Thanks for visiting Chained to the Strange! If you're a first time visitor check out the links there to the right. You can find out more about myself and my crafting, and how to get some of these amazing items for yourself! Any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Learning new things

While I have a broad range of products, they use a lot of similar weaves. It's easy to see the Euro 4-in-1 similarities between my chainmaille tie, and chainmaille bags, but even things like this use the same weave:

I'm actually still a bit of a newb when it comes to mailling, and anything to with wire. Well the weekend I decided to try my hand at some new things. I don't have any pictures to share at the moment, mostly because the vast majority of the attempts no one will be allowed to see. So many tool marks!

First I tried full Full Persian. I was... surprised. This was a weave that last time I tried I ended up nothing but frustrated. This time it was as easy as making a ham sandwich. I think my proficiency in byz helped to understand how the rings needed to fold. That was happy.

Then I tried Half Persian. Not so good. It seemed like I was doing it right, but it just flops into a mess, beats me.

Then I tried to make ear cuffs. This was kind of successful. My Mum bought me a magazine while we were at the craft store for wire stuff (can't remember the title!) which included tutorials in how to make spirals and such. With this info I dove into making some cuffs. They actually turned out really well... shape wise. They'll take some practice to get even, but my biggest issue with it is tool marks. I end up with having to pick between marks due to slipping, or marks due to the teeth on my other needle nose pliers. I'm going to have a look for some coating and some stubbier pliers which might help. If anyone has any advice for this let me know!

Friday, February 26, 2010


As promised, my dice!

Ok, ok, MAYBE my imagination had gotten away from me a little and I was imagining enough to fill a small wading pool, but that giant d6 of DOOM completely makes up for it!

Assorted dice

A close up of my d20s, which are destined for pendants for the most part. Not sure what I'll do with the blanks there at the top, but if nothing else the may for a good practice medium for my drill!
Assorted d20s

And pairs of d4s for earrings!
Assorted d4s

Hopefully Sunday I'll have some pics of my recent (non-dice) experiments!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Workers Comp?

I know I have a few maillers who follow, and we all know injuries are par for the course with this hobby. More than once I've stabbed myself with the pliers, often resulting in an (annoying) bandaid.

Well, this is a new one for me! In all my crafting experience I've never pulled a muscle. Sore hands, sure. Bad back from being hunch over, all the time! But no, this is an honest to goodness pulled muscle. I didn't believe it at first, and thought for sure I must have something else going on. I had a doctors appointment anyway today, and asked him to take a look just to be sure.

Sure enough, I have pulled my right oblique muscle. My side hurts when I laugh, or when I cough which I've been too a bit with this cold. I figure I must have done it the other day when I spent the majority of the day working either with stainless steel or 12g 1/2" aluminum rings. My hands certain gave me hell for it! I ben primarily with my right arm, so it makes sense... I guess.

Anyway, no more hard rings or weaves for a few.. weeks? Hopefully I don't sell out of my hacky sacs!

Any other weird crafting injuries guys?

Monday, February 22, 2010


I love scales, especially anodized aluminum ones! Their colors make for a great addition to any piece, and I tend to use them a lot. I find they add an extra dose of flare that really sets an item apart.

An example of adding an extra touch would be to my dream catcher:

And then you have items which the scales make the item. I'm really happy with how this one turned out, reminding me of laurel leaves! Only, you know, metal! One of my friends mentioned that it gives them a sci-fi kind of feel, which jives just fine with me! Maybe I'll try them in green next?

And then there's a scale piece that's dramatic all on its own! This necklace hangs beautifully across the neck, making any outfit extraordinary!

My order of dice should be in later the week... look forward to images from the gleeful box opening!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balancing Acts

Balancing school and a social life can be hard enough when you're in university. Balancing school and a part time job even tougher. Balancing a home business and school? Near impossible.

I'm a full time student, and started mailling as a hobby. As anyone who is involved in chainmaille can attest to, it's addictive and quickly spirals out of control. You sell to pay for more supplies to play with!

Current drawers
(Because I totally need more rings)

I'm lucky that I have previous business experience, and a lot of skills that have made setting up Chained to the Strange easier. I've taken business writing classes, know web design, some graphic design, and have experience with marketing. However, I'd never been a sole proprietor.

With classes there's always one more thing that needs to be worked on, the same goes with your home business. Something I'm learning, luckily early, is that you really do have to treat it like a job. You need to set at least an hour every day, and a minimum of 10 hours a week to keep things running. Yes, there is the advantage that if need be you and push things off for a day or two, but make sure you make up the time!

But, the main thing I have found is this. Don't confuse work for fun! It seems simple enough, but is really easy to over look with a hobby-turned-business. You aren't going to enjoy every part of it, and some of it will get tedious. There's a few weaves that I hate doing, and of course they're popular. Making those items aren't fun, and I shouldn't expect them to be. It's easy to see working on Chained to the Strange as a break from school work, but it's not a guaranteed break from stress.

How you balance is an individual thing. For me calenders and deadlines help a great deal. To-do lists are also an effective means. But really, the right mind set is half the battle!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Accidents

Anyone growing up in the 80-early 90s remembers Bob the Painter. I can't remember why we used to watch him, but I do remember me and my sister watching him paint his paintings, totally unaware that it was supposed to be teaching us something (like most PBS shows of the time). One thing that sticks out was his love of "happy accidents."

Well, when you order as much online as I do, there are bound to be happy accidents. The first was when I ordered 1" aluminum rings. I got my package (which has a lot different products in small amounts, I was intending to experiment), opened up, and cursed. "What the *bleep* am I going to do with this" was probably my exact words.

Well, one day while trying to make celtic stars I was getting frustrated. Mine were so floppy they looked dumb. I needed somehow to get them to hang without drooping!

Then inspiration struck!

Chainmaille Celtic Stars

Since then I've been using the 1" rings so much I had to order more, I make a wide range of "dreamcatcher" style pendants now! And all thanks to a Happy Accident.

Why do I bring this up now? Well, it happened again.

Not sure why or how, but I ended up with TEN bags of 12g 5/8" ID blue AA rings. 1500 rings that I had no idea what to do with. It seemed like such a waste, they'd never get used. But, given my past experience, I set to work doing some basic weaves with them to see how it worked. Other than my hands hating me (perhaps doing this on the same day I just started with SS was a bad idea), I'm pleased. Almost pleased enough to order a mixed bag of the size!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ch.. ch.. changes!

Many changes over at my Artfire store! New header, colors, categories, and more!

Why all this sudden tidying up? Because I won this contest put off by Artfire, and soon will have an influx of visitors!

What would a post be without pictures?

This isn't in my store yet because I have no idea what size it is... but it's one I'm proudest of! It's titanium, with 1/16th inch rings. TINY AND HARD.

Titanium Ring - Worn

Titanium Ring - View 2

Monday, February 1, 2010

Raw and colorful!

Only a couple new pieces to photograph and share in the future, been busy with Winter-een-mas (gaming holiday!) and selling my wares, so mostly just been ring monkeying.

However I did snap a couple of shots of my organized chaos!

Current drawers

That's not including a lot of my larger spools of wire, chains, ribbon and other odds and ends that I keep loose. in the top of my storage container storer. I got one of them for Christmas from my awesome Mom, and later bought another for myself. I want to get the medium sized one too, they're just so super handy!

Here's another look at my pile of stock. It seems like a lot more when trying to set up quickly!

And here's how it looks neat. This is an older photo, I'll have one next week of my flea market set up. If anyone has suggestions on how to display belly dancing coin skirts so they DON'T take up my entire table I'd be grateful! This particular image was taking from an Art Show I attended in September. Don't let that sun fool you, it was COLD!

Selling Table