I like to browse the library's new books. I am sure you do this as well. Sometimes I will flip through a couple of potential check outs, but I usually already have a stack of books to check out, so my space (and time) is limited. A couple of weeks ago, Lou and I spotted this book at the downtown Main Library in Fort Wayne. It looked really good and was filled with creative projects. The book is Arm Candy by Laura Strutt. Obviously it came home with us.
Lou fell in love with every project in this book. She loves jewelry and all things accessories. She's terrible at taking good care of said items, but she loves them nonetheless. At the beginning of the summer, she took a kid's class at Joann's were she learned how to make some pretty cool macrame bracelets. She ended up using all the supplies to make bracelets for her friends and a couple for me. I wear mine all the time, not just because my daughter made it for me, but also because the bracelet is dang cool.
After flipping through the book, we decided to try making the Beaded Safety Pin Bracelet. I have a fair amount of jewelry makings already, but I didn't own a single item needed for this bracelet. That probably should have been an indication that this wasn't going to be a great experience.
Lou really wanted to use her school colors for the seed beads, but neither craft store carried opaque red, white and black. No, seriously - They didn't exist. I mean, they do somewhere, just not here. I even tried to find a small bead store but when I got there, it had gone out of business. (so sad right?)
Here's what I purchased. Michael's had the best selection, but even on sale, this project cost me $14. I didn't mind the cost, because Lou and I were going to make these bracelets together, so I could chalk it up to date night and skip the ice cream. Lou was really excited as I transferred the beads to little bowls and we started to load the beads onto the safety pins. Twelve safety pins later, Lou was frustrated and wanted to go play outside. I told her that we could take a break after we had filled the 60 needed for the bracelet. She really didn't like putting the seed beads on the pins. She told me it was hard, which I eye rolled and eyebrow raised at her.
Once we had the safety pins loaded, it was time to thread them onto the stretchy elastic cord the book recommended. Threading the safety pins was difficult. The cord wouldn't flow easily through the safety pin head and it often unraveled the ends and we would have to trim them every time, which was wasteful. Lou and I both gave up after a couple of attempts. It was really that frustrating. I didn't have any desire at this point to return to the craft store so I just stewed on it for a couple of days. At some point I remember that I had some stretchy plastic beading cord. So I pulled it out and tried again. It worked somewhat better, but was still too thick for some of the safety pin heads.
I was determined to finish this darn bracelet and then I had the "aha" moment. You don't need to thread the safety pin head. All you need to do is pop the cord into the head. Thread the cord into the middle part of the safety pin and slide or pop the cord into the head by pulling the cord towards the head of the safety pin. It goes in every time. True story. After this realization it took a total of six minutes to finish this bracelet. If my amazing description skills left you boggled, you can watch this video and she shows you what I am talking about!
Pretty cool looking. Word of caution though. Sometimes the pins will pop open and while they point away from you, you might not notice and impale a loved one. So perhaps a small amount of glue might help keep the safety pins closed. In the picture below you can just barely see the open safety pin. So watch out! Luckily it is really easy to fix.
This is another video I found that is really good about how to make one of these bracelets. Once we figured out the elastic trick, Lou was all over this bracelet.
So this was a near disaster project, but I wanted to give the ideas in this book another chance. I found a project in the book that I already had all the supplies for and gave it a go.
The instructions were great and spot on. This bracelet took about ten minutes to complete and that was mostly due to the fact that I am a terrible crocheter. Once I got the chain stitch down, it was easy peasy.
Cleary those beads are huge in comparison to the example pictured. It didn't matter thought, the author accounted for that and explained how to modify the chain stitch to accommodate various sized beads. This bracelet turned out lovely.
The beads on the ends are my favorite. Such a lovely finishing touch!
Overall this book is good, outside of user error, the instructions are sound and easy to understand. A huge plus in the crafting book category. Because I am not a huge jewelry maker, I will probably just check it out of the library when I want some inspiration. However, the projects would make great activities for a birthday party or Girl Scouts. So I might buy it later. Laura, the author, has her own website, so you should totally visit. It's totally great.