Announcing the Clann Bhride Cill

For anyone who’s interested.

Clann Bhride

In honor of the first anniversary of Clann Bhride, we are pleased to announce the beginning of our very own Flamekeeping Cill. Flamekeeping is a Brigidine devotional practice that takes place over a 20-day cycle. Members of the Cill are assigned one shift during each cycle, which then repeats itself after the twentieth day. This ground is intended to grow Clann Bhride’s community and help devotees deepen their relationship with Brighid.

Is there a literal fire?

Traditionally, the fire at St. Brigit’s abbey in Kildare was tended round the clock by nineteen women, with Brigit Herself said to watch over the flames every twentieth day. Few of us now have the opportunity to tend a large source of fire such as that found in a fireplace or fire pit, so using a candle, lantern, or oil burner in modern Flamekeeping is certainly acceptable. Ideally one would light this fire for…

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E is for Eventually

Since my dedication to Brighid I’ve been aware of areas of my life that could use some work. I suspect that this is prompting from Brighid but either way, these are things that I will benefit from addressing. Like my health. Like whether I go back to work at the end of my maternity leave or apply for a career break to stay home with my kids. Like what I’m doing with my Etsy shop. Like my tendency to procrastinate. Especially that last one – the rest isn’t going to get done unless I address that one.

I’m one of those people who plans to do everything tomorrow. Part of the problem is that I often take on too much. I plan a weeks’s worth of activities for one day and then can’t understand when I don’t get it all done. And then I kind of fizzle out. The biggest problem though is simple procrastination.

I set the alarm early so that I have time to do a proper morning ritual but when it goes off I hit snooze a couple of times and end up rushing and saying a hurried prayer in the shower.

I plan to start an exercise programme and really stick to it this time – tomorrow…

I decide to do some Etsy work while the baby has her nap – as soon as I’ve finished reading this chapter…

I’ll do some more work on the crochet blanket that I’m making as a way to learn crochet – on my next flamekeeping shift…

I’m sure you get the picture. I’m amazed that Brighid is so patient with me. I mean, you’d think She would have worked out by now that I might not be worth the effort. Still She is there, spurring me on. I know that if I can just kick this habit of procrastination then I can be productive and maybe even useful to Her but I really don’t know where to start.

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll work it out. Eventually.

 

Packaging

I know, not the most glamorous  of subjects but it’s started off a whole train of thought so bear with me …

Over this last week I’ve been doing some work on my Etsy shop. To be honest, I’ve realised that I haven’t actually taken it very seriously in the past. I started listing items at the end of March this year and really, everything was quite ad hoc. The result is that I have very little consistency across my shop. From how I take my product photos to my listing descriptions and even my pricing I have no clear theme. So this is what I’m working on.

Now, one of the areas that I’ve been looking at is packaging. Until now, my items have all been shipped in an organza gift bag. This is mostly because I had bought some to put Christmas gifts in and had left overs. While doing inventory I discovered that I’m almost out of bags so I went online to order more. While browsing, I remembered an Etsy tip – whenever you do anything involving your Etsy shop think about what it says about your business. You want to be able to present a consistent shop identity through everything that you do. So I asked myself – what do organza gift bags say about my shop? I was pretty much unable to answer that question but I realised that I was missing the more important question – what do I want my packaging to say about my shop? Which led to – what kind of business do I want to run? (See what I mean about the whole train of thought?)

Mind Map

In order to try and answer that question, I started a mind map of words that describe what I want my business to be. The first word that came to me was Ethical. Now, I already try to be ethical in how I source my materials. I try to buy from small, local businesses. I use glass beads rather than plastic because they are more sustainable. Where possible I recycle (or upcycle) materials to reduce waste. So how do organza gift bags fit in with that? Well, they don’t really.

I started browsing different types of packaging. It’s a minefield! There are so many options and it’s not always clear what the best ones are. I considered making my own packaging out of things like cereal boxes that I would normally put in the recycling. But given my attempts to embrace more whole foods and follow a more primal style diet, we don’t actually have that much card to recycle. What if I don’t have enough to package all of my orders? Of course, at the moment this isn’t actually a concern as I’m not getting that many orders but I’m being optimistic. So what about buying ethical packaging? At the moment I’m considering recycled card pillow boxes like these:

But are they too plain? Will my customers appreciate these? Will they understand what I’m trying to do? Should I start of with these and then embellish them? Does that defeat the point in choosing these in the first place? Like I said – a minefield!

Beginnings

I basically started this shop because I had been making jewellery and similar items as gifts for people and lots of family and friends encouraged me to sell it. I figured that maybe my hobby could pay for itself. Now, in amongst all of the change and thoughts that I mentioned in my introduction, I’m looking for a different way of life. I want to give up my soulless day job in an office in the city and work from home where I can enjoy my children. I want to create something that will help to support my family but also tie in with my beliefs / principles. I want to honour my religious beliefs in how I conduct my work. Which means a new beginning. A lot of work on figuring out how to get from where I am to where I want to be. A lot of prayer that it will work and be financially viable. And packaging, though not glamorous, is a part of that.

Introduction

For the last several years I have been working in an office, studying to obtain a degree in Law and trying to be healthy by following conventional wisdom. I gradually came to realise that not only was I not healthy, I wasn’t particularly happy. Since 2011/ 2012 I’ve been looking into alternative ways to live and slowly I’m starting to build an idea of my ideal lifestyle – and it involves very little of what was already in my life!

I’ve realised that there are many seemingly separate strands that come together to be a cohesive whole. I won’t go into everything immediately – this is meant to be an introduction after all – but I’ve come to appreciate that my interest in a primal / paleo diet and lifestyle, my religious beliefs, my desire to reduce, reuse and recycle, my dislike of consumerism and desire to support small businesses all come from the same place.

I started this blog as a place to discuss all of these areas (and more) in the hope of crafting an ethical, sustainable lifestyle. I’m really interested in hearing other people’s opinions and experiences so please feel free to leave comments.