May 312009

Earlier this week, I wanted to order some copper watch faces.  I went to my trusty supplier, HHH Enterprises, but was disappointed at the selection and what was actually in-stock.  (Plus, I’ve always HATED their web site, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever encountered…)

Off to Google, where among other sites, I checked out JIT Enterprises for inexpensive watch faces.  They had a number of copper watch faces that I liked, and at $3.99 each, I couldn’t beat them!  (Not all watch faces are $3.99, but there are a lot that are in that range.)  Additionally, the site was easy to manuever, and I had no trouble with “out of stock” on the items I was looking for.

I placed my order on Thursday, hoping to get it in within a week so I could get some watches made up for an upcoming show.  A pleasant surprise in my mailbox today – Saturday – my order had arrived!!

The watch faces were good quality for the price (Geneva brand, same as HHH Enterprises), and while they didn’t ship with an extra battery (something HHH began doing a couple of years ago), there was a nice little stopper on the stem, so the watch doesn’t inadvertently get turned on before it’s purchased.

Good prices, user-friendly web site, nice product, fast shipping…all add up to an A+ from me.

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 202008

I got a note from my good friend Ruth Smith, who lives in Manitoba. “There’s a new beading magazine that’s specific to Canada…would you like my thoughts on it?”

Well, sure!!! Beading Help Web has lots of Canadian readers, and I’d love to share information on a publication that’s written specifically for them!!! Here’s Ruth’s take on Canadian Beading.

New magazine geared toward beaders in Canada. Contains over a dozen projects per issue. Articles, what went wrong, advice column, contests.

What I liked: quantity of projects with clear instructions and indication of complexity, Canadian advertisers, Canadian designers, lots of illustrations, what went wrong article with pictures to illustrate common beading mistakes. Small format makes it easy to slip into your purse and take along for reading. All projects are available for purchase as kits, royalties go to designers. Easy project submission process.

What I didn’t like: advice column appeared to be made up questions, kits are available through your LBS, but there were none listed for my province – kits are currently only available in 4 provinces, nearest one being over 1000 miles away & not available on the web (hey, Canada is a big country…) Illustrations were of varying quality.

Would I buy it again? absolutely !!- reasonably priced, large volume of projects, easy to throw in my purse – obviously new and learning as a magazine but fills a huge void in Canada.

Canadian Beading magazine retails for $4.95/issue ($20 CAD yearly), published quarterly. The format is booklet size (8 1/2″ by 11″ folded in half). Subscriptions are available through the website.

Thanks Ruth for your insight on Canadian Beading!!!