Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nice to See Some People Still Around

According to the records, it's been just over two years since I last did a blog post. I'm not sure why I'm writing one now, or what I'm going to write about, but thought I'd see how it would go.

One nice thing is looking at my "dashboard" (which I also haven't looked at for two years) and seeing that some of the blogs I was following two years ago are still active and posting - some within the last few hours, even more within the last few days.

My "rosary business" has been going on Etsy all this time, and has been relatively busy. You can see some of the items in the "Etsy Mini" that's always at the side of this page. One thing that's been a surprise to me is the popularity of Lutheran prayer beads. I learned to make them for a craft fair at a Lutheran school. They didn't sell at the craft fair, so I started listing them on Etsy where they did sell - and I've been making them ever since.

For those not familiar with them (which is most people), Lutheran prayer beads are set up so that they can be used as a Lenten devotion, with one bead for each day of Lent. One fun thing about making them is that, in addition to weekday smaller beads and Sunday larger beads, I get to pick out an "Easter bead" which is larger and/or brighter than the other beads. Each set of beads comes with a flyer that has quotes from Martin Luther's Small Catechism for meditation - either during Lent or any other time. I don't find anything in the meditations that goes against my Catholic beliefs, although there are different slants on things (I don't think I've ever "quaked in fear" over my sins - maybe I should).

I still sell more Franciscan Crown rosaries than I do Lutheran prayer beads (the Franciscan Crowns come with a pamphlet, too). The two of them together probably make up about half of all the rosaries I sell, I think because they're relatively difficult to find.

Here's my most recent set of Lutheran prayer beads, made of fluorite which seems to be a very popular stone. I'm in the process of making a "regular" rosary from fluorite because the ones I've had have sold. Clicking on the picture caption will take you to my shop page that has information on this item: 

Lutheran prayer beads in fluorite
Lutheran prayer beads in fluorite

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter - to Everyone

This year, all Christians are celebrating Easter on the same day. If that makes you scratch your head and say, "But we always do that," you don't know any Orthodox Christians.

Easter, of course, is a "movable feast." For most Christians it can occur anytime from late March to late April. If you want to figure out the date for yourself, it's set on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox. So if the moon is full shortly after March 21, Easter can be very early. If the full moon is almost a month after the equinox, Easter comes later, as it does this year.

But the Christian Orthodox churches have another stipulation. On their calendar, Easter must come after Passover. On years when most of us are celebrating an early Easter, we're celebrating it before Passover, so the Orthodox Easter is held later - sometimes weeks later. This year our Easter is late and comes after Passover, so we're all celebrating it at the same time.

I once worked with a Protestant woman who was married to a Greek Orthodox man. Most years she cooked and did baking for two Easters: first for her family and later for her husband's. Luckily, this wasn't a hardship for her because she loved to bake and cook. By the time I met her, she made a killer baklava.

On the years when there are two separate Easters, I often wish that all Christians used the Orthodox method of figuring the date. It makes sense both historically and theologically to have Easter come after Passover. And it would be nice if we always celebrated the feast together. There's a special feeling of oneness on years such as this one when Easter is Easter for all Christians at the same time.

A note on  my Etsy shop: In the past, I've carried a small selection of Anglican rosaries. But I've become so busy with other lines - not to mention new things I want to try - that I'm phasing them out. I have only one Anglican rosary left in stock, and I've marked it down to a clearance price of $15.00 (regular price was $25.00). It's one of those items that get a lot of "hearts" but for some reason don't sell. It's made of blue sodalite. Here's a picture (you can see more photos as well as a full description if you click on the picture shown here):

Because a number of people have bought Anglican rosaries from me in the past, I don't like to leave such customers "high and dry" so I'm recommending Etsy's AnglicanPrayerBeads shop, which specializes in Anglican/Episcopalian rosaries/prayer beads.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mothers, Fathers, and Others

Mother's Day sneaks up on us quickly this year: it's on May 8. With Easter weekend (when I probably won't be making rosaries) April 22-24, there's not much time left to order a custom mother's or grandmother's rosary. In order for delivery by Mother's Day within the U.S., all custom orders must be made by April 16. For rosaries already in stock, orders must be placed by April 25 for delivery by Mother's Day within the U.S. See the "Hearts and Flowers" shop section for inspiration.

Those outside the U.S. are certainly welcome to order, but I can't promise delivery by a certain date.

Plan ahead for Father's Day. Check out the "Suggestions for Men" shop section. There will soon be a one-of-a-kind custom father's rosary available. Watch for it to be listed.

If you're looking for a confirmation gift, see the "Confirmation Rosaries" shop section. (Note that none of the rosaries in this shop are meant for children younger than 13.)

And if you're buying a gift for a Franciscan - First, Second, or Third Order - remember that I always carry a varied selection of Franciscan Crown Rosaries. I especially like this one for a profession or other new beginning:

Have a happy spring! (Hey, the "Hearts and Flowers" rosaries are good for celebrating that, too.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Team Tuesday - April 5, 2011 - littleeyedesigns

littleeyedesigns is a member of the "Helping the Hectic" team, for Etsy sellers who also hold down a job or go to school. This shop holds a real variety of things. As it says in the shop announcement, "You'll find bottle cap pins, magnets and jewelry, original photographs printed and/or framed, simple crochets and vintage goodies! A little bit of this, a little bit of that, just like me!"

Something that's a focus right now is getting ready for the BIG THAW event in Maine. The shop carries posters for the event as well as related magnets or pins:

Photography is an important part of the shop. An unusual emphasis is on fruit and vegetables found at a farmers' market, such as the following radishes and lettuce:

  Those aren't the only photos, though. Here's one of my favorites, titled "Kate Swings in a Vintage Dress":

Among the bottle cap art, just for fun, are several sets made from airline emergency instruction pamphlets, like this one titled "Buckle Up, Friends"...

...and some wine charms made from beer bottle caps:

There are also bottle cap items made with musical notes and lyrics from songs, as well as from original photographs.

Among the wearable treasures are hair clips...


...and here's a set of a pendant and earrings (obviously not made of bottle caps):

It may seem like I'm posting a lot of pictures, but this is just a sampling of what you'll find in littleeyedesigns. In fact, I'm not even including the couple of items that I'm thinking of buying myself.

To close, here's a shot of one of the photographs that's available already framed:

Have fun browsing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Team Tuesday - March 29, 2011 - Midnightcreations

We're highlighting a member of the Etsy Blog Team this week. Just through the luck of the draw, we have another Etsy purse shop to feature. But that doesn't mean it's basically a repeat of last week's post, because each shop has its own flavor.

The purses and totes in Midnightcreations' shop get a lot of their character from her quilting background. Quilting fabrics are commonly used, and usually the fabric is layered with fleece, making the item more substantial.

The shop also has its own variety of selections available. One section is filled with matching totes and purses that are sold as sets. This is my favorite:

Another section offers carabiner coin purses, with clips to attach the small purses to your belt, backpack, or anything else you might be wearing:

The carabiner coin purses are one aspect of something that sets Midnightcreations apart - a nice selection of small sized items that can be easily carried or tucked away. Some coin purses come with a pocket mirror, making them perfect for carrying what you need for a quick touch-up. Here's an example:

Also available are wristlets, slightly larger cosmetic bags with snaps, and a few different things such as "tissue cozies", eyeglass cases, hair scrunchies, and face scrubbies. The picture below shows face scrubbies made from black and white chenille:

Another feature of Midnightcreations is the presence of sale sections where you can snap up "slightly imperfect" items for $5, $10, or $15. Can you believe this beautiful cosmetic pouch costs only $5, because of an asymetrical zipper (that works just fine, by the way):

Whether you're looking for a tote with some "substance" to it, a small case to clip to your belt or tuck away, or a bargain from the sale sections, Midnightcreations is a fun place to browse.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's not "Saint Theresa"

At first I was going to title this "There Is no Saint Theresa," but realized that probably wasn't true, as some of the women named Theresa over the years have certainly made it to heaven by now. That spelling of the name is an indication of the confusion some people have between two saints: Teresa of Avila and Thèrése of Lisieux. Avila is in Spain and Lisieux is in France, so even though Thèrése was named after Teresa (and joined the order she founded) the names are spelled differently. They were both Carmelites, but they were two very different people who lived centuries apart. 

Thèrése is more widely known, probably because a lot of people find her more accessible than Teresa. Teresa wrote books about her mystical experiences (not out of vanity but because she was ordered to) that can be difficult to understand. Thèrése wrote letters and also wrote in her journal, which was published after her death; although she was also a mystic, her primary message was the simple one of the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. She died at the age of 24, so remains perpetually young in people's imaginations. She also said things such as "I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth," a statement that has been taken to heart by a lot of Catholics who pray novenas to her. Some get superstitious (in my opinion) by, for example, expecting to see the image of a rose somewhere on the third day of the novena. I have a hard time imagining Teresa putting up with such nonsense (although she sang and danced with a tambourine, something I have a hard time imagining Thèrése doing). Thèrése is often called the Little Flower and is commonly shown holding an armful of roses with a cross, as in the picture below. If one of these saints is found on a rosary center, it's almost always going to be Thérèse.

Teresa had the guts to reform a religious order in the face of the Spanish Inquisition, which didn't look kindly on new ideas. She wrote her most famous book, Interior Castle, because her autobiography was being delayed so long by the Inquisition's investigations that her confessor decided to try a new tactic; Teresa wrote Interior Castle in third person when talking about her mystical experiences, which seemed to work, although you'd think the Inquisitors would get suspicious after reading "I know of someone..." so many times. She's commonly pictured with her quill and a book, with the Holy Spirit descending to guide her writing. The picture below is cropped from such an image. Thèrése didn't have to deal with the Inquisition, but faced a debilitating illness that she knew would lead to her early death, as well as a prolonged spiritual darkness. In my opinion, the best thing she did for the Catholic Church was to counter the heresy that says we can earn our way to heaven; she did this with her spirituality of depending on God for everything, as we would a loving father. (I have an essay on that elsewhere, written from a Tolkienian point of view.) 

Both "Theresa's", though, would agree with the wording in the picture below - the text is usually called "St. Teresa's Bookmark," because it was found in her office book after her death.

"St. Teresa's Bookmark" as offered in StLuke's shop on Etsy 

Thanks to Shrinefairy and StLuke for permission to use images from their Etsy shops.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Team Tuesday - March 22, 2011 - lizannnecessities

We're back with Team Omaha this week, to take a look at lizannnecessities. This shop carries purses, totes, travel bags, and ipad/Kindle cases.

One of the features of the bags is their unique fabrics, but if you don't see one you love Liz Ann will be happy to make one just for you out of your choice of fabric. Her bags are handwashable, an especially great feature for travel.

My favorite of the styles is the "Gracie Purse". It's larger than it looks in the photo shown here. In the shop, each type of bag also has a photo showing it being carried by a model to make it easier to judge its size. You'll also need to go to the shop to get the coupon code for the current spring sale - 25% off of everything.

Liz Ann offers four styles of bags, so I'm giving a picture of each type here. Clicking on a title or a photo will take you to a full description of the item:

Each type of bag is available in a selection of fabrics, so check out lizannnecessities to see what's in the shop - and don't forget to take advantage of the 25% off coupon code!