Link It! Book Review and Project Results

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May 252009

I recently received Link It! (Susan C. Thomas) as a gift from my daughter, along with a great bracelet she created using one of the project tutorials in the book.  Link It! uses stretchy rubber or neoprene rings with metal rings to create colorful and unique chainmaille designs.

I was instantly intrigued…I’d made “stretchy” maille bracelets before, but nothing like the projects in the book.  My previous projects had been mainly metal with some rubber tossed in for stretchability…Thomas’s projects were mainly stretch rings!

The book starts out with some basic techniques, including tools and supplies needed to complete the projects in the book.  Basic techniques include how to make the “elements” that comprise the great looking jewelry pictured in the book.  Also included in the book are lists of suggested suppliers (I use Fire Mountain Gems to purchase rubber rings.)

Speaking of pictures, the photos in Link It! are great.  Colors used by the author for the various projects are imaginative, and you’ll be tempted to go out and buy hundreds of colored rubber and aluminum rings.

I have to admit, being an experienced chainmailler, I thought making the projects in Link It! would be a piece of cake.  However, this is *not* your average maille, and it’s more challenging than I expected!

I did find Thomas’s instructions somewhat difficult to follow, even with colorful pictures to accompany the text.  My daughter said she had the same problem, but was able to figure out the patterns between the picture of the finished project and the directions.

Regardless, I recommend Link It! as a starting point for making jewelry using these techniques.  I quickly moved from creating pieces using Thomas’s patterns to making up my own, like Black and Blue, and Rubber and Road (green, black and copper) men’s bracelets.  Jewelry inspired by Link It! is great for anyone – men, women, teens – and no clasp is needed!

Apr 072009

Disclaimer: No jewelry is involved in this post. If you don’t want to read my mini-review and go to a link for a good current work of fiction, carry on.

I won’t go into the long, involved story about how I acquired Sean Doolittle’s latest novel Safer, but it involved three Barnes and Noble employees, my bad memory, and a sudden AH HA! moment.

Any who….

Sean’s a local guy…he’s published four previous novels, with Safer being his first hardbound book. I wanted to pick up the book mainly because I see him every day – he works just down the hall from me (in our daytime, non-creative jobs, LOL), and because I was curious. Not to drop names, but he’s collaborated with the son of a certain Famous Writer who happens to be my favorite. 😉

Read the book. Enjoyed the book. Recommend the book.

Jan 312008

Today’s preview is for Simply Modern Jewelry, designs from the Editor of Stringing magazine, Danielle Fox.

Targeted toward intermediate beaders, Simply Modern Jewelry gives design a new edge. I like where this book takes my mind – away from the ordinary, and close to the cliff, but not quite over it. There are asymmetrical designs, symmetrical but fun, mixed media, and twists on traditional stringing that will help your imagination go wild!

Some of the exact components depicted may be hard to find (for example, there are some very cool earrings that use PMC charms; you can make your own, or buy something similar in silver) but I don’t think exact duplicates of the designs are what Fox had in mind.

A little of a coffee table book to flex your design power, and a little of a how-to book, Simply Modern Jewelry is a good bet for anyone looking for fresh new ideas.

Jan 232008

I am sooo excited. I have not been this excited about a book since I got my copy of Bead on a Wire, which introduced me to the fantastic world of wire working.

Oh, yeah. What am I’m so excited about? Step-By-Step Jewelry Workshop: Simple Techniques for Soldering, Wirework, and Metal Jewelry. I just had about an hour to browse through the book while my son was in his karate class, but I was wishing I was in my studio to start trying out the techniques right then and there!!!

Pictures (350 of them!!) are GREAT. Really excellent step by step instructions. The wire working section was meh, I already know that, and there was a section on bead stringing that really seemed out of place, but there are detailed instructions on soldering, cutting, piercing, doming, riveting, forging and more more more.

SBS Jewelry Workshop will be available April 2008 from Interweave Press. At $24.95 US, it’s well worth the price. Put it on your “wish list” now. 🙂