Monday, July 15, 2013

The Embroidered Altar Pall

In the Old Testament, we read about the Ark of the Covenant - that magnificent home and protection for the written word of God. This Ark was considered so special that even the priests whose job it was to carried it were not allowed to look at it with their eye. A veil was placed between the human eye and the Holy of Holies.

Would it be a wonder then, if we should emulate even a fraction of this honor due God when housing His very Own True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament? Every big and little ornament and article used in to the purpose of housing and protecting Our Lord must be special and in turn, beautiful.

Tabernacle, veil, jewels, and even the chalice themselves should be made of the finest of materials for the King of Kings. And when He comes to us in Holy Communion, the priest insures that not even a particle of dust or debris will fall near him. How does this happen?

With the help of a pall.

Made of linen and stiffened inside to board-like stiffness, the altar pall is used to cover the Chalice and prevent anything from falling inside. This simple tool has a giant purpose. Given it's high office, the pall is often embroidered and decorated with the finest in Catholic motifs and designs.

Our seamstress did an amazing job on this special order for custom palls. These beauties will grace the altar through the hands of a priest in Canada, thanks to the generosity of his friends.

"And I clothed thee with embroidery, and shod thee with violet coloured shoes: and I girded thee about with fine linen, and clothed thee with fine garments." - Ezechiel 16:10

Friday, July 5, 2013

About Our Custom Book Covers

So, can Catholic Embroidery really make a book cover to fit ANY book?

The answer is: YES!

Customers write quite often, asking if our book cover customization services extend beyond embroidery and into the book size as well. There hasn't been a book yet to date, that we haven't been able to cover.

This includes covering Bibles, prayer-books, missals, antique collections, handbooks, Diurnals, and choir books. Not only do the covers offer ultimate zipper-enforced protection from wear, tear, and elements, the added feature of optional custom embroidery will make your book a walking piece of Catholic art.

To cover your favorite book, simply order a Custom Book Cover from our website and enter your book's dimensions and any other choice options at your disposal. {Measure in inches or millimeters, looking at the book head-on: height, length, and spine width.} That's it! Our talented seamstresses will take care of the rest, designing a cover that will fit your book like a glove!

The old adage is true: We've gotcha covered. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Embroidered Stole: Golden Maltese Crosses

White & violet brocade fabrics designed to allow for a "reversible" stole

It's such a treat to work with talented seamstresses across the country! I am always amazed at the ideas, vision, and array of beautiful fabrics that take shape into exquisite treasures for priests and the altar through their skillful hands.

One such seamstress recently contacted us with a special custom project: Maletese Crosses embroidered in gold metallic thread on stole she is creating for a a priest.

The small gold cross will rest, as always, on the neck of the priest...

And as usual, this special request gave me the opportunity to learn more about my Faith and the symbolism in her art and liturgy. The Maltese Cross' history and symbolism can be found in last week's blog post... while the meaning of the stole is shared below:

"A liturgical vestment composed of a strip of material from two to four inches wide and about eighty inches long. It has either a uniform width throughout, or is somewhat narrower towards the middle, widening at the ends in the shape of a trapezium or spade. A small cross is generally sewed or embroidered on the stole at both ends and in the middle; the cross, however, is prescribed only for the middle, where the priest kisses the stole before putting it on... Stoles for festivals are generally ornamented with embroidery, especially what are called 'vesper stoles'... At the ordination of priests the bishop draws the part of the stole that rests at the back of the candidate's neck forward over the breast and lays the two ends crosswise, saying: 'Receive the yoke of the Lord, for His yoke is sweet and His burden is light.'... The giving of the stole to the candidate at ordination in Rome was intended to convey a double symbolism; first, that the elevation to the clergy of the Roman Church occurred de benedictione S. Petri, and secondly that by ordination the candidate entered the service of St. Peter, that is of the Roman Church." - From the Catholic Encyclopedia online
This "Penitential" side of the stole will be used for while
hearing confessions... during Lent... Advent...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mighty Maltese (and the 3 C's)

So, we had a little guessing game over on our Facebook page last week. The question arose (thanks to a recent custom order for embroidery on an handmade stole): What do the 8 points on the Maltese Cross symbolize?

To be quite honest, I didn't even know that this particular question existed until I began working on the project. "A Maltese Cross?" I asked? "Must have something to do with heraldry..." I mused, quite shamefully disinterested.

But the little promptings of Catholic Culture Conscience (didn't know there was such a thing? Well, I think we just found it!) prompted my curiosity into action. I noticed a comment in the email body from my customer about the 8 Beatitudes. "A type of cross isn't created without some reason or symbolism," I thought. The results of my curiosity to learn more about the Maltese Cross did not disappoint.

And so - to satisfy your own Catholic Culture Conscience (we'll call it the 3 C's around here) - Behold! our findings...

The Maltese Cross is a symbol of the Knights of Malta, based after a cross design from the First Crusade. In the 16th century, the 8 points of this cross represented by the Knights the "eight points of courage" namely:

Glory and Honor
Contempt of death
Helpfulness toward the poor and sick
Respect for the Church

The Order of St. John taught that these 8 points also represented the 8 Beatitudes of Jesus Christ, given to us in the Sermon on the Mount. Today, the Maltese Cross can be found in symbolism of aviation, medicine, and on flags, crests, documents, and clubs around the world. 

The most interesting of these, of course, is it's application as embroidery designs in a family business workshop in the USA. :) For pictures of the stole embroidery, visit us next week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Message from the Sacred Heart

Happy feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
 Such love from God deserves a return, don't you think? He only asks for one little thing...

A MESSAGE from the Sacred Heart!
What may this message be?
"My child, My child, give Me thy heart;
 My heart has bled for thee."

This is the message Jesus sends
To my poor heart today,
And from His throne in Heaven He bends
To hear what I shall say.
A MESSAGE from the Sacred Heart!
What may this message be?
"My child, My child, give Me thy heart;
 My heart has bled for thee." 

A message to the Sacred Heart;
Oh! bear it back with speed:
"Come, Jesus, reign within my heart;
Thy heart is all I need."
This prayer I'll pray while here I pine,
From Heaven and Thee apart;
Nor cease, dear Lord, till I am Thine.
Forever, Heart to heart.
A MESSAGE from the Sacred Heart!
What may this message be?
"My child, My child, give Me thy heart;
 My heart has bled for thee." 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jesus, Jesus Come to me!

"Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me; for the kingdom of heaven is for such." Matthew 19:14

Such words are remembered almost on a daily basis this spring! With over 35 orders for custom First Communion Handkerchiefs within a month's time gracing our workroom, we unite ourselves to so many First Communions all over the world.

But it's not just handkerchiefs that are used to commemorate the special days of little boys and girls - we are always thrilled to work with customer's special requests. One mother called us and asked if we could embroider our new Trefoil Chalice design on her daughter's dress.

Gold and silver metallic thread on top of the satin-white fabric, you ask? Stunning.

Congratulations to all of the children and adults who are receiving Our Lord for the first time. May all our communions be as sacred to us as that "first".

"Jesus, Jesus, come to me,
All my longing is for Thee, 
Of all friends the best thou art, 
Make of me Thy counterpart. 
Jesus, I live for Thee, 
Jesus, I die for Thee, 
I belong to Thee, 
Forever in life and death."

Friday, May 24, 2013

On the Road with Catholic Embroidery

Last month found our family and home-based business taking to the road. The St. Louis Catholic Homeschool Conference 2013 was the destination and purpose for packing up our wares for an other-than-internet display. This was our fourth consecutive year as conference vendors and our booth gets bigger and bigger with each year. :)
Such adventures bring with them much work - but more joy! Working together as a family in an "all for one, one for all" way is the best of bonding. This time found our shop-away-from-home well equipped with brother-haulers, sister decorators, a father planner, and a mother to supervise "catering". :) Even our dummy served it's purpose well!

Many of our newest products also made their debut at the conference, including these beauties:

Mother's Crown Handkerchief
Embroidered handkerchief with Cardinal Mindzenty's famous quote, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" in honor of mothers, everywhere.

Catholic Symbol Doilies
Adding a Catholic flair with classic style to homes (coffee tables, home altars, dining rooms, etc.)

There's no telling where Catholic Embroidery will take to the road next time. Maybe you'll see us in your neck-of-the-woods! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Off to Africa!

These lovely, crisp linens are on their way now through the [less-than-prompt] postal route from the USA to AFRICA! 

Two generous seamstresses donated their time and talent in the creation of these amices, purificators, lavabo towels, and corproals that will soon mantle the very altar of Our Lord's repose and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - in a mission church.  The good priest who runs the mission has seen such an increase in attendance over the past few months, that more Mass times are necessary to add on the regular Sunday schedule. In addition, an altar boy guild and Daughters of the Mission society are presently in formation, providing excellent activities in sports, carpentry, cooking, and sewing for the young members of the mission, under the direction of the pastor. What a joy to be able to be even the smallest part of this great work in the form of little embroidered crosses to this growing mission. :)

Interested in supporting this African Mission and learning more? Click here to donate through a safe and secure site and enjoy reading about the blessings your donation will provide to the care of so many souls.

For an insider scoop to the work, fun, and stories in the Catholic Embroidery world, follow us on Facebook!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Embroidery for the Elderly

We've been busy here in the Catholic Embroidery workshop! With Easter at hand and a host of Liturgical and Sacramental celebrations in the near forecast, our needles have been flying away, creating designs for Easter, First Communions, Ordinations, and more.
Easter and Marian feasts will be duly celebrated at the nursing home with these appliques
It was a pleasure to work with a local seamstress on designs to complement vestments to be worn at a nursing home throughout the year. These were created just-in-time to be applied to vestments for the upcoming feasts of Easter, Pentecost, Masses of Our Lady in May. I think we covered the next few months' worth of feasts with these beauties! What do you think?

Not a coincidence that this design was created during the recent conclave :-)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Viva San Giuseppe!

Do you have a devotion to St. Joseph? 

Viva San Guiseppe Applique created for a church in LA

If you do, then you have an idea as to the power, protection, and patronage behind the Foster Father of Our Lord. And, if you're new to this devotion and saint, you're in for a real treat! Discovering St. Joseph is like finding a lost father. So close is he to the Throne of God and the heart of Our Lady that in finding him, in him we find the Holiest of Families. 

Today starts the novena to St. Joseph, to end on the eve of his March 19th feast-day. While there are so many novena prayers to choose from, I must share with you our family's favorite. Each member of our family chooses an intention, usually including a need for a male family member or friend (father, uncle, grandfather, neighbor, etc. - because after all, St. Joseph is especially fond of fathers and leaders of families) and we pray the novena prayer below, together. In this way, we're all uniting our intentions into one giant "delivery", heavenward. It is safe to say that not ONE intention has ever been left unanswered, and our amazement never ceases when an uncle or friend converts, a holy spouse is provided for, a job is found, or our own father's graces are multiplied.  From small financial requests to bankruptcy - St. Joseph is there to aid his children, no matter the level of impossibility or need. 

Will you join us this year, in offering to St. Joseph your nearest and dearest of intentions? 

Novena Prayer to St. Joseph: 
O glorious St. Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor we now implore. (mention your request)
(7 Times) O glorious St. Joseph, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.

These Viva San Giusepee appliques were created for customers participating in the St. Joseph Altar tradition. They will be sewn onto aprons, altar coverings, etc.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Maniturgium Revisited

Do you remember the Maniturgium post we wrote last year? In it, we shared the meaning, use, and sample of our embroidery work on this treasured and unfortunately, often unknown linen. Let's recap...

MANITURGIUM: A fine linen cloth, often embroidered with fine lace or some insignia, used by a newly ordained priest after annointing with holy oils. It was removed from the Rite of Ordination but is often still used by the newly ordained when they return to the sacristy to clean their hands. This MANITURGIUM is then put aside by the priest to be used to place in the hands of his deceased mother before burial." (The Church Visible" by James-Charles Noonan, Jr.)

After receiving so many maniturgium requests over the years, we have finally begun to carry a "set" style for purchase on our website. Not only does this listing introduce the possibilities for customization, it also provides seminarians with a "quick order" format for a beautiful and sacred addition to their priesthood. 

This maniturgium was designed by our studio with and for a seminarian in Pennsylvania, who will be ordained a priest in just a few short months. Please keep Deacon L. in your prayers!

His design was so beautiful and so "perfect" in it's construction that we decided it must be made available to others who would like to enjoy the same, without having to go through the hassle of creating a custom design. (Preparations for Ordinations are complicated enough, right?)

Designs: Quatrefoil IHS Cross (with freedom to change color scheme upon request)
Monogram: Tu es Sacerdos in Aeternum - You are a priest forever


As I finished this maniturgium and folded it carefully in preparation for shipment, I couldn't help by thank God for the privilege of serving His priests and being even the smallest part of this treasured linen. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Commencement Speech Without Words

Our new Vendee Patches are more than a kid's accessory!

From a valued customer: "I've received the Vendée Cross patch. Thank you very much for shipping it so swiftly, and I must say that it has, indeed, exceeded my expectations. I'm a professor at Loyola Marymount University, here in Los Angeles, and I had hoped to wear the patch pinned to my academic robe at commencement; I shall certainly do so proudly. Many thanks, and every blessing for Lent. " 

Thank you, Professor, for this encouraging example of living the Faith and serving Christ the King in the public forum - and at a Catholic University commencement, at that!

God bless,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GIVEAWAY: *Lent and Easter* in Hearts & Homes

Winners announced!! See below:

Many bloggers have written beautiful and encouraging posts and articles on the "keywords" of making a good Lenten preparation for Easter. Words such as "renew" and "prepare" apply to Advent as they do in Lent. After all, this "coming" of Christ as redeemer is also the anniversary of our redemption!

Taking these wise words to heart and home, we're hosting another giveaway, featuring your favorite, Lenten Traditions. Remember all of those great traditions we learned about in the Advent giveaway? Let's talk Lent!

Simply leave a comment to this post with a reflection you put into action during the Lenten season in preparation for Easter. Be they certain family sacrifices, traditions, prayers, works, etc. - we want to hear all about them! In honor of the coming feast of Easter and in thanks for participation from our guests, friends, and commentators, we'll be giving away TWO of the Catholic Embroidery Easter specials to TWO lucky winners:
Pysanky Basket Liner/Cover, embroidered with our traditional Ukrainian Budded Cross design

Congratulations to PATTY, who shared, "In our little family we go out of our way to pray a family Rosary every night. We usually pair it with a novena, which keeps us motivated to make sure to pray every single night. By the time Lent is over, it is a good habit we have formed and we do our best to carry it on the rest of the year."

Lamb of God Apron, embroidered with the Triumphant Lamb of God design on washable white fabric (lol)

Congratulations to Jennifer Gregory Miller, who shared, "A few of our Lenten traditions: We pray a decade of the rosary every night, except Stations of the Cross on Fridays. We have a grapevine wreath with craft picks for thorns. These are removed every time extra prayers, good deeds or sacrifices are performed.

Ladies, please send us your mailing address by March 25th. Thank you all for participating!

**With two winners in the forecast, a second chance at winning is at hand. Simply "Like" us on Facebook and leave a comment here, telling us about it in order to qualify for a second chance at winning these lovely additions to the Easter table.

To ensure that the winners will be able to put these items to good use, the giveaway will end on Laetare Sunday at 11:59PM . International visitors are welcome.

Can't wait to hear about your favorite Lenten traditions!

P.S. Don't forget your St. Patrick Breastplate Pillowcases for St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Trefoil Chalice & Pall Design

Your request is our desire! Our third new design of the week is an answer to many customer requests:

 Finally - a chalice and host design with two tone metallic thread!

Choose our Trefoil Chalice design on your next custom-made missal cover and see the delightful coupling of two-tone thread in-action. A perfect design for First Communion gifts, the Trefoil Chalice would be the perfect gift as Remembrance Embroidered Artwork.
To the right, you'll find it stitched in two tone metallic and ready for application on missal covers!

Created with an additional angular border, the Trefoil Chalice Pall design was inspired by handmade antique embroidery found in Belgian abbeys. While not condusive to the ordinary application, this exclusive design is ready to stitch on the next "Peter's" Pall. :)

Trefoil Chalice and Trefoil Chalice Pall Designs © Catholic Embroidery, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stella Maris Design

The second of our new designs to be released this week is off the horizon and safely docked in gallery harbor. (Sorry. Can't help the seaside metaphors that this designs has inspired!) Behold our new:

Stella Maris Design

As the Latin name suggests, this design is made to represent Our Lady under the title, "Star of the Sea".  

But with this symbolism in Our Lady's ancient title comes a second title, hidden within. The Star above the Marian "M" in this design is modeled directly after the Star of David - another title to which Our Lady derives devotion. 

Colors: Even in this design's color, we find symbolism! The ocean-full of blue-shades (literally) perfectly complete the metaphor of Mary -- always represented in blue - to the Ocean. Choose your favorite shade to compliment your project, or enjoy the triple color combination we created in outlining this seaside favorite.

For an outline project, consider gold or white, especially in the use of altar linens and palls.

Uses: This design is ready for any adventure - whether on a tote to carry, decorating your treasured missal cover, or accenting a special Marian vestment or linen set, you can be sure that the devotion to Our Lady will not be lacking in it's use!

Stella Maris Design © Catholic Embroidery, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Diamond Cross Design

This week on the Catholic Embroidery Blog, we're introducing THREE new and exclusive designs to our gallery. Our designers have been hard at work to create designs that express the Faith in symbolism for application in a host of treasures around the home and sacristy.

The first of the three news designs is our new Diamond Leaf Cross:

The trefoil leaves flanking the center diamond cross represent the Trinity in typical "clover" style. The leaf grouping of "four" represents the Four Gospels surrounding the life - and in symbolism of the cross, death - of Our Lord.

Colors: Designed as a one-tone color design, this cross with a quartet of leaves in array is stunning as-is, but would also look lovely in one of our varigated threads. 

Uses: Ready to stitch on your favorite item, this design is especially appropiate and lovely on custom palls, altar linens, vestments, and stoles.

Consider white-on-white for altar linens for a subtle look.

The Diamond Leaf Cross design ©Catholic Embroidery, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Altar Cloth: Knights in Shining Armor

What do altar cloths and Knights in Shining Armor have in common?

It was such a delight to work on this altar cloth project with father and daughter as a surprise gift for a very special wife/mother on her wedding anniversary. The idea was to create a custom altar cloth commemorating the family's marriages - starting with the "foundation" of mother and father, including the recent marriage of their daughter, and leaving ample room for future marriages. This altar cloth would then be used for all family Nuptial and family-related Masses. The central feature of the altar cloth would not be, in fact, the marriage commemoration... but the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Mary.

On each end of the altar cloth, would be the Family Crests, embroidered in the striking colors of the authentic artwork of centuries gone-by.

To make this idea a reality, we embroidered the Hearts and Crests as applique pieces that will now be applied to the cloth in their respective places, by a talented seamstress.

While we wait for the final "finished product" images, we marvel at the love and care that went into creating such a project. This will truly be a timeless heirloom to follow a Catholic family's future in generations to come.

Interested in learning more about our designs in applique form? Check out this post for more!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Viva Cristo Rey! - and More!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

A new year in the Catholic Embroidery workshop always means the planning of new designs and products with which to grace homes, schools, priests, and families. 

But unlike other years when "all good things come in time", this year already has a host of new designs, product lines, and handmade goodness to offer. 

Fresh off the printing press is our new line of Catholic Decals - made with our exclusive designs for indoor and outdoor use and intended to be as long lasting as the inspiration behind the artwork. Our first decal honors St. Therese and gives you the opportunity to remember to live her Little Way throughout your day, while sharing it with the world in the form of your car, truck, window, or equipment. Click here to order yours!

Our embroidered missal/Bible/book covers are a big hit among men, women, and children alike. With each one, handmade by our expert seamstresses, a note such as this inevitably comes in return: "The missal cover you made for me arrived today.  I can't tell you how much I love it!!  It exceeds my expectations!" We're now offering our handmade covers in Basic form, unadorned, and ready to protect the favorite bound blessings in your life. Click here for more!

And last, but certainly not least, we're pleased to introduce our Wicklow Cross and Crown design as an exclusive Cristeros Apron!!!!! Wear this apron with pride as the true goals of this life are expressed with a stunning design and words: "Viva Criso Rey" Long Live Christ the King! Sewn with the colors of Our Lady's Tilma, this apron is perfect for men and women alike. 

Stay tuned for NEW DESIGNS - Coming soon!

God bless,

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Appliques: Embroidery in Portable Form

In creating an exclusive design gallery of uniquely Catholic designs, our objective to bring the beauty of the Church across the world reaches beyond the various products we've created and decorated with stitches. 

One of the most helpful mediums of custom embroidery is the form of the applique - a patch-like piece of embroidery in portable form. This is especially helpful for school badges, accessorizing, various sewing projects, and vesica designs for vestments and banners.  In the ordering of an applique, customers can choose from our design gallery, supply their own fabric for the background if they so desire (or choose from our stock fabrics), and determine the best border frame for the applique. It especially is helpful for quick sewing projects that would take too much time to ship to our workshop and return. 

Our appliques have even been known to adorn All Saints Day Costumes made by mothers and their children. Because of the finished nature of our appliques, they can be applied to be as permanent as you wish - pinning or sewing. 

The Sacred and Immaculate appliques below have been created with a special altar cloth in-mind... stay tuned for more!

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's in a Needle?

In any given glance around our shop, one can find representations of spirituality: a Sacred Heart embroidery on the wall, a sample scapular in progress for a Carmelite order, or a missal cover sporting a Grille Cross design on the counter, ready for assembly. 

But it's in smaller things -- and alas! those which are most often overlooked -- that better link the work in our shop with spirituality. These lessons lie between the hinted analogies of simple tools at our disposal and the path to Heaven. Simple things that are in our office and perhaps your home. They're so easy to forget - and yet so important! 

Let's start with the needle...

"And again I say to you: it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 24:19

"Hereafter they know that all labor in this life is small, on 
account of the shortness of time. Time is as the point of a needle 
and no more; and, when time has passed labor is ended, therefore 
you see that the labor is small. They endure with patience, and the 
thorns they pass through do not touch their heart, because their 
heart is drawn out of them and united to Me by the affection of 
love. It is a good truth then that these do taste eternal life, receiving
the earnest money of it in this life, and that, though they walk on 
thorns, they are not pricked, because as I told you, they have 
known My Supreme Goodness, and sought for it where it was to be 
found, that is in the Word, My only-begotten son." 

~ Saint Catherine of Siena

Although, however, the lady we spoke of will not leave her needle in her work after it is finished, yet as long as there remains anything to be done in it, if any other occurrence make her stop, she will leave the needle sticking in the pink, the rose, or the pansy which she is embroidering, so as to have it more ready when she returns to her work. In like manner, Theotimus, while the Divine Providence is about the embroidery of virtues and the work of divine love in our souls, there is always a mercenary or servile fear left in them, till charity, being come to perfection, takes out this pricking needle and puts it back, as it were, in its cushion. In this life, therefore, wherein our charity will never come to such perfection that it shall be exempt from peril, fear is always necessary, and even while we thrill with joy by love, we must tremble with apprehension by fear. Serve ye the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto him with trembling. ~ from The Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales

Working out our salvation - one needle at a time!