April 24, 2011

FeatherJewels featured in 8+ treasuries!

Now that the CraftCult widget generator is working again, here are all of the treasuries that FeatherJewels has been featured in. The most recent treasury list is at the top of this page and the earliest list is at the bottom. There is some amazing work from a lot of wonderful Etsy vendors here so please check all of these lovely lists out!

Enjoy! :)

The Feathery!

Finally I have enough sets of loose feathers posted that I can make a treasury out of them on Etsy.

Here it is! :)

On that page:

10 sets of Ringneck Pheasant feathers
4 huge Scarlet macaw tail feathers
2 sets of macaw feathers: Hyacinth, and Blue & Gold

Please check it out. :)

Silk Painting is fun!

I'm definitely going to try silk painting in the future... for now, here's a nice "tutorial" type video for all of us to enjoy.

April 19, 2011

Needle Felting

Needle felting. Passing a barbed needle through multiple layers of felt, cloth, or roving to create embellishment. This is a craft that a lot of people are getting in to.

I'm not good at felting so I'll put up some tutorials for those of you who think you might be good at it!


If you're not good at it but you still want to pursue it, there are now specialized home needle felting machines to help your quest. :)

What can you do with fur yarn?

I mean fur yarn... not spun up cat hair or fake "fun" fur or eyelash yarn or whatever they're calling it these days. Fur yarn is really thin strips of genuine fur still naturally attached to the pelt.

In North America, a very long time ago, Native Americans and First Nations peoples premiered the design and use of knit fur with spectacular rabbit fur blankets.

Nowadays the durability, appeal, and usefulness has been taken up a notch by modern tanning, shearing, and dyeing techniques. This allowed designers who choose to work with natural materials, the opportunity to explore.

Paula Lishman made her namesake on micro-thin strips of tanned, plucked and sheared beaver fur twined around an inner fiber core.

(The Native peoples use the fur as-is without an added core. It can be tanned or raw before use for their blankets. In arid regions, the skins are cut and twined in to the yarn raw and then softened by usage and time.)

One benefit of using fur in this way is that you can get more surface area covered per pelt then if you were using it as a full skin. This reduces the weight and increases the stretch of your garment. That's important if you sit on your scarf in the car - a full skin mink might rip, but a knit sheared mink will stretch. Another thing you can do with knit that you can't do with full skin fur is that you can pass pins through the many open-weave holes. Pins are a no-no on traditional fur coats but lightweight embellishments of all sorts are fine for knit. Don't put pins through the leather. :)

I mention all of this because I make my own genuine fur yarns, tanned, in the Native style. They are so much fun to work with!

One thing I wonder is: can these fur yarns be put on a knitting machine using the "super bulky" setting? Has anyone tried? I've been doing all of my openwork by hand, but it would be fun to knock out a sheared nutria cowl in 10 minutes on a machine, you know?

April 11, 2011

This is also how to make ribbon

I found this yesterday while I was searching for new, fun things to do with my sewing machine.

Sure, you can make bias tape this way too. :)

What I want to do is make ribbon. I have all this nice kimono silk and nothing to do with it - it's too small to make even a scarf from, but it would make great ribbon!

The tutorial (photos and text)

Except that you cut the ribbon a bit wider then intended, for a seam allowance. Then you hem each edge, trim up, press, and you're done.

I'm familiar with this cutting method. It's a fantastic way to get *a lot* of length out of a fur pelt to make "fur yarn" and it makes your creations very unique! :)

FeatherJewels created 4+ Etsy Treasuries!

Here are some Etsy member-curated Treasuries with lots of great merchandise. I've picked out some wonderful items to share with all of you, and here they are!

Here are the treasuries that my FeatherJewels shop on Etsy has made for others. The newest treasury is first. The oldest is last.

RFamilyJools created 17+ Etsy Treasuries!

It's time for Etsy member-curated Treasuries galore. I've picked out some wonderful items to share with all of you, and here they are!

Here are the treasuries that my RFamilyJools shop on Etsy has made for others. The newest treasury is first. The oldest is last.

RFamilyJools featured in 33+ Etsy Treasuries!

It's Etsy member-curated Treasuries galore. I've picked out some wonderful items to share with all of you, and here they are!

Here are the treasuries that my RFamilyJools shop on Etsy is featured in. The newest treasury is first. The oldest is last.

April 7, 2011

New fun project: Cat Toys

During my spring cleaning a few weeks ago, I decided that "skinning my sewing machine" would be a fun thing to do. It was bought refurbished. It was out of warranty, and had been broken for 6 years. I took the plastic covering off the entire machine, and it made for a very 'Machivellian' desk ornament! Unfortunately, it was a big item of "clutter". So, I threw it away after I took all of the "potentially useful" items from it. That was a machine I paid $399 for (in 2005), in the trash! *sigh*

Once I junked the old machine, I decided that for the price of fixing up the old one - I was quoted about $80-120 - I could buy a brand new, basic machine *with a warranty*. That's what I ended up doing. I got a Brother (I forget the model #). It arrived promptly on the day it was supposed to, undamaged. It took me a day to get up the nerve to wind a bobbin and get it threaded, and another 2 days to get up the nerve to start sewing.

When I fired 'er up, it was like lighting that sewing fire under my butt again. I'm so happy to have a nice, working machine again.

The first project? Let's make cat toys! So in my usual "it isn't worth it unless I can make a hundred of it" way, this is what I did... I got a pattern from a random toy floating around the house. (My landlords have cats. I don't.) I sat down and for 5 hours over 2 days, I made over a hundred toys. I'll offer them up on Etsy once I've finished the embellishment. Watch for them because they're really cool!

What's nice about cat toys is that they don't consume a ton of material, and cats love to hide the toys, so you always need new ones... If you have a new kitten, or older cats, a little time (about 10 seconds of sewing per toy), and even a fat eighth of fabric... you can make a few toys. It's FUN! Even if you don't have felines, or ferrets - who also love these toys - you can still use up clothes you can't donate (or would be ashamed to!), and you can make some critter's life better: you don't even need to sell them. You can give them to your local animal shelter. So go for it. Cat toys are a fun and good way to play with your sewing machine!

(grown-ups do love their toys!) :)

Last Big Project...

In February, the big project I was working on before I became ill, was "hair extension feathers". I'd bought myself 2 really nice rooster saddles for my birthday in 2009. I already had all of the feathers cleaned and sorted, and it had been my dream since 2009 to dye them up to make a giant set of colorful super-long feathers. So this is what I was doing. In a couple of weeks, the project will finally be ready. I have to do "the blues": blue, indigo, violet... and then it is done. They look terrific so far. I also bought a wholesaler's lot of micro link extension crimps or beads that I'm throwing in with the feathers. There are a LOT of these feathers, so this will be one of my most expensive offerings to my audience. I'm undecided as to how to sell these actually, and have saved some aside to sell "by the feather" for the people who don't want to drop a ton of cash on one item / one seller. Watch for these. :)


I finally felt better and "healthy again" around the middle of March. Unfortunately, around that time, my PayPal account got locked up *again*. Frustrated, I closed it and re-routed all payments to my personal PayPal account instead. It took like all the wind out of my sails... being ill with that nasty GI virus for 3 weeks, and also not being able to sell anything during that time, due to the "dead" computer and the screwy PayPal account, put me back in to 'lurk mode'. I'm trying to regain my momentum from before, *sigh*