Do you know about the beautiful needlework kits and supplies of Elizabeth Bradley? Tired of those coloring book-like cartoon patterns for kneelers? Visit the home page at http://www.elizabethbradley.com/theamericas/ to see the beautiful floral, fruit, and animal needlepoint kits, fine wools in 154 muted colors of four-ply tapestry wool. There are also border patterns and mini kits of 6- inch motifs.
Walmart stores around Rhode Island have unloaded an ocean of beautiful palms- two varieties, about 4-5 feet tall in plastic pots. Palms make great backdrops for bulbs, nice vertical space-fillers for the Maundy Chapel of Repose, and of course, best of all- ideal decoration for next Sunday- Palm Sunday. The best part is the price TEN- that’s $10 per pot. Hurry on down today because I will bet they will be a hot sale item over this weekend. After Easter potted palms look stately in your guild hall, flanking a podium, a stage, next to the piano in a handsome cachepot, lounging in the rectory by the fireplace, or having a summer vacation in their pots outside. This is a great bargain- don’t miss it!
Can it be possible that Palm Sunday is only one week from this coming Sunday? Where did the winter go? Our Easter Flower appeal went out on March 7th. How many times have we heard, “I meant to send that in!”? Make donating to this annual appeal as easy as possible. I have found that inserting a separate half-sheet inside the Sunday bulletin each week makes it easy for parishioners to attach a check on the spot, without having to tear anything out, then they can deposit check and dedication form in the alms bason. Also leave a few forms in obvious places like the back of church, the narthex, vestibule table, parish hall etc. Easter flowers may also be given in honor of someone or in thanksgiving for blessings received or for the service of an individual-not just as memorials. The Paschal candle may be sponsored by a church group or individual. Be sure to include the date when donations should reach the office.
1. Nurseries and florists will be very happy to have your bulb and flower order two weeks before delivery or pick up. To obtain the best product, make it easier for your supplier to order in plenty of time. If you plan to have paper coverings around your pots, be sure to tell your supplier. Plain dark green paper is best -the flower, not the pot, is the focus. Clear plastic drip cups are also available. Most florists and nurseries charge for papering pots and charge for the water catcher cups. Have floral materials delivered in plenty of time to make up the Maundy garden of repose and cut flowers in time to have stems cut and a good rest in deep water before arranging for the Great Vigil. At the high cost of blossoms- make each one count with careful prep time which will assure longer life.
2. Home Depot and Stop and Shop have begun putting out the potted palms. These are great for Palm Sunday, Easter, and will go happily outside this summer and return for you next year. Most are priced at about $15.00 for a large pot with palm height at about 6 feet high- a bargain!
3. Now is the time to get that brass polishing out of the way- it is the messiest part of festival preparation. Font inserts, Paschal candle stands, candlesticks, patenellas, thuribles etc. should gleam for Easter Sunday. MAAS is my preferred metal polish. Silver polishing is usually also on the agenda over the next 2 weeks.
4. Matches, flashlights and batteries, a good supply of candles, congregational candles and bobeches, baptismal candles, charcoal or kindling, towels for Maundy Thursday, and other Holy Week supplies should be procured and stored this week. Time to hunt up and clean the hibachi or other fire-making brazier for Saturday’s Great Vigil. Check wine and wafer supplies as well. Don’t forget to check on the waxed wicking for acolyte candle lighters!
5. Last call for minor repairs and cleaning of white vestments and hangings, small and fair linens. Holy Week is the time of year when the linen drawers should be well-stocked all the time for all emergencies.
6. Rotas for Holy Week should be sorted out with a list posted in the sacristy of all those covering the many services. This may be the week to have additional guild members lend a hand to the team on duty. Who will help maintain the potted plants? Will any flowers go to shut-ins? Will there be a parish tidy-up day with the altar guild? This is usually done the Saturday before Easter Sunday around 10 a.m.
7. Be sure to take your Paschal candle out of the box and make sure the incense grains are there and that there are no cracks in the candle. Be sure the candle end fits smoothly into the candlestick stand.
8. Do you have a team ready to assist with the stripping of the altar and the receiving and storing of chancel furnishings on Maundy Thursday evening?
9. Be ready to remove the lily stamens as soon as the pots are delivered. Don’t wait until the warm room causes the anthers to burst open and dump their pollen all over everything. Lily pollen is the worst to get out of cloth.
10. Being prepared, delegating chores, stocking up on supplies, good communication with the guild members and rector, and crossing off tasks ahead of schedule will insure a smooth, tranquil Holy Week and Easter Sunday and a beautiful sanctuary for the Feast of all feast days.
Have you ordered your Paschal Candle? We’ve been busy in the sacristy these days, cleaning up after the Christmas- Epiphanytide, burning palms for Ash Wednesday, ordering two new fair linens, a case of wine, baking altar bread, confirming our palms order, etc. The kitchen still smells faintly of Shrove Tuesday pancakes. It is a busy time, taking stock, getting in order, replenishing supplies, and preparing for the great feast of Easter, both spiritually and practically.
We had hoped to have our fair linens in by Easter, but it takes time to get things back from Madeira where the embroidery is done. After much comparison, we did select Mary Moore through Almy. Did you know that you can request fabric samples from the company? After comparing Irish and Belgian linens, the Belgian linen had a nicer weave and so we are ordering Belgian this time!
Also some news to tell you- the Diocesan Directory is now online. This lists all of the churches as well as Diocesan offices, addresses, clergy, emails and all sorts of helpful information. You may access the pdf file at this link http://www.episcopalri.org/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Directory/Web%20Directory%20Feb%202010.pdf or from the contact link on the Diocesan web site www.episcopalri.org
Any photos to share from your parish?
Happy New Year! I have been down with the flu bug along with many others for the past two weeks. I am hoping you have taken many great photos of your church decorated for Christmas and will share with us here.
The catalogues are starting to come into my office so it must be January! I love looking through all of the religious goods catalogues and finding new items. You may want to keep one of those stand-up storage files in your sacristy for your supply catalogues. Almy’s and Egan’s usually are sent routinely to the church office, but all companies will be delighted to send a catalogue and sometimes even fabric swatches and samples upon request. If you have a good resource, please send me the company name so we can share it here. I will be posting catalogue resources this year beginning with Monastery Icons http://www.monasteryicons.com/
The company has a beautiful line of icons. I ordered the St. Damiano crucifix to the left a few years ago for Taize prayer services. You will enjoy surfing their website for cards, beautiful jewelry, statues, garden statuary, Celtic designs, incense, banners, and many other kinds of religious items. There is a link on the site to request a free catalogue. Perhaps someone in your altar guild will be appointed to maintain a catalogue supply archive for your sacristy. It is always a help to have a catalogue with photos at the ready when a donor comes forward wishing to donate an item to the church.
Hard to believe but the season after Pentecost is fast drawing to an end and already it is time to get your order in for Advent candles and to hunt up the Advent candle ring. If you use a fresh green wreath from the florist, most shops appreciate an order placed two weeks before to guarantee you will get just what you need. The Farmer’s Daughter (Kingston) and Schartner’s Farms (Exeter)make up a beautiful fresh green wreath to order if you drop off your ring. With a little green wire you can purchase a fresh ring to fit and wire it to your frame yourself.
Last year we ordered the 16 inch pillar candles which burned evenly and looked great with brass followers. There is so much candle left that we plan to use them again this year. Some candle companies will buy back used candles and give a wax credit, but usually this is for a Paschal candle and not for the purple and pink candles of Advent. With the cost of a new set being in the 50-60 dollar range, it makes sense to use up what’s in the sacristy. To freshen last year’s candles, moisten a soft cotton cloth with vegetable oil such a Wesson, Crisco, etc., wipe the length of the candle to remove dull film and dust, then wipe off the excess and buff the candles gently until they shine again. Trim wicks neatly and the candle is all ready for another season. Using a follower of brass or glass will help get the most out of any candle and will help to avoid wax drips and uneven burning.
Egan Church supplies offers a lower price if you use the online shopping option. Order this week and don’t forget to contact the florist for the fresh greens if you cannot make up a wreath. http://www.eganchurchsupply.com/cs/candles_advent.htm
If you get to Westerly during Advent, Christ Church has traditionally hung fresh boxwood wreaths on their doors with deep purple velvet bows which are exchanged for red on Christmas Eve. Very pretty- and so is the new set of doors on the Elm Street side of Christ Church.
Recently I received an email asking me to recommend an iron for ironing fair and small linens. You’ll want to iron linens quite damp and ideally chilled from your refrigerator. For some reason linen fibers lie down and behave nicely when they are chilled before pressing. You can spend between 30- 150 dollars for a steam iron. The thing is, you do not need steam for pressing damp linens-the idea is to press and dry these items at the same time. A metal soleplate is essential- and one without steam vents is superior and will not leave steam hole “tracks”. I am not a fan of plastic irons, yes, they may be lighter but they do not get the job done. I will cheerfully “pump iron” of 5 pounds with a steel soleplate just like my Mom’s from the 1950’s.
At last I found a source for the steel soleplate, traditional DRY iron which is perfect for ironing wet linen- without the steam holes. Please check out this link http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/browse/Home/For-The-Home/Household-Cleaning/Laundry/Dry-Iron/D/30100/P/1:100:1030:10340:101110/I/f06328?evar3=BROWSE# for Vermont Country Stores and by all means watch the video about this product which is on the same page. At around 30 dollars- this is the iron for your linens and cottons. Every sacristy should have this, and a sturdy, serviceable iron board.
We’ve had some mail today regarding the beautiful textile cards from the Elizabeth Hoare Liverpool Cathedral Embroidery Gallery. These cards, in packets of 8 assorted can be ordered from the Cathedral Giftshop by using a credit card -shipping will be added. If you happen to find yourself in London, Watts on Tufton St. also sells the cards. Here is a sample of one. All cards are blank inside.
I am delighted to promote the studios of Details in Design of Williamsburg, Virginia. After so many years of depending upon Mary Moore linens through the Almy company, I believe the quality of the linens of Details in Design is superior, and the service is spectacular. Not only can linen be ordered by the yard in Belgian or fine Irish linen, but the studio offers restoration and repair for old fair linens, workshops, needlework classes, and many other wonderful services for church altar guilds. You will enjoy exploring their website at www.communionlinens.com Please call for additional workshops not listed on the card above at 1-800-905-9556 Their catalogue is a MUST HAVE for every sacristy and features useful laundry tips and linen history.
Hardware stores and automotive stores, and I hear Crate and Barrel and also William Sonoma stores carry Maas products. If you are having trouble finding it, please visit the official Maas website for information on their products and direct ordering. Click on the PRODUCTS tab at the top pf the page to see all the products in the Maas line including metal protector, polishing gloves, cleaning cream and aluminum cleaner, plus combo package deals. http://www.maasinc.com/index.asp
Lent has traditionally been a time when convents and guilds repair or create vestments and linens, antependia, and laces. With the cost of buying ready-made vestments from catalogues, creating your own vestments from patterns may be a good option if you are blessed with a person in the parish or guild with sewing skills. It is possible to find good quality fabrics, of traditional pattern from sources other than the usual catalogue suppliers. If only one set of vestments and paraments can be afforded, you may wish to consider a tapestry pattern which utilizes a palette of colors for most of the liturgical year.
When making a Low Mass set ( chasuble, stole, burse and veil, and maniple) keep in mind that they will be worn by many shapes and sizes of clergy. In general, the Gothic or modified Gothic cut is flattering to all body shapes. Good design, quality fabric, and simplicity are guidelines to aim for. Chasubles are much-enhanced by a Y orphrey or a simple center orphrey rather than left plain. Certain patterns which feature a very large motif like St. Nicholas may be wonderful for a cope or frontal, but does not work at all well for smaller items such as a stole or burse.
Before making a final hem in a cope or chasuble, let the finished garment hang on a hanger for about a week, allowing the fabric to “drop” before making the final hemming. A damask, brocade or tapestry chasuble should have a lining to make it hold a shape and drape properly. Below are some excellent links which will be very helpful if your altar guild is considering making paraments or vestments. All offer fabric and trims for sale by the yard.
St. Benet’s Guild http://stbenetsguild.tripod.com/index.htm
(highly recommended) for patterns and fabrics
http://www.mperkins.co.uk/ (United Kingdom source)