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Jayne’s Inspiration
From Cocoons Come Blue Butterflies and from Grief Comes Healing

Jayne Dearborn has been designing handbags for Designs by Jayne since its inception in April 2006. She began creating handbags as a path to healing from the loss of her son, Max, at age 7 to leukemia. The blue butterfly is her symbol for Max and how she overcame tragedy to begin life again.

Prior to Max’s passing a dear friend had a hopeful dream about Max transcending his suffering and turning into a beautiful blue butterfly. After his passing Jayne began frequently noticing blue butterflies in her surrounding, they took many forms. Once on a family vacation to a zoo in Canada six blue butterflies followed Jayne around a gorgeous butterfly exhibit. She noticed that her eye was just drawn to them in a variety of places from photographs and art to an old metal garden blue butterfly and of course in art that Max had created which she hadn’t notice previously. Inspired to know why she was noticing the blue butterflies she did a little research and learned that butterflies are the universal symbol of hope and blue is the color of healing, this became her inspiration and a way of connecting with Max.

Launching Designs by Jayne has allowed her to combine her love of art with her mission of helping others find their unique style and thrive. Her business has become a source of healing for her entire family. Her eldest son Michael, youngest son Sam and husband Chris are a vital part of the business. Michael even designed the Designs by Jayne logo and often acts as his mom’s advisor.

In addition to designing and running her business, Jayne spends time volunteering at The Dougy Center as a facilitator helping other bereaved parents. She donates her handbags to fundraisers of organizations that help children with cancer and that support grieving families. Jayne and her husband are currently developing a non-profit organization in Max’s memory to which a percentage of all proceeds from all handbags will be donated.

About Designs by Jayne

” Knows what a girl wants … Limited edition pieces of art … They’re delectable, delicious, & de-wonderful!”
– Judith Spitzer, OregonLive

Designs by Jayne handbags are signature one-of-a-kind and limited edition works of art. Each handbag is individually created from the most exquisitely delicious fabrics and leathers. The handles, accents and trims are designed from the highest-quality materials including semi-precious stones, vintage beads and buttons, crystal and sterling silver. All materials are hand cut and individually sewn. The Designs by Jayne blue butterfly on the tag of each handbag identifies every piece as a work of art with a bold, unique style.

European Romance Collection

Designs by Jayne handbags have been juried into nationally recognized art shows in the Northwest and have been recommended by Portland Picks, The Oregonian, and West Linn Tidings. These handbags can be found in boutiques in the Washington, Oregon, and Arizona as well as online at

European Romance Collection


  1. Beautiful story of healing. Thank you for sharing part of your heart and life with others. Your bags are beautiful.

  2. I was very touched by your beautiful blog. Your story is very inspirational and I thank you for sharing it!
    May your life continue to unfold in a beautiful way!



  3. Opening your site and reading about you and Max and the family was a wonderful way to start my day, and I am so humbled by your efforts at the Doogy to help other grieving families. Max has the spirit of effortless happiness and goodness and you can see that in a butterfly’s flight. And then it just struck me, Jayne, that Cole (2 years old on 9/1) can say “butterfly” which we all marvel at because it’s a lot tougher to spit out than “car” or “plane.” It all makes sense now. I have a blue, stitched butterfly on my pajamas and when I pick him up in the morning he points to it and says, “butta-fwy.” Love to you.

  4. Jayne you are such an inspiration to people. Your bags are so beautiful. I think so many women/mothers can identify with you and what it must be like to lose a child. I’m sure words do little to express the devastation that must cause for a lifetime. But you’ve found a way to honor your son and ease your pain at the same time. Thank you so much you’re one of my heroines!
    – Judith Spitzer

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