Book Review: Kilobyte Couture by Brittany Forks

DIY Geek Chic jewelry

Brittany Forks has done a wonderful job with this DIY guide for making geek chic jewelry. Kilobyte Couture (Random House, 2009) features clear instructions, beautifully photographed finished pieces, and binding that allows the book to stay open to the page I'm working on without coming apart all combine to make this book a pleasure to work with. And it gets better: Lest we become bored while trimming and twisting wires and fiddling with our findings, each chapter has either a Top 10 list or computer-geek Q&A that caters nicely to the typical geek-girl thirst for fairly constant tech input. I felt a certain sisterhood with the author when I found that I had read everything on her list of Top 10 Nerdy Book Series, some multiple times (however, I'm not admitting to how many of the series nor exactly how many times).

Kilobyte Couture has become a regular companion, and I don't plan to give her up any time soon. At a minimum, I'm going to keep the book and maker-gear handy until I make enough of these delightful accessory pieces so that I can wear different ones every day of the SXSW Interactive Festival. We can't plan too far ahead for this amazing experience!

One highlight of my time spent with this book so far is that I've learned something new about the inventor Nikola Tesla. Apparently he was physically revolted by jewelry, notably pearl earrings! Well, I only wish he was still with us Ð I have a feeling he would have appreciated some of these wonderful pieces. Maybe he just never saw pearl earrings that were combined with capacitors!

Shortly after I moved to Austin, while browsing a computer show of some sort I came across a booth of wonderful earrings and other jewelry made of the tiny computer parts that are deep inside the computer and that most people never see. Computer geek that I am, I had seen these parts and I was really excited to purchase a pair of red and white earrings made of capacitors and insulated wire. I've long since lost the earrings and I've looked for Resistor Sister, the name that was written on the earring card, at many computer shows since then so I could replace my lost earrings, but have had no success. So I was really happy to find Kilobyte Couture, with great photos and complete instructions on how to make the longed-for capacitor earrings myself! First I looked on the web, and while I've heard that Fry's has these parts, it's a long drive up there from my house on the south side, so I stopped in at my local Radio Shack and grabbed some of all of the capacitors they had that were not the liquid-filled kind, some LED's, a bulk package of small tan resistors and some dark brown ones. They were out of all the blue resistors, so I can only speculate that I'm not the only geek girl in town with this book, gathering parts to make some jewelry! On to the local Hobby Lobby, where I found findings (all the little jewelry-making parts such as earring wires) and pliers. And I couldn't resist stopping at Bead It, which was on the way, for some beads and pierced shells to add to my soon to be artfully-crafted new earrings.

I made a bracelet and two pair of earrings in about three hours. Wow! Impressed with my newfound skills I wore my treasures to work the next day. While not everyone at the Chronicle recognized the computer parts, the earrings and matching bracelet were a hit. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, several people had brought me little resistor-bead combo parts found in various locations around the building. Sadly, my wire-attaching technique seemed to need some refinement.

Events conspired so that I had to go out of town and didn't have time to repair or redo my bracelet right away, but I did happen to pass by another Radio Shack, ran in just to check and to my delight they had blue resistors AND blue capacitors, the non-liquid-filled kind. Yay! I'm inspired again Ð the blue ones will work! (If you know where I can pick up some red capacitors, please let me know, I'd still really like to replace those red earrings...)

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More by Rebecca Farr
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Kilobyte Couture by Brittany Forks, Kilobyte Couture, Brittany Forks, Capacitor, Resistor, Resistor Sister, geek chic

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