Win a free book!

One of my fellow Chicago Craft Mafia sisters, Cinnamon Cooper, has just released a book called The Everything Cast-Iron Cookbook.

Not only am I excited about this book because one of my friends wrote it, and there are so many delicious, culturally rich dishes (300 recipes, whew!), but also because I was lucky enough to be one of the food testers! On a hot Chicago evening last summer, I enjoyed cornbread, seafood stew, crab cakes with spicy mayo, hush puppies, scallops seared in clarified butter, grilled vegetables and fresh fig muffins. Delicious. I would be Cinnamon’s food guinea pig any time. :-)

I know most of you B3 blog readers like to create things with your hands, and for many of you, that crafty urge extends into the kitchen. So to celebrate the release of her book, I’m offering you the chance to win an autographed copy.

All you have to do to win it is leave a comment on this blog entry. On the morning of Friday June 4th, we’ll randomly select one person to receive a copy of The Everything Cast-Iron Cookbook.

If you want to order your own copy, you can do so via an independent bookstore on IndieBound.org or through Amazon.com. (I also encourage you to write a review on Amazon.)

I must let you know that Cinnamon is one of the most generous and warm people I’ve ever met. What she has done for the Chicago craft scene is amazing. As one of the founders of the DIY Trunk Show, she’s worked hard to promote the handmade culture in this city. All of the purses she sells on her website Poise.cc are made by hand with a percentage of the proceeds donated to various charities. She works hard to find American-made components (trust me, this is not easy) and she only uses sweatshop free, fair trade, and ethically produced fabric and supplies. I admire her business and am proud to call her my friend.

So leave your comment below for a chance at winning this mouth-watering cookbook by a remarkable lady. Good luck, and happy cooking!

Swag for you at Bead&Button!

If you’re attending the Bead&Button show in a few weeks, here’s your chance to win a goody bag stuffed with Blue Buddha products.

Each bag contains a variety of chainmaille supplies (and a few miscellaneous items) worth at least $75.

To win one of these bags, here’s what you have to do:

1) Locate our ad in the Bead&Button show program
2) Look for Zed the cat hidden in the ad. (There are three cat heads, all of which are tricky to find.)
3) Find at least two Zed heads.
4) Be one of the first three people at our booth—#1154-1156—each day of the show and point out the Zed heads that you’ve circled in your show program.

And that’s it! Assuming you’re one of the first three people to correctly identify at least two Zed heads, the goody bag is yours!

One goody bag per customer, please. Share the chainmaille love!

We anticipate that there may be a mad dash toward our booth for these coveted bags (especially on Thursday and Friday). Please be respectful toward your fellow Bead&Button patrons while participating in this mad dash. :-)

See you in a few weeks!

New FAQ

Finally.

After years of listening to our customers, learning from ourselves and from you, and amassing data along the way, we’re bringing you an updated Frequently Asked Questions section. This is VERY exciting to us—we’ve wanted to update our FAQ page for years. With 80+ questions, our new FAQ should be invaluable to you. We anticipate it’ll expand your chainmaille knowledge, save you time, and help you navigate our site. Woo-hoo! Enjoy!

As always: if your question isn’t answered on the FAQ, please call or email us. We’re still adding to the FAQ and will give priority to the issues you guys ask us about.

Step by Step Wire Jewelry – June/July 2010 issue

We’re thrilled that Blue Buddha is all over this issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine!  Our weaver/instructor Vanessa Walilko has a fabulous chainmaille project based on Japanese 8-2 cubes.  The project is called Squares with Flair, and it also uses some of the new Crystal Squares on our Beads/Findings/Specialty page.  This bracelet is some serious bling, with more than 400 F18 sterling silver jump rings used.  Of course, we’ve got kits bagged and ready to go for this piece.

Step by Step’s Artist of the Year, Charlene Anderson, also uses Blue Buddha Boutique rings in many of her projects, including the fabulous beaded Isle of Capri necklace featured prominently on the Table of Contents.

Remember to check our Magazine Projects page for conversions for all jump ring sizes in as many magazine issues as we can get our hands on!  We’ll be updating that page soon.

Eight Year Anniversary of Making Maille!

Eight years ago today was the first time I picked up a pair of pliers and linked jump rings together.   More than a million rings opened and closed in 2,922 days of maille.

I knew as soon as I created my first piece that I wanted to make a living doing this.  I am happy that I was able to turn my dreams into reality, and grateful to all the customers, vendors, fellow maillers and competitors who helped me along the way.  Can’t wait to see where Blue Buddha Boutique will be in another eight years!

I dug around on my computer and found ten projects from my first two years as a weaver.  Some of these have appeared on forums over the years, and some have never been published.  Enjoy!

Half Persian 4-1 (Flat Persian) using 10 gauge sterling silver rings size KK (5/8″ or 15.9 mm)

Japanese necklace made as a wedding gift for a friend. Sterling silver and anodized niobium.

My first adventure with Half Persian 3-1 Sheet 6. I really love this weave, and regret that I haven’t made any in about 4 years. Stainless steel, 20 gauge.

Here I am playing around with the sheet form of Byzantine. Aluminum, 20 gauge.

One of my few Not Tao 4 bracelets. I was going to make an entire jewelry line based on this weave, but I wound up creating other lines and this one never saw the light of day.

Another Half Persian sheet, this one is HP3-1 Sheet 5, with additional accent rings woven into the top. Stainless steel and niobium, 3 different sizes in 20 gauge.

Yes, I totally made soda tab jewelry, too. :-)

I even made this posture collar out of rope and soda tabs. Intended to use it as a Halloween costume, but I never did.

Pride finger ring. I loved this ring, but soon realized that anodized aluminum is not suitable for finger rings, as the color is affected too quickly. Bummer. Stainless steel with anodized aluminum, 22 and 20 gauge

Vampire Bite choker. Every goth girl’s gotta have one, right? 😛 I used to sell these on eBay in the months leading up to Halloween, but I haven’t found the time during the past 4 or 5 years. Maybe sometime again…. Aluminum, 18 gauge.

There you go—a look into the past.  If you too have been mailling for a few years, maybe you’ll be inspired to pull out some of your older pieces.  I hope you’ll marvel at what you were able to do even back then with your own two hands, and appreciate how you’ve grown as an artisan, and how the design and intricacy of your work has evolved.  Remember: never be afraid to push boundaries and try new things.  While this approach has a high failure rate, the successes are far more creative, glorious and fulfilling than if you’d never pushed yourself at all.