Rosie Talk

Happy Birthday Kendra – CAN DO Woman

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Happy Birthday Kendra — You’re a CAN DO Woman

Happy birthday Kendra, you’re a CAN DO Woman. I’ve helped Kendra celebrate many of her birthdays. Sometimes we’re together but usually we are on the opposite coasts. Over the years, I’ve had fun photos and graphics to use in blog posts wishing her a great next 12 months. This year, I decided to look back at some of the previous celebrations.

As you probably know, Kendra Bonnett and I have worked together since the late 1970s when we were both at the Women’s Educational Equity Communication Network, a national information program to help women find and utilize educational resources. The program finally ended, we didn’t. We continued our friendship over the years and have now been business partners since 2006.

Happy CAN DO Birthday

Every year, I wish Kendra a public happy birthday on our blog. In past years, we blogged on our website: This year, I’m sending out a great big birthday wish on this our new site: But wherever or whenever I make my wish, I am always thinking about what an amazing person Kendra is.

Not surprisingly, Kendra is a role model for our new inspiring seven month program — blogs about becoming a CAN DO Woman in this post-pandemic time of our lives. Whether Kendra is writing blogs, working with museums, filling orders, crafting our handmade dolls, or creating graphics for our product line of CAN DO Women such as:

Kendra is always on top. She is proactive, thoughtful, adventuresome, and downright gifted. Did I happen to mention that I’m in awe of her?

You can see why “thanks” seems like a weak way for me to acknowledge her birthday.

So, just for the fun of it, I decided to look back at some of the photos and graphics I’ve used to celebrate her June birthdays. Sometimes, it was photos of cakes. Kendra adores watermelon and her mother used to make a cake that looked just like a watermelon. Yesterday, in the middle of a heat wave, she told me she had juiced an entire watermelon and had it on standby in the refrigerator — ready to keep her cool.

But all kinds of cakes are appropriate. Who doesn’t like a cake? One year I thought she’d like this cake with the single rose and an icing birthday tag plus her name.


And then there was the year I made her a 4-layer cake. That was when I was on the West coast and she was on the East coast. But I did send her photos! The funny part was that the cake was so tall, it wouldn’t fit on any of my plates except the oversized 12 inch ones.







A CAN DO Woman, 10 years ago

Today, I’m especially remembering a birthday trip we took a decade ago. It was filled with all the things we like to do — visit museums, find great ethnic restaurants, see plays, walk gardens. We went to the Hancock Shaker Village on one of the days and Kendra was allowed to pick up a small duck. It reminded her of one of her childhood stories. It’s such a sweet photo that I still have it 10 years later.

Technology was great in 2011. I had a little video camera, Flip Video, (see in lower left of Kendra duck photo) at the time. What a hoot to see it so many years later. I probably still have it in some dusty drawer. .

Reach Out to Your CAN DO Friend…

This may not be her birthday month, but all this talk of a CAN DO Woman may remind you of her. Reach out to her with an email, a phone call, an old-fashioned card, or even arrange a zoom call. Be sure you let her know how much you appreciate her and her friendship.

Happy Birthday, Kendra. Here’s to a Great Year for You!

Matilda ButlerHappy Birthday Kendra – CAN DO Woman

Become a CAN DO Woman: One Step At a Time

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Are You Ready to Begin Your Post-Pandemic Life?

Join Us to Find Inspiration 

and Practical Steps to 

Become a More Effective, Empowered CAN DO Woman

One Week at a Time


Stay tuned. On July 7, RosieCentral begins our new weekly blog-based program designed to help you become the CAN DO woman you have always imagined.

There are many websites that provide lists to help you. And you’ll find some great ideas there. We urge you to continue to look at various sources of inspiration for your life.

Change Takes More Than Lists

But just reading through “how to be successful” or “how to be fulfilled” or “how to get ahead at work” or “how to be loved” doesn’t really move you much closer to those goals. Why? It’s so easy to read and forget.

And we should know. We’ve tried them ourselves. But when I look at myself as the woman “before” the lists and the woman “after”, they are fairly close to duplicates.

We CAN DO Women

You CAN BE a CAN DO Woman

You Decide Who You Want to Be

We want more for you than that. We want you to see change in your life.

So, we’ve designed a different path. Our intent is to provide one area to focus on each month and one specific action to take each week that will help you move closer to becoming the person you want to be.

And who is this person you want to be? We can’t possibly choose what is important to you or how you want to progress. We don’t know where you are in your life right now. And we have no idea where you have been.

So who is this CAN DO woman? It’s the person you get to define based on the exercises, tips, and inspiration we provide.  There is no fixed or pre-determined outcome.

Why Are We Starting Our CAN DO Woman Program Now?

Are you ready to begin your post-pandemic life?

Want to move forward into a new normal—a life that you create? Maybe your pre-pandemic life was “okay.” But perhaps you’re not ready to just resume all the old behaviors and habits. Maybe you were already dissatisfied with your life before the lockdown and would like to find a way to welcome meaningful change into your life.

Either way, NOW IS THE TIME TO BEGIN TAKING STEPS that will let you have the life you want—that will let you become the woman you want to be.

Yes, now is the time to become a more effective, empowered CAN DO Woman.


What do we know that can help you?

Kendra and I have spent the last 20 years interviewing, coaching, and helping women write about and change their lives based on self-discovery, understanding, and inspiration. In the next 52 weeks, we’re going to share some of the secrets we’ve learned. We will provide you with information, exercises, and prompts to assist you in working toward a life that better suits you and your dreams.

What we are not.

As I mentioned, there are many lists on the internet to help you change your life. We’ve tried a large number of these ourselves. Each one initially seems brilliant and full of good advice. But in the end they are just lists that are easily forgotten. Really, who could possibly remember to do five new things each day!

That’s why we hope you’ll join us each week

For the next 12 months, we’ll explore a different area of your life. Each week will focus on one aspect of that month’s topic and give you a challenge to take. We’ll share stories of ordinary and extraordinary women, inspirational quotes, research, and more. Each week’s blog will provide you with a single challenge that will assist you in building and improving your CAN DO life as well as a quick practical takeaway.

What we’ll cover

And what will we cover? The areas we will focus on—the Seven Life Capitals—grew out of our research and writing that began in 2005. We conducted interviews with more than 100 women. Each interview was about two hours long and allowed the women to address both the specifics about their lives as well as the expectations and experiences during the phases of their lives.

By the end of the interviews, we heard comments like:

“Now I get it. I see what I did. I keep repeating the same thing over and over thinking it would end better. I’m not going to do that again.”

“I can see how accepting the challenge to return to school in my 40s made all the difference in my life. Now challenges are an opportunity rather than a negative.”

“Friendships have always been hard for me. Now I understand that not having them has affected my life in negative ways and by changing I may be able to have positive results. Or, at least, I’ll have one or two people to turn to for help and support.”

And the comments go on.


Once we analyzed the thousands of pages from our interviews, we found patterns in the responses and saw that they could be characterized as Seven Life Capitals. These are:

Social Capital

Emotional Capital

Physical Capital

Cognitive Capital

Spiritual Capital

Financial Capital

Temporal Capital

Over the coming months, we will help you understand and build your own life capitals that will let you open doors to the future you. We can’t open the doors. We can only give you perspectives and tools so you can open and walk through those doors.


Have you seen the movie Enola Holmes? If not, I recommend it. The movie is currently available on Netflix and I watched it for a second time this week. Here’s a link to the trailer. Enola is the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes and Eudoria Holmes is her mother. Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola and Helen Bonham Carter plays Eudoria.

Enola’s mother leaves on her 16th birthday. While looking for her mother, Enola finds valuable lessons for her future. Near the end of the movie, she understands what her mother meant when she taught her:

“You have to make some noise if you want to be heard.”

And then Enola summarizes her new perspective:

To be a Holmes, you must find your own path. My freedom, my future, my purpose. I am a detective. I’m a decipherer. And I am a finder of lost souls. 

My life is my own. And the future is up to us.

Enola’s Words Are Relevant…

In our journey together, we’ll explore who we are, where we’ve been, how to build our own life lessons, and where we’re going. And we agree with Enola — The future is up to us.


For the two remaining blogs on June, we thought we’d have a little fun sharing some thoughts on accepting challenges and using them in positive ways.


Susan Ahn Cuddy’s Words are Also Relevant. 

Here’s what she has to say.

Start Thinking About Your Life…Today

Next week, we’ll talk about the value of discontinuities. The pandemic has been a major disrupter in all our lives. We’ll start to explore how you can take advantage of this discontinuity to go on a journey to becoming the CAN DO WOMAN you want to be.

In the meantime, begin to reflect on what went right in the past year and what went wrong! You might want to make a few notes to yourself as this is one way to look back at the path you have been on.

And, as we know from the life of Susan Ahn Cuddy, challenges are there to be met.


  1. Start reflecting on the past year. Write 1 thing that was bad or hard.
  2. Now smile. Think about something good that happened during the pandemic. Write that 1 thing.

This is a little like thinking about the trip you will take. You don’t have reservations yet. You certainly haven’t packed your bag. But you are considering your destination.

See you next week.

Matilda ButlerBecome a CAN DO Woman: One Step At a Time

Tiny Tip #1 for a Can Do Woman

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What is a Tiny Tip for you — a Can Do Woman? And why do you care?

Tiny Tip #1. What is Tiny Tip #1 for you, a Can Do Woman? Welcome to the beginning of a series of short blog posts designed to get you to focus on just one small point — a point to help you in your Can Do life. Some of these Tiny Tips will be quotes to inspire you. Others will be a new perspective for you to consider.

In our full program for the Can Do Woman that launches in July, we will always end with a step for you to take as you become a well-rounded Can Do woman. Each step, although meant to be easy to take, requires ACTION on your part. 

New thoughts on being a Can Do Woman

Think about being a Can Do Woman!

But not our Tiny Tips for a Can Do Woman.

Just read through the blog article, let your mind wrap around the thought, and then you are through. Whew! Easy. Becoming, being, and growing as a Can Do woman takes determination, persistence, and action. Fortunately, you can consider our Tiny Tips as Thought Candy. 

The idea for Tiny Tips for Can Do Women came to me while reading the program notes for a chamber music concert I attended back in the pre-pandemic days. 

A Look Again at a Chamber Music Concert’s Program

In examining that carefully saved concert program, I realized my blog articles tend to be long and require action. And while Kendra and I will continue with our longer articles, there are many times when all of us are burdened in our lives and we just want a “little something.” That little something might provide inspiration or a new way to think of our lives. After all, we don’t necessarily have a lot of extra time.

Interested in Can Do Women Gifts? Check Out Our Etsy Can Do Store.

Case in point:

I invite you to consider the words in the program notes I’ve come to treasure since there may still be months before I’m back in a concert hall.

“Both Mozart and Beethoven capitalized on the demand for piano music to which other instruments could play along, often doubling the piano melodies. Both composers called their work in this genre “Sonata for Piano and Violin,” emphasizing the primacy of the piano part.”

When I read those two sentences in the concert program notes, I thought about how I could turn that idea into a blog post. I thought I might write about how we can use this idea from Mozart and Beethoven in our lives — along with specific steps we might take.

Then I realized that I could just give you a Tiny Tip — something you could file away in your mind and let it come back to you at the right moment. So here it is:

CAN DO WOMAN Tiny Tip #1:

  • Stop for a couple of minutes. Think about what is important in your life right now. Just about one aspect of your life.
  • Give it a DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE. Don’t put a bunch of extraneous words in your mental description. Be sure that the most important part is stated first. That is vital to focus.

After all, Mozart and Beethoven put the word “piano” before the word “violin” because it was the more important one and let the person purchasing the music know that these are pieces that emphasize the piano. And if you play the oboe? Don’t get this music because it is only for the piano and violin.

Relevance to you? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the small details of life and the nitty-gritty of focusing on what you are doing. As a result you don’t take enough time to determine what is really important. To determine what you want to accomplish.

EXAMPLE OF NOT ENOUGH FOCUS:  ‘I am focused on wonderful music that is lyrical with a dramatic beginning and an upbeat ending for two instruments—piano and violin.”

Neither you nor others will understand your priorities.

EXAMPLE OF A BETTER FOCUS: Teaching my daughter to play the piano.

Too deep into a music analogy?  Okay, try this:

EXAMPLE OF NOT ENOUGH FOCUS: It is important for me to develop better relationships with family, friends, church members, and co-workers by going out to lunch or having them over for dinner while introducing them to new foods as I expand my cooking capabilities.

EXAMPLE OF A BETTER FOCUS: Invite one friend to dinner this week.

Don’t get lost in details that don’t really matter. Put what is most important UP FRONT.

Conclusion of Tiny Tip #1. DO FOCUS. 

Hope you will come to like this new series. Expect the rest of the series to be even shorter now that I’ve explained the concept. Can Do Women Who Inspire UsHere’s to better focus on what’s important in your life and to the lives of CAN DO Women.

Matilda ButlerTiny Tip #1 for a Can Do Woman

Mele Kalikimaka from Rosie the Riveter with Haupia Recipe

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Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka as I say when in Hawaii and Merry Christmas as I say when I’m on the mainland. I’m Rosie the Riveter sending you greetings, best wishes, and thanks from Hawaii. Now don’t be jealous! But I’m sitting at the base of a gently swaying palm tree, listening to the Common Myna chatter, and watching the long waves roll in toward the beach. It’s December, and I’ve been thinking about Pearl Harbor. How different the scene was 78 years ago on that terrible December 7, 1941 as smoke filled the air, ships sank, and thousands of lives were lost.

Two Surprises

The surprise military strike against the US also inadvertently created what might be described as an even greater surprise. What is the surprise? It’s the millions of women who soon took up the battle on the homefront. They left their homes to:

Matilda ButlerMele Kalikimaka from Rosie the Riveter with Haupia Recipe

Welcome to RosieCentral

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Nothing gives me greater pleasure today that to welcome you to our launch of This is an idea that has been more than 10 years in its creation and a year in planning. And we’re so happy to have you join us.

And Matilda and I are having a blast designing our new site. While the canvas is no longer completely blank, we still have a lot of flexibility to where we take this website moving forward. It’s a place for discussion of all things Rosie the Riveter. It’s a store for the many historically accurate, imaginative and fun Rosie-inspired gifts and gear we’ve created.

It’s a place for us to speak out, and a place for you to speak up about what you’re thinking. In fact, we invite you to share your thoughts with the RosieCentral audience. We’ll be running polls and surveys to get your opinion. And you can always use the comments to share your ideas.

So How Did RosieCentral Come to Be?

Matilda and I first published our collective memoir, Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, in 2007. As part of our efforts to market the book, we gave a number of presentations. That’s when Matilda had the scathingly brilliant idea that we should deliver our talks wearing Rosie-style red-and-white, polkadot bandanas.

Funny thing. Back in 2007 you couldn’t find a red-and-white polkadot bandana anywhere.

Because necessity is the mother of invention, we went to work to create our own Rosie bandanas. With the help of Matilda’s son, we designed our bandana and screen printed our first batch. I think we had maybe 25 printed…thinking maybe we’d sell a couple along with our book at the end of a presentation.

The book did well. And the bandanas took off. People were buying bandanas for Rosie the Riveter Halloween costumes. We hadn’t quite realized the popularity of our bandanas, but we had upped our bandana orders to 100 or 200 at a time.

The rest is history. We sold online. We created our original Rosie Employment Badge collar pin. And within a year, we opened our first store on Etsy.

Today we have five Etsy stores, and we’ve recently opened RosieCentral on Amazon.

What does “All Things Rosie” Really Mean?

After publishing Rosie’s Daughters, Matilda and I began teaching memoir classes and coaching aspiring authors. Matilda even developed a couple of video writing programs. In 2012, we published Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep. You can find Matilda’s prolific blogging at Women’s Memoirs. But because our writing has its roots in Rosie’s Daughters, we’ll be incorporating some of our writing materials into RosieCentral.

And that’s not all. Our audience for Rosie gear has continued to grow. We have sports teams, event planners, schools, clubs, dance troupes, government departments and even businesses buying large numbers of bandanas and pins for their events. To support them, we created Buy Bulk Wholesale.

And increasingly, museums are carrying our Rosie gear. We’re in the process of developing an online catalog to help museums order. And that is here on RosieCentral too.

You see, we really are bringing together “All Things Rosie.” But most important of all are you. The women with the “We Can Do It!” spirit.

So let us know what you want. And we’ll do our part to ask and engage you in our growth. Stay tuned.

And remember…

We Can Do It…Pass It On!


Kendra BonnettWelcome to RosieCentral

Halloween Costume Survey 2019

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The latest Halloween costume survey proves Rosie the Riveter is the perfect costume choice I 2019

Kendra BonnettHalloween Costume Survey 2019

Top 7 Tips for Halloween Costumes

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Halloween will be here before we know it

Thinking about your Halloween costume? We’ve got the top 7 costume tips to ensure you have a enjoyable and memorable Halloween. 

Halloween Costume Tip #1: Start planning your costume now. Why? Plan early (if you can). Plan late (if you procrastinate like most of us). Whenever you begin thinking about Halloween, you should interpret that as a reminder to get started. Some costumes require extra time to be sure you have everything you need to have the perfect effect. Some costumes need to be tried on and adjusted. The distance between NOW and Halloween isn’t expandable. Each day that goes by is one less day to decide on and order your costume. The sooner you act, the less likely it is that you’ll have to pay a premium for expedited shipping.

Start on your costume as soon as you can. We have all 3 BE A ROSIE Costume Kits in stock. Every year we have customers who wait until 2 or 3 days before their Halloween event…often multiple days before Halloween. We do all we can to meet their deadlines, but they often have to pay for Express Delivery.

Halloween Costume Tip #2: Consider where you will be wearing your costume. At an office party? To work on your usual schedule? When taking your children or grandchildren out for Trick or Treat? To a neighborhood gathering or the party of a friend? Hosting your own Halloween party? If you are hosting a party, then you want to give extra consideration to your costume as it may influence your decorations and even party favors.

Consider where you will be wearing your costume. One of several advantages with the Be a Rosie Costume is that it is appropriate at work and at play. 


We wouldn’t give you all these costume tips without showing you costume options that meet all 7 of these Halloween considerations.


BE A ROSIE (BASIC) includes Rosie the Riveter 22” bandana, Rosie’s employment badge collar button, Rosie iron-on embroidered name patch. You’ll get authenticity…with a twist of imagination. 

Halloween Costume Tip #3: In choosing a costume, make sure it will be comfortable. Some costumes look great when you are standing in front of the mirror, but what about when you are at work that day or going to a party in the evening, or walking with your children while they trick or treat? Can you easily sit in the costume? Do you have to constantly fuss with it so that it doesn’t come askew? A comfortable costume lets you focus on the event, friends, and family—not your clothing.

Choose a comfortable costume. Be a Rosie Costume Kit provides all the accessories for a definitely comfortable outfit. This is what Rosie and millions of working women wore to their jobs in factories during World War II. 

Halloween Costume Tip #4: Safety is key for your costume its as much as it is for a child’s Halloween outfit. Some masks, for example, make it difficult to see and elaborate headdresses can hinder your ability to move around safely. Long costumes may get in the way when you climb steps or want to dance and long sleeves that hang down over your hands can be a problem when it is time to snack, eat a meal, or even drive. And if you are wearing a costume to work, consider the motions you routinely go through and make sure your costume will allow you to perform your usual tasks in a safe way. 

Be sure your costume is safe. Safety was critical during WW2 as well as today. Rosie the Riveter’s bandana was important to keep her hair away from machinery. She wore boots or workshoes for comfort and safety. With this costume, you don’t need high heels that might trip you up on a Halloween evening or leave your feet sore the next morning.


BE A ROSIE (DELUXE) includes our BIG, official 27” bandana, collectible enameled Rosie collar pin, handful of real rivets, genuine WWII ration token and 1943 steel penny, temporary tattoos, Rock Your Dots socks, hand-painted polka dot Bobbie Pins(tm) and a Rosie iron-on embroidered name patch. Just add blue jeans, overalls and blue shirt…instant Halloween costume. And you’ll look just like the original “We Can Do It!” Rosie.

Happy Halloween, 2019.

Halloween Costume Tip #5: Let your costume help you make a statement. You want others to recognize your costume and, more importantly, know that it is a reflection of who you are and your values. Let the costume be fun while considering what it says about you.

Let your costume help you make a statement. Halloween is a great time to make a statement about who you are and what matters to you. Rosie the Riveter is a symbol of strength, courage, and empowerment. That’s a fabulous message to share with friends, co-workers, family, and even strangers who see you in your “We Can Do It!” costume. It’s also a great conversation starter.

Halloween Costume Tip #6: Be sure to consider others who will see you. Tips 5 and 6 work together. Tip 5 has you thinking about who you are and how you want to present yourself. Tip 6 reminds you to consider others. Will you only wear your costume to a party with other adults? Consider how your costume might work with your group of friends or your children. Find something that can be appropriate for different ages. 

Not everyone will know who Rosie the Riveter is. This year we added our polkadot name patch…your Rosie ID. Discuss Rosie with friends; you might even consider Rosie appropriate for a group costume. After all, Rosie and her colleagues all dressed similarly. You can do the same thing. You and a friend, or several friends, might all go as Rosie the Riveters. Or how about you and your daughter? We have a number of precious mother/daughter photos. We even have a great photo of a mother and son. It’s never too early to show respect for strong women.

Halloween Costume Tip #7: Get a cost-effective costume. Avoid costumes made of cheap materials that just end up being thrown away or stashed forever in the back of your closet. Some cheap Halloween outfits pull apart at the seams before the night is over. How about a costume with elements you can incorporate into your wardrobe after Halloween is over?

This year, you can BE A ROSIE without emptying your piggy bank. Plus, you get high-quality gear such as the soft cotton bandana, the collar pin, the red and white polkadot socks (BE A ROSIE DELUXE) that you can wear any time. If you get the DIY kit, you get a poster you can frame. Plus, you can dress in your own jeans and blue work shirt from your closet and accessorize with our Rosie gear.


BE A ROSIE (DIY) includes all the items of a BE A ROSIE (DELUXE) with two exceptions. We have replaced the socks with our 2-Sided 24” by 36” DIY “We Can Do It!” Poster (Rosie the Riveter side and DIY side without Rosie so you can pose in front and BE A ROSIE).
Matilda ButlerTop 7 Tips for Halloween Costumes