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!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Team Tuesday - March 15 - teener1416 and AllThingsEclectic

One seller with two shops today - from the "Helping the Hectic" team (for Etsy sellers who work a day job or are students).

I wanted to get the teener1416 shop posted awhile before Easter because it's all about decorated eggs. Eggs etched with intricate and often traditional designs. They aren't just for Easter, of course, but would be gorgeous decor all year round. One thing I especially like is the description in many of the listings of how the etching is done, especially when a traditional European method is used. Here are just a few examples. Clicking on any photo will take you to that egg's description:


The other shop (AllThingsEclectic) is all about cards - but not just any cards. These are handmade and hand embellished "shabby chic" cards. The embellishments - especially the flowers - make them a three-dimensional experience. Here are some to get you thinking spring (the last two are close-up views):

Hope you enjoy these ready-for-spring shops as we shake off the last of winter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday Special - and Fasting

A number of members of the Etsy Prayersonawire team are offering Ash Wednesday specials today. In my shop, enter coupon code ASHWED2011 at checkout to receive 20% off your order. And as a special mention to those reading this blog, I won't be canceling the coupon code until I get up on Thursday morning, so the special doesn't stop at midnight.

 Reading a good book

Fasting is not my preferred form of penance. It just makes me tired and irritable and not particularly Christian. So I only engage in it on the two days per year that I have to and am looking forward to getting old enough to be able to ignore it entirely.

Yeah, I know, Catholic fasting is no big deal. No food between meals and two small meals that don't add up to the size of the main meal. It's a joke compared to Ramadan. But I'm a grazer. My usual eating pattern is one small item every couple of hours. Keeps my blood sugar level and keeps me from getting hungry and eating too much. I probably eat more on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday than I do on most other days. They're two of the rare occasions when I'll actually eat a meal.

Thank God I don't have to forgo coffee! And the people I work with probably think the same thing.

So what am I "giving up for Lent"? (Certainly not coffee!) I'm going to try a moratorium on watching DVDs (except ones I need to watch for a project I'm doing). I'm in the process of reading a really good book, and am reminded how much better that can be than watching a movie. Only problem is that I can't do something else while I'm reading as I can while I'm watching a DVD, but I've lately decided to cut back on the rosary making, anyway, so this is pretty good timing. 

I'm not promising to be perfect. And I'm not promising that everything I read will be profound. But I think this will be something positive.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Team Tuesday - March 8 - Gilliauna (Gilliauna's Bits n' Beads)

This week's feature is Gilliauna, from the Prayers on a Wire team, who calls her shop "Gilliauna's Bits n' Beads". She offers a variety of items made from beads: jewelry, rosaries, eyeglass chains, bookmarks, badge lanyards, and more. She loves color, but this week we're going to concentrate on green because Gilliauna has an entire section full of St. Patrick's Day deals. Here's a sampling - I tried to get a good variety of items. Clicking on either the caption or the photo will take you to the item description:

To close, since I met Gilliauna through our rosary makers' team, here are a couple of unique and stunning rosaries she has for sale. These are not in the St. Patrick's Day section:

If you can't decide, or if you're buying a gift and don't know what to get, Gilliauna also offers gift certificates in several different amounts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Anglican Rosary Technique - Such as It Is

You know how things sometimes sneak up on you? I just sold another Anglican rosary, which means I'm down to one in my Etsy shop. The one that's left is a star performer when it comes to people marking it as a favorite, but no one's bought it.

I have a number of bead combinations I've set aside for making Anglican rosaries, but when I go to start a new project I always find something else to do. Probably because, the way I make them, they're technically a little more difficult than other rosaries. If you look at the picture below, you can see why: there's a spot where three wires come together but they have to be joined without using a center.The bead that joins them has one hole with two openings, just like most beads.

When I started doing online research into Anglican rosaries (because I'd been asked to make one for someone) I found a couple of methods for making them. But I didn't like the way either of them looked, because the crimp bead came at a visually bad place. One method placed the crimp bead at the center of the rosary's body, which means the bead that should be centered is pushed off to the side. In the other method, the crimp bead ended up just to the side of the juncture, which also throws off the symmetry.

So I came up with my own technique, which is to make the rosary body in one piece, thread both ends through the bead that becomes the juncture, and put the crimp bead directly below it, holding the two wires together. The wire hanging below becomes the stem.

Sounds fairly simple, right? But it can take a lot of effort to get both wires feeding evenly through the juncture bead so that the stem is perfectly centered. Holding the rosary while I attach the crimp bead doesn't work, because I need both hands to hold the wires even. If I try to do it with the rosary lying flat, one end always creeps off when I adjust the other one. I've found it to be easier if I hold or hang the rosary in mid-air so I can adjust both wires as they feed through. But then I have to close the crimp bead when the wires are exactly right, with the crimp bead also hanging in mid-air. It feels a bit like hunting - waiting for the proper moment and then bang.

There may be an easier way of doing this, but I haven't found it yet.

Another reason I tend to put off making Anglican rosaries is that although one of them, as a whole, takes less time to make than a five-decade Catholic rosary, because of the way they're assembled I like to make one in one sitting, without a break. So I need to have a period of time when I'm pretty sure I won't be interrupted. A "regular" rosary can much more easily be set down and come back to later. 

Here's my one remaining Anglican rosary (I will be making more). It's made from three sizes of sodalite beads, with the large invitatory bead having a carved design:

Remember that if you enter coupon code BLOG2 at checkout, you receive a 20% discount from the listed price on anything in my Etsy shop.