Etsy Treasury: Absinthe Day (Every Day is a Holiday)

Today is Absinthe Day, when we celebrate a very unusual spirit, and the unique history behind it. Distilled from several medicinal herbs including green anise, sweet fennel, and grand wormwood, absinthe has a high alcoholic content (though it’s often watered down before drinking) and some believe it has slightly hallucinogenic properties.

Absinthe was considered by many to be a muse, and was often referred to as “la fée verte” or the green fairy because of its enchantingly bright hue. It was a favorite among artists, writers, and composers during the art nouveau movement in late 19th century Paris, including Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, and Oscar Wilde. Many of the era’s bottle labels and advertising posters for absinthe are classic examples of the art nouveau movement it helped to inspire. Absinthe even has a certain mystique as to the ritual involved in preparing to drink it, as you slowly pour chilled water over a cube of sugar that’s suspended over a glass holding the alluring liquid, and watching as it clouds to an opalescent pale green.

Prohibitionists and social conservatives vilified absinthe, claiming it caused violent and unpredictable behavior. (The wine industry was also partly behind the movement to ban the spirit, likely fearing they would lose sales to the wildly popular beverage.) In 1905, a Swiss farmer was accused of murdering his family while under the influence of absinthe, giving its critics more fuel for their agenda to outlaw it. What many didn’t realize—or flat out ignored—was that the farmer was a known alcoholic and was already drunk on a whole lot of wine and brandy before consuming two glasses of absinthe and ultimately committing the crime. Thujone—a chemical compound found in trace amounts as a result of the distillation of wormwood—was often cited as the culprit for the drink’s influences, though the psychoactive effects of absinthe have been shown to be greatly exaggerated.

It’s widely accepted today that absinthe is really no more dangerous than standard alcoholic spirits, thus the laws governing its production, sale and import have been greatly relaxed. As a result, the green fairy is experiencing a renaissance throughout the US and Europe.

My collection explores some of the more notable visual influences of absinthe, particularly its unique coloring and associated art nouveau illustration style (as well as a few more abstract art pieces that I imagine would tickle one’s fancy while under its spell). Please remember to visit the shops and favorite the featured items! And you can always see the rest of my Every Day is a Holiday treasuries here!

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Click on the image to see the treasury on Etsy, complete with links to the featured shops and items!

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“Every Day is a Holiday” is my Etsy Treasury project for 2014. I’m hoping to find unique and beautiful items that exemplify the holiday of the day—the sillier and weirder, the better! What’s better than finding something worth celebrating each and every day?

Etsy Treasury: Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday (Every Day is a Holiday)

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Today, New Orleans, Louisiana is in full-on celebratory mode, because it’s Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday)! This holiday is best known for its debaucherous nature, as people line the streets to catch “throws” from passing parade floats. There’s music, there’s dancing, there’s drinking and eating, and many people simply going with the flow. Costumes and masks abound, and things are bound to get… interesting…

Mardis Gras signifies the last day of the carnival season between the Epiphany (or Kings Day) on January 6, and Ash Wednesday, which heralds the beginning of Lent. Since Lent is a time of repentance and fasting, the celebration the night before is meant to “get it all out of your system.” It started in the US as a much calmer French Catholic tradition in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the LeMoyne brothers to defend their claim on the Louisiana territory. As the city of New Orleans grew, so did the tradition, and with the mixing of the cultures in the area, the holiday became closely tied with the city.

The colors of Mardis Gras are purple, green and gold. Purple represents justice; green represents faith; and gold represents power. The traditional cake of the season is a king cake, a braided or ringed cinnamon cake usually iced with the traditional Mardis Gras colors, and often with a small plastic baby hidden somewhere within. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket inside will usually earn some sort of privilege or prize, or perhaps be obliged to do something (like host the following year’s party).

Mardis Gras is a very festive day, steeped with tradition. My collection touches on some of them, while celebrating the vibrant colors. Remember to visit the shops and “throw” them some love and favorites, and you can visit some of my other Every Day is a Holiday treasuries here!

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Click on the image to see the treasury on Etsy, complete with links to the featured shops and items!

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“Every Day is a Holiday” is my Etsy Treasury project for 2014. I’m hoping to find unique and beautiful items that exemplify the holiday of the day—the sillier and weirder, the better! What’s better than finding something worth celebrating each and every day?

Etsy Treasury: World Bartender Day (Every Day is a Holiday)

Today is World Bartender Day, when we honor the bartenders in our life for not only making a damn good drink, but for being friendly, speedy, and making us smile. Cheers!

Bartenders have a unique set of skills. Anyone can open a beer or pour out a shot of liquor, but a good bartender will also have a mental repertoire of cocktail recipes that they can refer to in the off-chance someone orders a more fanciful drink like a mai tai or an old fashioned. Bartenders also have to be fairly social creatures, willing and able to chat about just about any subject matter that a patron might happen to bring up. They’re also good with making change on the fly, dealing with rude and drunk people, and coping with the pressures of a mad rush during an important televised sporting event. Some bartenders even serve as a sort of unofficial psychologist when a customer comes in to drown their sorrows and vent or solicit advice. And all of this usually happens late at night, when most people are in bed and fast asleep.

This treasury is a collection of various tools a bartender might use during an average shift. Well, perhaps not the fancier items or the shaker with recipes printed on it, but you get the idea. Have a look, favorite some items and shops, and remember to visit my other Every Day is a Holiday treasuries here!

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Click on the image to see the treasury on Etsy, complete with links to the featured shops and items!

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“Every Day is a Holiday” is my Etsy Treasury project for 2014. I’m hoping to find unique and beautiful items that exemplify the holiday of the day—the sillier and weirder, the better! What’s better than finding something worth celebrating each and every day?