts are based on assignments. Bloggers who follow prompts and challenges will understand.

I hope you enjoy as much as I have.

Joy to The Winnipeg is authored by Joy Balmana. She’s also the arts columnist for Red RiveScreen Shot 2016-04-12 at 8.24.10 PM.pngr’s student paper The Projector.

Covering our local culture scene, she’s short on patience for self-absorbed, inauthentic poseurs and long on enthusiasm for young, entrepreneurial artists.

The River City Rambler blog is named for one of Winnipeg’s nicknames – River City – since our city was established where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet.

(We have other nicknames too, such as Winterpeg or simply The Peg, or Peg City.)

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 8.27.02 PMLike a river, author Erik Fjeldsted meanders in a good way. Insightful comments on current events that resonate across borders, fun events and outings, and topics near and dear to his heart.

I will admit I was prepared to not enjoy Sincerely, Kristi. The blog’s main focus is fitness and exercising, (ugh.)

However, Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 8.32.05 PM.pngthere is a warmth to author Kristi-Jo Nikkel’s honest encouragement for staying in shape.  I think it comes from her experience from being coached at an elite level.

A genuine enthusiasm for adventure also comes through, from sketchy urban corners to open rural highways.

Want to find your own local blogs? Try searching categories & tags using your town/city/region name. Happy hunting!