Valentine gift guide, 2019!

Pshh, I bet you guys don’t even have your Valentine’s Day trees up yet, do you. Slackers! Here’s our special love tree, as of today:

I just love love, okay?

Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here are some lovely gift ideas for your love. Order now and get flowers when the day gets closer. Trust me.

(Etsy links are affiliate links)

Honest and for True, a Valentine’s day romantic comedy by Jane Lebak

Have I read this book? No, I have not! But the author is funny and smart and interesting, so chances are good her writing is, too.

29-year-old Lee has a Park Slope apartment with easy access to Manhattan, loves her job as an auto mechanic, and can see her guardian angel (a wisecracker with a fascination for the Rumours album.) That’s kind of a full life for a kid in the world’s biggest playground. Despite what everyone thinks, she doesn’t need, or want, a romantic relationship.

Far more comfortable in blue jeans and flannel than in heels and satin, Lee finds herself lying to every man she dates. To the physical trainer, she’s a preschool teacher; to the guy at the bowling alley, she’s a secretary. The lies keep romance at arm’s length even as they drive the angel to distraction until the day she realizes she’s fallen for a straight-laced accountant who’s exploring his dark side through bizarre foods (please note: sea cucumber is not a vegetable). But now he thinks she’s someone she’s not.

Now she’s got to turn those mechanic skills on herself to diagnose and repair the most important relationships in her life. And just think, she used to find it tough repairing a transmission!

Long-time comedy writer and novelist Jane Lebak serves up a hilarious comedy with angels and spare tires and a recipe for the best omelets you’ve ever tasted. Also what may be the most romantic toilet-fixing scene in the English language. But there really isn’t an award for that, so we’ll never know.

MORSE CODE NECKLACES from APPLE AND AZALEA

Guys, I will tell you a secret: Women love secret marriage stuff. If you have a romantic in-joke or something sweet that only you and she know about, a morse code necklace is a very good bet, because it’s romantic but not lady-generic.

Theresa at Apple and Azalea makes Morse Code necklaces for men and women. While there are always some great choices in stock in her Etsy shop, necklaces can by customized by color, phrase or even length of necklace. Popular ideas are nicknames and pet names, children’s initials for a parent, or personal sentiments like “all my love,” or “to the moon and back.”

Here’s a few other designs:

Contact her by Feb 5th to get a custom design made and shipped in time for Valentine’s Day. In stock items need to be ordered by Feb 8 to guarantee they will ship in time.

CHAINMAIL JEWELRY FROM IRON LACE DESIGN

Never will I tire of reminding you to shop around Kyra’s amazing chainmail jewelry store. Never, I say! I’m breathlessly awaiting my latest order. These incomparable pieces would not be out of place in a gallery, but you can have one for your very own.

The Time Lord’s Companion

This stunning steampunk choker combines elegant Victorian filigree with authentic Japanese chainmail, carefully linked by hand. It finishes with an astonishing one-of-a-kind pendant, made of authentic vintage watch gears that have genuine movement with sparkling inlaid ruby bearings. This truly magical piece is nineteen inches long, and closes with a lobster clasp.

Named in honor of the perennial classic show Doctor Who, this tiny time machine is a magical piece that promises to be your companion–not just for occasional cosplay wear, at which it excels, but also for everyday enjoyment. Let its beguiling marriage of lace with steel, and the radiance of its ruby bearings, be a reminder to you that fantastic things are possible, and that making magic is worth your time.

Tesseract earrings

“There IS such a thing as a tesseract.”, said Mrs Whatsit. These are lovingly dedicated to Meg Murry, who learned how to tesser and kythe.

Handmade of steel chainmail and Swarovski crystal, these earrings measure approximately 1 1/2in and are hung from sterling silver hooks.

The Selene necklace

The Selene Lace, like the rest of the popular Byzantine line, embodies the Iron Lace ideal of knitting with steel, combining spun moonbeam elegance with lasting strength.

A made-to-order variation on my popular Byzantine-style choker, and the heavier version of the Byzantine chainmail choker, this handmade stainless steel necklace is elegant enough for a formal evening dancing in the moonlight, but tough enough to withstand swimming in a pool or ocean tides. The Byzantine line is designed to make you feel like an everyday empress.

[Kyra’s in Canada, so order by February 5 to get your jewelry before Valentine’s Day. Six-day shipping is possible, but let’s not be silly!]

HOLY MARRIAGE POCKET ROSARY FROM GROTTO ROSARIES

Isn’t this lovely? Tender and dignified. This is one of several pocket rosaries available.

One-decade “tenners” or pocket rosaries are elegant gifts for your sweetheart.  Perfectly portable to keep in the pocket or under the pillow, Grotto pocket rosaries feature stunning bronze medals cast in the USA that will remind your beloved of a special saint, occasion, or intention.  (Pictured: Holy Marriage in the Garden set with Aqua Terra jasper).

All pocket rosaries feature 8mm gemstone Ave beads and a 10 mm Pater bead set between czech fire-polished and bronze, giving them just the right amount of sparkle while not overwhelming the natural beauty of the gemstones.

Artfully packaged with organza gift bag and jewelry box.  Handmade in upstate Central New York.

And finally . . .

MORE LOVELY GEEKINESS FROM THE ONE AND ONLY ELISA LOW OF DOOR NUMBER NINE

Catholic Pickup Lines Card Set

Have you Lent someone your heart and want to ash them out? Do you think you’ve met a special someone, and you wish your guardian angel could intercede? Door Number 9 is here to be your wingman!

Here are the classic Catholic pick-up lines, now printed on 2.5×4 inch cards. Carry them with you inside the included slide-top metal tin so you can smoothly operate the top and slide out one of sixteen suggestions, including: “Confess here often?”; “Your eyes are so [Marian blue, Carmelite brown, or Ordinary Time green]”; and “Do you attend the Latin Mass? Because your form is Extraordinary.”

Don’t just watch that special someone pray the rosary when you could be spending decades with them. Open your heart (and your pick-up cards) and act now!

Grumpy St. Valentine Mug

Get back to the Catholic roots of SAINT Valentine’s day with this icon mug:

Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
I was beaten stoned and beheaded,
These flowers and chocolates
Are for you.

.

Mary and her darlings

“I once saw a lady on a train,” said John Paul I, “Who put her baby to sleep in a baggage holder [a net above the seat]. When the little one woke up, he saw from above his mother sitting facing him so that she could watch over him. ‘Mamma,’ he would say to her.

“‘Darling,’ she replied, and for a long time the dialogue between the two did not change. ‘Mamma,’ from above, ‘Darling’ from below. There was no need for other words. ”

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly.

Image via Pixabay (Creative Commons)

Steel and lapis rosary winner!

Congrats to Laura Markiewicz, who’s the winner of the rosary giveaway!

Laura entered by “liking” Iron Lace Design on Etsy, and her name was chosen randomly by Rafflecopter.

Laura, I’ve sent you an email so we can get your prize to you. Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks so much to Kyra Matsui for donating this lovely rosary.

There’s still time to order, or even to special order, one of Kyra’s gorgeous, strong, handmade rosaries, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and more before Christmas. If you missed it, here “Chainmail, Goth, and Rosaries,” the interview I did with Kyra.

Single-decade steel and lapis rosary GIVEAWAY!

ICYMI, here is my interview with the wonderful Kyra Matsui, the brains and tough fingers behind Iron Lace Design. Kyra’s giving away one of her gorgeous single-decade rosaries, which sell for $35.

A handsome and tough single decade rosary, made of large, 8mm lapis lazuli beads on steel eyepins, joined with heavy stainless steel chain. The Our Fathers are steel chainmail in Japanese 4-in-1. Finished with an Italian silver plated crucifix. Perfect for keeping in your pocket or on your dashboard!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of the page. If you can’t see the form, which no one ever can, use this link:

Lapis rosary giveaway entry form

I’ll choose a winner on Saturday and announce it then. Please be sure to use a current email address when you enter.

Good luck! And thank you, Kyra!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Catholics on Etsy, Part 2! Christmas and Advent Gifts for 2016

Yesterday, I shared part one of this year’s  list of Catholic-made, handmade goods — jewelry, art, and prints of various kinds. Today, part two: unusual rosaries, knit and fabric goods, and my favorite category of all, miscellaneous.

A few of the sellers have set up a special discount code or deal just for this post, so take note!

UNUSUAL ROSARIES and ROSARY ACCESSORIES

There are ever so many gorgeous rosaries on Etsy. I featured several of them on my Easter gift guide last yaer, including Iron Lace chain mail rosaries; a huge variety of styles from Rosaries by Allison; heirloom-quality rosaries from Athey Rosaries; sweet, affordable chaplets from ChapletsNSuch; a nice variety for various occasions from Snowshoe Rosaries; gemstone rosaries on flexwire from Prayer and Sparkle; and heavy, elegant rosaries from Et Corde.

Today, I thought I’d feature a few rosaries and accessories that are a little off the beaten path:

Two Hearted Ranch: Catholic and custom gifts and jewelry, rosary cases, keychains, including customized floating lockets
Featured item: Monstrance glass-topped steel-plated tin rosary case
, $9.95.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-8-24-19-pm

You can also add a stamped tin disc to the bottom of the inside to commemorate a sacrament. Many other designs, bold and eye-catching. Keep those rosaries untangled!


Roses for Mary by Becky Arganbright
Featured item: Clay Rose garden three Hail Marys, $7

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-10-19-51-pm

If you only have time for three Hail Marys, these rose counters are sweet and nostalgic-looking.


The Wallet Rosary, $12.50
Made of string, light, brushed stainless steel, and slim as a credit card, it fits right in your wallet.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-11-05-15-pm

Neat idea! Grab it when you need it.
Use coupon code “SimchaChristmas” for free U.S. Shipping on orders of 2+ rosaries through 12/15.


Chews Life – an assortment of rosaries, chaplets, and bracelets and necklaces designed to divert and delight nursing, teething, twiddling babies
Featured item: Chews life decade rosary, $18

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-27-41-pm

Gracefully bow to the inevitable and carry a rosary designed to be gnawed on. Love it.


Apple and Azalea by Theresa Barger – Memory wire rosary bracelets and other elegant jewelry and accessories
I always admired my friend Theresa’s style and elegance when we were in college together, and her original wrap-around rosaries ($24-$28) are exquisite and varied.  I had a hard time picking just one to feature, so I picked three.

rosary-montage

My own wrap-around bracelet, a southwestern-style one, has held its shape through years of abuse at the hands and mouths of various babies.



KNIT and FABRIC GOODS

The Knot Haus – many fresh and whimsical knitted gifts, including some CUTE cute cute baby hats.
Featured item: Green Celtic knot bracelet, $25

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-39-59-pm

Neat, eh? This knit knot bracelet is made with silver-plated ribbon clamps and a lobster clasp. Say that sentence three times fast!


Blue Ridge Purl Hand-knit hats, scarves, cowls, and gloves by a pair of homeschooling Catholic moms
Featured item: Hand-knit fox hood, $40

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-44-41-pm

Imagine glancing out the kitchen window to see a flock of little foxes prancing by, and knowing that for once, their ears are necks are warm. (Foxes do so come in flocks.) Completely adorable, and so cozy.


Three Jolly Owls by Katie McGinley: Handcrafted Goods and Gifts for the Liturgical Year: peg doll saints, Jesse tree ornaments, and more.
Featured item: Handmade felt Jesse Tree ornaments, $54

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-51-49-pm

Perfect! Simple, bright, and meaningful, and an easy tradition to follow every year. The ornaments have ribbons loops for hanging.
SPECIAL OFFER: Use coupon code PANTS10 to get 10% off! – valid until 12/31


S. Lochet Designs by Stephanie Lochet: Period and Vintage Inspired Creations
Featured item: Set of three tissue holders (tissues included!), $8

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-10-13-02-pm

I don’t even carry tissues with me, but I want these. So cheery! Many more styles and patterns on the site, as well as retro aprons and more.


Faith and Fabric Design – 
Reversible Advent and Christmas Table Runner
, $38

etsy-faith-and-fabric-runner

I love table runners. Such an easy way to change the look of a room. This one is reversible: When Advent is through, flip it over and see a pretty Christmas design.

I also like this peg doll flower, $12. Keep your peg dolls snug and sorted.



MISCELLANEOUS!

Pottery From Your Roots by Faith Connor
Featured item: Chicory Mortar and Pestle, $40

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-10-28-55-pm

Ooh, I like the looks of these. Spare and elegant with a soupçon of strangeness. Many more pieces on the site.


Door Number 9 by Elisa Low
Featured item: Hamilton Gimmel Rings, $25. You remember Elisa from when we chatted about holy cards as fan art, and the intersection of faith and geekdom. Well, those interlocking Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton wedding rings she was working on are on their way! The first run sold out immediately, but you can pre-order, $25.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-9-50-39-am

Elisa also offers a wide variety of unusual handmade goods, from saint wine charms to portable oratories to Cyberman tea wallets.


Sweet Soft Skin Handmade Soaps by Margaret Grimm
Featured item: Limited edition “Gifts of the Magi” soaps scented with frankincense and myrrh, $4.50

etsy-margaret-grimm-soaps

So luxe! I love how the natural shape of the soap is incorporated into the design, like a little landscape. Get several as little gifts or stocking stuffers, or keep them for yourself and enjoy that once-a- year scent.


Wild Things Adventures by Sarah Antonio
Featured item: Adventure bags, $85 Handmade leather satchels stocked with a hand stitched, leather bound journal with 24 watercolor pages, a Prang watercolor set with small water jar (not pictured), branch pencil, compass, binoculars, and a folding magnifying glass!

wild-things-adventure-bags

Eh? Eh? You can almost smell the outdoors calling.


Ashcraft Creative hand-tooled leather by Mark and Christina Ashcraft
Featured item: Stained glass leather wallet, $65

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-10-00-51-pm

Not gonna lie: this is probably my favorite item this year. Just stunning. Many more splendid, original, hand-tooled leather items on the site.


Art 4 the Soul – devotional art and retabolos
Featured item: Sacred Heart Leather keychain/bag tag, personalized, $25+

etsy-sacred-heart-leather-key-chain
Sacred Heart, you come with me! I love this. Many more original designs and combos on the site, great for bag tags, key chains, or zipper pulls.


Saong Jai – an assortment of Catholic and vintage goods
Featured item: Set of 3 vintage Catholic ornaments, $25

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-10-54-53-pm

Yes! Catholic up your Christmas tree. Aren’t these spectacular?



Don’t forget to check out part one of the Advent and Christmas Catholic Etsy list. That’s it for handmade gifts this year. I’ll be doing my annual “gift ideas for kids” post in the next week.

Are you a Catholic who sells handmade or hand-designed goods? Feel free to leave a link to your shop in the comments.

Why does the Church make things so complicated?

sheep-690198_640

If a dumb sheep starts nibbling on the medicine spoon, rather than drinking the medicine, that doesn’t mean that vets aren’t necessary. It means the sheep needs to be redirected to the goal, which is being healed.

Read the rest at the Register.

***

Has Etsy banned the sale of sacramentals?

459397533_380dad971d

To a casual onlooker, it really does seem like Catholics believe that if you die with a scapular, God has to let you into heaven; that if you stick a St. Christopher medal to your dashboard, you can drive like a maniac and walk away unscathed; that if you pray on a rosary blessed by an especially good Pope, or sneak a relic of your favorite saint underneath some sinner’s mattress, then whatever you wish will come true.

This is not what Catholics believe. We do not believe in magic, and we do not believe that God is bound to perform for us like a genie in a bottle.

Read the rest at the Register. 

***

Free shipping on rosary bracelets and more from Apple and Azalea

My dear friend Theresa Barger makes elegant rosary bracelets and other jewelry.

apple and azalea header

She’s offering free shipping for my readers on orders of $10 or more through 12/20! (Free shipping orders are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas if you order by 12/17. For Christmas orders placed after the 17th, you may upgrade the shipping.) Use the coupon code ThanksSimcha (eeee! My first coupon code!) when you order.

Theresa also takes special orders, so if you have a specific color or stone in mind, let her know. If she has the materials on hand, she may be able to fill your special order in time for Christmas.

Here are just a few of the items Theresa is currently offering:

Garnet Red Wrap-Around Rosary Bracelet, $24

garnet rosaryThis bracelet has an old world, vintage look to it, with faceted, garnet-colored glass beads, and freshwater pearl nuggets for Our Father beads. There are matte gray seed beads separating the others, and the rosary begins with a black bead that has a cross stamped on it. This rosary has a full five decades.

It is strung on 2 1/4″ memory wire, which is comfortable and flexible, but retains its shape. It can be stretched to fit different size wrists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Bold Wrap-Around Rosary Bracelet. $26

be bold rosary

This bright, bold colored rosary is sure to attract compliments. It is made with vividly dyed magnesite and chalk turquoise beads.

Also a full five-decade rosary, made with memory wire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Theresa says: Besides the rosary bracelets, I love experimenting with new materials and styles for other projects.  This season, my newest item is

guitar pick earrings, $13, each.

guitar pick earrings

 

I punch the picks out of various recycled items – shampoo bottles, laundry detergent bottles, castoff school binders- and pair the color and texture with charms or beads that I have on hand. I think they are really fun and a perfect gift for a young (or young at heart) musician this year.

My favorite way to use up extra beads, however, is to make

beaded bookmarks, $8.50 each.

beaded bookmarks

I start with a strand of waxed linen, a material traditionally used for bookmaking. Leaving about 12″ in the middle to lay between the pages of your book, I bead the ends that hang over the edges. Some are fun and playful, some are classic and sophisticated.  Some are even for men! Each bookmark is truly individual and built around the beads I have at the time. These are a great gift to have on hand for teachers or for thank-you or get well gifts.

***

Theresa also offers other handmade items and accessories at Apple and Azalea. Remember to use coupon code ThanksSimcha for free shipping!  For guaranteed delivery by Christmas with the free shipping, you must order by the 17th. If you order after then, you may select an optional upgrade to priority mail, to ensure delivery before Christmas.

Theresa, here with three of her six kids, makes all her merchandise by hand in Webster, NH.

Theresa, here with three of her six kids, makes all her merchandise by hand in Webster, NH.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll post an open thread for sharing Etsy stores and other homemade merchandise.