Posts Tagged ‘#Etsy’

Red Felt Bowl from The Yarn Kitchen on Etsy

Red Felt Bowl from The Yarn Kitchen on Etsy

First of all, no one really knows where the origination of felting began.  Some say that early man discovered felt while wearing skinned animal  hide and having the fur close to his (or her) skin to keep warm. Eventually, from daily wear the combination of friction and sweat the fur became dense aka felted.

Another legend tells us about one of the son’s of King Solomon. This young man was a professional shepherd (not surprising, what son could compete with a father who knows everything?) Anyway, shepherding, not being the most mentally stimulating experience, this young man began to wonder if it was possible to make fabric from wool without having to first spin the wool into yarn. One day legend tells us, he became so frustrated at his inability to figure this out he began pacing back and forth on a sheep skin while crying hot tears. (Yes, real men do cry.)

Eventually, he calmed himself down and discovered to his amazement that the fiber of the sheep skin he had been walking, crying, and perhaps spilling a drink or two on, had worked this liquid into the wool and it had turned into felt!

However it began, felting has been used throughout the ages as tents for nomads, hats, clothes, shoes and many other items.

Several great examples of contemporary felting can be found below.

Small Messenger Bag by RAGZ.NL on Etsy

Small Messenger Bag by RAGZ.NL on Etsy

Felt Cobweb scarf by Felted Pleasure on Etsy

Felt Cobweb scarf by Felted Pleasure on Etsy



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Beginning in the early 1950s, rhinestone were sometimes coated with an iridescent coating. “Stones” with this treatment are called aurora borealis stones. These AB stones were used widely in costume jewelry by designers such as: Sarah Coventry, Coro and others.  For a more detailed history of these beautiful rhinestones, please click here.

Below are some great examples of vintage Aurora Borealis jewelry from several sellers on Etsy.com

Vintage Red Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Choker, Earrings, Set – GrandVintageFinery, Etsy

Vintage Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Circle Pin Goldtone – VintagePaige, Etsy

Vintage Red and Rhinestone Drop Earrings – Monkeys On Holiday, Etsy

Vintage Darkly Aurora Borealis three strand necklace – Maggies Treasure, Etsy

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The Zuñi People of North American live in Zuni (Pueblo), New Mexico, about 35 miles south of Gallup. They have lived in that area for over 1000 years. The Zuñis, like the Navajo, originally used Mexican and American silver dollars for their source of silver which they used in making jewelry, concho belts and other various ornamentations.

What is unique about Zuñi jewelry designers is that when designing, let’s say a necklace (see the Ronnie Calavraza set below) they will carefully begin their design work at the boundaries of their design. Once that is done the designer will begin to work toward the center of the design. If you look closely you will notice that Zuñi jewelry reflects their preference of silver work over multiple turquoise settings.

In the Zuñi culture birds are believed to be the messengers between the earth and the sacred sky beings. Below are two lovely example of “centering,” showing the Zuñi preference for working a design from the outside in. Notice how the eye is drawn from the outer edges of each piece inward to the inlaid design.

Zuni Ronnie Calavraza Four Piece Sterling Inlay Set - JBPacrat, Etsy.com

Zuni Thunderbird Bolo - PurpleSageTreasures on Etsy.com

The symbol of the butterfly represents summer and its bounty of flowers, plants, centering and balance. Below you see a simple and elegant Zuñi butterfly pendant. Notice that once again the design is worked from the outside inward. In this case, the eye is drawn toward the white triangle at the base of the butterfly.

Old Zuni Butterfly Necklace, Sterling Silver - OldWestGems, Etsy.com

Zuñi concho belts were often inlaid with shells, red coral or turquoise. This spectacular Zuñi concho belt shows the Zuñi specialty of set stones (red coral) using needlepoint technique.

Zuni Concho Red Coral Belt - oldandwise shop, Etsy.com

Link on Zuni Concho Belt - oldandwise, Etsy.com

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Signed Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace Earrings by findtreasures on Etsy.com

You have seen spectacular Native American jewelry. Squash blossom necklaces threaded with rolled silver beads. Delicate silver squash blossom designed in a variety of sizes, adorned with splashes of color deep blue or green turquoise, fire red coral, shells of abalone or oyster which remind the viewer of the earth and sky.

Vintage Squash blossom Necklace, Red Coral and Sterling Silver by keyoinnewolf studio, Etsy.com

Sound magical, doesn’t it. Have you ever wondered about the history of the squash blossom and horseshoe shape that is used so much in Navajo jewelry? Well, I did and here is a bit of info I discovered.

Way back when and long before I was born ((remember, I am vintage, not antique)), any Navajo… (Actually, Navajo’s refer to members of their tribe as Diné, or The People. However, the tribe uses the word Navajo as the official spelling. — Sorry, compulsive moment.)

ANYWAY…. at that time any Navajo who could afford a silver headstall on his horse had one. (insert picture of what a headstall is). Back then, headstalls and all other silver items were made out of US dollars and coins. However, it seemed that the government was not too thrilled in having their silver coins melted and turned into jewelry. So what the US Government did was sent out an order telling the Navajo to stop doing that or else.

From that time on the Navajo obtained silver from Mexico which was a much softer silver than US coins and easier to work with. The horseshoe pendant or raja as it is called by the Navajo, were initially used as horse bridle amulets and later on as necklace pendants.

We should be forever thankful and appreciate the Navajo’s skill and craftsmanship which go into each and every handmade squash blossom necklace. Their history and culture are part of this land and a part of their jewelry as well.

Navajo Sterling Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace. Kingman,1950 - Mercy Madge! on Etsy

Squash blossom necklace in green from Keyonniewolfstudio on Etsy.com


Sterling Turquoise Abalone Squash Blossom Necklace by No Minimalist Here Shop on Etsy.com

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Going through some antique jewelry my grandmother left me I came upon a wonderfully distinctive art deco ring made with small greyish pave style crystals and a dark centerpiece stone.

Antique Art Deco Ring

Being the curious type I decided to do some research the stones in this ring and discovered that the small shiny grey faceted stones are called marcasite, which is another name for pyrite, classified as a semi precious stone.

Apparently, Marcasite/Pyrite was used quite a bit in jewelry in the 1800’s Deco period (1920’s – 1930’s.)  The two center stones in the above ring are black onyx (also classified as a semi-precious stone) which you will find in many pieces of jewelry during this period.

Art Deco Sterling Marcasite Floral Bar Pin by Fibber McGeez on Etsy

Here is another lovely example of Art Deco I discovered in Fibber McGee’z. This pin is classic Art Deco. If you look carefully at the pin, you will see that it tells a story of a flower garden – the square centerpiece of flowers, perhaps daisies and the at the right and left of the square of daisy’s is what looks like leafy vine topped by a simple stylized flower.

I think the important to fully enjoy Art Deco is to view the patterns within the pattern, which are rather geometric in shape, as well as the “shimmer value” of the stones within each piece.

Loral Leaves Marcasite Necklace by Etsy shop ilie pea

Now we go Retro in the lovely Retro (1935-1945) Loral leaves necklace marcasite necklace which I found in Etsy shop, lile pea. The delicate leaves with their Marcasite jewels seem to compel the viewer to once again enter a garden and surround her neck in leafy jeweled glory.

Vintage Art Deco Marcasite and sterling Ring by CRYSTAL CREEK 2

Changing the pattern and back to Art Deco, is this organic in origin is this graceful Art Deco Marcasite ring which can be found in CRYSTAL CREEK2.  This ring shows the classic swirl pattern embellished by marcasite crystals.

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The other day I was taking a wire working class and being the curious person that I am, I began talking to the instructor about her other interests. She told me that she did tatting.  Not wanting to appear ignorant I listened to her answers to my general questions about tatting; such as, how did she learn to tat? Did she tat often?, etc.

Later, I looked up tatting online and was quite impressed of the variation of patterns and techniques to tatting. So, what is tatting?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica Online: tatting is a  process by which a fabric akin to lace is made of thread with a small hand shuttle and the fingers. It was once a widely practiced craft, known in Italy as occhi and in France as la frivolité. The resulting product appears to be quite fragile but is indeed both strong and durable. In tatting, twisted threads are tied around or through small, pointed shuttles that are made of bone, mother-of-pearl, tortoise shell, steel, or plastic and are available in several sizes. The resulting stitches or knots form rings and semicircles that can be used for edgings, insertions, or arrangements that can be stitched together to form doilies and spreads. The thickness of the finished piece is determined by the size of the shuttle and the thread.

Impressive, eh? Well, then, being still curious, I searched online for examples of tatting and found several on Etsy.com: Key to Bride’s Feet Tatted Barefoot Sandals by Totusmel; Black and Blue Tatted Medallion with an Angel by Casual Tatter; and a tatted Gothic Necklace from TataniaRose.

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Nico Papergoods on Etsy

Craftsman, bookbinder, Seattle-based artist, Andrea Kohler is all that and more; using old world papermaking techniques she learned in Switzerland and abroad.

Ann Kohler’s online shop on Etsy, Nico Paper Goods is full of colorful and whimsically designed photo albums, journals and more.  There you will find everything from cheery pink leather-bound journals to vibrantly colored photo albums and more. Each and every cover, each and every page, of these books is made with care, precision and passion.

I was lucky enough to interview Andrea and was impressed by her love and passion for her craft. Below is my interview with Ann Kohlter, bookbinder (in my humble opinion) extraordinaire.

Interview with Andrea Kohler:

1 I understand that you had four years apprenticeship before you opened your own studio in Zurich. What was the one thing you were taught that made the most impression to you?
There was a tremendous attention to detail in the art of bookmaking and binding.

2. What made you decide to move to Seattle?
I met my husband back in Zurich many years ago. After living in Switzerland together for three years, I was ready for a new beginning in Seattle, where he is from.

3. What do you like best about Seattle?
The freedom of being whoever you are. The friendly people. Mount Rainier and all the water surrounding the city. Not the rain, I have to say.

4. What is the difference between traditional bookbinding and contemporary bookbinding?
Traditional bookbinding adheres to the rules of the historical craft – contemporary bookbinding combines the craft with the creative use of materials and designs.

5. What do you like about bookbinding?
It is deeply satisfying to give new life to an old book.

6. Do you teach classes in bookbinding in Seattle?
I used to teach back in Zurich for many years with great pleasure. The opportunity has not occurred as yet, but I’m open for it.

7. When someone hands you an old book that needs rebinding, what do you ask your customer first?
How valuable is the book to you?

9. Approximately, how long does it take to rebind a book with a badly deteriorated binding as shown on your website?
It really depends on the condition of the book. There are always surprises hidden somewhere along the process. The book I show on my website, took three full hours to repair.

9. What parts of bookbinding do you like the best?
I love holding the finished book in my hand and give it to a happy costumer.

10. If someone had an old worn book that needs to be rebound, how would they contact you?
Through my website: www.kohlerbookbinding.com

11. Where do you get your bookbinding and book making materials?
Mostly from a source in New York. I still bring back special paper and fabric from my visits in Europe.

12. Do you use recycled paper?
Not for restoration. That paper has to be very high quality and acid free. But for notebooks I do.

13. I love your pendant/journal necklaces; do you make these from scratch as well?
Thank you. Yes I make everything new from scratch, and I am proud of it.

14. If so, what do you use?
For these journal necklaces I use leather, paper, thread, glue and a chain.

15. I see from your website that, not only do you bind books, but you make other very colorful notebooks, pads, photo albums, etc. on Etsy.com through your online shop Nicopapergoods.com you tell us a little about your online shop?
I have been active on Etsy for two years now and I love it. It is a great place to sell your handmade items.

16. If someone had a question about bookbinding or wanted you to custom make a photo album, what is the best way for them to contact you?
You can find all information on my website. www.kohlerbookbinding.com

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