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About BlueNinjaKat

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  • Birthday 09/04/1987

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Northeast Ohio, USA
  • Interests
    Gemology, Science Fiction, illuminated manuscripts, longbow archery, vba programming, cats.
  1. BlueNinjaKat

    Making Your Own Rings

    I've had a couple of silver projects where I've chosen to make my own rings because I already had the wire. It being silver (and getting soldered later) I didn't really want to use wire cutters and have to sand flat the edges of all the rings, so I used a jeweler's saw. For doing saw-cut rings, this is the lesson I learned; It is worth the money to buy cheap wooden dowel rod for the ID you want. They come in many sizes, and can be sanded smaller for precision work. It is far far far easier and faster to cut rings and cut partially through the wooden dowel in the process, instead of trying to hold a tiny spring and cut through one wall of it with a jeweler's saw without deforming the spring or cutting the back half as well. I have access to one of the ring-making tools that you use a dremel or flex shaft on. For fine silver rings, the spinning blade just scrunches the rings into a mess, there isn't much cutting actually involved.
  2. BlueNinjaKat

    The 'nerd' factor

    Not a biker... (more due to circumstance than lack of interest!) I take my chainmail box with me everywhere. I'm an introvert to begin with, so it goes with me to parties. If I'm bored, I can make stuff. If making stuff gets someone interested, now I have a way to start a conversation, and I've attracted someone who is probably crafty and has something in common with me. At shows, if someone comes by and doesn't seem to connect with my work, I try to give them a comparison. Sometimes "it's chainmail, like armor, only shiny!" works great. I'll wave helm chain under the noses of the guys wearing bike chain. Sometimes its easier to compare chainmail to knitting or crochet, or wire weaving (I've got some viking knit too). Or some of the soccer moms remember pop-tab 'chainmail'. I don't mind being the nerd in the room, but people need to connect with something if they're going to drop money on it.
  3. BlueNinjaKat

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    I am on Etsy, and this is me. It is my only web presence, I don't use facebook or twitter or such, and as such it doesn't do very much. I break even maybe. I mostly use Etsy as a place to send people to when I find myself trying to explain to someone in line at the grocery. They can look it up on their phone, see the photos and the price, maybe impulse purchase or drop me an email without actually having my regular email address. The IRL places I sell at are generally small weekend craft shows. I couldn't sell a piece made out of sterling if I wanted to, the demographic isn't showing up with $80 to spend on earrings. I produce a lot in aluminum and enameled copper, so my bracelets end up in the $20-$30 (usd) range, which tend to sell fairly well. I make more profit out of custom orders than I do out of table spread. In my experience, the serious sellers and the folks making their living (or some of it) off this stuff are committing time and $$ to art galleries and consignments, or to the Big Shows like summer-long ren fairs and big conventions. I know someone trying to get into DragonCon in Atlanta this year, I'm so jealous..
  4. BlueNinjaKat

    Jewelry Management Software

    I use an Access database to track my bits too. Mine is pretty slimmed down compared to what Calyx has built, but then, I only ever had an Intro to Access class, and have been figuring the rest out myself I have; A form which is the face of the operation. It lets me create new items, add descriptions, list materials used and time taken, mark a status such as 'Etsy' or 'Sold,' and mark a sale price and date. It is unwieldy only if I'm entering a dozen completely different pieces all at once. Entering variations is just a matter of copy and paste. I create my item numbers manually, they are YYMM## where ## is a simple integer count, 01, 02, 03... Two tables for materials; one for chainmail and the other for 'other' stuff, like clasps and beads. These are glorified excel sheets with style/material/color and a price per each. One table to track expenses, with a tag for each one so I can sort between overhead fees like long-term tools, supply fees like buying rings, and advertising costs, like booth fees. A handful of insta-reports, stuff like 'Items sold in 2015' or 'Items In Stock' Photography of work is a completely separate system (folder) mostly because I'm slow and lazy about getting photos done, but also because I don't know enough yet to get a couple hundred images and Access to play nice. Calyx, if you ever decide to put your system out as freeware, you've got an instant group of beta testers right here! I'd like to try it too, compare and contrast and all that. Maybe in a year or 16, when the kid slows down a little? Good luck!
  5. BlueNinjaKat

    Square wire rings AR

    When I put square wire rings in my inventory, I list the AR as a range based on those two wire measurements you mentioned; the actual listed guage size and the size as measured through the diagonal, where the wire is thickest. Since lots of weaves have minimum and maximum ARs listed, I try to make sure my square wire rings don't break either limit. If the weave relies on rings being so close that they don't slip past each other, like Jens Pind maybe, I won't use square rings for it. They tend to not fit either because the diagonal is too large or they turn sideways and slip past on the thinner side. Those weaves have really small AR ranges anyway though, so they're usually ruled out early. After that its trial and error.
  6. BlueNinjaKat

    need display ideas for craft fair

    A table cover of any kind, even if it's a black plastic one from the party store or a few yards of discount fabric, looks more finished than a bare table. Plus, you can then use boxes and lifts under the fabric to get wares 'up' without needing to make all the boxes match. The added advantage of using boxes and risers on the table top is you can then use the back of the table yourself. Either by leaving a lip at the back, or turning crates sideways (instead of upside down) you give yourself a hidden place to put the packaging material, or receipts, or change box. It stays out of the sight of customers and doesn't look as cluttered. Not only is it worth it to lift the items on the table, you can lift the whole table itself up using bed risers or steardy boxes or buckets. Think of how many people in a crowd just sort of shuffle past; if they don't have to bend down to see details then you may catch a few more potential sales mid-shuffle. Wish you the best of luck!
  7. BlueNinjaKat

    Dragon tail out of scalemail

    I made a dragon costume for a convention this past year, and while it wasn't *all* chainmail there was scale involved. One of my ah-ha moments was the tail; I used a tube of fabric and a pool noodle cut into pieces, and pulled the fabric alternately over or through the hole in the noodle. Light weight, and flexes in all directions at each 'joint' for a really nice swinging motion. Point is; if you find your scale tube sort of flatish, I'd suggest stuffing it with pool noodle for a round and light-weight inner core. Done that way, you might be able to make a tube of regular E4-in-1 (potentially faster and lighter) and then just scale the ridge. Completely beside the point, but I have a mask made by that guy it is fantastically amazing.
  8. BlueNinjaKat

    Plated Rings - all materials and sizes

    I'm in love with the plated iron rings, espeically PIR-2018-Silver. The bright shiny color beats out shiny aluminum for a similar price, and my customers really like the added heft vs. aluminum. Any chance of these appearing in other sizes (5/32 ID) or in saw cut?
  9. BlueNinjaKat


    It wasn't quite night shift, but I used to work in a little 6-screen movie theater tucked away in a shopping center where no one could find it. Got paid for a lot of hours of homework and book-worming there. When I got my 'Real Job' it was in data entry. Which most people think is a tedious thing, and yet, my coworkers would catch me doing chainmail at lunch and ask me how I could stand it. Really? Its practically the same!
  10. BlueNinjaKat

    Anything in/near Ohio?

    I'm on the west side of Cleveland (which, to be fair, is everything from Sandusky over) and I'm in a couple of craft shows each year. They come in a variety of costs and traffic patterns, but represent a lot less commitment than full fledged Ren Fairs. One vendor I've been staying with is the Avant Garde shows, which have both one-day and two-day events now and do a very good job at advertising. Craft shows like these are certainly overflowing with jewelry vendors (AG puts a cap on them, but its still something like 20% or 25%) but I think I've only ever seen one chainmailler other than myself, and her work is way different. They do 4 or six shows a year all over the Akron-Cleveland zone, and I only make it to two-ish. There are also a couple other art markets and the like that you can do one-off weekends, or set up a tent and table at for the whole season. IF you want to try this sort of crowd, and I don't promis that its always profitable, the local chain Pat Catans maintains a pretty fair list here: http://patcatans.com/site/438/vipevents.aspx which can give you enough fair warning to sign up for things. -Kat (yea yea, i know, resurecting a thread six months later... I only just got here.)